Velocity Dance Convention recognizes dancers from all over the Bay Area


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Dancer Claire Schick competing with her solo at Velocity.

Anika Bhatnagar, Staff Writer

Velocity Dance’s combined convention and competition in San Jose allows dancers to test their skills against some of the strongest studios in the Bay Area, but it also opens them up to classes with new and established choreographers. These joint purposes reflect their goal to enhance the skills of the new dance generation through not just competition but also education and inspiration.

Velocity’s 2018-2019 tour includes 21 tour dates with the season finale in Las Vegas. San Jose’s was held on April 5-7, at the Doubletree San Jose. The first two days of the event were competition, and the last day was the convention. The panel of judges included some of the prestigious teachers who taught the convention classes.

Kristen Portner, an attending dance studio owner said, “My hope for my students is that they have new exciting experiences, personal epiphanies, opportunities to create new connections between themselves, their work, and other dancers and the space to push themselves harder than they might in their normal classes. In my own training, I grew exponentially from the experiences that got me out of my comfort zone and gave me the time and space to try new things without judgment.”

The convention classes started with the faculty introduction at 8 a.m. Dancers got to know their instructors and received a quick run through of how the weekend would flow. The classes were back to back from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There were various styles of dance included such as ballet, lyrical, jazz, jazz funk, contemporary, tap, and hip-hop.

Teaching lyrical, Shannon Mather is one of the most sought after choreographers in the United States and Canada. Teaching industry, Kyle Hanagami is a rapidly growing spreading name in the dance industry. Teaching hip-hop, the seasoned Krystal Meraz hails from Phoenix. The list goes on to include eight more highly experienced instructors.

“Although the list of teachers may change throughout the different tours, I continuously look forward to taking classes from Mather and Phoenix,” said Marina Palarca, a participating dancer.

“My favorite thing about Velocity was that I got to take classes from teachers who are really prominent in the dance industry and know a lot about what they’re teaching. I got inspired to dance bigger and better from other dancers and teachers who are really good at what they do,” dancer Nella Biacs said.

On the last day, the closing show and scholarship presentation took place. During classes on Saturday, the dancers learned a challenging piece and auditioned for a Velocity scholarship. These scholarships give dancers an invitation either to come back to the same location next year or to all tour locations free of charge.

Velocity staff gave out their scholarships to dancers who embody their slogan, “Be Bold.”

“What’s different about Velocity is how they give more scholarships than most competitions, which means more dancers are recognized and awarded for their hard work. They also give awards in more overall breakdowns, allowing genres that tend to be less popular a moment in the spotlight,” said Portner.

Velocity Convention will be coming back to San Jose for their eighth tour in 2019-2020. Dancers throughout the Bay Area look forward to the many opportunities Velocity will bring next year.

“I hope to gain more confidence in my dancing and more openness to other styles at the Velocity convention,” Biacs said.