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Dana Metz: CREATE Choreography Champion 2013

By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.

On September 14, 2013, Celebrity and Capezio named its newest CREATE Champion. The Celebrity CREATE Competition, presented by Celebrity dance competitions and dancewear icon Capezio, brings together some of the country’s best talent and most innovative choreography for one night of live performances at Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, Arizona.

Having narrowed over 150 submissions down to seven, Celebrity was excited to watch the top choreographers display their work in the CREATE Live Show. In order to compete, the finalists were required to submit a video featuring their dance piece that was then, if selected, posted on the Celebrity Facebook Fan Site for all to “like.” The seven videos with the most “likes” were invited to compete head-to-head in the CREATE Live Show for a grand prize of $2,500 cash, a gift prize from Capezio and the title of Celebrity CREATE Champion.

The 2013 CREATE finalists included: repeat competitor Chris Thomas, Carrie Matheus-Anders, Katie Taylor, Larisa Perez, Jennifer Forst, Dana Metz and Madi Jean Ballester. Their choreography ranged in creativity and represented jazz, contemporary and hip-hop.

Choreographer Dana Metz

Dana Metz. Photo by Amy Demos.

Celebrity Judges Chelsea Thedinga from Shaping Sound, Daniel Baker from San Francisco Ballet, Sarah Brinson from Acting for Dancers and Ade Obayomi from SYTYCD, chose Dana Metz’s Hope There’s Someone as the winning piece. Her beautiful contemporary number featured stunning choreography and an imaginative use of lighting that left judges like Ade Obayomi speechless and crying. Larisa Perez took home second place and Chris Thomas received third place.

When asked how she felt about this honor, Metz replied, “I was really excited! My dancers worked so hard, and we put together the piece in only one weekend!” With limited rehearsal time, Metz was still able to create a memorable and engaging piece and bring home the top prize.

“Most of my dancers live in LA, but they came in for a whole weekend to work with me,’ she explained. “It was really exciting and kind of unexpected because we threw it together so quickly. We were just really happy about the whole thing.”

Metz’s piece stood out for its maturity and even though the dancers “threw it together” they were definitely able to portray Metz’s ideas and choreography. “I’ve been working with these dancers for a few years, so they kind of understand where I’m coming from,” added Metz.

Metz’s Hope There’s Someone spoke about loss. “The piece and the song is pretty much about dying and questioning if you’re going to be alone when your there. I used a light in the corner that was symbolising passing. The whole piece was just a reassurance that there’s going to be someone for you.”

Metz was inspired by the song, by Antony and the Johnsons, to create the piece. “That whole song is just so amazing. I was really happy that I used it. I had wanted to use that song for a long time,” she said.

CREATE Choreography Champion 2013

A show Dana Metz presented in New York. Photo by Allison Schultz.

Metz, based in Arizona, still takes dance class whenever she can, but she mostly teaches and choreographs these days. “I feel like class helps with my choreography so I can stay in shape and actually show what I want.”

The dancers that performed in her award-winning piece were actually ex-students of hers. “[My dancers] were from LA, but they trained in Arizona. I taught them when they were younger. I stay connected to my students and whenever I put together a piece they are excited to come back and [work with me]. I’m really lucky to have that,” she explained.

With this recent win and a group of loyal dancers, what does Metz plan to do in the future? “I really hope to be putting together more shows,” she said simply. “Eventually, I would love to have a company, not a competition company but a company for older dancers where I can put together a show and pay them. I would love that. It’s my dream job.”

With an extra $2,500 now in her pocket, Metz plans to produce a full-length show in either April or August. “I did one a few years ago in New York, so ever since then I guess I’ve really wanted to do another one. This is the perfect opportunity!” she said enthusiastically.

Enjoy watching Metz’s winning piece here:

Photo (top): Choreographer Dana Metz receives her winning check at the Celebrity CREATE Competition in 2013. Photo courtesy of Celebrity.

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