Florida School of the Arts presents its Dance Choreography Gala

Dance Choreography Gala
Dance Choreography Gala
Dance Choreography Gala
Dance Choreography Gala

A celebration of dance diversity showcasing student and guest choreography is sure to get patrons dancing in their seats at the Florida School of the Arts.

The Gala runs November 20 - 22. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the FloArts Main Stage Theatre on the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus. Admission is $5. Students and employees are admitted free with college ID. There will be a post-show dialogue between the audience and choreographers immediately following Friday's show.

The mixed work of choreography, directed by FloArts dance faculty Mary Love Ward and Jessica Mayhew Borrero, includes hip-hop, tap, contemporary and African dance, as well as a dance-film preview.

According to Ward,“As it Stands,” a dance commissioned and uniquely created for FloArts dance majors, is one of the featured dances. Choreographed by guest artist Trent Williams, the dance explores shifting relationships from an urban perspective. Williams is a professor of dance at the University of Florida and a former professional dancer with the world-renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. His choreography has been performed nationally, including prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center and the American Dance Festival.

“Tonic Liberation,” a contemporary dance choreographed by FloArts alumna and professional dancer Mandy Cox, will also be featured. This dance integrates the free expression of the current club culture, threading elements from waacking, voguing and dub step to highlight the joy of self-expression. Cox has performed in Paris, Beijing and throughout the United States.

“Mandy was selected through our first annual alumni choreography submission opportunity,” said Ward. “She recently completed a three-day workshop and residency with the dance majors to restage this dance, which was originally performed at the University of South Florida. The dance is performed to an original music composition created in collaboration with a Tampa-based DJ.”

A tap dance performed by FloArts instructor Jenne Vermes will get the audience tapping their feet, and dances choreographed by students will also inspire bodies to move to the beat. An African dance has been choreographed by student Willie Beaton ll and a hip-hop piece by Remy Vignati. Other student works include contemporary dances by Elizabeth Exantus, Amari Hollins, Kayla Neeper, Daniel Ortega, Dion Pratt Jr. and Katrina Smith.

Neeper, who choreographed “Bereavement,” explained that the piece is “about grief and the seven stages that people tend to go through and how their families and friends interact and help them through it.”

A dance film will also be featured at the Gala. Created and edited by new media faculty member Aaron Alexander and choreographed by Ward, this film was shot on location at Little Tybee Island and in the waters of Salt Springs. “This will be a preview of the film before it is released as a world premiere later next year,” said Ward.

Student performers are: Corey Adams, Desire’a Bailey, Willie Beaton II, Kendahl Bermudez, Aris Bursell, Yul Carrion, Austin Carroll, Adrienne Deguzman, Markeith Douse, Elizabeth Exantus, Brendan Fogarty, Brittni Garcia, Ilana Gould, Joseph Grosso, Bella Guzm├ín, Meechie Harrell, Amari Hollins, Dillon Leone, Taylor Mancil, Savannah Mitchell, Pascale Molina, Havilah Moore, Kayla Neeper, Victoria O’Dell, Daniel Ortega, Dion Pratt Jr., Rosvic Siason, Emma Stimpson and Remy Vignati.

Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the website at


Florida School of the Arts students rehearse for Dance Choreography Gala that runs November 20-22 on the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus. A total of 10 dances, choreographed by student and guest choreographers, will be performed.