Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Dancers Perform for Famous Choreographer Sean Cheesman

Members of FSHA’s Senior and Junior Salt dance troupes recently had an opportunity that few high-schoolers do: They auditioned for a choreographer and judge from FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance.

Sean Cheesman, a world-renowned dancer, visited FSHA on Monday, February 3. A longtime friend of FSHA’s dance instructor, Cindy Montoya, Cheesman has worked with luminaries such as Michael Jackson, Prince and Britney Spears. Montoya and Cheesman themselves met when they were both background dancers for Paula Abdul.

Cheesman will be choreographing an Afro-Jazz number for this spring’s Dance Concert, which will focus on the themes of American history. “Sean has one of the most innovative minds for telling a story through unique rhythmic movement,” Montoya said. “When I was thinking of how to incorporate meaningful movement into this year’s Dance Concert, I knew that Afro-Jazz, with its earthy roots, complex rhythms and athleticism, would help convey the emotion of certain American history themes.”

Cheesman signed on immediately: “It’s always so great to see young, fresh talent. It’s wonderful to feel that energy that they bring.” He was at FSHA on February 4 to begin the audition process.

Twenty brave dancers took on the challenge, learning a piece of an Afro-Jazz routine at Cheesman’s direction and then performing it in groups of four. He then called 10 Tologs back to the floor for individual critiques.

Julia Houser ’14 was one of those dancers. “When he first came in and started teaching us the steps, I was a bit nervous,” she explained. “But once I got the choreography down, it was really fun.” (Click here to see Julia perform the piece, along with Stephanie Jabarian ’14, Tiara Avaness ’14 and Vanessa Dennis ’14.)

Cheesman will return to FSHA in March for Dance Concert preparations.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 440 Saint Katherine Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, (626) 685-8500 or visit www.fsha.org.


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