Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Students Attend First-Ever Dancerpalooza Event
On the weekend of July 25th, FSHA dance teacher Cindy Montoya accompanied seven of her students — Talar Baranian, Sophia Ferrer, Brianna Gandarilla, Claudia Garcia, Mia Love, Nicole Pang and Ally Wilson — to the first-ever Dancerpalooza event in Long Beach, California. Dancers from around the country (and even a group from Australia) flew in to experience one of the biggest dance events of the year. Throughout this three-day crash course, the dancers got the opportunity to take classes from Emmy Award choreographers, Travis Wall and Mandy Moore, first season “So You Think You Can Dance” winner Nick Lazzerini and many more renowned choreographers including Montoya’s former student, Mark Meismer. The students were exposed to a variety of dance styles including contemporary, ballet, hip-hop, jazz and musical theater and enjoyed dancing next to prodigies, Sophia Lucia and Kailani Hilliker from the popular television show “Dance Moms.”
For many of the students, Dancerpalooza was the first time they had been to this type of dance event. “At first I was extremely nervous to attend the dance convention with so many trained dancers,” said Talar Baranian ’17, “ but when we got there it seemed like everyone was there for the same reason — to learn.”
According to Montoya, “I wanted to expose the girls to a completely different dance experience, and when I saw the line up of teachers I knew it was going to be exciting, but extremely challenging for them,” she explained. “After the first day I realized I had underestimated the tenacity of this group. In typical Tolog spirit, the girls stepped up to the challenge, taking 11 classes in the three days and soaking up as much material as they could.” Montoya says she is extremely proud of her students and hopes to offer more opportunities for the girls to expand their dancing skills. As for the students, they clearly had an amazing time: “Dancerpalooza was the highlight of my summer. I got to step out of my comfort zone and dance with some of my all time role models like Travis Wall, Kenny Wormald, Misha Gabriel, Willdabeast, and so much more. It was an experience of a lifetime!” said Nicole Pang ’16.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 440 Saint Katherine Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, (626) 685-8500 or visit www.fsha.org.