A few days after class, we would get an email from Katelin with an encouraging message, list of songs we used in class, and video links to iconic dances from the era. It was at this point that I realized Katelin is happily going above and beyond in teaching her first Absolute Beginner Workshop and I’m getting waaay more than my money’s worth!
This November, 12 Broadway Dance Center students went to China to represent Team USA and compete on a live dance show in Shanghai. We asked one of the dancers, Chloe Lafleur, to tell us about her time there. Check out what she had to say! (Above: Selfie time with Team USA and dance show judges)
Ni Hao! Or as we say, hello!
I think this was one of maybe three phrases I could even partially grasp in Chinese, but a very important one! The ten days in Shanghai was my second time traveling out of the country and first to Asia. I must say it was without a doubt an incredible trip. Not only did our group of twelve dancers get to perform on a live TV show, but we were fortunate enough to travel and tour the city – shout out to BDC and Tencent for providing this wonderful opportunity!
The exposure to such a cultural change was both humbling and eye-opening for many of us. I know for me personally, one of my most memorable takeaways was experiencing the power of dance as a universal language between groups of people from different cultures. Many of the Chinese dancers we were exposed to during our time there spoke very little English, and it was through dance that we were able to appreciate one another’s artistries and connect with each other. On the first day we came to the dance studios to meet the dancers, each group introduced themselves and shared an excerpt from their routine. We all sat in awe at the talent and applauded with excitement after each performance. All around the energy was so positive and encouraging. I could tell within five minutes that it was going to be a treat seeing all their faces every day – and they did not disappoint
Blogger Chloe posing with Chinese BBoys on set
Regardless of the language barrier, we always felt a warm welcome and this set the tone for the trip. For me it was never about the competition and more about the experience of performing and connecting with them! Even if this meant singing musical theater songs back and forth with a group of Chinese dancers in the dressing room on tech night (yes, this happened and it was awesome). Mainly, I feel fortunate to have been taken out of my comfort zone and placed somewhere fresh to share my passion and appreciate how other dancers express themselves.
Team USA “Showgirls” ready to take the stage in Shanghai
Another highlight of the trip was immersing ourselves in the culture. Thanks to our fabulous Tencent host Lisa, and tour guide Jenny, we ate at some of the most delicious, authentic Chinese restaurants, and saw some beautiful spots across the city. The running joke was we all turned into little dumplings because of how many we ate while we were there– good thing we were dancing so much! If you ever decide to travel to China, you must, I repeat must, eat Xiaolonbao or, Sheng Jian Bao, both “soup dumplings”, one is steamed and one is pan fried – these will change your life. Enough about food, although we enjoyed ourselves in that aspect of the trip!
Overall, community was essential in making this trip what it was. Our group not only grew closer through experiencing the trip together, but becoming friends with the Chinese dancers – even if it was a quick 10-day friendship! After the live performance, we spent the night celebrating a successful show with dinner and the most epic karaoke night. Put 12 Americans with 30 Chinese in a two story private karaoke room and what you get is a remarkable mix of Taylor Swift, Macy Gray, Adele and hilarious songs unknown to me in Chinese. It was a night I will never forget. We laughed, we sang and we danced the night away! Post-trip, I am feeling grateful for all the people I met while I was there and even more so inspired to travel with dance seeking out opportunities where it unites different parts of the world together. – BDC Guest Blogger, Chloe Lafleur
Olivia Summer Hutcherson is one of BDC’s very own. She took her first class at 16 after moving to NYC from Atlanta, GA and instantly fell in love with the music pumping from every floor, the huge variety of classes, and electric energy flowing through every studio wall. At 23, she began BDC’s Work Study Program and was able to work in the studio in exchange for additional training in Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theater, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, House, Whacking, and even Voice. She later went on to assist BDC’s Children and Teen Program’s Latin Jazz classes as well as assist Shirlene Quigley. Olivia always considered BDC a second home but now recognizes them as a second family.
ISVP Student Sofie Eriksson featured on Dancers of New York Blog
Sofie is a dancer from Sweden studying at Broadway Dance Center in the city. For more information about Sofie, please check out her website.
How did you decide to come to New York?
I heard about Broadway Dance Center two years ago. In Sweden, it’s really big. It’s the only school in the whole world where people can go to and dance hip-hop and get a certification afterwards. I know that they have a lot of good ballet, contemporary, and jazz classes. I also thought about moving to Stockholm at the same time, but when I calculated the cost of the dancing studies, it was much cheaper for me to go to New York and take dance classes here in comparison to moving to Stockholm. I also had always wanted to move to New York and be a part of the American culture.
“I’ll be opening up my own dance school in India after I complete the International Student Visa Program. I hope to be more confidant and knowledgeable not only as a dancer, but also as a teacher. I want to be able to share my creativity and what I’ve learned with dancers in India.”
Jagadish Kumar, 26 – India
Broadway Dance Center is truly a melting pot of dancers from across the globe. We think it’s important to find out who they are and why they’re here.
We present Faces of BDC, where we’ll introduce you to a student and share a bit of their story.
“My parents put me into dance class when I was little, because I was an energetic mess!
Eva Esterbrook, 19 – Seattle, Washington
The breathtaking program included works by BDC choreographers (Ashle Dawson, Katherine Roarty, Neil Schwartz, and Jim Cooney), student choreographers (Danielle Burdick, Aline Bennour, Sahar Taklimi, Alex Faglie, Claudia Martinez, Makenzie Dascenzo, Brittany Metelko, and Cassidy Gerczak), and guest performances (Rhapsody En Dance, MADboots Dance Company, and Parsons Dance Company). And don’t forget the show-stopping BDC Glee routine to “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” directed by Bettina Sheppard and Jason Aquirre.
The evening spanned the gamut of dance styles (Latin jazz, contemporary, hip hop, musical theater, and tap) and revealed the tremendous talent and versatility of the Professional Semester dancers.
Congratulations to the Fall 2012 class of the BDC Professional Semester. We are so proud of your hard work and dedication and cannot wait to see where your dancing will take you!
- Alex Faglie
- Alyssa Lemons
- Asher Walker
- Briana Justine Harmon
- Brittany Metelko
- Camille Moten
- Carmela Girdlestone
- Cassidy Gerczak
- Claire Page
- Danielle Burdick
- Erica Misenti
- Katie Homer
- Kat Brooks
- Kelvin Kim
- Makenzie Dascenzo
- Meghan Robertson
- Monica Coulis
- Nicole Butler
- Nicole D’Arienzo
- Sadie Jones
- Shadae Jenkins
Bonnie Erickson – Director of Educational Programming
Carie Jurcak – Educational Programs Student Advisor
Jim Cooney – Faculty Advisor
Bronwen Carson – Acting Coach
Bettina Sheppard – Vocal Coach
Learn more about Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester Program.
Want to know what’s up with BDC’s Training Programs Alumni? Take a look and be amazed!
Stephanie Brooks (PS S’11) performed in “My Fair Lady” with the St. Jean’s Players.
Emily Bufferd (SIP ’06) is currently producing “Ho, Ho, Holiday Show” to benefit Toys for Tots. Her company, BEings Dance, will be presenting a work in Shelly Hutchinson’s New York Moves Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert and APAP at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Emily currently teaches at Broadway Dance Center and Peridance and produces the annual Young Choreographer’s Festival.
Mary Callahan (PS F’11) was cast in the revival workshop of “Sugar Babies” this fall, and will be heading to Vero Beach, Florida to perform in Riverside Theatre’s production of “Funny Girl”.
Nikki Croker (PS F’11) just finished performing “Dancing Queen,” an ABBA musical revue in Niagara Falls (Spirit Productions) and is currently performing in their annual Christmas Show.
Jenny Dailey (SIP ’12) signed with Clear Talent Agency (LA) and has performed as a dancer on “The X Factor” and the Mexican Billboard Awards.
Lexi Dysart (PS F’11), Catherine Hidalgo (PS F’11), Tina Jackson (PS S’12), Laura Mallon (PS F’11), Carissa Mitkiff (PS F’11), Chrissy Palczewski (SIP ’11), Bella Takkunen (ISVP ’12) are performing in Jona Biddle’s commercial dance company.
Alexa Erbach (PS F’11), Emily Kersey (SIP ’12), Alyssa Lemons (SIP ’12, PS F’12), Lizz Picini (SIP ’11), and Tori Simeone (SIP ’11) performed in Ricky Hinds’ SPANGLES Dance Company in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Latoyia Everett (PS F’11) is now the Company Director at Camille’s Dance Edge, a new member of the NLL Washington Stealth Bombshell Dance Team, and is the choreographer for Seattle University’s Dance Team.
Stephanie Gaines (PS F’11) is teaching at the Ohio State Mansfield campus, Pioneer Performance Arts High School, Richland Academy of the Arts and for the competition team at Spirit Gym. She recently performed with Marden Ramos’s (former Complexions dancer) company, Danza Libre at the Ohio State campus.
Emily Gallo-Lopez (PS F’11) is dancing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
Taylor Glassman (PS S’12) is a member of Long Island/NYC based dance company, AbstraKT Beings, and has had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Cris Judd, Robert Hoffman, and Judson Emery. Taylor will be performing with the company at Carnival NYC in Spring 2013. She also teaches hip hop, ballet, and jazz to children and teens at Lisa Mennilli’s Dance Academy in Monroe, CT.
Kimberly Hamilton (PS F’11) is a cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Rain basketball team.
Kelvin Kim (SIP ’12, PS F’12) and Emily Palmquist (SIP ’10) performed alongside Victoria Justice at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting.
James Koroni (SIP ’08 + ’10) is the founder of Enforced Arch, a community of dancers who dance for various social and environmental causes. James was cast in “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, an avant garde performance piece that was presented throughout New York City and ended it’s performance season abroad in the Edmonton International Fringe Festival in Canada. He continues to choreograph for and perform in music videos and multimedia dance projects.
Laura Mallon (PS F’11) booked work with Chez-zam Entertainment.
Daniel Montera (PS F’11) was hired to train coach and teach a young competition team on Staten Island. At Dance Xpress he intensively trains the children in jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and street styles. He will choreograph over 15 numbers, and 2 productions for the team as he prepares them for 2 regional competitions, and a national this July.
Kelsey Netting (PS F’11, TP S’12) is a freshman in the dance department of Loyola Marymount University.
Theresa Sivard (PS S’12) will be choreographing and dancing in a piece for the office Nobel Prize after party.
Samantha Sweed (PS F’11) has booked background work on such TV shows as “Smash,” “The Carrie Diaries,” and “Project Orange.”
Ellena Takos (PS S’12) just finished performing “Dancing Queen,” an ABBA musical revue in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Alissa Tucker (SIP ’09) recently finished a contract on Norwegian Cruise Line as the flight and dance captain on the Norwegian Spirit. She is currently in Salt Lake City teaching Jazz for the Ballet Department at the University of Utah.
Laura Volpacchio (SIP ’08) is a swing for the national tour of “West Side Story.”
Asher Walker (SIP ’12, PS F’12) signed with Clear Talent Agency.
Amberlyn Wemmer (PS F’10) is signed with Paragon Model Management and has recently shot fashion spreads for Tu Magazine, Nylon Magazine, and Elle Magazine.
Amberlyn Wemmer studied in Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester back in the fall of 2010. Since moving from small town California to the Big Apple, Amberlyn has literally graced the runway thanks to her extensive ballet training. Hear how Amberlyn’s dance background helped her to break into the modeling industry:
1) How did you break into modeling? (ie. photo shoots, landing an agent, booking work, etc.)
An agency owner approached me in Union Square and asked if I was interested in modeling. I had never really seen myself as a model but was curious to see what it would be like. I said sure, and they signed me right after. Then, I started test shooting right away in order build a portfolio. Once I had a book, I started attending castings and go-sees. At first, I was doing mostly runway. Booking editorials took time and patience but once the contacts were made and my book got strong, I was able to get more work.
2) Do you think your dance background helps you in modeling? If so, how?
My dance background has helped immensely in modeling, and I think it is what makes my book unique. As dancers we study our bodies everyday and understand how we look and emotions we project. Instead of a mirror in front of you, it’s a camera in modeling, and it’s your job to create shapes, movement, and energy to bring you and the product to life. It is never just a picture; there is purpose behind each position. As for runway, dance core strength you have acquired in class becomes a plus. Just think of it this way, dancing in LaDuca’s is the prep work for walking in the 8 ½ heels.
3) How is the modeling world similar/different to the dance world in terms of lifestyle, auditions, booking work, etc.?
No matter what industry you enter whether dance or modeling, it is always going to be competitive. It is important to find your own identity and how to market yourself. In both the dance and modeling world, your body is your instrument and you only get one so it’s important that you take care of it and how it looks with a balanced diet, sleep, and exercise. For most model castings, it is usually a “type cast”, which can sometimes be very frustrating. For dance, maybe your technique is not up to par so you hop in a few more dance classes; however, in modeling, it may have nothing to do with your ability but simply you are not what they are looking for. In that case, you move on to the next, and you may be perfect for that one. You never really know what a photographer might be looking for.
4) What has been your favorite(s) shoot so far? Have you gotten to travel anywhere exciting?
I have really enjoyed shoots where I am challenged to create a different persona. It is about becoming someone who may or may not be like you. My favorite shoots are always where we are collaborating together- the makeup artist, stylist, photographer, and model. I absolutely love when I have shot for Nylon magazine. We always have so much fun that it hardly seems like work. I had the honor of traveling to Mexico City for three months, which was amazing! There is such a diverse market there that is up and coming. I cannot wait to see where I travel next. I am hoping for Europe!
5) What advice do you have for dancers who want to break into modeling?
My advice for dancers breaking into modeling would be taking pictures takes practice. Like dance, there is technique, and it is only with practice that you can improve body language and emotion to make an aesthetically pleasing picture. More importantly, remember your dance foundation. People find dancers fascinating and that makes you stand out. Use your training to your advantage on the runway and in your pictures. It makes you unique and gives you a certain rhythm, grace, and awareness. In whatever field you choose though, don’t give up despite the criticism. Use your instrument to define you and your art.