Spotlight on Bermuda as dancers shine in the USA
Four dancers have won scholarships for training programmes after they auditioned on the international stage during a school trip.
T’aja Williams, a senior dancer at Hamilton’s In Motion School of Dance, was given early acceptance to Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania to study dance.
She was also given a scholarship to take part in a summer dance programme at Point Park University, also in Pennsylvania, alongside In Motion classmates Cashayna Grant, Eden Furbert and Acacia Tucker.
Lizz Pimentel, the director of In Motion, said: “Every single one of them who received a scholarship do have their own personal drives and passions – and I think that made them stand out.
“They just committed to whatever was given to them – when you’re going to a programme like this and you don’t know the choreographer, it’s all very new.
“But being able to just not hold back, not have any hesitation as a dancer and just immerse yourself in it without any fear or insecurity goes a long way.”
Ms Pimentel was speaking after she and 13 pupils visited The Grier School in Pennsylvania for a weekend dance workshop.
The private school has dance companies from around the world attend their annual gala and meet renowned choreographers to sharpen their skills.
The companies are also given dance routines created by the choreographers months before arrival and have to perform them at The Grier School.
Pupils who show exceptional talent are given an opportunity to study dance at Pennsylvania summer programmes.
Ms Pimentel said that her students, aged between 13 and 16, practised “around the clock” since they received their dance routine from The Grier in August.
She added that In Motion, which has taken part in the workshop for years, had a “longstanding relationship” with The Grier School.
“One of my main goals has always been making sure that we give local dancers overseas opportunities.
“We tend to live in this insular little dance community here on the island and it’s important for the dancers to be able to be exposed overseas to different workshops, different teachers and choreographers and just have different life experiences.”
Ms Pimentel added that she was reminded of the connections when her troupe met with several In Motion former pupils at the workshop.
They reconnected with Jada Pearman, who now dances with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York, and Jaela Bean-Lindo, who studies dance at Point Park University.
They also met several former In Motion dancers who were now studying dance at The Grier.
“It just made me realise the full circle of all of the dance training and where our students have gone,” said Ms Pimentel.
“There are some really amazing Bermudian connections in dance.”
Ms Pimentel said that some of her pupils were too young to get scholarships – but added that all of them had performed well.
She said: “These guys are top-tier and serious about dance.
“They’re putting in a ton of hours a week, they’re incredibly focused and there are very high expectations of them.”
“Sometimes it’s not about the perfection of the dancers or the movement, it’s about how the student works.
“Teachers ask ‘do they have a good attitude, are they committed to it, do they immerse themselves in it?’ These girls for sure do.”