Radio City Rockettes Mentor The Harlem School of the Arts Dance Ensemble The Harlemettes
The Harlem School of the Arts' (HSA) dance director, Aubrey Lynch, today announced that the world-famous Radio City Rockettes will help to prepare the young precision dance ensemble, The Harlemettes, for their December 19th, 7:00 pm appearance at the Kaye Playhouse, located at 695 Park Avenue, NYC 10065.
Mr. Lynch has been invested in building relationships with numerous prominent dance organizations that have made diversity and inclusion, an important component of their mission. "It is important to show our black and brown dance students that the sky is the limit," he says. To this end, he has been able to build alliances with Dance Theater of Harlem, American Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey, and now with the world-famous Radio City Rockettes, which served as inspiration for the creation of The Harlemettes.
Under Aubrey Lynch's direction and with the help of the very talented and gifted Leyland Simmons at his side, the HSA Dance department has become a dance education destination. Dance students are able to explore a variety of dance genres including tap, hip hop, modern, African, Latin, Jazz and ballet, as well as choreography. HSA is proud to be one of six official affiliate schools in the world offering the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) National Training Curriculum. In addition to introductory classes, HSA Dance provides a rigorous training curriculum for pre-professional students that focus on a set curriculum of ballet and modern dance. No matter their level of training, students are encouraged to participate in all in-house and off-site performances.
Over this past summer, the Radio City Rockettes, including assistant choreographer and dance captain Danelle Morgan, participated in HSA's Summer Dance Intensive, offering a select group of dance students, a unique opportunity to experience first-hand, a bit of what it takes to be a Rockette. The HSA dancers were put through a rigorous and intricate class where they learned some of the Rockettes more intricate choreography, including eye-high kicks and precision dance routines.
"I'm honored to have had the opportunity to work with the talented Harlemettes," said Danelle Morgan, Radio City Rockettes assistant choreographer, and dance captain. "The Rockettes share HSA's mission of increasing inclusivity and representation within the dance community and we're proud to support an organization that creates opportunities for dancers of color in New York City."
Mr. Lynch believes these opportunities are meaningful on numerous levels: giving students a peek at what a professional dance career entails, challenging them to reach for excellence, and providing a positive influence that teaches them the value of commitment, teamwork and practice.
The Harlemettes' appearance at the Kaye Playhouse will be the highlight of the 2018-2019 calendar year that was packed with important appearances and growth, including the ensemble's performance at the 25thAnnual Harlem Holiday Lights event; headlining the sold-out HSA Holiday Show, scripted, directed and choreographed by Aubrey Lynch, and titled "A Harlemettes Holiday"; as well, the numerous other appearances as ambassadors of HSA's stated mission and as examples of the excellent training that the organization fosters.
This summer, the ensemble became the youngest group of dancers invited to participate at the Bryant Park Contemporary Dance Festival and were cheered on by Rockettes Danelle Morgan, who visited with them prior to their performance.
Taking the stage at the Kaye Playhouse will be made far less nerve-racking knowing that they have been coached by the formidable, world-famous Radio City Rockettes, who will be represented on the day of the performance by Morgan, and former Rockette Jennifer Jones, the first African American Radio City Rockette. Jones in particular and the organization as a whole have been the motivating factors for the young HSA dance ensemble, pushing them to aim high, kick higher, and to shatter the ceilings and walls that exist.
"This is just the beginning of what I hope will lead to much bigger opportunities," says Mr. Lynch who imagines some iteration of the Harlemettes troupe, under the direction of Leyland Simmons in his new role as Dance Director, appearing side by side with the Rockettes down the line, and that the Harlem School of the Arts might contribute to the pipeline of dancers of color inducted into the Radio City Rockettes line.
For more on the Radio City Rockettes, please visit, www.rockettes.com