Dancer and choreographer, Jera Wolfe, returned to Préville in March 2022 for a special weekend creation and film project with the Préville Youth Company director and dancers, and professional dancer, Sylvia Berman.
A weekend intensive masterclass with renowned dancer, Jera Wolfe
Over the course of a weekend in March, the dancers of the Préville Youth Company, a group of elite dancers ranging in ages from 14-17 years old, were given the opportunity to work with professional dancer and creator, Jera Wolfe. This masterclass series involved three intensive training sessions and was made possible by a sponsorship from Desjardins Caisse Popular Charles-Lemoyne.
The Préville Youth Company dancers had been meeting with Jera for several weeks prior to his arrival in Saint-Lambert on March 11. Jera was able to teach the choreography to his piece “Fall In,” remotely from his home in Toronto, using Préville’s online platform.
Without this option to collaborate online, a prolonged creation period, like this one, would be cost prohibitive since the guest artist would need to clear their schedule for several weeks, be put up in the host city and studio space would need to be rented. This way, the bulk of the work happens without the artist needing to leave home and turn down other contracts. It means that a small company, like our youth company, can afford to work with incredibly accomplished and in-demand creators like Jera.
The big weekend
From March 11-13, there wasn’t a moment’s rest for Jera, Dance Academy director, Jamie Malysh, or the Youth Company dancers!
The troupe rehearsed Friday night, then Jera was up bright and early Saturday morning to lead class for some of Préville’s younger dancers who aspire to join the Youth Company in the next year or two. In a two-hour class, Jera taught a pared-down version of “Fall In” so that these dancers would feel a special connection and sense of inclusion when they saw the filmed Youth Company version.
One of the young dancers reported that, “[Jera’s] way of teaching really made me understand the moves and made them easier to remember. I felt free to put my own touch on things.” Working with a dancer like Jera at this stage in their training was a rare and unforgettable experience.
Later that same day, Jera and the Youth Company regrouped for a three-hour rehearsal at NDL’s beautiful, bright dance studio. They ran over the schedule for the next day and went home to rest for their 9am call time.
Sunday morning found the whole crew, including photographer Manuel Rios, and videographer, Philippe Frenette-Roy, at White Wall Studio in Montreal, which provided the perfect pristine, blank canvas for the project.
The dancers rehearsed all morning, then filmed until 4pm. Watch the full choreographed piece “Fall In” from the masterclass weekend.
Community support: Desjardins Caisse Charles-LeMoyne
Even though technology made this experience more accessible, it still would not have been possible to fully realize our idea without the generous support of our project sponsor, Desjardins Caisse Charles-LeMoyne. This was our first time reaching out to our Caisse, and we were overwhelmed by their generous and enthusiastic support. We hope that they are as proud of this project as we are! To all of the staff at Caisse Charles-LeMoyne, we extend our heartfelt thanks.
And to Jera, we cannot thank you enough. We secretly hope (maybe not so secretly) that collaborating with you becomes a Spring tradition because we can’t think of a more inspiring way to usher in the season!
More workshops for serious young dancers this Summer!
The Préville Dance Academy has several Summer Intensive Workshops that offer young dancers the opportunity to work all day, everyday, on their craft, in the company of other young dancers, taught by industry professionals. This summer, there will be four workshops to choose from including a two-week Choreography Intensive, a Contemporary Intensive, a Hip Hop Intensive as well as a Musical Theatre Intensive which adds singing and performing to the mix!
Préville Youth Company
The Préville Youth Company provides dancers under the age of 19 with professional performance and networking opportunities. Company members engage with other dancers, choreographers and directors who work in the dance industry. The company offers training to diversify young dancers’ range and deepen their understanding of anatomy, while also providing mentorship opportunities.
Throughout the year dancers compete at elite competitions as well as at festivals around Québec and Ontario. To learn more, visit the Préville Youth Company page. The next auditions to join the Youth Company will July 5 & 7 2022.
Watch the full choreographed piece “Fall In” from the masterclass weekend.