Pro Sems Shine in Closing Showcase

images1On Sunday night the Fall 2012 students of the Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester took the stage at the Manhattan Movement Arts Center for their closing showcase.

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.

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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!images3

  • 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.

BDC Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Want to know what’s up with BDC’s Training Programs Alumni? Take a look and be amazed!


images1KEY:
PS = Professional Semester
SIP = Summer Intern Program
ISVP = International Student Visa Program
TP = Training Program

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.

BDC’s Next Top Model: Amberlyn Wemmer


images1Amberlyn 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.


images43) 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.


images54) 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!


images65) 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.

Student Profile: Kayla Janssen – Adidas Dancers Wanted Challenge

My name is Kayla Janssen and I am the Global Winner of the Adidas Dancers Wanted Challenge 2012. I studied at the Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester back in Fall 2011 and since then decided to move back home to Antwerp, Belgium.

Through a nudge from my boyfriend and not having much on my plate, I decided to enter the competition. I had to create a video (small music video) to a song create by Adidas and show off my moves. So I did. I went crazy asking all my friends, family and people with computers to vote for my video.

And it worked! On one cold summers evening in July, I received the email from the Adidas headquarters in Germany that I had won the whole competition – the Global Winner! I screamed, jumped around, then had to read the email again just to make sure what I read was true. *

I won a free trip to LA with a friend and was able to have a dance session with Nick Florez and R.J. Durell, Katy Perry’s California Dreams Tour Choreographers. I brought my boyfriend as a thank you to him for that initial nudge. I was in LA in the first week of September and it was magical. We received the full “Adidas Experience,” as they called it. Day 1 consisted of a full shopping spree in the Adidas store in Santa Monica, Day 2 was our amazing dance session with Nick and R.J. Day 3 was a full day at Universal Studios and Day 4 was a helicopter ride over Los Angeles and an evening at the Scratch Academy LA, learning how to scratch a record the right way.

My highlight of the week was definitely the session with Nick and R.J. They were so warm and welcoming and made us all feel like one big family. Their choreography was fun and funky and by the end of the session we were able to create a small little music video. Katy Perry Tour Dance Leah Adler and Adidas Dancer Tyne Stecklein were there to dance and play with us. Nick and R.J. then surprised us with a Q&A session with ALL of Katy Perry’s Tour dancers, who were rehearsing in the studio next door. We asked them everything, it was like we were speaking to rock stars. Watching them rehearse and being a fly on the wall for that 1 hour was insightful.

Back in Belgium, I am inspired and pumped. The “Adidas Experience” was everything I imagined and more. Take risks, try everything, and don’t be afraid of the word “no”. Work creates work so if you find yourself twiddling your thumbs watching TV, get that friend and that camera and start dancing in your favourite parts of town. Who knows, it might win you a trip to LA.

*There were 4 winners from Argentina who came along as well since Adidas Argentina decided to create a separate competition.

Student Profile: Stephanie Brooks – Apassionata

Not Your Typical Tour
Apassionata, Dance Captain, Stephanie Brooks (Professional Semester Alum.)

“APASSIONATA has been Europe’s most popular live arena shows for
nearly a decade, thrilling more than five million fans across 15 countries with a breathtaking display of the beauty and the bond between horse and rider, man’s strongest and most trusted animal.” – Apassionata.com

Audition
During my final mock audition in BDC’s professional semester, I received representation from McDonalds Selsnicks and Associates (MSA). One of the benefits of having an agent is that sometimes they have closed calls with just their clients, if their choreographer was booked for the job. When MSA sent out the breakdown for a horse show audition, I didn’t know what to expect. However, I was excited when I saw that Lorin Latarro was choreographing; I loved her choreography in The Musical Theatre Performance Project last year. The audition combination had a lot of personality, was technically challenging, and stylistic. After cuts were made, she paired us up for partnering. I was overjoyed when I received the call that I booked the job and even more so when I found out a fellow colleague of mine was going to do it with me. (Go Wildcats!!!!)

Rehearsal
We rehearsed in NYC and learned a lot of material quickly, keeping in mind that a lot would change once we actually got to the arena. Our first stop was Kentucky. Technical rehearsal consisted of long days in the dark cold arena. These rehearsals involve a lot of hurry up and wait, but I found that during the waiting is when you can learn the most if you stay engaged. It was such a privilege to watch Ken Billington (96+ Broadway Shows) do the lighting design and learn from Scott Farris (dir. “Chicago” and “Walking with Dinosaurs”) as he brought together American theater and European Equestrian riders. Lorin Latarro (Currently choreographing “Scandalous” set to hit Broadway this October) pulled from her diverse performance background and allowed us to collaborate on certain parts. It was a very artistically fulfilling process.

Overcoming Obstacles
Dancing in sand, running with flags and fire torches was strenuous on our bodies. For body maintenance, I did some form of Pilates, Yoga, and rolled out my muscles with a tennis ball. We had to be flexible and try to figure out how to adapt the choreography in the sand, and how not to spook the horses or get spooked by them. During rehearsals you could hear Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian, Icelandic, and English being bantered across the gigantic arena. After one of the first runs of the show, the horse choreographer called everyone together and our choreographer jokingly said it looked like a medieval conference. Picture 40+ horses and riders gathered together speaking different languages and four American dancers and a choreographer standing in a giant sand box. It was a surreal experience.

Stepping Up
As Dance Captain, my responsibilities were to run any extra rehearsals, communicate with the production team, maintain the artistic integrity of the choreography and spacing, make sure that the dancers safety and needs were met, and promote team unity. This production was a learning process for all of us. Most of our stage crew came from the rock concert world and we had to share with them certain theater protocols and vice versa. The communication between the tech crew, dancers and riders was extremely important, because the horses weren’t always predicable. We couldn’t depend on entering or exiting on a musical cue and it forced us to be quick on our feet, listen and watch each other. We developed physical and verbal cues and had to go with whatever happened in the moment.

Unique Atmosphere
Some of the perks of this job were that we had amazing caterers who traveled with us, we learned how to ride horses, picked up a little bit of French, Icelandic, and Portuguese, and got to work with and meet incredible people.

Unexpected Close
Due to the financial crisis in Europe, Apassionata’s USA tour came to an end early (It is still running in several countries in Europe). We were given less than 24 hours notice that we were going back to NYC and the rest of the tour was cancelled. Of course, we were sad and it’s always a little unnerving to be without a steady job, but nothing in this business is guaranteed. That’s why it’s important to save when you are doing a show, so that during the slow times you can continue to train and be ready for the next opportunity. I learned a lot from Apassionata and am looking forward to what the future holds.

Ahoy! BDC at Sea

Jenifer Dillow (BDC Professional Semester, Fall 2011)

Cruise: Disney Magic

Role: Belle, dancer

Travel: We are traveling to Nassau, Bahamas, Caribbean, Key West, Port Canaveral, Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John,Canada, New Mexico, and more which I’m unsure of because we won’t start till later in the contract.

Performances: We have six shows plus two theme nights. Four of our shows are full on musicals while the other two are shorter compilations of different dances and songs. We have “Twice Charmed’, “Villian’s Tonight” which I have eight crazy quick changes in (I’m a dancer in that show), “Disney Dreams” where I am Belle, “Dream Goes On”, “Welcome Aboard Show”, and “Farewell Show”. I play many different roles in addition to Belle. I have about fifty costumes I believe. The theme nights are just short dances that we perform for the adults at night after the shows.

Audition: The audition was great! I went in to the singer call, and they gave me a callback that day for Belle. Then I came back in two days later and sang Belle’s songs and they made me do a short dance combo by myself. Then two weeks later they called me offering me the job!

Favorite part: My favorite part is performing every night and being given great opportunities. For example, I was asked to have a photo shoot taken as Belle to put photos and videos of me up on the Disney website. I also love being able to travel for free and meet a lot of people from different countries! Overall, I can’t imagine having a better senior year! I LOVE it!

Latoyia Everett (BDC Professional Semester, Fall 2011)

Cruise: Norwegian Jade

Role: dancer, dance captain

Travel: Throughout Europe – Venice, Barcelona, Santorini, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, Split, and Athens.

Performances: Two 45 minute shows, 1 “Cirque du Soleil” style show where I perform bungie from theatre ceiling. I’m also a magician’s assistant in another show. We perform everything from jazz to lyrical to Broadway to jazz funk.

Audition: I auditioned in the Fall of 2011 in NYC. The audition had over 150 people in attendance. For the first cut, they taught a strong jazz-style routine and we auditioned in groups of 10. Then they made a huge cut, down to 40. Next, they taught a small section from one of their shows, “Elements.” We auditioned about 5 at a time.  Soon they cut us down to the top 10. The audition was one of the most fun auditions I’ve ever been to. Everyone, including the panel, was incredibly supportive and friendly.

Favorite part: My favorite part of the working on the Norwegian Jade is visiting all the amazing ports and meeting people from around the world. We have such a diverse group of people on this cruise. Cruise ship workers are some of the most amazing and friendly people I have ever met.

 

Zanza Steinberg (BDC Professional Semester, Spring 2011)

Cruise: Royal Caribbean – Serenade

Role: dancer

Travel: We started off in the Caribbean and then travelled Transatlantic and are now in the Mediterranean alternating between a Greek Isles and Venice/Italy cruise.

Performances: Two shows – one Jazz and one Musical Theater.

Audition: My audition was for the Chicago show aboard the Allure of the seas, however the casting director found this a better fit for me and I am currently aboard Serenade of the Seas. The audition was extremely long. We were there for 9 hours in total, first an across the floor combo and then a cut, then another across the floor and cut. Then we learnt the original opening number from Chicago, another cut after that. Then we learnt a jazz routine and there was another cut and those of us who made it that far stayed to sing and read sides.

Favorite part: My favorite part is the work. Performing the shows with a live orchestra makes me so happy and I am a very proud member of the cast, grateful to be here. I am mostly just thankful to be a working dancer however the traveling is wonderful and learning to speak new languages has been great!

Agency Auditions

Hear about two of BDC’s Professional Semester Alumni who recently signed with two of the top talent agencies in New York City.  Congratulations, Nikki and Matt!  We’re so proud of you!


Nikki Croker – MSA Agency

Why did you choose to go to the audition?

I chose to go to the MSA open call because it has been the agency that I’ve been looking to sign with since moving to New York. They have a lot of really skilled, talented performers and choreographers signed with them, including some of  my favourite choreographers – Al Blackstone, Josh Bergasse, Derek Mitchell, and Maria Torres. 

How did you prepare for the audition?

I trained really hard all last year taking classes in a variety of styles including Ballet, Theatre, Tap, Hip Hop, Latin Jazz, Gymnastics, Voice and Acting. I completed the Fall Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center in which we completed 12 classes a week and had helpful seminars regarding headshots and resumes, nutrition, and mock auditions for all different styles. I received a vast amount feedback from this semester that helped me grow tremendously! 

What was the audition environment like?

The audition was at Pearl Studios. There were hundreds of people!  We lined up to get our numbers and you could either audition for ‘commercial’ or ‘theatre’. I decided to audition for both so I was there from about 11am-6.30pm. We learned each combination in about 15 minutes and then performed it in small groups of 5. For the theatre audition we also had to sing a 16 bar cut. 

How did you feel the audition went?

I felt good about the audition –  I had met Lucille at Josh Bergasse’s Music Theatre Summer Program and also at a Professional Semester mock audition, which eased my nerves a little. I had prepared the best way I could before the audition and knew that I gave my best, no matter the outcome.

When did you receive the call?

 I received the call about 10 days later. I was puppy-sitting at the time and I was playing with the dog Captain when my phone started ringing. I don’t think I’ll forget the day – I was so excited!

Matt Tremblay – Bloc/NYC Agency

Why did you choose to go to the audition?

I chose to go to the audition for the experience. Auditions are a perfect learning atmosphere to figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward.

How did you prepare for the audition?

I did my research on which choreographers the agency represents because I knew some of them would be teaching the audition combinations. I was sure to hit the gym and take class a lot prior to the audition.  I also did a lot of positive-thinking and reflecting to be mentally ready.

What was the audition environment like?

The studios were packed with dancers! We were typed cast right away.  I felt like it was quite competitive in there until we got to the last few cuts; After a long day, the atmosphere became more supportive.

How did you feel the audition went?

I felt extremly hyped and full of energy all day. As the day went by and I was asked to stay, I surprisingly become more relaxed! This completely shoked me, but I realized that it was just a matter of giving everything I have and hoping for the best.

When did you receive the call?

I was informed 5 days later, Friday at 5:30pm.  I remember the entire conversation!  That was the longest 5 days of my life!  I was so happy and I couldn’t believe it at first. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t a dream until I signed my contract and I heard “Welcome to Bloc.”

And All That Jazz: “Chicago” Master Class with David Kent

Our Professional Semester students were incredibly lucky to take a private master class fromDavid Kent, the dance captain for “Chicago,” the longest running American musical on Broadway.  The Pro-Sems learned the famous, timeless Fosse choreography to the opening number, “All That Jazz.”

What dance training did you have as a kid?
None! I started in college. I was an athlete; I had Olympic aspirations and wasn’t even going to go to college. I lived in the Olympic training center for ski racing for 4 years. The Olympics didn’t happen for me, but no regrets! I went to college at the University of New Hampshire and started to dance. I was terrible – but I got hooked. I made it my minor and learned, fast – hours and hours each day. My initial background was in modern and ballet. Somehow I got sucked into musical theater and never left.
Did you study voice and acting too?
Yes. Both… But my strength is dancing.
When did you move to New York City?
I am from Cazenovia, New York but didn’t move to New York City until I finished Graduate school at Boston University. Broadway auditions were always priority, but I went to anything and everything.
When was your “Chicago” audition?
I went to a couple. There were just a bazillion people there in the beginning, and I kind of just got lost in the shuffle. But then I had two submissions from my agency and got to the end of both auditions but never heard back. So I to went to one more required call and again got all the way through … but apparently at the time, there was no job to be had! When a position opened up, they called me but I had to turn it down because I was performing in “Romeo and Juliet: the rock musical.” Later on the position opened up with the first national tour and I was available to take it. After the movie came out I did the third national tour that I dance-captained for. Then I moved into the Broadway company and I started as dance captain after my first year there.
How did you become dance captain?
The previous dance captains in New York wanted to move on to other shows and projects. Its a very time consuming job and doesn’t really avail much freedom… So I took over for them.
What are your responsibilities as dance captain?
I’m 80% psychologist, 10% telling people where to stand and 10% teaching choreography. That’s probably an exaggeration… Maybe more like 33% of each is more like it…. There are  a lot of egos to balance. You need patience. You need to get a job done while being considerate and respectful to your cast mates. I have the responsibility to teach everybody – I teach the stars, I teach the ensemble, I teach and maintain the choreography and staging. I also handle the dance aspect of the audition process. My bosses are basically Annie Reinking, Gary Christ (dance supervisor), and Walter Bobbie (director).
Why do you think “Chicago” has been so successful as the “Longest Running American Musical?”
It is so well written (it was trimmed down from the 1976 version). It’s down to its basic minimum, its just good story telling. It’s staged to be a feast for the eyes and ears too. You cannot help but laugh at some of the scenes while at the same time feeling the effect of a sensual drive that can leave you squirming in your seat. “Oh ya, and we’re not really wearing anything!”
Do you think there was resurgence after the movie came out?
Definitely! It brought in a whole new audience. Before the movie, the audience was made up of an older, regular theater crowd. All of a sudden this young, excited group of teenagers/twenty-something’s started coming to the show. We also began casting current stars – Usher, Ashlee Simpson, Kara DioGuardi, Kevin Richardson…. people like that are a huge draw.
What is your opinion of contemporary movie musicals?
In general, I would much prefer them to tape the live shows and air them on PBS. But Rob Marshall did an excellent job on the film [of “Chicago”]. It’s a huge feat. People keep trying, but have only had moderate success in comparison to what he accomplished.
What is it like to be part of “Chicago,” a show that has become such an American icon, especially in the dance world?
It’s an honor. I’ve done over 4000 performances now. With that said, I don’t care how tired I am or how broken I am, the minute that Overture music starts the adrenaline kicks in and its a whole new game. I love performing that show. I’ve had opportunities to leave and do other projects but it’s never even a question…. No thanks, I’ll stick with Chicago. Particularly with this show, if you don’t feel inspired, you should give someone else a chance. It’s too important of a piece to be lazy or uninterested.
Why do you think “Chicago” was chosen as the theater master class for BDC’s Professional Semester?
“Chicago” has become an icon. I really want to pass on all the information that I can, at least in the context of the people who created and originally performed the work…Because with every generation it is going to get diluted or changed – everyone is going to have his or her own take on it. I think it’s important to pass this choreography on in the way that it was intended. Particularly because numbers like “All That Jazz” can become over-simplified, pedestrian – and it’s not like that. Its actually hard, if you know the specifics, if you know the back-story, if you know the intent of the whole number and the number with in the context of the show. Even though you’re moving slow… There is resistance… Like moving through a thick soup… And your internal motor is still running full speed!
What is your teaching approach?
I am a really positive person and I believe in encouraging people. Particularly with this sort of material where there’s going to be improv involved, I think you have to learn to be able to look at yourself and not be judgmental.  I’ve noticed over time that it is better to encourage students than to yell, “You’re not doing this or that right!” I can get that way in the show, you know, after someone’s been doing a hundred performances and is still not doing something the choreographer has asked – a little bit more “tough love.” But my approach is basically: get them warm and then start right away with the material. I don’t do a long choreographed warm-up, because that would be more about me. I want to teach as much of the material as I can and be as specific as I can. I want to encourage students to find ways to look at themselves without being judgmental beyond the lines they are trying to create.
What advice do you have for dancers who want to audition for “Chicago?”
Good question – there is actually an audition coming up! Okay, for the women, you’ve got to dress sexy and edgy without being (forgive my language) “a whore.” You have to be intriguing. I like hair down. But we all have our own opinions behind the table. Also, you know you’re going to improv in this audition – LESS IS MORE! Do your three or four eights of improv in your apartment and take the best eight count out of whatever that was and make that last the whole time – you will stand out. Also learn to check your dynamics. You can move really quickly for four counts and then super slow for twelve. Know where you’re looking and what you’re looking at. Lack of focus is a big deal. I talked at a cocktail party with one of Bob’s former dance captains from “Sweet Charity” and she said, “Nobody teaches focus anymore.” Good reminder for me to mention it all the time. Men – be men…. Be fluid with out being light and soft… You can even make up the character – you are the guy that every other guy wants to be and every girl wants to be with – but you’re not trying, you are thoroughly comfortable with yourself.
Be sure to “rouge your knees and roll your stockings down” for the “Chicago” audition!
March 19th at Ripley Grier
10:00am Women
2:00pm Men

Here’s what our Professional Semester students had to say about their master class with David Kent:

“I had not done a lot of broadway work and was feeling a bit insecure. After taking the Chicago Master Class I felt inspired and confident . The class gave me the insight that I could be any type of dancer/performer I choose to be . And dressing up was a blast!” – Lara Luzim

“Learning the “All that Jazz” choreography from David Kent was a dream come true! I can remember countless times when I would dance around my living room as a kid to “All That Jazz!” Being able to learn the original choreography with such a warm and positive person like David was very comforting. Before the master class I would of never had the confidence to go and audition for the show, but now I feel like I am Velma Kelly! The master class will forever be one of my favorite dance memories!” – Molly Day

This was the best experience I have had so far while being in the city. David Kent was so inspiring and helpful, and he gave me the confidence to really let go. I had learned this choreography once before, when my high school did a production of Chicago, but this was so awesome to learn the little details and tricks to transform the dance into “more than just movements”. I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to be a part of his class!” – Julia Udine

Having the opportunity to have a master class with David Kent, and learn the choreography to “All that Jazz” was phenomenal, and by far one of my favorite experiences living in the city. I took a master class from him this summer at BDC, but this particular class was so helpful because we had more time to learn about the character, quality of movement, and  audition process. It has been a life-long dream of mine to be in Chicago on Broadway, so being able to meet David Kent, and learn actual choreography from the show left me a little star struck. Now I feel confident that I can go out and make that dream come true!” – Lara Scott

I am not a musical theater dancer, but this class made me wish I was! I have always been a huge fan of Chicago so I was very excited when I found out we had the opportunity to work with David Kent. He definitely helped boost my confidence in the performance aspect of my dancing. I also really liked how we all dressed up for the class; I thought that was a lot of fun, and it really helped me get into character. This was definitely my favorite master class so far!” – Mollie Kuhn

Where are they now?

Want to know what’s up with BDC’s Training Programs Alumni? Take a look and be amazed!

KEY: PS = Professional Semester, SIP = Summer Intern Program, ISVP = International Student Visa Program, TP = Training Program
  • Lexie Mollica (PS Fall ’11) is working as the backstage director for “Turn It Up Dance Challenge” competitions.
  • Matt Tremblay (PS Fall ’11) is heading a boys program at Downtown Dance Factory and was featured in TV commercials for Powerade and Bodyglide. Matt recently signed with Bloc Talent Agency.
  • Nicholas Caycedo (PS Fall ’11) was featured in the critically acclaimed Off-Off-Broadway premier of a new musical called, La Mama Cantata, celebrating the life of the late Miss Ellen Stewart, founder of La Mama E.T.C., by Tony-nominated composer-lyricist, Liz Swados. He also recorded a cast album which will be released shortly.
  • Jessica de la Cruz (PS Fall ’11) assisted Sheila Barker for BDC’s Winter Intensive.
  • Carissa Midkiff and Samantha Glennerster (PS Fall ’11) performed in Brice Mousset’s (BDC teacher) piece for the Peridance Faculty Showcase.
  • Rachel Ferretti and Emily Gallo-Lopez (PS Fall ’11) performed in BDC teacher, Jeremy McQueen’s company performance at Dancers Responding to Aids’ (DRA) “Dance From the Heart” event in January.  Both dancers will be heading out to sea on cruise ships soon;  Rachel will dance on Disney Cruise Line and Emily will perform on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

  • Olivia Conlin
     (PS Fall ’11) recently signed with Wehmann Agency for modeling and NUTS Talent Agency for acting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Jenifer Dillow (PS Fall ’11) will perform as Belle on Disney Cruise Line and travel to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada, and New England. She completed her many musical theater auditions for colleges and has already received several merit scholarships.
  • Kelsey Netting (PS Fall ’11) will be pursuing a dance major at Loyola Marymount University next fall. She is currently continuing her dance studies through BDC’s Training Program.  Check out Kelsey in dance apparel advertisement in Dance Magazine.
  • Latoyia Everett (PS Fall ’11) is now a Norwegian Jade Dancer and was just asked to be Dance Captain. She is currently in Tampa, Florida practicing and then will leave to Barcelona, Spain at theend of February and will be at sea until September.
  • Mary Callahan (PS Fall ’11) recently signed with MSA Agency and will be dancing during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and on tour with Lily Halpern. Mary is also pursuing a degree in Writing for Social Change at NYU.
  • Daniel Montera (PS Fall ’11) will be performing at the Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, opening a brand new dance revue show.
  • Kristie Ergas (SIP ’11) will be performing in a cabaret show at Don’t Tell Mama’s called “Get Happy: The Great Depression Then And Now.”
  • Tori Simeone (SIP ’11) performed at Fashion Week for Tommy Hilfiger and danced for Cara Quici (keep your eye out for Tori on “The Real Housewives of NYC”).
  • Zanza Steinberg (PS Spring ’11) will be embarking on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a dancer. Zanza is also artistic director of Alma NYC Theater Company.
  • Stephanie Brooks (PS Spring ’11) is currently dancing with Atmosphere, a company of Project Dance and is the co-founder of Alma NYC Theater Company with fellow Pro-Semester alumni Zanza Steinberg. She is represented by MSA Agency and also teaches dance, pilates, and zumba in NYC.
  • Jessica Seavor (PS Spring ’11) is heading to Fireside Theatre to perform as Maria in “9 to 5: The Musical.”
  • Tal Schapira (PS Spring ’11) and Lizz Picini (SIP ’11) are assistants at Radio City Music Hall for the Rockette Experience and Rockette Summer Intensive.
  • Alison DeVita (PS Spring ’11) is performing as a dancer with Dublin Worldwide Productions in “Dancing Queen” and “The Spirit of Christmas.”
  • Lexi Dysart(PS Fall ’11) was accepted to the Young Choreographer’s Festival in New York City.Nikki Croker (PS Fall ’11) was recently signed to MSA Agency.
  • Alexa Erbach (PS Fall ’11) will be performing in a new musical entitled, “Jack’s Back” at T. Scheiber Studio. Along with performing in the ensemble, Alexa is also assisting choreographer, Bronwen Carson on the project.
  • Ankush Arora (ISVP 2011-’12) is teaching Latin Dancing and Bollywood in 3 institutes in India,Kolkata. After returning from BDC he was also invited to 4th Chennai Salsa Festival (India) as a guest choreographer to teach a salsa workshop.
  • Erica Day (ISVP 2010-2011) is performing as Dance Captain on Norwegian Cruise line and worked with choreographers Rachelle Rak and Tiger Martina.
  • Nicole Klerer(PS Fall ’10) is a New Jersey Devils Cheerleader and works at BDC as the Educational Programs Student Advisor.

You can find out more about BDC’s Training Programs by clicking here!