FALMOUTH – It wasn’t for the competition. It was for the love of dance.
Dancers from Turning Pointe Dance Studio in Falmouth joined recently with Festival Ballet Providence for a special class and in-studio performance in preparation for an upcoming prestigious competition, the Youth America Grand Prix.
The Youth America Grand Prix competition is an important event, as top placing dancers will receive scholarships and perhaps even future jobs in the dance world. But Turning Pointe Artistic Director Laura Sciortino said, for her dancers, “It’s not about placement. For us, it’s about the journey.”
This was an opportunity for the dancers to practice performing their pieces in front of a live audience, including their peers, whose eager faces could be seen through the studio window during the performance. “We are trying to make the dancers a little nervous and see how they do under pressure,” Turning Pointe Artistic Director Laura Sciortino said.
The evening began with dance instructor Yves de Bouteiller, giving a ballet class to the student performers, urging the dancers to “jump, jump, push, push, higher, higher” as they trained.
The performance itself featured classical as well as original contemporary choreography by Sciortino and de Bouteiller, as well as pieces by Festival Ballet Providence School’s Marius Petipa—23 solos in all, each one to two-and-a-half minutes long, plus a group piece choreographed by Sciortino.
Turning Pointe students Eloise Mills, Isabelle Ramage, Sarah Thieler, Darien Santos, Gabriela Polakovic, Mia Hanflig, Megan Montiero, Monica Welchman and Annalisa Fratantoni performed.
Sciortino, who has been teaching some of the students since they were three or four years old, watched proudly as the dancers performed solos in preparation for competition. Afterward, Sciortino said, “I would say that was a great dress rehearsal.”
As to what they thought of performing in-studio in front of a crowd of parents, friends and other dancers, one dancer said this venue was more challenging than a traditional performance on a stage. “This was scarier. You can see all the faces,” said Isabelle Ramage.