Lawrenceville School Dance Collective “Relevés”

Derrick Wilder, the School’s director of dance, never does anything in a small way. So, when he realized 2019-2020 was going to be the 20th anniversary of Lawrenceville dance instruction he started thinking big. “Dance has expanded into a truly wide-ranging program,” Wilder said. “We have classical, modern, jazz, lyrical, cultural, Broadway … and now we have enough experienced dancers to create a premier ensemble: the Lawrenceville School Dance Collective.”

The Collective will provide roughly a dozen of Lawrenceville’s elite dancers with a place to hone their craft through pre-professional dance training and performance opportunities, pushing the boundaries of the art. Wilder says LSDC will be “a nurturing space committed to empowering our dancer/athletes with the crucial leadership and development skills that help facilitate achievement and success on the stage, in the classroom, and in everyday life.”

As LSDC’s Artistic Director, Wilder will select Collective members through an audition process. Candidates must had several years of prior training and have been part of the School dance program. They will take an advanced dance class to fulfill their School athletic requirement, and add an evening LSDC practice as an extracurricular activity.

“Our dancers/athletes are always pushing themselves to greater heights, facing bolder challenges, working collaboratively, problem solving complex choreographic computations, and pushing themselves to the edge,” said Wilder. “That passion and energy are what sets them leaps and bounds ahead; giving them a leg up for life’s many challenges.”

He’s now turning his attention to increasing the performance opportunities for LSDC and all of the School’s other dance ensembles. “I have all these dancers who need to dance and, until now, our annual Spring Dance Concert and Dance Wars were the only venues,” Wilder explained. He is finalizing a Tuesday Dance Series (modeled after Midday Music), “An Evening of Repertoire,” and a Winterfest slot. Companies will also perform off campus, Wilder said, noting, “The great thing about dancers is I can take them anywhere. We’re going to do lectures and performances at local schools and businesses.”

“I’m excited – it’s going to be a great year,” Wilder said.

For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.
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