BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance

Blog: Ross Week 7+8 with Teresa

August 21, 2018

Week 7 + 8 at Ross was truly magical, dancing with the talented students in our Dance Minor Week 7 and our inaugural Two-Week BodyStories Summer Dance Program Intensive Weeks 7 +8! The six dancers in the Dance Minor came in with ambitious, creative energy, and together with them and our super counselor Casey, in 4-5 short afternoon sessions, we focused on three separate performance projects, as well as focusing on hip-hop and contemporary technique and warm-ups. On Monday, we created an introduction dance where we each had a chance to introduce ourselves, such as Delightful Denae, Awesome Annie, Shining Scarlet, Fun Freya, Terrific Teresa, Ka-boom Karla, and Sparkling Cecilia. We also learned a short hip-hop phrase to “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony that was the surprise Flash Mob song for Tuesday morning for the full camp! This way the Dance Minor students could jump up front and help demonstrate the Flash Mob combination in front of the whole camp, as they had the inside scoop! P.S. we got so excited that we forgot to record the Week 7 flash mob, but you can see the phrase that extended into the exciting Dance Minor Full Hip Hop routine in the Dance Minor!

 In learning this Hip Hop dance, I was so impressed with the students’ ability to master fast, specific choreography, and to work together musically during the inter-dependent timing of the dance.

The Dance Minor students were thrilled to create solos and duets as well! They worked so well together in their duets to create unison and complimentary movements, and everyone worked closely with their chosen music in order to create specific gestures, stay in sync with the music, and push themselves to add new movement patterns into their choreography. Wonderful job dance minors!! 

For Weeks 7 + 8, itScreen Shot 2018-08-21 at 9.10.30 PM was a true gift to be able to begin our first-ever BodyStories-designed Two-Week Summer Dance Intensive. This program was for dancers ages 9-14 with at least 2 years of dance experience. Since
it was our first year offering this program, it started out small, and Chris Engel, the Director of Summer at Ross, supportively gave us permission for quality over quantity, and wow, did these dancers do amazingly high-quality work in this program. What a way to kick it off. Our students, Ella and Lilly, are talented, intelligent, artistic, and fun dancing sisters!

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My goal was to offer the intensive students a breadth of material and to do so in an in-depth way so that they could be exposed to many aspects of dance, and focus on the technical and artistic demands of each before heading back to school. I also wanted the dancers to feel empowered in their bodies and creativity, and to have fun! With this fantastic group, we did just that. We warmed up with gyrotonics, yoga, ballet barre, some modern, jazz, ballet exercises in center, and across the floor. We also jump-started one morning with an energetic throwback FlashMob to House of Pain! 

Ella and Lilly were intrigued to learn more about modern partnering, so we learned several lifts involving balanced weight and counterbalance that involved momentum and/or controlled placement. We created a performance with these lifts and Lilly’s solo as a base to create a dance that was like a dramatic movement meditation.

The dancers learned a modern dance that focused on alignment, dropping weight, weight shifting, and that had a lot of changes of facing and directions, like a moving, dropping puzzle. They did a great job with this dance, keeping all of this in mind, and playing close attention to the phrasing in the music.

 For our third dance, Lilly and Ella learned a lot of low-level and floor modern movement that had wide weight shifts, such as jenga, derived from Capoiera, and slides and rolls on the floor.

 These coordinations and flowing, deep, seamless movement transitions were new vocabulary for them and they did very well with this challenge. They even each made a solo to begin the dance, inspired by aspects of the group choreography.

 Lilly mentioned one of our first days that she would really like to learn salsa, and I LOVE salsa and ballroom dance, so we all came together to close with a fun salsa dance. Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 9.20.33 PMWe brainstormed and learned several steps, ordered costumes, made our salsa emoji performance sign for all 4 dances, and my husband even brought my character shoes from NYC for Lilly to wear! We chose a very fast song, and I was so impressed that the young dancers stayed on the beat and performed the choreography with command and flair.

After all of our hard work each day, before heading up to lunch, we explored the gym next door a bit, and made a fun dance/workout/blooper video for the audience to enjoy during our costume changes. Enjoy our Turned Up Workout! 😉  

I can’t wait to see what these talented Dance Minor and Dance Intensive dancers accomplish during their school year, and to dance with them all again in the near future!