Your home for everything artistic

Posts tagged ‘dance’

Creative Contortions: Talent in Western PA

The city of Pittsburgh and nearby areas have long been known for cultivating people with great skills and talent. The list of athletes, performers and artists is extensive and growing all the time.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting two of these young ladies, along with a mentor who has helped mold their remarkable skills. And interestingly enough, they sort of fit into all of the categories I mentioned earlier.

Ashley King (21) and Alexa Siska (15) recently wowed audiences on the reboot of “The Gong Show” with their contortion performance. The girls are from the Dance Extensions Performing Arts Center in Canonsburg, a facility run by owner and director Betsy Shuttleworth and co-owner Dawn Churney.

The girls aired as the first performance of the evening and scored one of the highest scores of the night. Watch it here:

 

As you probably expect, a lot of hard work goes into these routines and contortionist training in general. The show was taped in May 2017 and the girls only had about one month before the show to practice the act after the show contacted Betsy when coming across an account on Instagram (@bendytrainer). And while due to unexpected circumstances, the girls has only paired up a few months earlier, Ashley has been working on her craft for about 14 years while Alexa has been in training for 4 years. Ashley is also one of the instructors at the studio.

heart of pittsburgh

The girls flew out to LA for on a Monday, rehearsed the next day, recorded their segment on Wednesday and returned to Western PA on Thursday. The recording session took 12 hours on the Sony Studios lot. While Ashley had been to the International Contortionist Convention in Las Vegas a few years back, this was certainly the most unique experience in Alexa’s dance career so far.

Both girls attend school online, Alexa is in high school while Ashley is working on a business degree. As that it was during the school year when the performance took place, the show had a social worker and a professional approach to making sure younger students would stay focused on their schooling.

Contortion in Western PA

According to Betsy, creative opportunities for dancers and contortion artists are growing in the region partly due to resources like GigSalad and the Global Sisterhood of Empowering Women. That’s wonderful news because both girls have aspirations of owning their own studios some day in the Western PA area.

Advertisements

The artistic beauty of dance

I am a long time fan of the show Dancing With The Stars.

And while the series is known at times for having some silly and less than elegant elements, it has also had it’s share of truly amazing performances. Some of these have inspired visually, musically and even emotionally. Here are a few I saw last night that I simply felt compelled to share. The first is newly crowned Olympic Ice Dancing champion Meryl Davis and her notoriously suave partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. It was dedicated to the journey to the gold medal she and her ice dancing partner Charlie White had been on for more than 17 years. This second video is of  Paralympic snowboarding star Amy Purdy and her choreographically gifted partner Derek Hough. This was dedicated to her father who played an incredible role in her recovery from an illness that cost the athlete her legs. Sit back, relax and take in another example of how art can inspire us all.

Artistic modern jazz dance on Dancing With The Stars

Dance as art

As we can probably all agree, dancing can be fun and exercise but also is undoubtedly an art of its own. Last night’s episode of the ABC hit series “Dancing With The Stars” proved that once again. In particular, I was really drawn in by the modern jazz performance of country music artist Kellie Pickler and her professional dance partner Derek Hough.

This particular dance routine featured some incredible choreography,  some really stunning props and so much more. In my opinion, it even came across as a really intriguing mix of a Sci-Fi sort of quality and something that might remind you of the classic dance film “Flash Dance.” 

Check it out below for yourself.

 

Harlem Shakes from around the globe

If you haven’t heard of the Harlem Shake, you soon will. It’s a craze that’s taking over the Internet as the latest viral dance sensation. For a lighter hearted post, I decided to include some samples below for you enternatinment.

Disclaimer – Not all videos may be suitable for younger viewers.

Tag Cloud