From The Lydia Johnson Dance School
Seventeen-year-old Bella Malbrough has been studying at the Lydia Johnson Dance (LJD) School since she was four years old, and has spent nearly every summer participating in the popular LJD Summer Dance and Choreography Camp, as a student and, more recently, as a Teen Intern. This will be the first summer since she was six years old that Bella won’t be attending LJD’s Dance Camp. Instead, the aspiring dancer will be spending four weeks at the prestigious Paul Taylor Dance Company Teen Summer Intensive in New York City after successfully auditioning for the program.
This intensive will immerse Bella and other students in the Taylor Modern technique, and she will be dancing six full hours every weekday. But she is sure that her many years at the LJD School and Summer Dance Camp have prepared her for this exciting venture.
“Growing up in the LJD School, I have constantly been surrounded by wonderful teachers who have helped me to grow as a dancer and a young woman,” Bella says. “Not only have I studied the technical aspects of dance but also the artistic and expressive parts. LJD has given me the choreographic tools to be able to create my own dances and identify the components that are used in professional work.”
The school is well known for its non-competitive atmosphere. Bella comments, “There has never been a moment when I felt compared to or judged against other students. That is something that can be rare in the dance world. The LJD School is a place where everyone can dance and has the freedom to express themselves through their movement.”
The LJD School teachers are professional dancers, most of whom perform with the LJD professional company. Because of this, LJD School students are studying closely with people who are immersed in professional dance including performing.
Bella shares, “What I am most grateful for is how my teachers have given me a voice. From a very young age, I have been encouraged to express myself through my dancing and my words. When viewing each other’s choreography, students are asked to share what they like about a dance that they have just seen. I can now watch actively and also verbally express something specific that I have just seen. This is something that I love about the LJD School.”
Leading up to her audition video submission for the Paul Taylor Summer Intensive, Bella worked closely with LJD School Director and choreographer Lydia Johnson and Contemporary teacher Amanda Egan in rehearsing dance sequences and Paul Taylor-inspired phrases that would suit Bella well. She also recorded an introduction video, and compiled a headshot and resume for the application.
Three weeks after applying, Bella received the email that she had been accepted to the Summer Intensive. After sharing celebratory hugs with her family, she recalls, “When I was alone in my room, the realization that I got accepted fully hit me, and the stress and gratitude all kind of washed over me at once. I ended up crying with this big grin on my face. I think because the whole process was over, I was able to acknowledge how much I had wanted this and how proud I was of myself.”
While Bella will be studying in NYC this summer, she cannot recommend the LJD School’s Dance and Choreography Camp highly enough for local young dancers who are looking to hone their technique and work creatively in a supportive environment to choreograph their own dances.
“The LJD School’s summer program is a fantastic experience,” Bella notes. “It’s so cool to see students of all different ages come together. I am constantly amazed by the quality of the choreography that is made. It is perfect for the dancer who wants to equally improve their technique and create with others. There’s also a great sense of community when the camp comes together for the morning warm-up, led by the interns, and during snacktime. I have made friends at the program that I still talk to today. Both as a student and an intern, my experience with the program has been unforgettable.”
This summer, LJD School will offer the following programs: Creative Ballet – Dance to the Music (Outdoors) for dancers ages 3-5 (held Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:30-10:30am) and Dance and Choreography Camp for rising 5th graders through early high school students (held Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm). As always, LJD School has a Teen Summer Internship program as well.
For further information on Lydia Johnson Dance School’s Summer 2022 Programs, visit www.lydiajohnsondanceschool.com/summer-2022-programs. For info on the professional company including press quotes from The New Yorker, The New York Times and other publications, go to www.lydiajohnsondance.org.