Dancer Profile: Ian Christian-Reyes De Leon of Culture Shock DC

Ian Christian-Reyes De Leon, also known as B-boy “Ruffian,” is from Germantown, MD. He has been b-boying and breakdancing for more than a decade and has spent the last two years studying hip hop and urban choreography. In addition to being a member of Culture Shock DC, he also practices with many urban freestyle dancers and choreographers in the region. Follow him on Twitter @theovenstudio and support the local dance community through his Facebook page DMV Dance Network.

Photo Credit: Dana Pajarillaga

DC Dance Collective, Halo Dance Studio, KODACHROME, The Oven (formerly). Favorite instructor is MaryAnn Reyes who now lives in LA.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance has opened many doors for me and introduced me to many great people, opportunities and experiences. When I dance, I feel free.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Have fun and take your time. Practice won’t make you perfect but it will make you better. Make sure you love the music!

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

The DMV Dance Network – an online community dedicated to bringing people in our scene together! Shout out to Culture Shock DC, Oven Fam, KODACHROME, Baltimore Dance Crews Project, Cruz Productions, the bboy/bgirl community, and every other dance company and crew in the DMV doing positive things for our community!

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Dancer Profile: Damarcko Retro Price of EnKore Dance Company

Damarcko Retro Price is a dancer/choreographer from Laurel, MD. He is the Founder, Owner and Artistic Director of EnKore Dance Company, an urban based dance company whose objective is to prepare young dancers to sustain a career in professional entertainment. In addition to his experience with hip hop dance, Retro has also studied modern/contemporary, jazz, improv, creative movement and African. Follow him on Twitter @retroenkore.

Where do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

I take class all over DC, MD and VA. I enjoy all teachers I choose to take class from.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance has motivated me to achieve all the goals I set out for myself, but most importantly I feel complete and free when I dance. It’s a powerful method of expression.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Never give up! Do not look at any other dancer and compare yourself to him or her. We all had to start somewhere. Your gift is unique. OWN IT!

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

EnKore Dance Company will be competing on B.E.T’s 106 & Park this Wednesday, March 14 so please tune in  at 6:00 p.m. and VOTE!! If you are ever in need of Dance, Fitness Training, Artist Development or Choreography, e-mail us at Enkoredance@yahoo.com.

Dancer Profile: Emma Dozier of Glade Dance Collective

Emma Dozier is a web content editor, dancer and marketer living in Alexandria, VA. She is a member of Glade Dance Collective and also dances with Sustaining Movement and Talu Dance Co. In middle school, Emma took a variety of classes including ballet, jazz and tap, but focused on pom/dance team during her high school days. Finally in college, she fell in love with modern dance and now primarily takes ballet and modern classes. Follow her on Twitter @emmajoan.

Photo Credit: Maggie Picard

Where do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

I am most often at Joy of Motion Dance Center Friendship Heights for rehearsals, but I have totally fallen in love with Elana Anderson’s Horton Technique class at Joy of Motion Dance Center Atlas on Sundays. On the other side of the river, I have just discovered BalletNova Center for Dance and their amazing faculty of ballet teachers.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

The creative and physically demanding side of dance absolutely saves my brain and body from an admittedly pretty cool Department of Defense contracting desk job. When I’m dancing, any emotion can be turned into a strong, meaningful choice and I feel an instant connection to the other dancers in the room.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Glade Dance Collective recently put on a piece for Dance is the Answer 2011, and we had a huge range of people with dance experience – from dancers currently in introductory classes to those who have performed on stage hundreds of times. It is never too late to try something new and there is an existing community here to nurture your craft and answer any questions you have! Jump in!

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

Glade Dance Collective is holding auditions July 16th at 3pm at Joy of Motion Dance Center Bethesda. We’re looking for dancers for individual pieces and dancers who want to be involved in all aspects of the collective. Learn more on the Facebook invite or e-mail Emma at emma@gladedance.org with any questions.

Dancer Profile: Amy Doman – Funk Dancer for LAZERBITCH

Amy Doman is a public relations professional living in the DC area. In the past year she has danced with Synergy Hip Hop and has also danced for Baltimore based artist LAZERBITCH.  She currently trains with Dimensions of Funk. In addition to house and punking, Amy also has experience with hip hop and jazz. Follow Amy on Twitter @amydoman and read more about her at her Tumblr blog.

Where do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

BTI Dance Studio. Favorite teacher: Esperonto Bean

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance has changed my life since I was diagnosed with a heart valve disorder. I’ve continued to dance and train more and it has kept me healthy. The feeling I get when I am on stage is the best feeling and allows me to express my emotions through dance.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Take a class with a friend and let your mind be free. If you do not like learning choreography, then take a freestyle type of dance such as house or punking. Surround yourself with positive energy and dance for yourself..no one else!

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

Shout out to my friend and teacher esperonto! Thanks for being true to the art of dance and putting down the knowledge and most importantly for believing in me!

Dancer Profile: Katie Maxwell of Choreographers Collaboration Project

Katie Maxwell is a public relations and marketing professional based in Alexandria, VA. She has experience with a variety of styles including jazz, modern, ballet, contemporary, hip hop and tap. Katie currently dances with Choreographers Collaboration Project (CCP). Follow her on Twitter @kt_maxwell.

Where do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

I usually take modern with Janet Stormes of CCP, but I’ve also taken some great jazz and ballet classes at BalletNova Center for Dance.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance has given me confidence, provided me with an incredible creative outlet, and introduced me to my best friends. Dancing can make me feel a lot of things – joyful, sad, powerful, vulnerable… but it always makes me feel something, which is why I love it.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Just give it a try – there are so many options, especially in the DC metro area. Whether it’s a beginners technique class, ballroom dancing lessons with a group of friends, or Zumba at your local gym, there is a type of dance for everyone out there.

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

CCP is gearing up for our June 25-26 concert at Dance Place! Check our website and follow us on Twitter @DanceCCP for updated information, and come support the local arts at what promises to be a great show.

Dancer Profile: Sarah Lokitis of Terra Dance Project

Sarah Lokitis is a Junior Account Manager at Search Mojo by day and a dancer by night. She has experience with a variety of styles, but her focus has mainly been modern, jazz and ballet. She previously performed at venues like the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Dance Place as a member of Mary Lane’s Unevenlane Dance Company in DC. Sarah recently relocated to Charlottesville, VA and now dances with Terra Dance Project.

Sarah Lokitis

photo credit: Richard Finkelstein

Where do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

In DC, I love taking class at Joy of Motion. Helanius Wilkins was my favorite teacher because he immediately made your mind pay attention while your body was moving. I never was able to take Paul Emerson’s dance class at Strathmore, but that is on my to do list. I am currently looking for quality adult dance classes in Charlottesville.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance has always been part of my life, so it is hard to say how dance changed it. I can’t imagine my life without dance and I feel so comfortable dancing.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Just go take class. No one will judge you if you have no idea what you are doing. There are tons of beginner classes in DC in every style. If you are scared, bring a friend, and if you are a student, most studios offer student discounts. Take many different styles until you find a style or teacher you enjoy. Dance will get your mind and body working in a whole different way than going to the gym or taking yoga.

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

Follow me on Twitter @lokitis. I compiled a list of DC dance related Twitter users and send out an Arts and Dance Daily. Please check it out! I am now dancing with Terra Dance Project – a collaborative dance company rehearsing all over Virginia. The company recently performed in a show in Prince George, VA outside of Richmond and recently got back from a performance in Miami with Z Mullins Dance Company. We are looking to collaborate in shows in the DC area and are excited to share our work with you!

Dancer Profile: Sara Lavan of Choreographers Collaboration Project

Sara Lavan is a Pilates teacher, dancer and creative movement instructor based in Alexandria, VA. She currently dances with Choreographers Collaboration Project (CCP), a modern dance company founded in 1998 by Mary Jo Smet and Janet Stormes. Sara’s dance experience includes both ballet and modern. For more information about CCP, visit their website.

Sara LavanWhere do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

I usually take class at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center with one of CCP’s founders Janet Stormes. I also take ballet class at BalletNova Center for Dance with fellow company member Silvia Burnstein-Hendi.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance keeps me company through the challenges of life. It has given me focus, purpose and an outlet for creativity that has always been a necessity for me. The training specifically has given me a strong work ethic, a deep respect for others and an overall appreciation for the arts and their role in creating a rounded and adjusted society. How do I feel when I dance? Many ways – joyous, disappointed, creative, energized, emotional. It all depends on the day and where I am in my journey. That is the beauty of dance. It changes and can change with you, offer support and help you grow.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Do it! I have always been a strong advocate for bringing dance to everyone. In my own teaching I focus on the very young to encourage dance, and open families up to the possibilities it can offer. There are many beginner classes of all types in the area. Try different types, ask around, find movement that speaks to you. As a movement enthusiast, I believe moving and wellness are deeply connected.

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

We have a great show coming up at Dance Place in June. You can get more information about the show at www.ccpdance.org. Shout out of course to Janet Stormes and Mary Jo Smet for giving me this opportunity to continue my dance journey in such a profound way after leaving New York City. My life has truly taken an amazing turn.

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