The 7th Annual Brighton Dance Festival will host their Youth Program August 7-13th, alongside the Teen, Professional and Dance Educator's programs. The BDF Youth Program is open to dancers ages 9-11 years with at least two years prior training. Students attend class and rehearsal for about four hours each day, plus perform on stage in our Student Showcase on the final day of the festival. This year the BDF Youth Program is under the direction of Kelly Waltz, joined by faculty members Lindsey Biggs, Megan Scheppelman, Lauren Mudry, Nia Silao and Maddy Prebola.
We asked Kelly, Lindsey, Megan, Lauren, Nia, and Maddy a few questions to get to know them a little better. Here's what they had to say...
BDF: What are you doing these days professionally?
Kelly Waltz: I am currently a teacher and choreographer at Dance Steps Studio as well as active Studio Manager of the Tecumseh location. I dance for Pure Existence under the direction of Jodie Randolph, and I am also working with Kathy King as the Programs Coordinator and Youth Program Director for Brighton Dance Festival (woohoo!).
Lindsey Biggs: I am currently teaching at Dance Steps Studio. This past season I choreographed a piece for Alzheimer’s disease awareness dedicated to my mother. We have connected to many families dealing with the disease, and I hope to show a dedication video to all the caregivers for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Megan Scheppelman: I am currently a member of Pure Existence based in Ann Arbor, MI. Next season, I will be the director of X2, the pre-professional dance company for high school dancers through Pure Existence. I also teach at two studios in Michigan (P & P Dance Centre in Belleville, Dance Xplosion in Milan). I love choreographing, teaching, and dancing in Michigan!
Lauren Mudry: Currently, I'm an adjunct instructor at Lansing Community College, professional dancer for Happendance Velocity! Concert Dance, Assistant director of Happendance pre-professional Impulse Company, Assistant Director for DANCE Lansing Community Dance Project, and instructor for various studios throughout Mid Michigan.
Nia Silao: Currently, dance education is what grasps most of my attention at Dance Academy of Bloomfield Hills, American Dance Academy, and Nexus Academy of Royal Oak. I also direct a dance company called Luna Dancers, where the goal is to provide quality dance entertainment for mainstream audiences, and to employ as many local dancers as possible.
Maddy Prebola: I am currently very busy teaching dance at Ballet Chelsea, and dancing for Pure Existence Dance Company. My students are preparing for recital, as I prepare to dance for Pure Existence’s annual show. Exciting stuff!
BDF: Where do you find inspiration when you're creating new work?
Kelly Waltz: When I’m creating a new work, I draw inspiration from how events shape the world we live in. Whether it be from a historical event that affected our world as a whole, a current event, or a personal event that affects me, others around me, or those I’ve never met; I am very interesting in cause and effect. In that same regard, I am very inspired by connecting the dancers to an audience through human gestures and pedestrian movements. I love evoking thought!!
Lindsey Biggs: My inspiration comes from experiences in my past that still need life to them and also from new experiences that I feel should have a different form of storytelling. I am also inspired by the unknown and strange beautiful movements in everyday life including how animals move.
Megan Scheppelman: I find inspiration through many aspects of life! A lot of it stems from the relationships I have in my life and using my every day experiences as fuel for my work. The dancers I work with are also blooming artists who inspire me daily! I'm a really big fan of collaborating with them to make work. Lastly, watching films is one of my biggest hobbies and I find a lot of inspiration there as well.
Lauren Mudry: I gather inspiration from everywhere! It comes from what I'm going through personally, what I read, current events in today's society, and even my own students.
Nia Silao: Inspiration comes to me in non-dance forums. Music, conversations with intriguing people, rock climbing, etc. Its best to be well rounded. You can find inspiration from anything and apply it to dance!
Maddy Prebola: When creating a new work, I gain inspiration from my dancers. I can have all sorts of ideas in my head, but they are all dull until I see the dancers. I like pushing dancers to perform in a style that may be new for them, and love the thrill of creating choreography on the spot.
BDF: What do you always have in your dance bag?
Kelly Waltz: I always will have my water bottle, my inhaler, and food. All things that I love and need constantly!
Lindsey Biggs: A water bottle and 2 special jewelry pieces from my mother and grandmother.
Megan Scheppelman: Tennis balls. Always.
Lauren Mudry: Along with the dancer basics such as shoes and bobby pins, I always carry the following with me: Dark Dove chocolates, Mini foam roller, Hot pink Bloch booties, Biofreeze, Different flavored yogi tea
Nia Silao: My dance bag has three of everything. ‘If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’.
Maddy Prebola: In my dance bag, I always have a million hair ties. This is mostly because I can NEVER find one in my bag when I need it, so I add more to my bag when I get home. I go to rehearsal the next day, and repeat the process until my entire hair tie stash resides in my dance bag. Dancer problems!
Thanks for all of the inside information ladies! We can't wait to spend the week with you at the 2016 Brighton Dance Festival!