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HomeKarissa Royster 2011

Karissa Royster 17 ~ Jackie Hunter Memorial Tap Scholarship

This past summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Chicago, Illinois and participate in an extensive week of tap dancing and percussive art thanks to the Dallas Dance Council of North Texas. Through the Jackie Hunter Tap Memorial Scholarship, I was able to take part in an amazing, and definitely memorable, choreography process with Mr. Derick K. Grant as well as immerse myself in masterclasses taught by some of the world’s leading artists in percussive dance.

Lane Alexander’s Chicago Human Rhythm Project provides a week-long program for youth ensemble members. Through this program, dance students are provided with a technique class, an improvisational class, a seminar, and a 2-hour choreography class for five days. I was granted the wonderful opportunity to take technique from artists such as Emmy award-winning Jason Samuels Smith, Heather Cornell, and Lisa La Touche, to name a few, as well as improve my improvisation through Jay Fagan’s extremely helpful improvisation course. Although a week may not seem like a vast amount of time when compared to 17 years of living, I must say that this week in Chicago helped mold and culture my dancing. Derick Grant set a piece on the youth ensemble conference group to Camille Saint-Saens Danse Macabre. As a high school musician, it was so refreshing to have my two passions of dance and classical music fused together in one masterpiece. Mr. Grant managed to go beyond just steps and rhythms and create a work that had an underlying story line – he gave substance and depth to the intricate footwork placed before us. As for the seminar, the students part of this youth ensemble conference were provided with a Taiko drumming course. Although this was far from the realms of my comfort zone, I greatly appreciate having this opportunity to delve into percussion in a different form from tap dancing. All in all, I felt like so much useable, worthy knowledge was being cast in my direction and for that I am eternally grateful.

Thank you so much to the Dallas Dance Council of North Texas for providing dance students, like myself, with the opportunity to expand our dance horizons and immerse ourselves in the dance community.

~ Karissa