On Sunday, January 17, 2016, the Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy (SCAA) Dance Ensembles performed a winter festival dance concert with Ashburn Academy of Dance in the Armstrong Concert Hall at Shenandoah University. The free performance lasted an hour and a half, with a great turnout. Both dance academies combined had 70 dancers aged 7-18. Many different dance styles were covered during the performance, starting out with a three piece ballet, many contemporary and modern dances and a musical theater dance. It was obvious the dancers were having the time of their lives on the stage, as the beaming audience watched intently.
Under the direction of Mary Robare, the SCAA Dance Ensembles, composed of the senior and junior dance ensembles, performs many times throughout the year, with this being their first performance of the year. Audrey Nakagawa, a sophomore, is a proud member of the senior ensemble. This performance, she had quite a large part in the show, performing as Belle Poitrine, the main role, in the dance “Be a Performer” from the musical Little Me, as well as other dances. “I love dance ensemble because it never fails to challenge me, and we get to perform often. Everyone involved with senior ensemble is serious about it and ready to work, but we all have a blast at the same time,” she commented.
Performing and working with the dancers from Ashburn Academy was a new experience for both of the ensembles. When asked about the experience, Nakagawa stated, “Collaborating with Ashburn was very eye opening, to see the different talent and competition and how they work differently than us.” The experience was thankfully accepted by many of the dancers, who were definitely interested in the other academy and the differences between the two.
Overall, the performance went without any hiccups or mistakes, and the dancers had a great time. “I felt that the performance went well and we all had a lot of fun. It was good to be exposed to a new environment including the Ashburn dancers,” concluded Nakagawa. Although from two different academies and backgrounds, both the SCAA Dance Ensembles and the Ashburn dancers share one thing in common: their love for dance.