Following a path of dance
Tajante Wainwright isn't sure what the future holds but one thing is certain, dance will be part of it.
Marie-Jeanne Doughty is on a similar path.
The teenagers got their grounding at In Motion School of Dance.
They'll leave the island to build on that foundation in the coming months. MJ is auditioning for dance schools in Toronto; TJ is off to Pennsylvania's Drexel University where she'll study dance and psychology.
Lizz Pimentel, the director of In Motion, is thrilled. She started the Reid Street school in hopes it would serve as a springboard for talented dancers.
“We work extremely hard,” she said. “We push our dancers a lot, because we expect the best out of each and every one of them. I think it's important to have goals and ambition in life. In my opinion, there's a little too much entitlement. Not everyone's a winner. I think everyone needs discipline, everyone needs to work towards a goal.”
She's been a role model for both girls since they joined In Motion.
TJ's mother signed her up for classes when she was 4. By the time she was 7 she was hooked, eventually taking pointe, ballet, jazz, tap, street style and modern dance classes.
“For me, it's more than a dance school, it's a second home,” the 18-year-old said. “I learnt so many life lessons as well. Time management was one of [the most important].
“I'm not 100 per cent sure what I want to do yet, but I know I want to keep dance in my life no matter where I go. All the training and opportunities I've had here and overseas [through In Motion], I feel like they're going to help.”
MJ takes ballet, jazz, tap, modern, pointe and street style lessons and is a junior teacher at the school.
“For some reason when I was little, I always told my parents I wanted to be a dancer,” the 16-year-old said. “I came to In Motion at 5 and started taking more and more classes. I really enjoy it. It's a lot of fun. I'm moving to Toronto in September and auditioning for several dance schools in the Toronto area. Hopefully after two years I'll get into a university dance programme.
“At In Motion I've learnt how to push myself. Teachers and staff help, but eventually it falls onto you. So there's a lot of self-discipline involved and the teachers have been really good at helping with that. When you give 100 per cent and put your whole into it, that's when you can really go far.”
In Motion’s 19th annual dance showcase, Bestsellers, opens on Friday.
Beloved children’s stories will take centre stage this year. Choreographers have interpreted classics such as The Cat in the Hat and Charlotte’s Web for audiences at Earl Cameron Theatre.
Director Lizz Pimentel is promising a production that’s in keeping with the expectations set by In Motion’s past performances.
“It’s not a recital, it’s more a professional-level presentation than a kid’s programme,” she said. “Each and every year we try to push the envelope when it comes to choreography, costuming and staging. It’s vital for a dancer to experience that kind of performance — to be on stage, to gain confidence enough to present and share their passion with the audience. For us it’s always such an exciting, tiring time of year but so worth it.”
Each show takes a “communal effort”, she added. An “incredible family” of parents, volunteers, students and staff all contributed to this year’s production.
“It’s such a positive thing in a world where there can be a log of negativity and heaviness,” Ms Pimentel said. “Come and see the show and support Bermuda’s youth. It’s so good to see them thrive and do well. In a lot of ways In Motion has set the standard for dance in Bermuda. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and we continue to push ourselves to be the best we can. We recreate and rebrand yearly.”
Bermuda Bookstore will have a presence in the foyer at City Hall throughout the show.
Bestsellers runs June 3-11. Tickets are available at www.inmotion.bm