When I first came to AFYP in 2006, I knew it was special. Even though I was only six years old, I knew I was somewhere that would remain as an important part of my life for years to come. As a student there is a family environment that makes you feel welcome, and that is largely due to the employees – the Redshirts. Now, ten years later, I have the privilege of working with these amazing people. I work with Ahmad Maaty to choreograph the shows for our fall and spring musical showcases. As Ahmad's assistant choreographer, the main part of my role is to remember what he created and help teach it to the children. Then we work together to help get it performance ready. However, for Singin’ in the Rain, Jr., Ahmad and I are working for the first time as co-choreographers, meaning that we are each individually choreographing a certain number of pieces for the show. It’s an amazing opportunity, and I am very grateful.
When choreographing a show, the main thing that I try to keep in mind is the people I am choreographing for. The thing that helps me the most is to keep in mind the creative vision that the entire production team has for that scene. Choreography is an important part of the show, but I want it to feel natural to the scene, like it belongs there. Creating a show is by no means a one person job. Every part of the AFYP team is vital to the finished product.
When teaching at AFYP I have two major objectives: first, that students are having fun, and second, that they are learning something. The most important thing is creating a positive learning environment where they feel free to express themselves, and truly enjoy dancing. For me, you are not really dancing unless there is passion behind it. Ahmad and I do our best to ensure the dance room is a judgement-free zone and to keep all of the kids moving. We want them to stay interested and involved.
I have been working with Ahmad, in some capacity, for the last five years. We have worked together on many showcases and projects with AFYP. This has made us very good friends, and working with people you care about makes the long creative process much easier. As I said earlier, part of the magic of AFYP is the family environment. We all care about each other, and all want to help one another, which is what makes our program run so beautifully. It is the reason I have found a second home at AFYP, and it is the reason I will always come back.
Want to learn some new dance moves with Kendall? Register today for our special one day Musical Theatre program on Monday, October 10 (Columbus Day)! Students aged 5-11 can Explore Musical Theatre: Favorites from Broadway and Disney; students aged 12-18 can participate in the One Day Intensive: Decades of Dance!