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Alonzo King LINES Ballet Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) dancers swoop their arms towards the ground during a live performance in Union Square. The LINES BFA dancers were one of the many LINES Ballet groups that performed. “It was really cool,” BFA dancer Bria Eby said. “We don’t usually get to dance outside often, and it was really nice to be able to see the sky while dancing.” (Credit: Nadya Chase)

The plaza and pirouettes: LINES Ballet performs at Union Square

On Friday, April 21, various groups of dancers from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet program showcased their talent in the center of Union Square. The groups ranged from elementary school dancers to college dancers, each performing one or two songs for the crowd in Union Square.

The first group performed a contemporary dance choreographed by LINES Ballet choreographer Lynn Brilhante. According to Brilhante and her dancers, the opening piece they performed was centered around being on one’s own journey. The second piece focused on the importance of connectedness and coming together.

“I love to find music and dancers to work with,” Brilhante said. “Dance is really a process of exploration, so part of these dances and themes were created through improvisation, while [other parts] of it were set ahead of time. These are really, really terrific dancers to work with and the overall experience was really pleasant and professional.”

Prior to this performance, most of Brilhante’s group of dancers had never worked together before. However, according to some of Brilhante’s dancers, they were excited to come together to create their dances and watch other LINES Ballet groups perform.

“It’s been a really cool experience,” dancer Mira Shah said. “I live in a suburb about 45 minutes away [from Union Square], so being able to come here and take classes in the city and learn from Brilhante is really cool. The different groups that are performing here are all amazing, and I’m super excited to be able to meet new dancers and see their work.”

Following Brilhante’s dancers, a group of fourth and fifth grade dancers from the LINES Ballet community program took the stage. This group was taught by choreographer Catalina O’Connor, who has been working with the kids once a week for about a month on dance concepts and movements.

“My teaching partner and I helped the students with some of the movements, and from there, they used the concepts we’ve been exploring to create their own movements,” O’Connor said. “Most of [the performance] is actually their own choreography.”

According to O’Connor, seeing her students perform and come up with their own choreography was exciting as a teacher. She hopes to continue to encourage creativity within her students as she progresses through her teaching journey.

“It’s really important for them to show off something they worked really hard to create,” O’Connor said. “It’s really cool to be able to have made something and be able to share it with people and I’m glad they got that experience today.”

While watching the younger students perform, some older dancers felt nostalgic and inspired by their creativity.

“It’s really nice to dance with the community and see all the younger generations here,” LINES Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) dancer Sensa Rawlins said. “[We hope] we’re able to inspire them and share our passion with the younger dancers.”

Among the older dancers, the LINES BFA sophomore class performed Heart of Glass by Brad Conway. The group has been rehearsing this performance for months now, as it is the same dance they performed for their spring showcase.

“This was our first time performing together outside and it was a really amazing [experience],” BFA dancer Bria Eby said. “It was just really nice to dance with everybody.”

According to some LINES Ballet dancers, their hard work came together to create an impressive showcase. Their performances were some of the many dance, art, theater and music events held in Union Square year-round, emphasizing the importance of art culture in this area.

“Watching the [other groups] perform and performing ourselves was lovely,” BFA dancer Edie Stubblefield said. “It’s really nice to be with everybody, and especially to see the hard work [put into] each performance.”

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