Monday, June 17, 2019

Deeply Rooted Welcomes Guest Instructor Krystal Hall-Glass

Summer Guest Artists: Krystal Hall-Glass

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater presents its annual Summer Dance Intensive, which provides a rigorous curriculum fostering learning and personal growth, along with opportunities to experience the companys repertoire through workshops and performances. The programs Pre-Professional/Professional Division for ages 16 and older and the Youth program (ages 13–15) learn technique and DRDT repertoire.
Krystal Hall-Glass, one of two guest instructors, appeared on Broadway in The Wiz while attending The Julliard School on a dance scholarship. After an illustrious performing career, she became the first African-American graduate from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance with an MFA in performance/teaching. She has worked with choreographers Sarah Stackhouse, Michael Peters, Earl Mosley, Nathan Trice, Shirley Black-Brown, Otis Sallid, George Faison, Andrea Woods and Raymond Harris; legendary actor Ossie Davis; and famed jazz musicians Max Roach and Cassandra Reeves. She toured nationally and internationally as principal dancer with Kevin Iega Jeff’s highly acclaimed Jubilation! Dance Company, garnering a Bessie nomination. She received a choreographic grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and her choreography has been performed by members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Creative Outlet, Opus Dance Theatre Company, The Julliard School and The Frankfurt Ballet. She has instructed at Lincoln Center Institute, LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, Newark’s Arts High School, Professional Performing Arts High School, Howard University, City College, SUNY Purchase, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, The 45 Degrees Project and Koresh Dance Company. The resident choreographer of Riverdale Children’s Theatre, she has been cited six times in ‘Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” for her contributions to the art of dance and recognized twice by the New York Foundation of the Arts for her work with promising dance students. She was dance director for Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center and the famed Harlem School of the Arts, where, under her directorship, more than 50 students were accepted into professional performing arts dance programs within a five-year period. Expounding on her ability to foster excellence in the dance arts, she is the president and founder of Krystal Glass (e)Motion By Design, a support company that maximizes the performance, professionalism and presentation of dancers and like organizations.

When and how did you first discover dance and decide it would be your life’s work?
I discovered dance as a young child, when I was maybe about five to six years old. I remember seeing ballerinas on television knowing that my parents would not support my taking a dance class. My interest continued via television, and I would pester two neighborhood friends who went to dance classes to teach me what they learned each week. One friend was so impressed with how I responded to what she taught me, she set up a day to bring me to her school to show her instructor. On that day, I hid under my bed because I was afraid to show what I had learned. I later took African class at Ruth William Dance studio in Harlem for a year. At the annual recital I discovered modern dance via Brenda Braxton, who attended Performing Arts High School (PA). I auditioned later that year and was accepted into the school. Then I knew that I would always dance. 
What have been some highlights of your dance career? 
In retrospect I believe I have been lucky to always work with exceptional people. I always wanted to do great work, no matter what it was. I was thrust into schools and organizations that were considered the epitome of excellence, dancing alongside extraordinary talent. It was all I knew so I didn't realize its importance at the time. It is in retrospect that I realize my path has been what could be considered exceptional.
What made you decide to become an instructor? What particular satisfaction does it provide?
I have always been an instructor. My first teaching job was in the Bronx with Aco at 16 years old. At that point I had been training for only two years. I realized if I could retain the command and attention of these young kids, I could teach anybody. At PA, I choreographed our senior shows/talent shows, so I have always been in a position of telling people what to do (LOL)! The satisfaction that I get from watching raw unformed talent walk into the room and being instrumental in developing that talent is a blessing. I hope I leave an imprint on younger dancers that informs their artistry and development of a personal/professional standard.
Would you talk about your history with Deeply Rooted and with Iega even before Deeply Rooted was founded?
Iega is my brother, mentor, inspiration, cheerleader—I have known him since PA. As he was a year older in the most advanced class, I would harass him daily to teach me what his class had learned. And he did so daily. I auditioned for and was accepted into the initial production of what would later become Jubilation! Dance Company. It was made up of Juilliard School students and PA graduates. The response was so overwhelming that Iega forged forward into developing the company in New York. After the company was hit hard by the AIDS epidemic, Iega moved to Chicago direct Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater for year, then founded Deeply Rooted in Chicago.

What are you looking forward to when you work with Deeply Rooted in Chicago this summer?
I look forward to working with artists in varying stages of their development who are passionate and fearless about artistry and the work it takes to get there. There are few organizations (and people within) willing to be vulnerable, work tirelessly, share and grow through a common quest for self realization. After being away from this methodology of work for so long, one wonders if people still aspire to it (or just want to be famous). I ultimately rejuvenate, get inspired/inspire and am able to reengage in other situations knowing that the quest for true artistry and its development still exists. Again, I didn’t necessarily dance to be famous—just to do good work.

Don't miss Deeply Rooted Dance Theater's Summer Dance Intensive
and Emerging Choreographers Showcase performances
Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 at 7 p.m. at
the Reva and David Logan Center for the Performing Arts,
915 E. 60th Street, Chicago. 
A reception follows the July 20 performance.
Tickets are $25; a VIP ticket of $150
provides additional support for these programs.

Top photo of Krystal Hall-Glass courtesy of the artist.

Middle photos of Krystal Hall-Glass from early JUBILATION! performances by Steven Speliotis.

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