Joshua Ponton - March 2017 Judges' Choice

I’ve been dancing for about 3 years and seriously training for about 18 months. I am a junior at Oakland School of the Arts (OSA). I study ballet, contemporary and modern styles.

I am grateful to all of the people who have encouraged and supported me in my training.  Mr. McCauley at the Alvin Ailey Summer Camp at UC Berkeley helped me get my first early dance training and interning experiences.  I met Mr. Derrick Minter at the Alvin Ailey camp as well and he has become my mentor and friend.  Mr. Savage is the director of the Dance Emphasis at OSA and he has been the most influential on my growth as a dancer and as a young man.  He challenges me, teaches me life lessons, supports me and gives me great opportunities to share my talent.  I appreciate all of these great men and the support that they continue to show me.

I love to improv.  It’s where I really get to be the emotionally free dancer that I love to be.  When I am performing and creating dance in the moment, I feel excited to communicate how I am feeling to the audience.  The piece in my video came from this year’s dance recital at OSA.  I created it for my grandmother who was in the audience that night.  It was the first time she had ever seen me dance.  I didn’t know what music my director was going to select until it started playing.  I liked the music and it inspired me.  Like a lot of dancers, improv is my favorite because I get to use all of my creativity, fearlessness, and emotions to let go and dance.

Dance is one place in life where I feel most free to feel deeply and to show my feelings.  Dance lets me communicate those feelings directly to the audience without having to talk or explain what I am doing or why.  The audience just gets it and I feel good knowing that they can feel what I am trying to say.  Choreography is like the words to tell the story.  I am inspired by other dancers who are fearless and who love dance as an art form.

This summer I will be studying dance at The Julliard School Summer Intensive.  I will also be taking classes at Savage Jazz Dance at OSA.  In January, I’ll be auditioning for 2018 summer programs and for college.  Julliard and University of North Carolina School of the Arts will be on my list.  For my final year at OSA, I will get to choreograph for my senior piece.  I have been thinking about this for 2 years and listening to different music to expand my creative horizons.  I am very excited about it and can’t wait to try some new dance styles for myself and my peers.