Stepping out for summer dance
Teenager Katelynn DeMoura is known for her drive at DanceSations dance school on Reid Street.
The 14-year-old is passionate about ballet and dreams of one day travelling the world with a dance company.
“I don’t know yet, which dance company,” she laughed.
So when teachers at DanceSations asked if anyone wanted to do a summer dance intensive, overseas, her hand shot up.
“She was the only one to put up her hand,” DanceSations director Holly Pacheco admitted.
The opportunity at hand was a place in the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, a programme open to intermediate and advanced ballet dancers, offering high-quality instruction and an emphasis on classic ballet technique.
To get in, Katelynn had to do a video audition showing her barre, pointe and centre work, as well as other exercises.
“After the audition, I wasn’t sure if I would get in, but I felt like I’d done my best,” Katelynn said.
Weeks later, she was excited when her mother, Rebecca DeMoura, received an e-mail saying she had been accepted into the programme.
“I wanted to do it, so I was happy,” Katelynn said. “I was a bit nervous too, but I was ready to go and work.”
She was placed on the programme’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama campus, for three weeks in July.
When Katelynn arrived, the temperature was hovering near 100F.
“It was hotter than Bermuda,” she said. “Only one or two classrooms were air-conditioned. I didn’t mind. You sweat anyway when you dance. There were about 150 students in the programme. On the first day we had placement classes to see which level we would get into. We were placed in colour groups, red, blue, orange and violet. I got into red. Red was at the bottom, but that was OK. It was a good group, so I could actually focus on getting better.”
The first thing they worked on was mindset.
“They didn’t want us to feel like we had to get into violet,” she said. “They just wanted us to put in our best work and improve.”
Each day, students took ballet technique and pointe classes for three hours in the morning. After lunch, they spent four hours taking different classes such as jazz, modern and tap.
“My favourite part was taking pas de deux classes,” Katelynn said. “We don’t have that here so it was a nice experience. That is partnering classes on pointe. It wasn’t easy, but it was pretty fun to do. Because I have never done it before, I was a bit nervous.”
In ballet class, teachers worked with her on her turn outs and turns and she noticed an improvement by the end of the programme.
Away from class, she lived at the University of Alabama dorms with roommates, and enjoyed making friends with people.
“It was nice to be with people from different places to see how much training they do and their experiences,” she said. “It was nice talking to them about it.”
She is now back in Bermuda, taking part in summer workshops at DanceSations. The dance school is currently working on their summer dance recital at City Hall.
Katelynn missed three weeks of practice while she was in Alabama, but she has been working hard to catch up.
The teenager has been dancing since she was two and always liked it. It is the technique in ballet that appeals to her.
“You have to do a set thing and you can’t explore too much,” she said. “I like things that are set. The hardest thing about ballet is probably my feet hurting. They hurt quite a bit when I go home, but not too, too bad. I soak them when I take a bath.”
She started taking classes at DanceSations three years ago and now takes four classes a week there. She is in the junior company.
“The people make Dance- Sations special,” she said. “They are very friendly and they make everybody feel welcomed. After school I do my homework right away and then I come to dance, and then I go home and do more homework. It is somewhere we can come to get away from everything and just have fun.”
She hopes to do the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive again next year.
“I’d like to get into the next colour level,” she said.
• DanceSations Summer Dance Show will be held at City Hall in Hamilton in the Earl Cameron Theatre on August 31 at 7pm. Tickets at $28 are available from bdatix.bm. For more information about DanceSations, visit dancesations.bm/contact.html or call 292-4100
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