Immediately following winter term exams, members of Dublin’s Dance Ensemble boarded a plane to Pittsburgh, PA to attend the National High School Dance Festival, hosted this year by Point Park University. Accompanied by dance instructor Jenny Foreman and three current parents, the eight dancers joined more than 1300 other high school dancers from around the nation, many of whom attend performing arts high schools, to engage in classes and view performances.
The festival opened with a performance by the world renowned Parsons Dance Company and also included four impressive performances featuring the best of the country’s young choreographers and pre-professional dancers. Each Dublin dancer customized her own schedule of classes, often 3-4 per day, based on her particular areas of interest. A wide range of classes were offered (taught by a number of university professors, high school instructors, and well-known choreographers) including: ballet, pointe, floor barre, classical variations, tap, jazz, hip hop, and several styles of modern technique. Class sizes ranged from semi-private to several hundred dancers, and took place in more than 10 different studio locations at the University and the nearby Creative and Performing Arts High School. The dancers wholeheartedly embraced the challenges and opportunities this festival had to offer and - despite sore muscles, blisters and bruises – got up each morning and fully invested themselves in their classes.
The Festival takes place bi-annually at different locations across the country. We eagerly await the announcement of where the 2018 National High School Dance Festival will be held so that we can begin planning our next trip. In the off years, the Ensemble generally takes trips to pre-professional studios in Boston and New York City. These are incredibly rich growing experiences for our students to immerse themselves the art of dance and learn from master teachers and the advanced dancers alongside whom they take classes.