Skidmore’s December Dance Showcase Displays Young Talent

Skidmore’s December Dance Showcase Displays Young Talent

The lights retreat into darkness as the audience patiently waits for the dancers to come out. As the room nearly becomes pitch black, the curtains sharply cut across the stage. Dim blues, greens, and reds saturate the floor as accompanist and Skidmore Music Director Carl Landa bows toward the audience before taking his seat at the piano. He begins to play as the lights lift and the dancers enter the stage. Skidmore’s Dance Theatre buzzes with parents, alumni, and students, eager to witness the dedication that the dancers have put into the December Showcase. One of the dancers, adorned in the group black and white uniform, leaps and bounds in between a dozen other dancers. Her blonde braid whips across her back. Her name is Julia Keys ‘21.

Keys was featured in five dances in this showcase. “We had worked on and rehearsed the December showcase since September, and also had a showcase in November,” Keys said. The December showcase, which premiered on Friday, December 1st and included a total of three performances ending on December 2nd, featured dance pieces that were a mix of modern, ballet, and pointe. Each modern piece displayed the avant-garde nature of modern dance as the dancers meticulously expressed such emotion through their movement. In one piece, six pairs of dancers, dressed in different shades of silky oranges, blues, and greens, exhibited synchronized and individualized choreography to moody music.

This type of dance is Key’s favorite because it inspires her the most. Born and raised in Warwick, New York, Keys always had her sights set on dance: “I’ve been dancing since I was 11,” Keys, now 18, said. During those seven years, Keys focused on modern dance while taking ballet in between. Keys’ affinity for the craft motivated her to spend the past three summers dancing in New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSA) Dance program, hosted by Skidmore. “I love NYSSA because the months I spent there over the years have really taught me discipline and new dance techniques that I probably wouldn’t have learned in many other places,” she said. Keys spent a month each summer in the program, and still wishes she had started dancing earlier, despite her roaring talent.

Now that she is a Skidmore student, Keys has gained an appreciation for the Skidmore Department of Dance: “There are so many talented teachers, choreographers, accompanists, and dancers.” Just over the course of this semester, Keys took Ballet II: Low Intermediate, Modern IV: Advanced, and Improvisation I. Next semester, she will be taking Ballet III: High Intermediate and Modern IV: Advanced again. At this rate, Keys is on her way to fulfilling her dream as a professional.

Similar to dance, Keys also passionately draws, paints, and photographs landscapes and people. During NYSSA, she photographed a few of the other dancers on the roof of Skidmore’s Tang Teaching Museum during golden hour, the sun reflecting off the mirror-like walls of the museum and onto the dancers as they leaped around. “I’m so lucky to be surrounded by these people every day while doing what I love most,” Keys said.

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