2022 NW Spring Performance Composition Class
The Washington School of Ballet – 2022 NW Upper Division Spring Performance
Level 8 Composition Showcase May 7, 2022
Introduction – Constance Dinapoli
Ella solo: Highs and Lows
Song name: “Godlings” by The Aquaerials
Willow solo: In between breaths
Song name: “In Between Breaths” by SYML
Eva solo: Detached
Music: “The Swimmer” by Max Richter
Anna and Izzy duet: Energy
Music: “Fly” by Ludovico Einaudi
Sydnie and Amelia duet: Habit
Music: “Scenes from the Cityscape” by Lake Isabel
Bea and Eliza duet: Duel
Music: Star Wars “Duel of the Fates” by John Williams
Eliza’s group dance: Sacrifice
Music: “Being Patient / Beifong’s Sacrifice” by Jeremy Zuckerman
Bea’s group dance: Multiplicity
Song: “Between Twilight” by Lindsey Stirling
Composition Class Artistic Statements
Dance is something that has been a part of my life since I was 5 years old. I began my journey with commercial/competitive dance which fulfilled my love for glitter and jazz. As I grew older, I learned I wanted to expand my technique in a different way: ballet. I was drawn to ballet because of the music. It was mostly piano from the tracks my dance teachers would play in the studio, an instrument I later took lessons on and loved, but it was enough to intrigue an 8-year-old to give ballet a try. After taking a break from dance for 2 years, I auditioned with the TWSB, and the rest is history. Dance reminds me that there are so many different ways to communicate, in this case, dancers communicate through movement. The ways to portray a story are endless. Dance is becoming a more inclusive space as time goes on, and as an artist, I am finding more opportunities to explore my craft. I am constantly challenged in this art form in terms of technique, creatively, and mentally. I am stretched out and pushed out of my comfort zone to find myself in either my own choreography or others’. I hope to challenge others in the same way when it comes to their creativity. I want to ask them questions that will inspire them to dig deeper into the meaning of their dance, the specificity of their movement, or the impact it will have on their audience.
Why does one dance?
Many would say for the artistic and self-expression. Yet the reality is that unless a dancer chooses to pursue the career of choreographing, there is really little creative freedom in dancing Swan Lake, Don Quixote, or even the Nutcracker. It may align well with one’s character, style, or technique but that hardly leaves much room for any liberty or creativity in interpreting a role. It must be done the way the principal sees it. And, most often than not, the director has strong ideas about the upcoming production.
So how does a dancer express love, passion, creativity, and personality in ballet? The best approach would be to create a dance from scratch and build a new choreography.
So, why do I dance? Because it gratifies me in a way no other art form has. The beauty and artistry in ballet inspire me with each class to become a better version of myself. It makes me feel graceful, beautiful, and poise; something I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my days. I dance because it elevates me and brings joy like nothing else for me.
I dance because it allows me to escape from my worries, anxieties, and other things going on outside of dance. I can come to the studio, and focus on improving my technique, and taking instruction and corrections from my teachers. My passion for dance is a continuous growing and learning experience. The more I dance and progress, the more passionate and motivated I become to go forward in my dance career. I have a passion to improve my technique so that one day it can pay off to help me get into a company. Dance plays a big role in my life. As I said, coming to the studio is a way for me to only focus on ballet and nothing else. There have been times in my dance life that I have lost motivation but kept pushing forward. Dance is a big sacrifice, especially if you’re a high school student. You will sometimes have to miss out on high school experiences like football games, school dances, and seeing friends. Although it would be fun to get those experiences, it’s all worth it in the end. Giving up those high school moments allows me to understand that dance is my future, and those moments in high school won’t matter to me if I’m dancing in a company one day.
As a dancer, you eventually experiment with creating your own work and choreography. For me, the hard part is finding confidence in my work, and trusting myself that I can create something good. It can also be really intimidating and scary because I think my work is boring and not good enough as others. I think what makes my aspirations valuable, is when I create new things others have not seen or don’t see often. I always find it really inspiring to see work my classmates have made, and it inspires me to create something cool on my own. I think you contribute to the field of dance as long as you are confident and happy with what you’re doing and creating. This piece I am dancing to today is something I created on my own. This piece is meant to demonstrate the ups and downs, and reality of being a dancer.
Beatriz Moreira Leite
I dance because it allows me to express my emotions and experiences in a way that can be understood by everyone. Dance also allows me to tell stories and collaborate with others. This year, I was given the opportunity to choreograph another group piece but unlike last year, it was in person as opposed to on zoom. I initially had plans for a larger and completely different project but due to external factors, I had to pivot ideas and start from scratch. Choreographing for a group is challenging but incredibly rewarding. Seeing movement ideas play out in real life is incredible and such an amazing opportunity. This year I also had the pleasure to work on a duet. Duets present their own sets of challenges, especially when you and your partner’s dancing styles are almost in direct opposition to each other. However, the process is very enjoyable and can create the movement you never expected to do.
I dance because of the purpose it brings to my life: something for me to work for, something that provides joy, and something that gives me opportunities. It gives me opportunities to explore myself and my thoughts, meet people, and push myself to experience new things and new movements. In my life, dance has been a constant for years and provides an outlet for my emotions. It is the feeling of simultaneously needing and wanting to move and have that freedom that only dancing can provide. I want my dancing to inspire the same feelings of liberation that dance gives to me.
Dance has become my means of expression while also acting as my inspiration. Losing myself in art is something that I will never tire of, whether that be literature, sculpture, music, painting, or movement. It allows me to communicate without the hassle of words and it continually inspires me to break boundaries and do things unconventionally. I believe that dance is both for pure aesthetic enjoyment and storytelling. I hope that my choreography and dancing acknowledge the beauty in the simplicity of movement but also the importance of sharing stories and conveying messages.
Since at least the time I could walk, something in me unquestioningly has known I wanted, daresay, needed to dance. When I was about 15 months old, I often danced on a downtown Bethesda sidewalk while a street musician played. He strummed his guitar. I bobbed up and down, waving my arms, oblivious to anyone or anything else. The more I experienced movement through music in those early years, the more of it I wanted. I went from saying, “Dance, dance, dance,” to insisting, “When I dance?” Finally, my parents enrolled me in my first ballet class at age two. Thirteen years later I had to decide whether to keep dancing. By dancing at home, seven days a week, on a 6’ x 6’ Marley mat during the first year of the pandemic, a tendon in my ankle tore. Doctors said I needed surgery if–and only if–I wanted to keep dancing. Every version of myself from my inner-toddler to my then-15-year-old self knew there was only one answer. I could not imagine my life or myself without dance. Last summer’s surgery not only was successful, but the hard-fought, nearly yearlong recovery from it is forcing me to ask why: why do I dance? The closest I can come to answering that question now, at age 16, is that my push to dance has something to do with making purposeful connections–of wanting to share something inside of me with others on and off stage, of wanting to bring people together around a shared experience, of wanting to inspire growth and change. Having always known that I wanted to dance but not always why, this is a new inquiry for me, one that I will be continuing to explore this summer at UNCSA and next school year when I have the privilege of being in my second year of TWSB’s Level 8.
As a person who has always struggled to communicate verbally, dance has offered an opportunity for me to express myself without worrying about my words. This year, I was offered the opportunity to choreograph a group dance with six of my classmates. Choreographing others has presented both challenges and rewards. I was also assigned to create a duet, and that has been especially challenging due to our very opposing styles of dance.
I dance to express my feelings, experiences, and emotions in ways that can’t be described in words. I dance to tell stories and express ideas, to connect with people, and to connect with myself. When I dance, it is the purest and most raw version of myself. It is a kind of vulnerability that is somehow empowering, it’s a vulnerability that gives me strength and depth. Dance has shaped me as a person and taught me so much about myself. It made me appreciate artistry and creativity in the studio, on the stage, and in all other parts of my life. It allows me to see the beauty around me and see that art is all around us if we look for it. Art is in the trees, the water, the sky, and the mountains, in relationships, and even in people themselves. Art surrounds me and creates a safe space for me to be completely myself. To me, the most beautiful part about dance is the community that artists share with each other. It is a gift to be part of a group of people who share the same passions and aspirations. People who will lift you up and support you, and in turn, you do the same for them. The dance community creates a special bond between all types of dancers because we understand each other on the basis of our artistic instincts and habits. I am forever thankful that I have been given the opportunity to continue pursuing dance because without dance I would not be the person that I am growing into as my relationship with dance expands and matures.
Ever since I started dancing, just doing the steps has never been enough for me. I continue striving to move in a way that is unpredictable, musical, and exciting. I want to keep the audience surprised and on their toes. Dancing and expressing can be very magical, and a sensation that I want the audience to experience with me. As I choreograph, I try my best to convey the emotions I want the audience to feel, while at the same time keeping them engaged. I love trying my best to see how far I can push my artistic boundaries as a dancer and choreographer.
I dance to express and convey emotions, thoughts, and feelings that may not be able to be expressed with words. It is an escape where you can truly create the reality you wish. I believe that dance is an ever-evolving storytelling method that uses old and new movements constantly to fit a particular message. In my piece, I wish to show the personal conflict through controlled and harsh movements. I want the audience to feel like they relate to the movement in their own individual ways.
I’m drawn to exploring the links between dancing and communication. For many, including myself, dance is a way of expressing their feelings when they don’t have the right words. And as cliche, as it sounds, I dance to escape from reality. It helps ground me and keeps a peace of mind, forgetting about school or life troubles. I hope my dancing shows how effective simple movements can convey a message or just inspire someone whether it be a kid or an adult.