Calling young choreographers
Sacha Dill was the student the dance teachers always stuck in the front of the class.
She was intent on becoming "a track star" and did not understand their reasoning until she entered the Berkeley Institute.
"I had an amazing teacher, Zalika Millett, and she was just, 'Track, it’s a wrap for you. You have to continue with dance.'
"It had to be one or the other and dance was the choice. I felt more passionate about dance as opposed to track. I just knew it was something I had to do and I had a very good support system with regards to my teachers and so it just literally followed me along the way of life."
It is the type of encouragement she herself now gives to the talented youngsters she meets through Troika, the performing arts group Seldon Woolridge and Shoa Wolfe started in 2009.
Along with Shanna Henry, Ms Dill is looking for work from choreographers between the ages of 13 and 30 that can be included in a Troika showcase next year.
"I've been a part of Troika since they started pretty much, their second year coming in," she said. "Seldon's always been a stickler for pushing us to follow our goals and follow our dreams and with the training from Troika that definitely helped us."
She has been involved in Troika's many public and private performances of plays, workshops and musicals here and abroad over the years.
"The more I performed the more I was highlighted within the dance community," said Ms Dill. "I wanted to help kids because dance is an outlet. You don’t know what people go through in their day-to-day lives and dance is a way to just let it all out, to turn into a different person, to just forget about reality for a minute. And I think that’s why I chose to do this, to inspire."
Thanks to a steer from Sallie Singleton of the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda, she received a bursary, which enabled her to attend the College of Lake County in the US.
"I was a hairdresser’s assistant and she used to get her hair done at my job and she pushed me to just apply," said Ms Dill, who now teaches hip-hop, modern and jazz at DanceSations School of Dance.
"The next thing I know I'm at the interview and then they're calling me and telling me that I got this bursary to go; so pretty much dance has followed me throughout my entire life. I went away to school in Illinois and got my associate’s in fine arts and dance."
The coronavirus pandemic has limited performance opportunities this year so Ms Dill and Ms Henry are hopeful that people apply to be part of the showcase.
"I think before the [recent] spike, Seldon was able to put together a dancers' workshop just for us but, nine times out of ten, we would probably have had about 100 performances within the year if it wasn’t for Covid," Ms Dill said.
"I think that’s why he's pushing us to do this showcase. We just have to keep going. We are in the middle of a pandemic but we're going to find a way and we're going to make it happen."
The showcase is not just open to choreographers but anybody who is interested in dance, she added.
"We are currently accepting submissions from young choreographers who will be featured in our showcase but if you have an interest in dancing, if you want to be in somebody else's piece, this is also an open call for you.
"The initiative pretty much is for young performers, to encourage them to strive for their own artistic excellence. The dance showcase has become a creative and explosive presentation highlighting the choreographers' talent as well as passion for dance by our young people."
Ms Dill is often impressed by the level of choreography she sees at open calls.
"TikTok has helped with that but you'd be surprised. Kids just turn on the music and start moving and there you go, you have a piece.
"But of course me and Shanna will be by to assist them in the correct direction and just help them out a little bit if they need it."
Troika's choreography showcase is planned for February. Anyone interested in taking part must submit a headshot, resume, a 30-second clip of their dance style and a short explanation of why they should be selected to participate. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Troika on Instagram: @troikabda
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