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A stage aflame with motion is coming to Valencia’s theater Nov. 18 and 19 for the annual Choreographers’ Showcase.
From 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, students who’ve been creating, choreographing, and practicing throughout this semester will preform their dances. The showcase will be held in East Campus’ Performing Arts Center, and is open to the general public as well as Valencia students, faculty, and staff.
Admission is $12 for general and $10 for those at Valencia.
While dance always emulates grace and effortlessness, Valencia’s dance team reveals the hard work and dedication invested behind the scenes. In the following Q&A, some of Valencia’s choreographers and dancers— Marcus Clement, Lauren Oaks, Brittany Quiroga, Sydney Ramos, Windy Rodriguez, and Emily Samples, provide insight into the life and work of a student dancer.
Valencia Voice: How long have you all been dancing for?
Clement: Three years
Oaks: 16 years
Quiroga: 11 years
Ramos: 17 years
Rodriguez: 16 years
Samples: 18 years
Valencia Voice: Do you all plan on making dance your career?
Oaks: I want to be a professional… a Rockette one day.
Ramos: I’m working right now at Universal as a dancer in entertainment. I’m a high-kick there, and I want to be able to do that at a more professional level and be a Rockette with my best friend Lauren.
Samples: For me it was going to be a career, but injuries happen and I’ve moved on to a new career path, but I certainly want to keep dancing my whole life. I’m studying [dance]— it’s something I’m very, very dedicated to. Due to my injuries, my time after I leave Valencia is going to be done with dancing.
Valencia Voice: What exactly is this Choreographer’s Showcase?
Oaks: It’s a way for the students that have taken our choreography classes, which we have to take, to showcase their dances and how well they can choreograph. Most schools that offer choreography classes don’t have you ever put your movement on the stage.
Clement: Yeah, it’s a great way to get the experience of working with lighting, seeing workroom costumes, coming up with choreography, and seeing the stress behind it of having to get people together.
Valencia Voice [to the choreographers]: What kind of dances are you guys choreographing?
Oaks: All the dances are modern, except two jazz pieces. The style of modern is very different.
Rodriguez: There’s many, many types of modern that you can do. For example, for me it’s really percussive and really dynamic, so it’s really whatever the choreographer wants at the moment. It’s all under the term modern, but there’s really so much you can do with it.
Clement: [Modern] is very general, basically anything that the choreographer wants. There’s many kinds of techniques that go along with it that [you can] incorporate into your movement. It’s very open-ended… very opposite to ballet. Ballet is closed movement; you have structure and everything is already defined for you.
Valencia Voice: Do you guys find it hard to balance dance with homework and classes?
Clement: Oh yeah, not like homework but jobs too. It’s very hard because you have to work with everyone’s schedule and get your dancers and choreographers all together.
Rodriguez: It’s funny because usually for us majors, we have a meeting where we tell everyone, “Okay, this is what’s going on,” and everyone sits down with their planner, and we all sit and schedule our lives a month ahead. It’s really nice cause everyone works it out.
Oaks: We are very organized, and we have our calendar done a year in advance for everything that’s going on. We already have our 2018 and 2019 concerts planned out for when they’ll be taking place.
Valencia Voice: If you’re working on a dance, what inspires you? How do you portray emotion?
Quiroga: It’s all on the movement… and music.
Samples: Each dance has a story to it. Dance is the universal language, so you’re telling your story or the choreographer’s story through the set movement.
Ramos: We don’t like to make [the storyline] obvious… You want to be able to see in the movement the way they tell the story, the way that their faces are, and the way they’re emoting on stage… dance needs to be thought-provoking more than anything.
Samples: It lets the audience relate to and interpret it they way they do, and maybe they have a similar circumstance or situation and they can… find emotions in that piece, and say, “Oh my gosh, this is just like my life too.”
Rodriguez: [My dance] doesn’t really have a storyline… it’s basically just movement for movement’s sake. We have a saying, I forgot who said it first, but it says, “Movement in dance is just food for the eye.”
Valencia Voice: Why do you think Valencia students should come watch the Choreographer’s Showcase?
Samples: It’s inspirational… movement can inspire anything.
Ramos: I think the craziest thing is that we’re known on a nation-wide scale, all the art schools across the nation know about us and they know our program. But nobody in Central Florida knows that we exist. We travel all across the nation. We’ve gone to Boston, we’ve gone to Rhode Island, we’ve gone to California, and we’re going to Eugene, Oregon this spring… People all over the nation know about our program, but we wish Central Florida knew us!