At Dancewave, the idea is simple – treat young dancers as professionals-in-the-making, and they will rise to the occasion. Since the very beginning, Dancewave has seen the impressive positive impact this modality has on our program and student population. Over the years, many enormously talented students have come through our program and left to pursue their careers, but never without a piece of our heart. We reached out to EmmaGrace Skove-Epes, one such Dancewave alum, to find out how Dancewave has impacted her dance journey thus far.
Emma joined Dancewave at the age of 13, before pursuing dance professionally. On Sunday, April 3, 2016, Emma curated Dancewave’s first Works in Progress WPA Performance showcase presenting poignant works of three dance artists – Edisa Weeks, Nadia Tykulsker (another Dancewave alum) and Jonathan Gonzalez – each speaking to social constructs in today’s society.
Dancewave: Do you have a specific memory you would like to share from your time with Dancewave?
Emma: There’s a [movement] phrase from David Dorfman’s See Level, which was one of the first — if not the first — pieces I learned after I joined Dancewave, that I loved to do so much I continued to use it as a pre-performance warm-up regardless of what we’d be performing. I was intermittently prone to pre-performance anxiety, and I remember as I was getting ready to enter the stage for Mark Morris’ Polka (which the Dancewave Company had just learned) suddenly having a vision of myself dancing the wrong piece, not being able to remember the steps to Polka and [instead] doing David Dorfman’s phrase from See Level in the midst of everyone else performing a very different dance. This scenario never actually played out — but I realized how many distinct vocabularies were being housed in my body through the diverse repertory I’ve learned at Dancewave!
Dancewave: Can you shed some light on the role Dancewave has played in your overall dance journey and career?
Emma: I’m interested in finding how expansive my creative expression can be. Having had exposure at a young age at Dancewave to many different choreographic voices helped me trust the fact that I didn’t have to follow a pre-prescribed path as a dancer.
Dancewave Company students have the privilege of working with professional dance artists each year, learning and performing repertory that has been performed by companies currently on the forefront of contemporary dance. In addition to David Dorfman and Mark Morris — choreographers who have contributed immensely to the canon of modern dance — Dancewave Company dancers have worked with Shen Wei, Kyle Abraham, Andrea Miller, Camille Brown, and many other artists whose works use movement as a call for social justice in all forms.