By Kate Conklin (Ballet Intensive 8 Student)
Every spring, Company Danzante, the professional contemporary dance company in residence at Adagio Ballet, offers a Trainee Program for eligible students who are both in the advanced levels of the Intensive Program and in the Adagio Dance Company. It is a wonderful opportunity for Adagio students to improve their artistry and interact with professional dancers. Students who are invited to participate attend Company Danzante’s company class and rehearsal, learn repertory, rehearse a choreography created for them by a company member, have a photoshoot and culminate the traineeship with a performance with Company Danzante.
The 4th annual Danzante Trainee Showcase takes place this weekend celebrating the International Day of Dance, Saturday April 29th at 6:30pm. Join us for this FREE event at Adagio Ballet’s Black Box Theater and support these talented students!
I was interested to learn more about the experience my friends and classmates have had in the Trainee Program and share it with my peers and all Adagio families. Here is what I learned from Danzante Trainees Kiara Nelson, Julia Timpane, Molly Apsel, and Lucia Johnson.
Both Julia and Kiara, were eager to accept the traineeship invitation for a second year, because as Julia exclaimed, she enjoyed the experience so much last year and said the program gave her a chance to explore a different style of dance. Kiara, a student in both the ballet and modern divisions of the Adagio Dance Company, said she accepted this opportunity because it is an interesting way to see into the lives of professional dancers.
“What did you learn from watching and working with a professional company?”
Lucia: I learned that everyone has to have motivation and work hard to make things work.
Julia: There is always room for improvement, even as a professional dancer. The dancers continuously work to advance their technique and to fix corrections given by their director/ choreographer.
Kiara: I learned how to behave and pick up choreography in a professional environment.
Molly: I learned the process of creating a professional production.
“With this experience of learning choreography from Danzante’s repertory- what was challenging for you? And what came easily for you?”
Lucia: It was more difficult finding the musicality in this piece than other pieces. I don’t feel that anything came very easily for me but I feel like working with the company with this responsibility helped me grow as a person and a dancer.
Julia: I found it challenging to stay together as a group, as this piece requires the whole group to stay in unison, and then quickly be able to rejoin the group. I found it easy to pick up the choreography, but it did require more work to pick up the specific style of the piece.
Kiara: Most of the flowing movements were easy for me because of my ballet background. However, it was/is more difficult for me to be emotional with my face.
Molly: It was challenging to make up missed choreography, but it was easy with the support of the other dancers.
“In what ways did this opportunity motivate you in your dance goals?”
Lucia: Working with such amazing dancers/ choreographers gave me even more of a passion to work harder.
Julia: This opportunity gave me a chance to work on being more expressive, and a chance to work on my versatility as a dancer. It also gave me the chance to experience what it is like to be in a professional company.
Kiara: I got a glimpse of company life, even if it might not be in the ballet genre.
Molly: Seeing and rehearsing with professional dancers inspired me to work harder towards my goals.
Molly plans to apply what she learned as a trainee to improve her performance quality. Kiara would like to work on her stage presence and quick memorization skills, and Lucia will work on better analyzing movements. Julia mentioned that the rehearsal process for a company production is different from a student production in that the professional rehearsal gave dancers much more independence and moved at a quicker pace.
Passion and dedication were displayed when the students were asked to give one sentence describing how being a Danzante Trainee reminded them of their love for dance.
Molly Apsel said “I dance because it gives me an outlet to express my story and the stories of others.”
Kiara Nelson mentioned “I dance because I love it. Why else would I put my sore toes in pointe shoes and dance on them almost daily?”
Julia Timpane said that “being a Danzante Trainee reminded me that I dance because it makes me feel free and is a chance to escape from everyday life; it is the best way I’ve found to express myself.”
Finally, Lucia Johnson told us, “I love to dance because the thought of making people smile with your way of movement and expression of yourself makes me really, really happy.”
I’ve learned that the Danzante Trainee Program is an incredible opportunity for young dancers to be introduced to a professional environment and grow both as individuals and as dancers. Come watch our students perform along with the professional company members on Saturday, April 29, at 6:30pm at Adagio Ballet’s Black Box Theater!