The date is Friday November 13. The place is Radio City Music Hall. It’s opening night for the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. And just left to center is BYPC’s own Jessica Davison shining bright and ready to kick eye high.
With long rehearsal hours of endless kick lines about to come to an end with opening night, Jess has taken some time to reflect on the road that has led her to Radio City Music Hall. And in particular in this three-part interview she looks back on the pivotal role that BYPC played in her journey.
First - The Teachers
When I think about BYPC I think about the people who have became family to me. For me, BYPC is filled with people who have touched my life in such a meaningful and loving way. Not only have they helped me to develop the skills that I needed to build a professional dance career but they have been there every step of the way believing in me. So as I step out onto that stage my BYPC family will be with me.
Jana Pond launched BYPC's dance program and was my first dance teacher. She brought a joy of dance by creating a fun and welcoming environment in a structured class. It was a place for all of us to belong, to learn, to grow, and to be a part of a dance community exploring a wide variety of dance styles. For me that is what BYPC is all about. Jana now lives in Connecticut.
Julie Smith brought musicality to dance for me and she focused on the playfulness of performing. Julie introduced me to the practice of Floor Barre and sent me on the quest to learn how my body moves and how to produce a high quality of movement. I think that above all else Julie opened my eyes to the possibility of a professional dance career. She continues to mentor me with the insights that she has from her own experiences as a Broadway performer. Julie encourages me to reach for the stars and has helped me each step of the way. Julie now lives and teaches in Florida but returns to guest teach at BYPC whenever possible because she believes in what BYPC stands for.
Dee Keri Mattox, who also currently lives in Florida, taught me to go for it - to dance big. Dee taught lots of fast moving choreography at an equally fast pace building stamina and the ability to pick up choreography quickly. Her ability to tell a story and to bring character into a piece of choreography is one of the elements that sets BYPC’s dance training apart from the others and has been key to my success on stage. We are after all - storytellers.
Melissa Desrosiers and Janet Armstrong reinforced the importance of professionalism and helped me to build a solid ballet foundation for my dance. They are masters of technique. I also appreciate the time and care that these teacher take to teach the vocabulary necessary to be successful in dance and are often overlooked. Their attention to detail is exceptional.
Allyson Kachanian provided me with insights into how my body moves and where movement comes from, concepts that I learned at Boston Conservatory, but first learned at BYPC. I continue to be impressed with the detailed approach that Allyson takes in teaching the very fundamentals of dance, breaking it down to its core so that her students are able to understand how to move. I remember returning from Boston Conservatory on vacation to take Allyson’s level III jazz class and I was challenged.
Over the years, BYPC provided me with the opportunity to study with a variety of guest artists. Some guest artists traveled to BYPC but we often traveled to attend master classes in such places as NYC, Orlando, college campuses and even cruise ships. Always striving to provide students with excellence in dance and performance training is the hallmark of BYPC.
So Friday the curtain will rise on my fourth season with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and as I look out over that vast sea of faces I will tell my story and kick eye high. Thank you BYPC.