Photos: Zack Bissell, Tara Toumaala Video: Tara Toumaala
On Saturday, February 2nd, the Living Arts Youth Dance Ensemble was invited to participate as honored guests at the Detroit Dhamaal 2019 Bollywood Fusion Competition.
Held at the historic Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Detroit, the competition featured Bollywood dance troupes from colleges across the nation. Board member Matthew Nahan spoke about the Living Arts programs and the value of teaching artists in the community. Nahan also introduced the Youth Dance Ensemble performance.
"Dhamaal was in an old building, and it's a place where famous dancers have performed," remarked twelve year old, Jasmin Aleman. "I like how we were the honored guests and got to go perform.” Music Hall has featured esteemed performers including Fred Astaire, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and more.
The piece performed by the YDE was collaboratively choreographed by Dance Program Director Marianne Brass, teaching artist Rachel Herbert, and the young dancers. “We began working on the piece in the summer of 2018 and it was premiered in August at the Detroit City Festival. We asked the dancers to explore themes that relate to their current experiences and how their decisions play a role in the shaping of their identities,” stated Brass. After investigating these concepts, the dancers developed individual solos that were choreographed into the group work.
“I consider this dance a piece of living art because it’s continuously evolving as we dig deeper each week in rehearsal. Through guided discussion, reflection, and movement exploration, dancers are continuing to evolve this work of art in collaboration with their mentors.”
"It was a great experience; I was really happy to be there. I'd like to go there again,” said Aleman.
The Youth Dance Ensemble will be performing this collaborative work, along with other dances from their repertoire at our 20th Showcase in June 2019.
Detroit Dhamaal generously donated a portion of the proceeds from the evening to Living Arts. We are so thankful for their continued support and partnership.