I am grateful to every person who voted for my choreography and performance not only in the May contest but also in the previous two contests I entered. I am inspired by the support of my community. This is my twelfth year studying dance. I began dancing at a ballet studio in my hometown of Pretoria, South Africa. When I was eight years old, my family and I moved to Michigan, and I resumed my training at Brighton School of Ballet focusing on ballet, pointe, and lyrical/dance ministry. Throughout high school, I also performed original ballets with Modern Messages Dance Company. Due to chronic achilles tendonitis and a serious assessment of my potential in classical ballet, I stopped studying pointe work at the end of my junior year. This decision led me to explore other dance styles as well as other aspects of dance, such as teaching and choreography, as I maintained a great passion for dance. I fell in love with contemporary movement at Brighton Dance Festival, and since then I have studied ballet, jazz, modern, and lyrical, as well as continuing to gain experience teaching and choreographing. I am especially grateful to have spent a week in March with Ad Deum Dance Company in Houston as I've found Ad Deum best models what it means to be a servant-oriented believer artist in a society that often struggles to understand the relationship between and integration of Christian faith and dance. I was also grateful to delve more into classical modern technique during the week, and this scholarship will further my technical modern training!
"Yearning" is a solo to an untitled song by Icelandic artist Sigur Ros. I created this piece in exploration of what it's like to be on the edge of grabbing hold of something or someone you deeply desire. The piece is offered as a cathartic visualization of feeling stuck in homesickness. It seems a common human experience to feel not only longing but, strangely, homesick for an aspect of personhood or life one has not attained. I choreographed "Yearning" for a performance class at Washtenaw Community College. In the course, I was encouraged to step out of my choreographic comfort zone, which is why I selected a song without English lyrics, as previously I always choreographed movement as a representation of a song's lyrics.
My inspiration for any choreographed or performed movement is complex and often subconscious, but I am continually inspired by seeing other choreographers' work. In particular, I would like to acknowledge and thank Steve Rooks. Mr. Rooks choreographed "This Bitter Earth," a work I discovered online and had the privilege of seeing live in March. It is a work which continues to move me after many years, and it is that rare quality that inspires me to create work of my own.
This fall, I might continue to seek out local dance opportunities and attend community college, begin a double major in Dance and Physics (possibly for Secondary Education) at Grand Valley State University or Wayne State University, or study in an out-of-state trainee type dance program.
Thank you, Harlequin Floors, for supporting choreographers and dancers. Thank you for using technology to give equal opportunity to all to gain funding to further their artistic dreams.