Performing has been a part of my life since I was really young. My mother and grandmother put me in modeling and dance at the age of 2. It started with ballet, jazz, acro, and tap, and I loved it! I was really shy as a kid, so dancing was what got me out of my shell. I’ve been dancing now for 20 years with Uptown Dance Company in Boston Ma, Broadway Dance Company, Dance Force in Norwood Ma, Repertory Dance Theatre, and Salem Student Dance Ensemble Salem State University.
Dance is a huge part of my life, but I’ve also always had a passion for acting. I did local commercials and some modeling when I was around the age of 2-7, and got a good feel of the acting world and definitely wanted to try more. I started theatre my senior year of high school doing improv and makeup work for shows.
I then began my acting experience my freshman year of college acting as many versatile roles, and performing many different styles/ genres of Theatre. I got the privilege to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in the Irene Ryan acting competition, and made it to nationals in Washington D.C. where we performed and trained at the Kennedy Center.
Because of all of these amazing experiences and extensive training, I have found a special love for choreographing and producing. I have worked with my high school on their musical productions, and took composition classes in college to further my skills in choreography. I have choreographed and ran as the dance/fight captain for a few productions at Salem State such as Ragtime, Much Ado About Nothing, and A Long Christmas Ride Home.
I want to continue pushing myself and live my passion for performance. I am starting my own performing arts company with my friends in hopes to reach all audiences of all backgrounds."
A conduit to a professional dance career.
We offer two class fellow spots per cycle. The next application will be for September - December, 2022 and is accepted on a rolling basis until August 1, 2022.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with attn: class fellow. Please confirm you are in our target age range for this program (18 - 25), let us know your dance experience and why you are interested in this program.
Class Fellows program provides 2 young adults per session, ages of 18 - 25, with:
Free weekly classes
Goal setting and feedback sessions
Dance book club
Participation in our annual journal, POLLEN
$250 honorarium, to be used at the discretion of the dancer
This program is intended to bridge the space between formal educational training (studio or college) and the professional dance world. Class Fellows must attend at least 2 classes per week out of 3 within their four month period.
After completing the VLA DANCE Class Fellows program artists are given a discount of 50% off all of our classes and workshops for an additional year.
About Class Fellows
Meet Schanaya Barrows
"Hello hello hello! My name is Schanaya Barrows. I am 22 years old and I’m from Boston MA. I’ve just graduated from Salem State University this past May 2021 with a BFA in Theatre Performance and a minor in Dance Performance. . .
Certain circumstances have led me to take a leave of absence from school, which is more than okay! In this liminal, perhaps permanent time, I am living in Boston and working on faculty at Urbanity Dance, as well as picking up freelance work here and there. I am thrilled to be a part of this Fellowship with VLA — to train alongside so many beautiful dancers is such a blessing. I'm learning not to let school get in the way of my education, and with an opportunity like this I see myself blossoming in a way I haven't yet. So honored, so grateful."
After I graduated high school, I attended Bennington College, pursuing a BA degree in Dance. After my first semester, I moved to New York City on my winter break and completed a short (but sweet) education internship with Mark Morris Dance Group, where I learned to teach children and familiarized myself with arts administration. After such a rigorous experience, I realized I was in search for a bit more of an intensity in dance — I transferred to the University of the Arts, where I am currently in pursuit of a BFA in Dance.
Meet Liz Westbrook
"Dancing makes me who I am! I grew up in New Hampshire, and began dancing at the age of three. I trained throughout my childhood through various studios, and transitioned to primarily theatre dance for a while. I found confidence in leadership through many dance captain and featured dancer roles — I like to think my later love for teaching stems from these experiences. . .