From aerial silks to hip-hop: Summer dance in New York City

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By Marisa Lieberman

Marisa:

As one of the recipients of the Edward Villella Fellowship, I was able to learn the art of aer- ial silks in New York City. I had spent at least a year anticipating this application in hope that I would be considered for the scholarship.

In May, at the Steinmetz Dance Performance, I received this prestigious honor. However, when the day finally came to ac- tually learn how to climb this foreign contraption, my nerves set in and I doubted myself.

Luckily, after a few classes, I was able to climb the silks with ease. As a dancer, most of my strength is in my legs, so the thought of using my upper body to hold myself 25 feet up in the air was quite frightening.

Over   the     course of       six weeks, I enjoyed the individual- ized classes and was also sur- prised by the diversity of people attending them. It ranged from dancers to teachers to corporate businessmen and women.

As a dance minor, my goal was to learn aerial silks so I could create a piece for my Senior Dance Project.

I will continue honing this craft knowing I will be rehears- ing in the Henle Dance studio that offers the height and struc- tural support to accommodate the art form.

Even though my experience started with fear, it ended with confidence and accomplish- ment. It couldn’t have been more positive and I am excited to bring my knowledge and love of silks into the next winter dance concert at Union!

Samantha:

Attending the Commercial Hip Hop Workshop at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City was an amazing expe- rience that allowed me to ex- pand my dance education beyond the Union premises.

I was able to participate in workshops as a recipient of the Edward Villella fellowship.

The workshop included mas- ter classes with leading choreog- raphers in the industry who have worked with such exclusive artists as Beyonce, Brittney Spears and The Black Eyed

Peas. The classes were exciting

and intense, and a great deal was expected of the dancers.

Participating in this fast- paced atmosphere was invigor- ating. The program was designed to prepare dancers for the professional world of dance by conducting classes at an “au- dition pace.”

After attending the work- shop, I feel prepared to face pro- fessional dance auditions with confidence and also learned some amazing combinations that inspired me to continue cre- ating my own unique choreog- raphy.

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