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The unspoken language of dance is universal — hip-hop dancer Aya Nakaguchi traveled from Ishikawa, Japan to study modern dance at Santa Monica College (SMC). Currently, in her third year as a dance student at SMC, she has the honor of being a student choreographer for the college's Synapse Dance Theater.
When his dancers perform "Seven" at Santa Monica College's (SMC's) Synapse Dance Theater at the SMC Performing Arts Center's Broad Stage it will be a homecoming for 27-year-old choreographer Erik Fine.
This October SMC was one of 10 US institutions to host a Florence Summer Dance scholarship audition.
The program is highly selective and admits fewer than 100 students internationally. 17 SMC students were accepted, and 11 students were offered partial scholarships to attend the three-week training program in Florence Italy.
Florence Summer Dance is a summer dance intensive bringing world-renowned Faculty and dance students from around the world, with the goal to develop well-rounded dancers through exposure to a variety of disciplines, with emphasis on modern and contemporary dance.
Members of Ballet Hispánico—the premier Latino dance organization in the U.S. for nearly half a century—gave master classes to roughly 80 SMC dance students on Thursday, March 21. Chris Bloom taught modern dance; Lyvan Verdecia, salsa; and Melissa Verdecia, ballet. The master classes are part of an ongoing collaboration with The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center Education & Community Programs.
SMC students also had access to discounted tickets to see the company perform, and attend a “spotlight talk” given by SMC dance professor Vanessa Van Wormer before Ballet Hispánico’s Saturday, March 23 performance at The Broad Stage.
18 SMC students traveled to NYC over spring break for a week of master classes and performances. Students took master classes in Cunningham Repertory, Limon, and Horton techniques, Vernon/Fosse technique, Gaga, as well as Balanchine technique under Suzanne Farrell, among others. Performances included Martha Graham at the Joyce Theater, Movement Research, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Dance Theatre of Harlem at City Center with a post-concert discussion honoring the legacy of Arthur Mitchell. Students also visited potential transfer sites including NYC Tisch and Sarah Lawrence. This is the second successful tour led by Vanessa Van Wormer, Mark Tomasic, and Seda Aybay, and will continue to be offered regularly by the Dance Department.
State University of New York awards two $1,500 scholarships to SMC students Aya Nakaguchi and Ariel Scott to attend The College at Brockport. 30 SMC dance majors participated in a special on-site SUNY audition, which was the culminating event of a weeklong residency conducted by Brockport Professor James Hansen. Hansen offered classes in advanced modern, contact improvisation, and composition during the week for over 75 students, and gave an information session for students interested in a transfer. The residency was supported through faculty member Mark Tomasic’s Chair of Excellence Grant.