Mackenzie Voorhies 15 ~ Natalie Skelton for Glenda Brown Choreography Project
I have been taking dance lessons for 13 years including instruction in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, contemporary and hip hop. I have trained at the Academy of Dance Arts in Allen, Texas for the past 10 years and am now a member of the Senior Competition Team. For the last 6 years I have been training “en pointe” and have also completed the Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet Grade II. I have participated in the Dallas Repertoire Ballet presentation of the Nutcracker for the past 9 years including the past 4 years as a member of the DRB Company. Recent roles in the Nutcracker include “Dew Drop” and “Snow Flake”. In addition, I have attended two summer intensives in recent years: The Joffrey Workshop of Texas in 2009 performing Tarantella, and The Jillana School of Dance in 2010 performing Serenade. During the most recent regional convention season that has just begun, I have won scholarships at both NYCDA and PULSE.
My goals in the next two years include continuing to enhance and improve my dance technique by gaining exposure to a variety of choreography in different dance styles. I believe this will aid in my preparation of applications and auditions for various college dance programs.
The two weeks I spent at the Glenda Brown Choreography Project this summer are ones I won’t forget! I enjoyed every moment of it. The whole experience was more intense than I expected, but I appreciated that very much. I feel like it made me a better performer, learner, and technician.
I loved the classes so much. They were similar to what I was used to doing in some ways and I enjoyed that a lot. I was pleasantly surprised to have small class sizes. It was great having a smaller group because the instructors and choreographers were able to give each dancer corrections and special attention. It was a little different dancing with people I didn’t know at first, but once everyone got more familiar with each other, it felt like taking classes and dancing at a studio. And by the end it felt like we were all one big family. But I liked dancing with new people because I got to learn from all their different styles and techniques from watching them perform different genres of dance. All of my teachers impressed me with their great amount of helpful knowledge they had to offer. In fact, I experienced an ”ah ha!” moment in one of our ballet classes. The teacher, Thom, gave me the correction to spot higher when I pirouette. Then the first time I attempted it, I successfully completed four clean turns and landed perfectly!
Also, during my GBCP experience, I really learned how to handle stressful situations of learning a wide variety choreography each day (from different choreographers and with a different group of dancers) and performing that choreography the same night. It helped me prepare for situations I may experience later in the real dance world. I got to perform every night on stage which helped my performance skills tremendously. Even though learning different choreography each day and performing it that same night was much different than what I was used to doing, the experience will benefit me so much in the long run.
Overall, I loved the Glenda Brown Choreography Project. The only disaster that occurred during my experience was one night we had some ants in our dorm! But we got them cleared out right away and then continued to enjoy our two weeks. I made so many new friends that I would love to keep in touch with in the future. Everyone grew close as one giant group and I had so much fun with everyone inside and outside the studio! But I think that this experience has benefited my capability of picking up choreography in a short amount of time and has strengthened my performance quality. I definitely would recommend the scholarship I received, to other students because the performance experience we were given has helped me become more expressive in all dance styles and has exposed me to a wide variety of choreography techniques which will enable me to be a more open and flexible learner with any form of dance or instructor. Thank you for the Dance Council Scholarship to The Glenda Brown Choreography Project, I had a wonderful time!
~ Mackenzie Voorhies