Imagine getting to attend a workshop packed with master classes, motivating faculty and innovative choreography that brings the best out of you without the stress of having to compete. To top it off, imagine packing all of that excitement into one day. WILD Dance Intensive has taken this platform and evolved it into an experience that is fulfilling for the faculty and students involved. Co-directed by Casey Azuogu and Lindsey Pleasants, WILD Dance Intensive started in 2006, in hopes of motivating, educating and inspiring a generation of young dancers. Azuogu and Pleasants talk to Dance Informa about what makes this intensive different, as well as what this season will bring.
For newcomers who are attending this season, “expect high-energy, innovative choreography, attentive and motivating faculty and low pressure, as there is no competition,” says Azuogu.
A day at WILD opens with the introduction of their faculty and WILD Apprentices. Apprentices have the chance to dance in front of the faculty and crowd on stage during their introduction. This is a fun way to show the crowd why they were chosen as a WILD Apprentice. Within a one-day, jam-packed schedule, dancers can expect to dance all day and finish with a finale, where they can show off scholarship class choreography. Following a long day of dancing, learning and growing, dancers and teachers have the chance to watch a special finale performance by WILD’s faculty and World of Dance Pageant winners.
One of the key attributes that sets WILD apart from others is the atmosphere between the faculty and the dancers.
Pleasants says, “Our faculty is down in the mix with the dancers by dancing alongside them and motivating them to reach their absolute potential. Our atmosphere allows for dancers to focus on perfecting their craft and expanding what they already know without the pressure of competition.”
Along with a sound base of faculty to guide the dancers, because WILD is a one-day convention, it is a lot more affordable than other conventions. The affordable price of this one-day convention, however, does not mean that there is a lower quality in the classes that are taught. WILD prides itself in providing top-notch instruction and cutting-edge choreography. Along with the great quality of faculty and classes that are taught, there are specific “wow” moments that will be added this season.
“We think that the foundation that WILD has is solid, but we want to be able to add some extra ‘wow’ moments for our customers,” says Azuogu. “We will have posters of our faculty members for dancers to have autographed.”
In addition to this special gesture, faculty members will be giving out “I’m WILD About You” certificates to dancers whom catch their eye during classes. Although the students are a main focus of WILD, recognition of the teachers is also an aspect that comes into play during the finale of the intensive. In the spirit of recognition, there are also various scholarships offered to dancers who attend. This season, scholarships to the new SDA competition, Dream Maker, will be added to the list of scholarships that are offered at the end of the intensive.
Azuogu explains, “We give out thousands of dollars of Free Solo and Title Scholarships to all SDA Competitions (Starpower, NexStar, Revolution, Believe, Imagine and Dream Maker). We also give scholarships to the World of Dance Pageant, Power Pak and WILD.”
The faculty of WILD choose one “Apprentice” from each age group (Junior, Teen and Senior) during the finale, and those who are chosen receive free tuition for the remainder of the 2017 tour, as well as the 2018 tour. This wonderful opportunity holds true to the mission of WILD to motivate, educate and inspire the new generation of young dancers in their craft. Although they offer styles such as contemporary, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and tap, WILD will be adding ballet to the roster of master classes in select cities.
“We are adding ballet into Cleveland, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. to see how the feedback is and will hopefully add it to our full tour in 2018,” says Pleasants.
With a sound base and established criteria for dancers and faculty alike, Azuogu and Pleasants hope to continue to grow and expand WILD’s reach to dancers around the U.S. In hopes of expanding from the seven cities that participate so far, WILD has its gears set further into the midwest.
Azuogu says, “We would like to sell out every one of our cities in the tour and make sure that as many dancers as possible have experienced WILD Dance Intensive.”
Be a part of the excitement in a city near you!
More information about WILD Dance Intensive can be found at wildaboutdance.com.
By Monique George of Dance Informa.