This fall, The White Mountain School has been privileged to host Julie Joseph, a Boston-based performer, choreographer, and teacher, on campus several times as a guest artist. Throughout the semester, students from White Mountain and Creative Edge Dance Studio alike have benefitted from Julie’s world-class experience in tap dancing.
At her first visit to White Mountain, Julie held auditions for a new tap piece, which were open to White Mountain and Creative Edge students in grades 9-12. Six students were ultimately selected, including: Rayelinn Bromley, Claudia Canuto, Kiersten Doughty ’23, Jessie Gall, Vendy Pospisilova ’20, Rose Sullivan. Julie worked intensively with these six dancers to develop an original tap piece, which will be featured in Creative Edge’s 2020 Recital, which will take place May 22-23.
Later in the semester, Julie returned to campus and held a tap masterclass, which was attended by participants ranging in age from 11 to adult. The participants were able to stretch their boundaries throughout the masterclass, and many experienced tap improvisation for the first time.
“Bringing guest artists to campus allows our students to be exposed to new teachers and new styles of dance, and they benefit in several different ways. It’s essential for dancers to be versatile, and having classes with somebody who focuses on different aspects of technique, runs a class differently, or has a novel approach to choreography allows our students to practice and develop that versatility,” explains Dinah Gray, director of dance. “Working with artists other than our regular faculty also broadens our dancers’ networks, setting up relationships that can be continued beyond the artist’s stint at the school. Students also get the opportunity to practice their skills as auditioners, learning to work effectively in a situation where the stakes are heightened beyond a typical dance class with familiar teachers.”
Dinah aims to bring in at least one guest artist each academic year and is currently working to find a guest artist to teach at White Mountain’s Summer Dance Intensive in 2020. The Summer Dance Intensive is a two-week residential summer program designed for dancers entering grades 6 through 12 that exposes participants to several styles of dance, including ballet, jazz, and contemporary.
“I had so many great experiences with guest artists during my high school and college years, and it’s really gratifying to be able to bring similar opportunities to our students,” says Dinah. “I learn a lot from watching other artists work with students. It’s really helpful to hear new information and also really validating to hear somebody speak to some of the same concepts and values that I try to share with our students.”
Founded in 1886 and set in the beautiful White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, The White Mountain School is a coeducational college-preparatory boarding and day school for 135 students grades 9-12/PG. Our mission is to be a school of inquiry and engagement. Grounded in an Episcopal heritage, White Mountain prepares and inspires students to lead lives of curiosity, courage, and compassion.