By: Megan Drabant
The dyeing of shoes, organization of leotards, and perfecting of buns all preceded the first day of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Detroit Summer Intensive. On June 25th, students who auditioned and were accepted into the program entered the doors of the Detroit Opera House (DOH) with excitement and anticipation of what would be encountered in next three weeks of the intensive. With placement classes concluding the morning of orientation, the 59 students, who range from local Detroiters to students from at least eight other states and Canada, were organized into levels of technique such as Onyx, Bronze, and Amethyst.
Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) Summer Intensive challenges students to explore ballet and the allied arts by providing classes in ballet technique, pointe, modern, African, contemporary, jazz, improvisation, creative movement, and nutrition. With five classes a day, students are pushed in an intensive setting to become the best dancers they can be and present what they learn in a culmination performance. “Every class is very serious and everyone focuses on working hard and staying concentrated. The teachers inspire us to strive for success and to find your own individuality within the technique,” said Onyx level student Malika Mowinski.
With faculty consisting of former DTH members and affiliates, the education being received is straight from the heart of Harlem. DTH Detroit Program Artistic Director Kareen Camargo approaches class with the feeling of being “accessible to every student” while pushing them to work hard and have fun at the same time. “I want the students to feel like they are giving 110% rather than feeling like they should have done more. Every class is an opportunity to learn something new, with no regrets leaving class.”
The culminating performance for the intensive is this Friday, July 13th at 6:00pm at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit, MI 48226. This show is free and open to the public and will include performances of ballet, jazz, modern, African, and a lecture demonstration. “Along with witnessing the growth of ballet technique, one will see how the students have found a joy for dancing and an interest in other disciplines of dance,” said Camargo. For more information regarding the performance please call Kim Smith at 313-237-3251.
It is evident that this program is beneficial for the students in attendance, but there are more positive attributes beneath the surface for the support of artistic endeavors in Detroit and abroad. By hosting the DTH Summer Intensive pilot program in Detroit, a unique partnership is in the foundation stages between DTH and DOH. We will see the results of this partnership in the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s touring performance at the DOH in February of 2013. Detroit is fortunate to be on the list of locations for the upcoming performance season, since this is the company’s first touring season in nine years since its closure in 2004. For more information regarding Dance Theatre of Harlem’s upcoming performances check out http://dancetheatreofharlem.org/ or http://www.michiganopera.org/ for specifics on the Detroit performance.