Schenectady

Local teens to showcase choreography work at Proctors

Members of Upstate Youth Choreographers pose during rehearsal at Modern Dance in Glenville. (photo provided)
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Members of Upstate Youth Choreographers pose during rehearsal at Modern Dance in Glenville. (photo provided)

A group of young choreographers is pulling back the curtain and showing the magic — not to mention the hard work — that goes into creating new dances.

Upstate Youth Choreographers will host a showcase at Proctors on Saturday, performing 10 new works by local teen choreographers.

The group was founded last year by Spencer Zambri-Moran, a rising junior at Shenendehowa High School, with help from Lucy Hart, a rising senior at Niskayuna High School.

Zambri-Moran has been dancing at Modern Dance in Glenville since the age of 5 and has long wanted to pursue a career in the arts. However, it wasn’t until taking a choreography class at the dance studio during the pandemic that the design aspect of dance became more of a focus.

“Because of the choreographer class, I figured out that I really want to be a choreographer. So I was looking for an outlet for that because the only outlet that I’ve found locally is the choreography class at my studio. So I was thinking that it would be really cool to have a showcase and a way to just work together with other people who have the same passion as me,” Zambri-Moran said.

With the help and direction of Modern Dance instructor Dana Yager, Zambri-Moran and Hart have been working toward the showcase since November, bringing together a group of 14 fellow dancers and choreographers from their studio and others.

“The choreography class that is now a staple in my dance program started as a way for my students, who felt comfortable coming to dance during COVID, to feel structure and have a creative outlet during a crazy time in their lives,” Yager said. “I am so happily amazed to see where this class has gone and cannot wait to see where it is going to, especially with Spencer and Lucy’s project.”

They hold choreographers’ meetings once a week and talk through each of the pieces they’re working on, giving one another feedback and advice. They’ve also held master classes taught by choreographers Yager, Freddy Ramirez and Emily Fuller.

“[They] talk to us and give us career advice. It’s been a really good environment to work together and collaborate [in],” Zambri-Moran said.

The dances that will be featured in the showcase range in style from modern to tap to lyrical and jazz. Recently, the dancers have been in the studio more than usual to rehearse for the performance, which is set for the GE Theatre.

“I just always pictured this happening at the GE Theatre because it’s such a beautiful space with the right amount of seats for us and it’s just a beautiful place to watch dance,” Zambri-Moran said.

Seeing each of the 10 new works come together in rehearsals this week has been both gratifying and nervewracking, but Zambri-Moran hopes that the showcase will encourage fellow up-and-coming choreographers.

“I hope that my dancers and choreographers take away that there is a career in this if they want it and I hope they see how talented they are. Every time I watch them rehearse it’s incredible to see all the hard work they put in,” Zambri-Moran said.

“Then I hope the audience [sees] choreography as more of an art because I feel like most of the time when we watch dance we think of the perspective of ‘Oh, this is an incredible dancer.’ But I really hope they take away that there’s a lot of magic that happens behind the dancer to bring the dance together.”

The showcase begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10. For more information visit Proctors.org.

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts

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