St. Johnsbury Academy dance students had a unique opportunity to work with a number of dance industry professionals over the last week.
Prior to their area performance, three Alvin Ailey dancers taught master classes to the students: Lloyd A. Boyd III and Jessica Amber Pinkett and Courtney Celeste Spears. Lloyd, who has a background in Hip Hop, taught a hip hop class to Popular Dance students; Jessica and Courtney taught Martha Graham technique classes to modern dance students. In each class, as one dancer taught, the other two demonstrated. Students had the chance to ask questions and learn more about the Ailey dancers' lives and interests and the demands upon them as performers and dancers.
Just hours after their master classes, students attended the Alvin Ailey II performance, seeing the master teachers they had practiced with live on stage.
Finally, beginning on the Monday, dance reviewer for the New York Times Siobhan Burke returned to the Academy to conduct writing workshops based on the Alvin Ailey II performance. Students were provided with questions in advance and engaged in conversation about their impressions of the performance. Conversations and writing continued throughout the week.