Festival showcases dance classes

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Dancers of the Montgomery Ballet perform Luminous Mysterious Nov. 12 in McAllister. The Dance Festival of San Antonio included a morning of workshops and classes and ended with a performance in the that showcased Montgomery Ballet. Photo by Miranda Holden

Dancers of the Montgomery Ballet perform Luminous Mysterious Nov. 12 in McAllister. The Dance Festival of San Antonio included a morning of workshops and classes and ended with a performance that showcased Montgomery Ballet. Photo by Miranda Holden

Instructors choreograph a broad genre of dance routines for students to perform.

By Miranda A Holden

Roughly 50 dancers united last week at this college for five workshops that led to a collective performance of ballet, bollywood, jazz, modern and musical theater.

The fine arts department’s dance division hosted its first Dance Festival of San Antonio Saturday.

The festival, sponsored by Dance Élan, offered choreographers, dancers and faculty the chance to perform and teach a wide spectrum of dance styles.

Dancers from this college’s dance program teamed with dancers from San Antonio Parks and Recreation, Studio One Center and Dance Élan.

Workshops were held inside studios 1 and 2 and the racquetball room of Chandler Physical Education Center.

Styles included jazz, modern and musical theater for beginners, intermediate and advanced dancers.

Students ages 11 and up arrived ready to dance wearing black leotards and ballet or jazz shoes, with their hair tied up in flawless buns.

Upon check-in, dancers received goody bags filled with a T-shirt, lotion, lunch ticket and travel hair products.

Artistic director Joseph Villalobos from the Montgomery (Ala.) Ballet taught dancers how to leap and develop body posture in an intensive intermediate/advanced ballet workshop.

Adjunct Madeline Hull taught a Bollywood class inspired by Indian dance moves.

In Adjunct Annette Flores’ flamenco class, dancers learned powerful steps that had them move with passion.

Adjunct Becky Walker volunteered at the event with her daughter Rachel, 14, a student from Dance Élan.

Rachel attended workshops and was featured in a solo performance, “Black Widow,” choreographed by Genevieve Garcia of Dance Élan.

“I’m honored to be able to dance on the McAllister Auditorium stage,” Rachel said Saturday.

Her contemporary piece told a wicked story of a black spider preparing to attack its prey by mimicking the contortions of a spider.

Walker said she was excited to see her daughter and other dancers come together to enjoy what they love and not worry about it being a competition.

“The dance world can be cutthroat at times,” Walker said. “It’s nice to see everyone relax and have fun.”

Roxane Maas watched her three daughters Samantha, 14; Lucy, 11; and Sophie, 9, participate in workshops and perform together in a classical piece called “Luminous Mysterious.”

“They compete with each other but are still supportive and even help each other with their make-up for performances,” Maas said.

She was glad the city finally had a dance festival where her daughters can develop discipline, confidence and dedication to go after their goals.

Maas had a flashback to ’92-93 when she walked this college’s halls and took ballet and jazz classes from Dance Coordinator George Ann Simpson.

She attended this college for two years and then transferred to the University of San Antonio majoring in psychology.

About 50 people attended the hourlong evening showcase, including 11 pieces performed by dancers from each program featuring ballet, cha-cha, improv, jazz and waltz.

The dance department’s improv class performed a circus clown act choreographed by Annette Flores and dancers channeling their inner comedian.

Simpson said she wants to inform future students of the department’s dance classes and talented faculty for those planning to transfer to a four-year program to major or minor in dance.

She plans to continue the dance festival yearly, possibly hosting the event in the early fall to provide outdoor workshops so students can enjoy beautiful weather.

For more information on the dance program, contact Simpson at gsimpson@alamo.edu

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