FloArts presents Dance Choreography Gala, “Body Rhythms”

by Penny Powell

Dance students Morgan Johnston and Max Balch
Dance students Paige Lane, Brendon Hudson, Morgan Johnston and Max Balch

Move to the rhythm of your body!

“Body Rhythms,” a Dance Choreography Gala including more than 10 diverse dances, is coming to the main stage of the Florida School of the Arts located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 24. Admission is $5.

“The Dance Choreography Gala opens our performing year with a mixture of dance styles and choreographers,” said FloArts dance instructor and gala director Jessica Mayhew Borrero. “The collaborative nature of this concert celebrates the art of movement and theater, so audience members are sure to find something to enjoy in this diverse dance concert.”

Borrero explained that “the concert’s faculty, guest and student choreography are linked together through the concept of body rhythms: physical, emotional and temporal rhythms that shape life. Dancers will navigate the space, which includes a bold, textured backdrop and exquisite lighting while highlighting the demands of contemporary and ballet dance techniques,” Borrero said.

Selected student works is one of the concert’s special elements. After submitting their choreographed dances to an SJR State faculty and staff committee, a number of students were invited to present their dances in the concert.

“The students gain important opportunities to learn about the choreographic design process if they choose to submit a dance,” Borrero said. “They receive mentoring and coaching throughout the process, and if they are selected, they work alongside the director in implementing lighting, set and costume design elements into their dances. Serving as student choreographers also gives the students a unique opportunity for leadership among their peers.”

In addition to student choreography, work from guest artists and faculty are also part of the Gala. Returning as a guest for a fourth season is the Jacksonville-based company, Three Hearts Dance. This year, the company will present “Soul Ties,” a dance film.

Over the course of three days, select students had the opportunity to work with guest artist Jennifer Gerber and her choreography, “Meeting someone after a very long time.” According to Borrero, “Students gain a great deal of professional experience by getting to work with guest artists. This is an important opportunity for them to make career connections and experience a taste of being a professional dancer. When they work under choreographers and directors who come in without knowing them and are held to professional expectations, it liberates the dancers, shifting them from simply being ‘students’ to shining as true artists,” Borrero said.

Resident tap artist Jenne Vermes choreographed “The Journey Back Home,” which is based on the concept of finding one’s way through life.

Exploring the theme of human compassion, “3 Duets on the Theme of Human Compassion” is a new work by adjunct faculty member Herman Ramos. “The work unites three different partner dances with the physicality of empathy,” Borrero said. “The dancers explore condolence, family and finally the idea of hope - all with the power of human touch.”

The audience will also receive a positive message expressed through “Diverging Current,” a contemporary ballet piece by Borrero that explores the idea of breaking out of expected, routine patterns. “The piece is driven by expansive and linear spatial pathways, as well as the multilayered musical composition of Ezio Bosso,” Borrero said.

Dancers include Neal Baker, Max Balch, Logen Cheatham, Jahleel Christian, Kacey Clark, Katie Garrepy, Austin Hoyt, Brendon Hudson, Hannah Johnson, Morgan Johnston, Paige Lane, Loryn Mathews, Sara Orce, Kellin Ronquille, Katrin Silvis and P.J. Yutzy.

Student choreographers are Balch, Garrepy, Lane and Silvis.

The production crew consists of director Borrero; co-director Ramos; stage manager Kati Blankenship; costume coordinator Emily Schafer; scenic design Tim Castell; lighting design supervisors Tiffany Jordan and Torrie Sanders; sound design Savanna Flathmann; costume shop manager Jordan; assistant stage manager Isabella Asma; sound engineers Nicole Barnes and Flathmann; sound board operator Barnes; lighting board operator Marcus Roberts; scenic construction crew: Barnes, Liam Carroll, Viktoria Fancsali, Flathmann, Allison Gelis, Anna Guzman, Peyton Kalaczynski, Elijah Richardson-Grant, Roberts and Dante Jones Soto; dresser Madeline Gamel; costume construction crew: Blankenship, Emma Cash, Gamel, Austin Kelley, Fermin Llosa, Marissa Mendez, Melissa Moore, Nicholas Ramsey and Vincent Ward; and house manager Kira Heuring.

The FloArts chapter of Delta Psi Omega (a national theatre honor society) will collect non-perishable, nutritious foods at each performance. Donations will assist the Feed the Need of Putnam County program. Suggested food items are ones that can be easily prepared by young children. A donation box will be located in the lobby for the duration of the production.

Florida School of the Arts, which serves the entire state of Florida, is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards two-year associate degrees. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit

Florida School of the Arts students prepare for the School’s Dance Choreography Gala, “Body Rhythms,” presented November 22 – 24.
From left are Morgan Johnston and Max Balch.

From left are Paige Lane, Brendon Hudson, Morgan Johnston and Max Balch.



Susan Kessler
Director of Public Relations and Publications
(386) 312-4020