4th Avenue Arts is thrilled to announce the addition of Angela Dennis as Full Time Faculty!
Dennis will be joining the team as the Education & Outreach Director during the 2018 season. As a long time guest artist and collaborator with the students and community of 4th Avenue Arts, Dennis has a strong understanding of what the Huntington WV area needs, and for anyone who has seen her work it's easy to spot the magic she brings....
As a peak into some of this magic, here's a response letter Ms. Angela wrote after a residency at 4th Avenue Arts this past January...it is clear that her attention to detail, intention to building a program, and a focus on growth are all things perfectly aligned to make this position as Education & Outreach Director one that is poised for success:
RESPONSE FROM DENNIS:
Having the opportunity as Artist in Residence at 4th Avenue Arts was such an honor. It truly became home for me and I'd like to thank all the staff, students and parents for making me feel this way. The month of January was full of countless wonderful things!
As a movement educator I am always so excited to work with 4th Avenue dancers of all ages because of their passion, openness to new ideas, and positive attitudes.
A standout moment for me was working with ballet level black on a particularly challenging (and fast!) combination. These dancers were determined, worked together, displayed a sense of unity by encouraging one another and cheered each other on all the way. Not one of them got discouraged or gave up. As a result there was such a sense of accomplishment and pride when the difficulties were overcome. What an awesome group of ladies!
The improvisation classes that I guided were quite incredible. These creative and imaginative young artists were fantastically brave and curious. I provide guided exercises to allow them to explore their own movement in new ways and different perspectives...this can feel overwhelming or uncomfortable, however, I experienced every person embracing new ideas and giving themselves permission to try new things. My approach is to openly discuss the process and invite the dancers to share observations about their own experiences following various activities. As a result, they independently come to some interesting and enlightening conclusions about movement and even about life. These are things that facilitate growth in them as dancers and as people.
Being a part of the Homeschool Program was something new for me and thanks to the expertise, approachability and professionalism of Josiah Knight it was very positive and interesting! The unique and effective way the curriculum is presented to the children really allows for the absorption and retention of the material. There are so many fun ways to learn!!!! Bravo Josiah for your impeccable leadership of this program, it was really an honor to be a small part of it during this past month. I sincerely look forward to the next time we work together. Just a couple of "Pro"nouns ;)
Setting choreography for several solos for the production of 'The Enchantress' has been quite a gift to me. The intelligent, hard-working and talented dancers of JDGYB are always a dream to work with. I'm so very proud of the lovely ladies I had the pleasure to create with. Shout out to Sophie and Claire (my party starters!! 🙌🏻), MK (is that another leotard from when you were 10?!), and Elora (don't mix up the petit allegro combo with your solo!) I'm beyond happy with how they will reflect the choreography I've shared.
Connecting with local musicians in the Huntington area to co-create a performance piece has been an enormously exhilarating endeavor for me. The journey of weaving together artists of various backgrounds and discovering ways to grow toward a common vision has been fascinating and fulfilling. Improvisational movement with a violinist while vocalists and an electronic composer create a landscape through sound....does it get any more magical than this?!?! Such honesty and beauty from the inside out. I look forward to sharing this living, breathing entity of work with audiences in the near future. Thank you to all contributing artists for welcoming me into this special project.
My favorite collection of moments from all of my time here is definitely during my last day of teaching when we combined all the modern classes. We discussed my process of creation for 'Queen of Bones', my piece exploring the life of Marie Antoinette. It was a stunning display of the kind of incredible humans who fill the space within 4th Avenue Arts...beginning with Jessica Fox. This woman, a force, a phenomenal leader, provided a higher level learning experience by having the foresight to set up this open choreographic discussion with students (and parents) of all ages. This is an enormous tool for artistic growth and understanding that most may not experience until possibly collegiate level. The access to these kinds of opportunities alone make 4th Avenue Arts exceptional...however, there is a long list of many more reasons!! The students in attendance were completely engaged, asked intelligent questions and shared insightful observations. I could hear a pin drop they were so fully immersed and listening to myself and Jessica. We discussed things such as historical facts, emotional intention, using props, symbolism, costuming, musical choices, choreographic concepts and tools, gestural impact and more....
I briefly taught the students several gestures from each section of the piece and then left the room to change into costume and wig. I returned to perform a full run of 'Queen of Bones' to one of the most respectful and intent audiences I've ever experienced... after their applause ended I was asked to have a seat at the front of the room. What followed will live in my heart always...
Each dancer quietly took their place in the space. The music from Marie began to play. Each person began their movement at a time designated by their own heart..I would notice a gesture from someone to my right then someone in the back, and on and on. These beauties had created their own personal movement from the choreography I taught them earlier...the most fitting farewell I could have ever received. It moves my soul every time I think about it.
Thank you to each of the bright spirits in the room that day, you live in my heart in a way that fills it so much it might burst...thank you to all the staff, thank you to each and every parent for sharing your children with me and supporting their passion as well as this extraordinary educational and artistic platform that is 4th Avenue Arts.
Thank you all for welcoming me every time I walk into those historic doors of yours. It always feels like a homecoming and that is a reflection of all of you. This is a remarkably special place. I have immense gratitude for it's existence and for my connection to it and to all of you. I am so very eager to return and share time and space with you again.
Thank you for everything my hoalohas (heart friends) ❤️
Love to you,
To the Huntington Community:
We cannot express enough what an honor it is to have artists like Ms. Angela join our community at 4th Avenue Arts. You will see Ms. Angela seamlessly integrate into the educational programming, directing, teaching, and performing responsibilities at 4th Ave. You may join some of her workshops and camps this summer, and can stay turned for more details about developments on this exciting announcement this upcoming Fall session!
Check out Angela's Bio on our faculty page to understand why we think she's so amazing!
"What I love most about our home is who we share it with."
- Jessica Lynn Fox, 4th Avenue Arts, Artistic Director
"And suddenly you know...it's time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings." - Unknown