X’achela dances to her own tune
If you’re looking for X’achela Robinson your best bet is Reid Street. The 14-year-old is at DanceSations School of Dance five evenings a week.
Ballet, jazz, tap, modern, pointe and hip-hop classes keep her busy. The teacher’s assistant is also in the school’s dance company.
“I used to have other hobbies, but I gave them up to focus on dance,” said the Saltus Grammar School student.
“I like the environment. They push you, but don’t confine you to just doing traditional dance.”
Last month she won an award for her efforts.
She was one of 15 DanceSations students who took part in Pulse, a three-day convention in Toronto, Canada.
“At the awards ceremony, when they called my number, I thought there had been some mistake,” said X’achela. “I kept looking down at the number on my dance costume.
“Then everyone was like, ‘X’achela go up!’ I was shaking. I wasn’t ready and everyone was looking at me.”
Her prize was a scholarship to the Pulse convention of her choice in North America in 2018.
“They are going to be in Las Vegas next year,” said X’achela. “I might go there. It would be cool. Even if I didn’t get the scholarship I would have liked to go back.
“I just went for the experience and to have fun. The convention’s motto was ‘Go for Blood’. They wanted you to give 100 per cent.”
One of her Pulse teachers, Laurieann Gibson, has choreographed for Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga. Her classes were filled with talented dancers from around the world.
“In my hip-hop class there was this really talented little girl in front of me. She looked about eight. She really inspired me to do better.”
The DanceSations students had only three hours to learn the moves for the event’s main competition, the Battle Royale.
“They were all a bit stressed about how little time they had to learn the dance,” said owner Holly Pacheco. “But during the performance they just killed it. We teachers were in the back just cheering for them.”
She was equally thrilled that students Ava Moreno and Cailey DeSilva were recognised for their positive attitudes.
“It was an exciting weekend and we weren’t expecting that,” said Mrs Pacheco.
The group also met Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement. She is currently travelling the world shooting a documentary, Embrace.
Scenes from it are regularly featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The Bermuda dancers were filmed doing a few steps which Ms Brumfitt tried to follow.
Mrs Pacheco does not yet know if the footage will be featured on Ellen, or on Ms Brumfitt’s website.
“I’ve sent her a message, but she hasn’t gotten back to me yet,” she said.
The convention provided “good insight into what the real dance industry would be like” for her students, Mrs Pacheco added.
“It was good to get them out of Bermuda, dancing with other international dancers. They were able to push themselves as well because they were surrounded by good dancers.”
X’achela tried to get the most out of the experience.
“What I took out of it was, don’t be the traditional dancer,” she said. “Be who you want to be and express yourself in your own way. Don’t be confined in a little box. Stand out and be you.”
• Visit www.dancesations.bm; thepulseontour.com; bodyimagemovement.com/about-taryn-brumfitt
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