Student Choreography Hits the Big Stage for the First Time Since 2009
By Jennefer Rojas
The room is silenced as the lights dim to reveal the star light stage reflecting the gold elegant scenery. With their heads proudly held high, the five dancers diagonally enter the stage as their white flared dresses dance along their every move.
A combination of powerful and graceful movements, displayed for the first time since 2009, a student choreographed dance at Montgomery College’s annual Spring dance concert.
Every year MC’s Dance Company puts on a contemporary dance show in the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center on the Rockville campus.
Dancers, Anna-Sophia Adamiyatt, Anislie MacDougall, April Richardson, Sakina Seisay and Myesha Singleton bring ‘Elite in Gold’ to life.
According to Gail Minor-Smith, artistic director for the show, the choreographers that are usually invited to choreograph for the big stage are dance professors from MC and well-known choreographers from the Washington D.C area.
This year however Kevin Ortiz, third-year member of the Dance Company and dance major, was honorably chosen to choreograph for the big stage.
Before a student can propose choreography to be show cased, the student must take three prerequisite courses: dance composition, modern dance 2 and rhythmic training. In addition, they must reach a level of professional choreography, Minor-Smith said.
“They have to be ready and they have to have content they have to have followed a certain process and procedure,” Minor-Smith said. “When they’re just putting steps together we’re not interested. When they make a dance they have to have a purpose and a message they want to communicate to the audience.”
In the past five years, there hasn’t been a student choreographer ready to showcase a dance that reached the level of professional choreography appropriate for the big stage, Minor-Smith said.
With high expectations from Minor-Smith, who is in charge of creating the program and giving approval to a student choreographer, Ortiz displayed professionalism and met all the requirements needed to showcase, she said.
“The way we teach here, dance is not just a series of steps and so dancers must take their ideas and translate it into movement and then explore that movement because otherwise it looks like your little sister’s recital,” Minor-Smith said, “you can see that the piece Kevin did stood out really well with a professional choreographer’s work.”
Titled ‘Elite in Gold,’ the seven-minute dance choreographed by Ortiz was filled with inspiration from object movements and exploration of movement through the dance.
“I was inspired by chess pieces and how they move and then I thought about a star filled light for the back drop,” Ortiz said.
As a first time choreographer for the big stage, Ortiz came across a lot of obstacles but overall the concert was a smooth first time process.
“There was a bunch of the transitions in the dance that were hard to choreograph and sometimes I had to work with one less dancer because of an absence but it did not happen that often,” Ortiz said.
After five years of not having a student choreographer featured at MC’s annual spring dance concert, Ortiz’s piece was a remarkable student choreographic comeback. “I hope to continue to work my choreography on other dancers and continue to grow as a dancer by taking more dance classes,” Ortiz said.
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