Tap, ballet and pointe shoes intermixed with bare feet rushed on stage as the directors called the dancers together – but these directors were 16 and 17 years old.
Students did all their own choreography and directing for the annual Choreography Concert at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts Friday night.
About 500 people attended the concert, which showcased 20 dances in the Walsh Center for Performing Arts auditorium.
Lead director Kelsey Cockerham with directors-in-training Makayla Lane and Savina Haase held auditions and rehearsals and helped prepare the student dancers for concert night.
“Throughout rehearsal, we’ve been watching them and helping them clean their dances and such,” Lane said. “For a lot of them, it’s probably their first time choreographing a piece and performing their work.”
High school senior Adrian Green performed a contemporary solo that he choreographed this summer in his living room.
“I love the concept of this concert because every other concert that you’re ever going to see for dance is basically teachers teaching students to dance,” Green said. “I think this is really cool because it gives students more independence on what they want to do and express themselves.”
Seventh-grader Addison Gardner performed a contemporary dance and has been choreographing her own solos since she was in fifth grade.
“I really like choreographing my own piece because I get to show what I can do besides what my studio does and my dance teacher does,” Gardner said. “This concert is not set on one thing, one type of dancer or one type of age so I really like that.”
High school students Mya Bryant and Gabrielle Kasprzak performed a duet contemporary dance to the song “Alaska” by Maggie Rogers.
“It’s good to see different dancers, different personalities and different choreography and the individuality that comes with it,” Bryant said. “I just think it’s really awesome how kids as young as third grade can choreograph such amazing pieces and perform them, and same for every other grade in this school.”
After concert night, the students traded their director headsets and dance shoes for school books and tennis shoes. Lane said she hopes the audience appreciated the responsibility the students demonstrated in their choreography and directing.
“The audience–we just want them to get inspired because the younger generations are stepping up to becoming choreographers and directors of shows,” she said.