Student Stories: Looking Forward to Youth Dance Project

By Cecily Lo, Youth Dance Ensemble Company Member

Youth Dance Project
Photo Credit: Jenna Maslechko

It’s that time of year again.

No, I don’t mean midterms, nor do I mean the dreaded first week back from winter break. Although these are both legitimate concerns of any high school student (myself included), I’m referring to something much more awesome.

I’m talking about Youth Dance Project.

As an avid, budding choreographer, I look forward to Youth Dance Project every year as an opportunity like no other. Nowhere else are young people so encouraged and enabled to choreograph and present original work. Last year, I performed a self-choreographed contemporary solo, “Catharsis,” and it was one of my favorite performances to date. The entire process, from auditioning, to rehearsing, to designing my own costume and lighting was a tremendous learning experience and gave me a glimpse into the professional dance world.

The Q&A session that followed the performance was admittedly a bit intimidating at first, but the audience was kind and supportive. It was great to be able to articulate my choreographic process with a receptive crowd and to learn from other choreographers’ experiences as well.

Youth Dance Project is definitely one of the highlights of my year, and I’d encourage everyone to participate.

Joy of Motion Dance Center’s annual Youth Dance Project engages young dance artists throughout the DC area. If you are a dancer age 8 to 18 and are interested in presenting your original choreography, click here for more information. Online submission forms are due January 21st and live auditions take place January 27th.