BWW Reviews: Teens Amaze at 92Y's DANCE UP!

Related: 92nd Street YMHA Harkness Dance Center
BWW Reviews: Teens Amaze at 92Y's DANCE UP!

In the very center where many dance legends have performed, thirteen teenaged choreographers presented pieces as part of Dance Up! The Next Generation at the 92nd Street YMHA Harkness Dance Center on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13. The performance was followed by a Q&A session with the choreographers. The event showcased a vast array of talent, creativity, and maturity among the teens but also showed a commonality across all generations.

Mamaroneck High School saw two of their very own present. Remi Reinlib's "Yours, Mine and Ours" was a graceful duet that expressed the ever-present conflict of losing oneself in a relationship. Carolyn Sarkozi, a self-proclaimed non-dancer, drew paintings to aid in realizing her ensemble piece, her visual artistic skills evident throughout.

Dani Cole, a Virginian who is as eloquent in her words as she is in her choreography, created two pieces. Her Lord of the Flies-inspired solo exhibited a dynamic musicality that made strong movements seem to both cut and float through the air. Her strength in accenting the music along with dancer Mattie Rogers' gorgeous lines and emotional commitment beautifully expressed the story of a Holocaust survivor in her second piece.

Dance friends Julianne Carino and Justine Farhi decided to explore their choreographic styles freely and unapologetically. What resulted were two eclectic pieces - a solo by Julianne that seemed like a whispering secret not meant to be heard and a multimedia duet with such captivating chemistry that many veteran dance partners would envy.

A member of Alice Teirstein's Young Dancemakers Company, Nikeiris Portalatin laid her heart on the line with a grueling solo that had the audience reminiscing their own teenage heartaches. Her explosive emotional outbreak along with refined technique and athleticism created a painfully striking aesthetic. The piece then transitioned into a duet, where complex and innovative lifts could leave even a high school physics teacher in awe.

Right in the middle of a modern-dominated showcase was a hip hop piece performed by the Seabreeze Shake System, with choreography by members Alex Parker, Christie Benitez, and Wilkiaris Crispin. Through various styles from breakdancing to house, krumping to locking, the group displayed versatility and raw talent. However, it was their underlying themes of women empowerment and anti-bullying that demanded much attention, letting the audience know that they deserved to be there.

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Jessica Abejar Jessica Abejar is an artist with a love of storytelling. As a dancer/choreographer, she most recently performed at World Youth Day in Brazil, where she was called to explore movement as a prayer. She promotes a holistic approach to health and wellness as an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor, performing and teaching a style of sacred dance she calls "The Moving Prayer." She also writes a youth column for the newspaper The Filipino Catholic. Jessica graduated from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, summa cum laude with a BA in Business, but decided to follow her childhood dreams instead and performed with Disney Cruise Line.

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