As dancers, we are always seeking to expand our knowledge past our typical weekly classes. Master classes offer us the opportunity to learn from a new teacher and try different styles of dance. At the Dance and Music Academy, we offer a number of master classes and workshops throughout the year. These classes allow our students to learn in different ways and make them well-rounded dancers. Many students carry the new technique they learn and incorporate it into their style, enhancing their artistic vocabulary. If a student learns a breathing technique in a contemporary master class, they may utilize that technique to diversify their movement quality. Master classes and workshops are important in giving dancers well-rounded training.
We are bringing in many professional dancers from a variety of backgrounds and styles. This year, we are bringing in:
Raul Cassasola from the Joffrey Ballet
Irfan Qurashi, professional hip hop choreographer and performer
Kelsey Reiter from Chicago Dance Crash
Shannon Brodie from Nomi Dance Company and Trifecta Dance Collective
Sarah O’Keeffe formerly from Inaside Dance Chicago and currently with Trifecta Dance Collective
Maxine Patronik from Trifecta Dance Collective
Broadway Connection; people who are in the national Broadway tours for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dear Evan Hansen, and Cats
Andrew Drost, Founder of the Institute of American Musical Theater in NYC
Jennifer Glasse, professional actress
Monternes Rezell from Chicago Dance Crash
Porscha Spells- Chicago Dance Crash
David Maurice from Cocodaco Dance Project
Ashley Rockwood, Founder of Dancers Awareness Project
We also hire guest choreographers for our students. Our current guest choreographers are Valerie Alpert, Deek Buckins, and Katie Carey. Oftentimes, professional companies bring in guest choreographers to set their pieces. Exposing students to this practice early on allows them to gain a better understanding of how the dance world works. By giving our dancers the opportunity to learn from professionals at an early age, we are helping them gain access to the next step in their career. The connections that they create with the teacher, company, or choreographer they are working with may help them down the line when pursuing a career as a dancer.
As a student grows up and gains more experience, they become more in control of what they want out of their training. Master classes offer the opportunity for students to experiment with different styles and to choose what path is the best for them whether that be Broadway, concert dance, commercial dance, etc. We offer master classes to both younger and older students as when they pursue their interests and experimenting with styles at a young age allows them to gain a more well-rounded view of the dance world and what they could pursue in it. Even adults take master classes and workshops because it diversifies their training. Dance is a constantly evolving art form and each dancer evolves as an artist over their career. Master classes can create inspiration for professional dancers and students alike.
As a studio and a company, we try to give our dancers the best opportunities for growth. We believe that master classes are incredibly important to diversify training and to give our students the best experiences we can.
As a student at the DMA, I feel grateful for the opportunities provided to me. I am excited to take many of the classes and look forward to taking in the expertise they will provide to me.