Time to Put on Your Dancing Shoes

It was a simple enough question: “And how about you? Where are you now?” a colleague asked me after a meeting.

“I’m still at Danceworks,” I said as naturally as I breathe.

“Still…? Wow, you’ve been there a long time.” I knew she’d been at three jobs to my one.

“There’s always something more to do.”

I went back to the office and thought about why I’ve been at Danceworks for over a decade. I still felt motivated by our mission but had to admit that I’d stopped doing the one thing that had carried me through all the highs and lows: Dance.

In my early years at Danceworks, we didn’t have much more than our work, good spirit and each other. There was no money in the bank…literally; there was no money in the bank. And though I spent my share of sleepless nights worrying, I also had something that made me jump out of bed each morning. I loved to dance and making it possible for others. After a dance class, I’d move through the day energized and inspired.

These days, I say I want to walk into my old age, not limp into it like some aging dancers I’ve seen, so I’ve cut back on class to where I have almost stopped dancing. I realized how much I missed the exhilaration of moving to the music—where you forget about everything except the dance.

The trainings for Danceworks’ Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap (MHBT) were starting up in a couple weeks, and I gave some thought to learning the new dances along with the faculty. I had had great intentions of doing that back in 2006 when we started MHBT, but a couple sessions proved to be more challenging than I expected. Ballroom and tap are different from ballet and modern. I thought I was awful!

I couldn’t pick up the steps, and my old insecurities came back. I came to dance later in life, and I learn more like an adult, less like the kids who jump in. Bless the children who see it and try it; as adults, we tend to think (and over-think) the steps. I was a little busy at the time getting the program started, so I had a good excuse to quit. I put it on a shelf.

Now, eight years later, I decided to give it another try.

I felt re-energized for about a week but then the, I’m not so sure I’m going to have the time, all my meetings, you know? kind of feeling set in. I was already tired just thinking about it, and the first training would be on a Sunday afternoon. I’d have to go to the early service at church to make it. The conversation in my head went something like this:

I need my rest on Sundays. You don’t have to be great; you’re doing this to be more connected to the program. But I don’t want to look stupid. I hate feeling stupid. Get over yourself. Think how the students feel when they start the program.

I was nervous, but I pulled out a pair of dancing shoes, put on skirt and black leggings, went to the early service and then stood in the studio with the rest of the dancers. I watched the lead teachers, Jacqui and Christal, effortlessly execute the steps to the Salsa while my brain felt rattled. Then I started to move to the music.

“Basic….½ basic….and an underarm turn,” Jacqui demonstrated.

Okay, that’s fun….

“Three back breaks and a scallop, another basic and a cross body lead.”

Oh gosh…..can I see that again …..? Of course.

After six training sessions, I’m still not sure what the terms mean any more than most people would know ballet terminology. My flaps shuffle, and my shuffles flap, but it’s starting to come. Dancing gets me up out of my chair, out of my head and with people. It forces me outside of myself, out of my comfort zone, and I have to depend more on other people.

20141114_132239_resized Amy Brinkman-Sustache (lead Tap teacher) center with some of the Mad Hot Faculty

I’m not only learning steps, I’m learning about the faculty and who they are—all 47 of them. Once I stopped worrying about myself, I saw a roomful of wonderful people, all with great stories to share about why they are teaching for Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap. These are people I want to be around—many of them are outside of their comfort zones, too, depending on others to help them, but they’re doing it because they know what it will mean to a child.

“Want to be my partner?” a kind, younger dancer asked me as I moved towards the wall to sit out a round at the last rehearsal.

“Okay…” And for the first time, I began to really dance it.

So why am I still here?

I counted 120 MPS schools that we could serve. We’ll be in approximately 45 of them again this year. It’s time to hunker down and make a plan! How long will it take us to have Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap in every MPS school? Five years? Ten? We want to make that happen.

I often think about the words of a young man in one of the videos we made when we started the program: “You should try it,” he said. “It will change your life.”

He’s right.

The first feeling I had when I got there was scared, because what if I messed up or fell? But after a week, I wasn’t scared anymore, I was just eager to learn. 5th grade Parkside student

IMG_0069_WSA2 Students at Westside Academy II with MHBT Instructor Katie Krause

….and in case you, too, might be feeling eager to learn: http://danceworksmke.org/classes/adult/

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Come In and Lift Your Spirits

Showbiz

As I walked into the studio to assist a new teacher with a class, I noticed one of the students huddled beside the door—in tears with her mother. I decided to give them a few moments of privacy and went on in. The other students were busy removing coats and piling book bags haphazardly on the observation chairs, tossing their shoes underneath and chatting away as they changed into their ballet slippers. I set my own things down across the room beside the sound system, reached for the attendance book and worked my way back to the door.

 

I smiled at the mom and student, commending her good work in class so far this session. The daughter’s eyes glanced my way but she didn’t turn her head.

 

“We just got a divorce,” the mother said. “She doesn’t want to go with her father after class today.”

 

“Ah…..I understand…..I’ve been there too……” The young girl turned her face towards me then. “Do you want to be my assistant today? You can observe class. You learn a lot by watching others dance…..Want to help me take attendance?” She turned back to her mother for assurance.

 

“I’ll be here when you’re finished,” the mother responded, and then with a hug, I was relieved when her daughter entered the studio with me. Without yet realizing it, she was slipping into a place of safety and routine that would separate her, if just for an hour, from her troubles. She joined the flurry of last minute arrivals and I noticed her putting on her slippers as I called attendance.

 

When I closed the book, I leaned over and whispered, “Want to just give barre a try? I’ll do it with you.”

 

She shrugged, stretched a little and I was surprised when she stood up. Suddenly feeling like I had to catch up with her, and although she was still wearing her outer clothes, we went to the barre together. Miss Cari began class. The music of the introduction to plies filled the studio with its gentle 6/8 tempo. We listened and then bent our knees and ankles and hips first towards the floor, then away, methodically following the instructions we were given. This is when life’s problems begin to leave your mind—moving to the music, finding a structure to fit into when you feel you can’t fit into life.

 

“Can I go take off my warmup pants so I can do the splits?” She asked me when we finished barre.

 

“Yes, yes, of course, then take your place in the center. Okay?” She was already on her way.

 

Afterwards, her mother was at the door. When I told her, “She danced!” I was reminded in the best way, why we do what we do at Danceworks.

 

As I watched the child walk out the door, she suddenly stopped and turned back, her face now relaxed. I got to say the great words, “See you next week!” Then she was gone and I was left holding the picture of her smile.

Dance + Fitness = Firm Fun

Kim Johnson-Rockafellow‘s Barre Workout, one of our many Dance Fitness classes, is my class of choice these days. Was it Mark Twain who said, “Often imitated but never duplicated”? Kim is the real deal. Dancer/Choreographer extraordinaire, don’t worry about getting bored in her workout.

People of all ages and abilities show up for Kim’s class, including me, whenever I can make it. Student’s love the focus on alignment and mix of movement, stretch, weights, bands, balls, barres and mats (all to great music). Your entire body gets stretched, strengthened, firmed and it’s fun. You can’t beat that. But don’t take my word for it, read below to get a student’s perspective. Melissa Schoeffel is a senior lecturer in the Department of English at UW-Milwaukee, wife and mother of two sons.

The Body’s Own Resistance
by Melissa Schoeffel

Melissa and her boys at Meteor Crater in Arizona

The second side is always harder. That’s the bit you should remember when you show up for your first Dance Fitness class. It encapsulates what I’ve learned over the last few years. The second side is harder because even though you haven’t worked that side yet, your whole self is involved in working the first side, and your whole self is that much more tired for it. The second side is harder, but it’s where you learn about holding back and holding on—remembering to hold a little in reserve even while you give it everything you’ve got, and pushing those tired muscles through to the end of the routine, to the end of the class. The second side is about exploring the connections between the parts and the whole.

I started taking Dance Fitness when my youngest child started all-day, four-year-old kindergarten. It was the first time in many years that I felt like I could afford—in terms of both time and money—to take a couple of hours out of my work week to work out. Looking back, I realize how desperate I was to reclaim a body that had been given over to motherhood, to reclaim the ability to move that body in particular ways that I had long since abandoned. I was struggling with depression and wanted the exercise to buoy my mood, and I wanted to do something that was just for me.

In order to do this thing just for me, I had to, paradoxically, go into it without any illusions about what it was going to do for me: I wasn’t going to burst onto the beach the next summer with a “bikini body”; I wasn’t going to shed all the pounds I had accumulated since having two children and watching my metabolism slow to a late-thirties crawl. I didn’t need to look like I was in my twenties again; I just needed to be healthier, happier, and to recapture some of what it used to feel like to move.

Kim Johnson-Rockafellow Artistic Manager
Kim Johnson-Rockafellow
Artistic Manager
I got more than I bargained for, because what I realized, fairly early on, is that even as I was feeling better (and looking better, I suppose), the best of what was happening was that I was feeling stronger. Because of the sweaty time I’ve spent wrestling with what our lovely instructor, Kim Johnson, will tell you is my “body’s own resistance,” I joyously found out that I could carry my five-year-old all the way home from the lakefront to Riverwest AFTER the Fourth of July fireworks. That’s two miles of walking at the end of a long night and carrying 42 pounds of a load that alternated between wriggling, whining child and dead weight. I can carry the heck out of some groceries too, and I have a physical understanding of what Kim is talking about when she says “shoulder girdle,” because I actually have one of those now. Even though my oldest child still calls me “Mush,” while affectionately (and irritatingly) poking me in my softer parts, there’s iron underneath there. And let’s face it, Mushy Mama can dance.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that something else that keeps me coming back, week after week, is that I get to be a part, albeit a small one, of the Danceworks community. I knew about Danceworks’ investment in the Milwaukee community before I started taking a class there, and I remember hoping, beforehand, that I would love the classes and the people as much as I loved the idea of Danceworks. I do. If I’m going to spend my money paying someone to make me sweat (a lot) twice a week, this is the mission and vision I want to support.

“Fun times with dance,” Kim wryly quipped the other morning, as we sweated through a routine that was a little extra challenging. Though it was clearly meant to be gently ironic in that particular moment, I was struck by how true it was of my whole experience with Danceworks.

With her husband
With her husband Martin enjoying Lakefront Brewery together

Melissa is so much more than a small part of Danceworks. She and her family will be moving to West Texas soon and we are really going to miss her. But, I’ll be working on Skyping her into class. Once a Danceworker always a Danceworker.

We are happy to announce the launch of our new website (September 4) and online scheduling and registration system. Our new system will make it easier to sign up for classes, review your purchase history and monitor your personal account. Sign up for your Fall class now: Register here.

Thanks for visiting my Blog. Is there something you’d like to know more about…? Please let me know. –Deb Farris, Executive Director

Joyful Noise

We have a really family fun Tap concert coming up–Danceworks On Tap (DOT): Joyful Noise.

Danceworks on Tap
DOT Photo credit: Mark Frohna

Flash back: you can bet there was a joyful noise around here when I received word five years ago from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) that they would help fund a Director of Development and Marketing position at Danceworks. A first Development Director is a big step for a nonprofit. Until that critical point, the executive director is left to figure it out or farm it out.

Elyse Cohn
Elyse Cohn

So thanks to GMF, it was a new era at Danceworks. Elyse Cohn came highly recommended in the world of arts organizations in Milwaukee. Skylight, First Stage and the Rep were all on her vita. It was a slam dunk when I found out she also danced. We’ve been through a lot together and that song, “Wherever We Go, Whatever We Do, We’ll Muddle through It Together” comes to mind.

Deb: So, I know how happy I was to have you join the Danceworks team, but, seriously, what was it like for you?

Elyse: I was looking for something that was similar to my days at First Stage–a place where there had been a lot of growth but there was still a lot of potential for further growth ahead. It was important to me to feel I was a part of the organization’s inner working and to feel that my presence could make a difference. A focus on children is also inspiring to me.

I’d been chasing that elusive work/life balance. I have two kids – busy ‘tween years. Danceworks allowed me that flexibility as long as the work got done. Here, the people are as important as the work. I remember being “reprimanded” by my boss (You!) that I had to make time to dance!

At how many work places are you told to make time to do something good for yourself? It works though, because it feeds back into the work you do. You get to experience the organization firsthand—you see it, you feel it, you do it. To do it is to know it, to understand it. That to me is much more fulfilling than just sitting in the office writing about it.

I had done some musical theatre after college, but I had not danced in years. I started with Pat Marquardt Studios when I was in Kindergarten, then I went to Esther Moody and on to Dance Spectrum where I studied with Katherine Kersten and Pam Kriger.

Elyse 2nd from the right Katherine Kersten
Elyse looking at the camera
with Katherine Kersten

I left ballet in seventh grade and started taking tap—danced all through high school. I stopped dancing when I got to college and sort of regretted that. Pam taught me Musical Theatre Dance at the JCC after college, but it had been about 15 years since I strapped on my shoes.

Deb: What was that first class like?

Elyse: Oh gosh, my first class was with Amy – 50+ Tap I, and I swiftly added on 50+ Tap II. It came back quickly. But remembering combinations was way harder, and balance was trickier than it used to be! I would be able to get a combination fast in the old days. The 50+ class was so great because it let me move at a slower pace—there was more repetition. Then I moved on to Tap III and left I and II in the dust.

Deb: Do you have goals for Tap this year?

Elyse: My aspiration is to be present—to be in class more. There are so many grant deadlines. But if I’m out for several weeks, the homecoming is always great!  Some in my classes have surgery and are gone, some are snow birds. The spirit is wonderful. We’re a family. I started doing tap workout, which brings in weights and general fitness. I love it!  My goal is to take one or the other each week, or both if possible. My father-in-law is going to be signing up for Tap I this fall. With my daughter Ariel tapping too, we can do a family talent show.

Deb: Perhaps for the annual meeting! You can be the Von Tap family dancers!

Elyse: Perhaps not.

Deb: What has been most rewarding about your work here?

Elyse: It’s always great to get a grant or a new contribution, but what’s rewarding is to go to the program and see what the money is doing. When I bring a prospect or a donor into the schools and I get to see them experience it for the first time, it’s always uplifting. The (Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap) competition is a long day, but it’s the best day. It’s a day I feel especially proud of what I do.

MHBT Competition at  BMO Harris Bradley Center
MHBT Competition at
BMO Harris Bradley Center
Photo Credit: Paul Ruffolo

Ariel and I never miss the Danceworks on Tap concert. For people who don’t know tap, it’s surprising to see that it isn’t made up of hoofin’ alone. There’s a lot of inventiveness, with influences from all different dance forms. It’s very inventive. You watch and say, “I never would have thought of that.”  There aren’t many tap concerts around town. This is really it.

DOT
Danceworks Outreach Director and DOT member      Rachel Payden with Dylan Baker; Photo: Mark Frohna

My parents enjoy it as well as my children. My husband not so much, but that’s just him. Many husbands do! It thrills me to have something I can share with my family. Being able to share my work with my family is as important as finding a balance with my work.

Danceworks works for me. It really is about making a joyful noise.

Danceworks on Tap
Danceworks on Tap
Photo credit: Matt Haas

Come enjoy!  You can get your tickets here for Danceworks on Tap this weekend.  Thanks for visiting our blog!  –Deb Farris

“Kids Say the Darndest Things”

It’s true; they still call me “Miss Debbie,” but it’s been a long time since I’ve taught pre ballet classes.

Samsung 080313 071
A Pre Ballet and Tap class

There was a stretch in my life when I taught eight a week. I remember my first class vividly. I had the good fortune of working at a studio (Ballet School of Chapel Hill) which had exceptional faculty and great creative dance curriculum. M’Liss Dorrance prepared me well, and I planned my first lesson carefully. It was great—except I was done with the entire class plan in ten minutes, leaving 35 minutes left to fill and nine little faces staring up at me. So I imagined what it was like to be four years old again and had a lot of fun with them.

I learned how to pace myself and also learned that kids are a lot smarter than you think they are. I learned quickly that these were big people in little bodies—their personalities well formed. When I stopped talking to them like they didn’t understand English, we had a great time. Just as a side note—there were often big tears in front of whomever it was who brought them, but as soon as the door closed, long faces turned into happy ones and they were ready to go.

Technique was never talked about; everything was approached from a creative perspective. We opened and closed a big flower with points and flexes. Pliés in second position were French doors opening and closing. Ronde de jambs were trips through the forest that finished with cups of tea in the castle—you would get there (en dehors) and have to return home (en dedans). Grand battements were the Three Bears.

The studio was filled with horses of different colors that galloped across the diagonal, and you got to ride your favorite color. Piqués were Prince and Princess walks, and there was an imaginary wardrobe filled with costumes that we were constantly returning to. We splashed and tiptoed through puddles. We made popcorn along with raindrops, lightning and thunder. We jumped over the river high enough so the crocodile couldn’t bite your feet. You get the idea.

My classes grew larger, but I became a better teacher and was able to manage them with the same level of delight and structure. I learned as much as my little dancers. I learned quickly that when recital time came, they were able to show that they had indeed learned a lot through carefully choreographed little “dances” made just for them.

Though I don’t teach these classes anymore, I have been so impressed with our Danceworks youth faculty because I believe they fully embrace and imbue Danceworks’ joy, health and creativity.

I visited one of our four-year-old classes on a recent afternoon, thinking I could do an interview with the students and ask why they liked coming to Danceworks. I entered and found a circle of stars—one for each student to sit on. There was one extra. I sat down and we exchanged our names. I used to have students clap their names as they said them—I should have remembered this; it makes it so much easier.

I asked my first question:  Why do you like to dance?

Ilya
Aya

Aya:  We have an extra star!

Nina
Nina

Nina:  (Drums her hands on the floor.)

Emunyah ( Muni) and Minnie

Muni:  My Mom brings me. I come here every week.

Minnie: I like marching.

A.J.
Alexander (A.J.)

A.J.:  I get to tip toe.

Aya:  It’s so much fun running and dancing at home.

Moving on to question number two:  What do you like about your teacher?

Nina:  I like wearing tap shoes.

A.J.: (Silence—Okay, maybe not the best question.)

Minnie:  She teaches me to dance. (There we go.)

Muni: She teaches flips and hops. (Ms. Faith is nine months pregnant …just saying.)

Last Question:  What do you like best about putting your dance shoes on?

A.J.: Tapping!

Muni:  Ballet!

Minnie:  Marching!

Nina: (taps her feet on the floor. Nina likes rhythm.)

Aya:  Running!

I remembered why I liked teaching these little guys. You never know what to expect out of them—they keep you on your toes. They say what they think, they are full of life and they love you unconditionally. –Deb Farris

Glossary
Plié – to bend ankles, knees and hips
Ronde de Jambe – circle of the leg; en dehors – outward; and en dedans – inward
Grand Battement – great beat
Piqué – to prick

Learn more about youth classes at Danceworks here. Our fall session registration is going on now, and the session begins September 4, 2013!

Hannah’s Heart to Heart on Art to Art

About nine years ago, Danceworks decided it was time to buy a light board for our productions instead of constantly renting. We offered a “Pay What You Can” series of summer performances to raise the money. The money was raised; we bought the light board and also ended up with an annual summer dance series. This eventually grew into what is now called the Danceworks DanceLAB, which supports the development of new dance works by independent and emerging dance artists.

One of the annual productions on the series is Art to Art, popular since it was first envisioned by Sarah Wilbur in 2004. It encourages something that Danceworks highly values: collaboration. It’s a concert featuring works created by two or more artists in different disciplines. Local choreographers join film, music, theatre and visual artists in this audience favorite.

Hannah Marquardt
Hannah Marquardt

Hannah Marquardt, Danceworks’ customer satisfaction manager, is an artist who, like many of our staff, balances performing and teaching with administrative responsibilities. She has participated in Art to Art since 2007 and shares her thoughts on why she enjoys being a part of it. –Deb Farris

The concept of Art to Art was different than anything else offered at the time. I had always done pieces with music and choreography, and it was great to be encouraged to collaborate with other art forms. I was invited by Ashley (Johnson) Trottier who was collaborating with Bob Watt, a local folk artist with quite a following. Ashley used his paintings as a jumping-off point for the choreography and on the stage for her set design. She also integrated his poetry through spoken word into the piece. A lot of people who came to see Bob’s work got exposed to dance as well.

In 2010, I was one of the choreographers and collaborated with a singer, Susan Wiedmeyer (also a “Danceworker!”). In 2012 and 2013, I’ve been a dancer, working with Catey Ott Thompson as choreographer and Kai Marquardt (my husband, incidentally!) as the collaborating visual artist.

The talkback sessions that are integrated into the development of the work to provide feedback are really valuable. They provide perspective that you wouldn’t otherwise think of. MIAD instructors, UWM faculty, visual artists and directors from local dance companies all attend and offer their perceptions, along with the other choreographers participating in Art to Art. A bond develops between the artists, and you learn by watching the other artists’ pieces develop. It creates excitement about the event. It is inspiring to learn what the process is like for artists of different disciplines. My starting point as a choreographer is very different than artists of another genre. You develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for other disciplines.

The progression of Art to Art over the years has been fulfilling to experience. The pairing of artists from different disciplines always brings an interesting juxtaposition of art forms. And Art to Art’s production elements—film, lighting design—and overall quality of work produced has really developed over the years as well.

Hannah and Catey Ott with Kai's sculpture
Hannah and Catey Ott with Kai’s sculpture

I like the fact that the visual art that is integrated into the piece will be around after the dance performance is finished. My husband Kai, for example, can build something that will be around for years and years. Once I am done with my performance, it’s over. We’re at two ends of the spectrum. Unless you see a dancer’s performance on a video, it lasts only in the viewers’ memory and is left to their own interpretation.

All of the artists and choreographers have put their signatures on each piece. I think it will be the best Art to Art that Danceworks has produced! There’s a little something for everyone

The Dedicated Kids of DYPC

Faith Halaska, Director of Danceworks Youth Performance Company
Faith Halaska, Director of Danceworks Youth Performance Company

Two years ago, it became apparent to me that Danceworks needed a youth performance company. With more than 2,000 Milwaukee city students completing Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap (MHBT) each year, we had an abundance of talented kids. Amy Brinkman-Sustache had long wanted a youth company to support the development of the students in our studio youth classes.  We found the perfect company director in our faculty, Faith Halaska, and we were off and running.

The audition for Danceworks Youth Performance Company (DYPC) is coming up on July 27, so I sat down with Faith to offer a little more information about the company:

Deb: Why were you interested in directing DYPC?

Faith: Because my greatest joy in life is helping to build up the next generation of artists. I find great reward in training dancers and giving them the experience of performing and being a part of something bigger than themselves.

Deb: What do you see happening to these kids as they get more involved?

Faith: There’s a transformation—not only in their technical ability, but in their self-confidence and self-discipline. I feel like I have the privilege of watching them become who they’re meant to be—not  just as dancers but as individuals.

DYPC performing at Bastilles Days
DYPC performing at Bastilles Days

Deb: Where do the students who audition come from?

Faith:  They come from all over the Milwaukee area and beyond. Some of the kids’ experience comes from dance teams, cheerleading, Hip Hop crews, Milwaukee Ballet, gymnastics and, of course, Danceworks studio classes and programs . The first year we held auditions, about 40% of the students came from MHBT; the second year was about 60%. These are kids who come together with one common goal: they are interested in pursuing the art of dance in a more intense training environment.

Deb: And how did all the different backgrounds work together?

Faith: They did great! It’s surprising to see how much they improve in one year. We also offer apprenticeships for the students who show great potential at the audition but need a little more experience. Apprentices attend the same classes as company members, but until they are moved up to the full company they do fewer performances and understudy.

Deb: What does the DYPC performance season look like?

Faith: DYPC typically takes on 25 performances a year. These include performances from Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival to Brew City Bruisers halftime shows; Lakefront Festival of the Arts to UPAF events. They also do a full-length production annually called Gingerbread Express, which is our holiday show.

Deb: Can you give us an idea of what their training includes?

Faith: This season we will be offering opportunities to a broader range of ages and experience levels by expanding to two companies — junior and senior.  Junior company dancers have approximately two hours of weekly rehearsals and a minimum of two technique classes of differing genres from our studio offerings. Average weekly involvement is approximately five hours, excluding performances. Senior company members have the same requirements with an additional hour of weekly rehearsal.

DYPC 2012-13
DYPC 2012-13

Deb: How is a dancer’s performance in the company evaluated?

Faith: Company dancers sign a contract; if it is broken in any way they must have an individual meeting with me and their parent/guardian(s). Their reviews are based on their contract as well as on academic requirements. They have to submit their report cards to me twice a year. Attendance, promptness, being prepared, clear communication, work ethic in rehearsals and classes, and being a positive representative of Danceworks and DYPC are all evaluated. I also get reviews on their development from their Danceworks instructors. The apprentices also have defined review dates which enable them to move up when they are ready.

Deb: If a student wants to audition on July 27, what does he or she need to do?

Faith: Complete the registration form by Monday, July 22.  The form is on our website, (link to DYPC here) as well as all the essential information. All who register will get a follow-up email from me next week.

For all of you interested in auditioning for Danceworks Youth Performance Company, I’m sending my very best wishes for a fun and enriching experience. Danceworks is here to help you become the dancer you dream to be!  –Deb Farris