Sadè Lewis Manriquez 15 ~ Denise Gallagher Memorial Scholarship
My name is Sadè Lewis-Manriquez. I am 15 years old and I attend Lancaster High School. I have been dancing for about 4 years now. I have danced for Impulse Dance Company at Lancaster Middle School and now I Dance for DC3, a dance company for Lancaster High School. I have performed in many festivals, events, and concerts. I am looking forward to receiving additional dance instruction this summer, and I hope to better my dancing skills.
I would like to give a BIG THANKS to DCNT, and to the Irving Arts Center for allowing me to receive the Denise Gallagher Memorial Scholarship, without them I would have never been able to accomplish the things I accomplished this summer. My experience was nothing short of Amazing! This summer I had the great opportunity of being a part of the Irving Arts Center production of the musical “Oklahoma”. I have never in my life been surrounded by so many talented, focused and professional people. Not only were the instructors more than qualified, but they offered every child at camp a chance to understand what a real musical was about. I have to say I was not surprised. I expected to be educated and to have such wonderful people around me who were passionate about what they do.
Though the professionalism and motivation at camp was exactly what I expected, I would have to say the biggest surprise of all was when the instructors informed us that we would be using real costumes and props from the actual production of “Oklahoma”, performed by professional actors. Now our show would be matched evenly in talent and credibility. This pushed the production value over the edge!
All of my instructors were great and very helpful, but I would have to say that my music instructor, Mr. Alex impressed me the most. I left class every day feeling more confident in my singing abilities. I felt as though my progress as well as others was consistent and really contributed to the overall sound in the musical. Once a person knows they have potential confidence builds quickly. With Mr. Alex’s help I know our vocals in the musical impressed many.
I was extremely happy with my role in the ensemble! I was on stage most of the show and was able to implement everything I learned. The ensemble is an extremely important role in almost every musical especially one like “Oklahoma”. Though I had a few lines, the most hardening task was to make sure I had a reaction to everything happening in the play, from Jud’s death to Curly and Laurie riding off to their honey moon, the ensemble had to have a reaction and react convincingly.
Acting and singing and even dancing at the same time was definitely more challenging than what I am used to. Mostly dancers rely on their movement to show different emotions, but while in the musical I had to be strong and reliant on my acting and singing skills to get the audience to understand my emotions or reactions to what was happening. However dancing with people I did not know wasn’t very challenging, I admit not everyone was on the same level as far as dancing goes, but that made the experience more real to me. Having to learn to dance with completely new people was exciting and built bonds.
I experienced many aha moments while preparing for the show. Mostly all of my epiphany’s occurred while actually staging and choreographing movements to the script. Suddenly a lot made sense. Now I knew when to exit, when to enter, how to recite each line and most importantly how and when to react to the lead characters on stage.
Fortunately throughout both shows no disasters occurred. I was very pleased with the whole cast’s performance. I do think this experience will have better prepared me for next summer because I will know what to expect and will have more acting, singing, and dancing experience to add to what I already learned this summer.
While at camp I became acquainted with many people. The friends I made seemed as interested in the fine arts as I am, many were also DCNT members and scholarship recipients as well. I would most definitely recommend the Denis Gallagher Memorial Scholarship to other students. It would be great for students as determined as me to learn more about fine arts and participate in such a wonderful program. The scholarship allows many talented and hardworking people to discover how a real musical is produced and see how others express themselves artistically. Many might find that they possess a talent they never would have explored had it not been for such opportunities I received this summer.