Winners of the Young Choreographer Competition Announced

Chelen Middlebrook of Lorton, VA won Grand Prize of $500 and the chance to choreograph a new piece on BalletNova's Summer Intensive dancers
FAIRFAX, Va. - March 24, 2015 - PRLog -- BalletNova is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Young Choreographers Competition (YCC).


The Grand Prize Winner was Chelen Middlebrook, a 16-year old from Lorton, VA. Her piece was entitled  "Smothered Dreams" and used six dancers in the Contemporary genre.  Here’s what Chelen had to say about her choreography:

“Diversity is an important trait when it comes to being successful in the dance industry. I felt that if I could place my ideas on another set of bodies other than my own, it would give me a better understanding and appreciation of works I will see or be a part of in the future.”

Chelen’s prizes included a $500 cash award; a statuette of a dancer; free tuition to BalletNova’s Summer Intensive, and the opportunity to set a new piece of choreography on the BalletNova Summer Intensive dancers.

Other winners were:

Second Place ($250) - Emily Glaccum from Burke, VA - 16 years old – student at BalletNova - for  "Vicissitude"

Third Place ($100) - Ariel Samuels from Fairfax, VA – 15 years old – student at Every Body Dance studio – for “Mad World”

Other Finalists:

Fourth Place: Halley Roy from Alexandria, VA - Carl Sandburg Middle School dance team -  for "Lost"

Fifth Place - Lauren Chmara from Falls Church -  15 years old - Bullis School Dance Program -  for "True Friendship"

The five YCC finalists performed at the Fredgren Studio Theatre (at BalletNova, Falls Church) on Saturday, March 21.  Special thanks to sponsor Ms. Judith Allison Lee for underwriting the awards.

BalletNova’s Young Choreographers Competition

Founded in 2012, the YCC was conceived by Caroline Frankil Warren as a way for serious young dancers to experience their artistry in a different way other than performance.  They explored the choreographic process through three Choreo101 Workshops taught by George Mason University Assistant Professor Karen Reedy (also Director of the Karen Reedy Dance Company). The competition was open to 14-18 year old dancers from the Metro DC area and their choreography could be in classical ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz or hip hop dance genres.

The YCC is conducted virtually – competitors submit a DVD of their work which is evaluated by an acclaimed panel of nationally and internationally recognized judges, who score them according to elements such as space utilization, movement patterns, timing dynamics and conceptual creativity. The top five finalists are chosen and then the public is invited to vote on their favorite choreographers online (public voting counted as 20% of the total score). In 2015, 1200 voters participated in the contest voting.

The 2015 judges were:

Karen Reedy is founder/director of Karen Reedy Dance.  Ms. Reedy was a 2008 recipient of the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Local Dance Commissioning Grant for the creation of Sleepwalking and was a Metro Arts Incubator Artist at the American Dance Institute during the 2012-2013 season,. Ms. Reedy holds an M.F.A in Dance from George Mason University, where she is an Assistant Professor of Dance

Rochelle Zide-Booth has retired after a long career in ballet -  Principal Dancer of The Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Mistress of The Joffrey and Boston Ballets, Professor of Ballet at Adelphi University, Head of Ballet at The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, on the faculty of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Professor of Ballet, Men’s Ballet and Dance History at Butler University and Artistic Director of the New Zealand School of Dance. As a Fulbright lecturer, Zide-Booth was the first American invited to be Artist in Residence at the Prague Conservatory of Dance and the Ballet of the National Theatre in the Czech Republic.

Durell R. Comedy is a native of Prince Georges County, MD , adjunct faculty member at George Mason University’s School of Dance.  He has performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group, The Metropolitan Opera, Troy Powell, Matthew Rushing, CorbinDances, Roger C. Jeffrey|Subtle Changes, Kyle Abraham|Abraham.In.Motion, Baltimore Opera Company, and Washington National Opera. Mr. Comedy has been a member of the Limón Dance Company since 2009.

Aysha Upchurch is a Washington, DC based dancer, choreographer, and instructor. Upchurch has served on the faculty at Joy of Motion Dance Center, CityDance Ensemble, and Dance Place. In 2007, she won the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Local Dance Commissioning Project.

Luis Torres Ortiz, of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, is in his tenth season with The Washington Ballet, and also works with the Chamber Dance Project as dancer and ballet master.  Mr. Torres completed his bachelor's degree of interdisciplinary studies in dance and psychology at Arizona State University graduating summa cum laude, and earned his MFA in Dance Performance from GMU in 2014.

BalletNova Center for Dance, founded in 1981, is an award-winning center for dance excellence dedicated to educating and mentoring dancers in a positive, nurturing environment and preserving the traditions of classical ballet through quality dance productions and education.  Formerly Arlington Center for Dance/The Center Dance Company, the organization moved to a beautiful six-studio 20,800 square foot state-of-the-art facility in 2008, and offers classes in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, and hip hop for children, teens and adult dancers. The pre-professional ballet program is recognized as one of the best in the Metro Washington DC area, and BalletNova also has an extensive Adult Dance Division with classes in several levels of Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz and Theater Dance. The new Fredgren Studio Theatre, a 150-seat black box theatre designed for dance, opened in September 2014.

BalletNova is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization supported in part by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development, the Arlington Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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