They’ve coined their class the “Dirty Dozen” – the twelve female dancers who began their journey in the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program at Dominican University of California just four years ago.
Today, the remaining 11 dancers will grace the stage at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for what senior class member, Angie Bevevino describes as “the most important performance of my dance career thus far.” BFA seniors and fellow Training Program dancers share the theater at the distinguished YBCA only once during their time with the educational programs at LINES Ballet. Here is a glimpse into what to expect at the show and why it all means so much.
Recent alumni and stage manager, Ilaria Guerra, described her experience performing at last year’s BFA Senior Showcase as “exhilarating, emotional and wholly satisfying”. This year, BFA seniors will be presenting four complete works – two that will premiere at this showcase. These pieces include Arrowed Down choreographed by Sandrine Cassini, Onomatopoeia choreographed by Uri Sands, FUR choreographed by Maurya Kerr and Safe Conduct choreographed by Gregory Dawson.
“The show is both dynamic and diverse – requiring us as dancers to dig deeply within ourselves to bring out something different for each piece”, explains senior BFA student, Taylor Collier. “Energetic, deep, intense, funny – there is something for everyone.”
Each piece highlights a unique aspect of the seniors’ experience at LINES. Maurya Kerr’s FUR was created on the class the fall semester of their junior year. It was taken to the American College Dance Festival that year and earned a place in the festival’s gala performance, reserved for the top 12 adjudicated pieces. Since then, they have had the chance to perform it at Z Space this fall with the Training Program and have continued to work on it for YBCA. “The piece has changed and evolved so much since we first performed it,” states Angie. Taylor agreed believing that it has required them to dive deeper into their specific characters and challenge themselves to find more within the complexity of the movement.
The most recent rehearsal process for FUR provided Angie with one of her most intense breakthrough moments as a dancer. When asked by choreographer, Maurya, to change an element of her solo where she repeatedly performs extreme backbends into collapsing to the floor, Angie initially responded with a “What am I going to do? I can’t do that or I will injure myself” thought. But she was immediately able to shift her attitude to one that told her “what do you have to lose?” She experienced “that giving moment when you decide that it’s going to be ok and you can do it. I don’t need to be afraid and question my abilities. I can trust that I can fall down and get back up and be totally ok.”
For Taylor it was the special relationships formed with faculty and choreographers that really stood out to her. “Teachers and faculty at LINES have been so supportive in preparing them for the show that she couldn’t do it without them”. Gregory Dawson in particular has been one faculty member/choreographer who the BFA students have the opportunity to work with both during the first semester of their freshman year and the last semester of their senior year. It was clear to Angie that her attitude in the studio with Gregory drastically shifted from scared to confident and excited. The piece he has created on the seniors will end the show on a “really energetic and powerful note” that will showcase the growth and development of the dancers.
With Sandrine’s piece providing “a way to display their technical prowess in a more classical light” and Uri’s piece allowing them a platform to “utilize vocalizations amidst a very light-hearted yet physically challenging work” the show is sure to display the full spectrum of what the BFA seniors have learned and refined during the past 4 years.
The performance is also shared by LINES Ballet Training Program 2nd year students who bring two pieces to the program – Kara Davis’ Within the Undertow and Uri Sands’ January Part II. Angie describes the LBTP student’s presence in the theater as extremely “encouraging and supportive. It’s so nice to have their positive and open-minded energy around us all the time”. “Sharing the shows with the BFA is always a pleasure.” Katlin Bourgeois, 2nd Year LBTP dancer explains. “In the past two years I have seen performances in that theatre that have changed me. And to get to dance on the stage that my favorite dancers dance on? That’s what I’m most excited about.”
Angie agreed, “Walking on the stage for the first time was really cool. So many wonderful companies have performed there including people I would love to dance with and work for. Being a part of that is really exciting for me. This is a really big moment.”
“We have been waiting for this opportunity since freshman year” says Taylor. “It’s a culmination of all of the hard work and process we’ve been through.” Angie and Taylor both describe their senior class as being a group of strong-willed and sometimes difficult personalities. They are all so different in dancing styles and dispositions but now is the time they all come together, to rise to the occasion, support one another and make something beautiful.
Ilaria looks forward to witnessing the current senior class revel in her favorite moment from last year “standing onstage with all of my classmates taking our bow, feeling the joy radiating from each other and from the audience and basking in the culmination of this incredible journey we all went through.”
Please join us for the 2014 BFA Senior Showcase at YBCA, April 19th at 2pm.