The Dance Choreography Gala Kicks off the dance performance season at the Florida School of the Arts Friday through Sunday.
The program features an array of dance styles — including ballet, contemporary, tap, dance film and hip hop — performed by faculty, guest artists, alumni and select students. The costuming- and lighting-design students will also play a key role in bringing each dance to life. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the FloArts Main Stage Theatre, 5001 St. Johns Ave., Palatka. Admission is $5.
“This gala concert celebrates the collaborative artistic process and showcases a wide scope of dance choreography, so there is sure to be something for all artistic tastes,” says Mary Love Ward, FloArts dance instructor and gala co-director. “Due to the inclusive nature of this concert, student dancers have a unique opportunity to perform works by established choreographers as well as their peers. This gives the students invaluable experiences that foster self-discovery about the creative process.”
Pieces from guest artists and faculty include a tap dance by Jenne Vermes; excerpts from the ballet “Coppelia,” restaged by Mary Love Ward; a world premiere contemporary ballet piece by Jessica Mayhew Borrero; and a dance film created by guest artist Shelley Manry Bourgeois, featuring Borrero. There will also be a hip-hop dance by professional choreographer Larry Albright, which was commissioned especially for FloArts dance students.
“Mr. Albright was in residence this fall teaching master classes and setting his new choreography on dance majors,” Ward says. “He comes to FloArts with a wealth of expertise in the area of hip-hop and commercial dance, having choreographed for artists such as Mohombi (‘Bumpy Ride’), Sean Kingston (‘Fire Burning’) and Sophia Del Carmen (‘No Te Quiero’).”
Albright has been featured as an opening act for popular artists such as Nelly, Common, Lil’ Mo nd Fabolous. He has also been seen on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16,” where he opened for the artist Pitbull.
“Residencies with guest artists of his caliber allow our students opportunities to make important professional connections,” Ward says.
Alongside the professional choreography selections will be three student-choreographed contemporary dances: “Unsteadily Holding On,” choreographed by Austin Carroll and Ashley Mercado; “Instability,” choreographed by Havilah Moore and Mercado; and “Falling Recovery,” choreographed by Moore.
“The student choreography in the concert is selected through a screening process supervised by a faculty committee,” Ward says.
The Dance Choreography Gala will also include alumni choreography by Alexandria Holloway (class of 2015), Kayla Neeper (class of 2016) and Ursala Allen (class of 2010).
Ward says the alumni dances were selected through an adjudication process as part of FloArts’ annual alumni choreography submission project.
“This is the second year of the submission project, and we are pleased to have our alumni return to inspire our current students,” she says. “As faculty members, it makes us proud to include curated selections of student and alumni work alongside dances by established choreographers. We feel it is vital to give young choreographers the opportunity to develop their voice as artists, and for our dance students to work collaboratively alongside them in this process.”
For information, call 386-312-4300.