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in the spotlight byMarielleMcGregor

Dallas’ Unexpected Surprise: A Look at Choreographer Zach Ingram W

hen 6 o’ClockDance Theatre (6DT) first became a company, itwas sort of by accident. Therewas no audition call, or foundingmission statement. Itwas simple serendipity.

It all beganwhen dancer and choreographer Zach LawIngram came toDallas for the 2014 InternationalAssociation ofBlacks in Dance (IABD)Conference.An annual dance gathering that includes gala performances,master classes, and seminars, IABD also highlights emerging choreographers. Ingramwas asked to cre- ate a newwork.

“I sawyou dancing in class and I love your feet,” Ingramsaid as he approachedme in the studio hallway ofContemporaryBallet Dallas. “Would you like to dance inmy newpieceDreams?”

Itwas a Saturday afternoon, and I had plans to see the penguins at the zoo, but dance always prevails. I let IngramknowIwas inter- ested.He explained rehearsalwas starting now, as in right now, and wewould showthe piece on Friday night. That’s six days I would have to learn an eightminute group piece and performit alongside some of theworld’smost talented dancers. Ingram seemed confident, so I dove in.

Aformer companymember of theAlvinAileyAmericanDance Theater,DallasBlackDance Theatre and TUDance, Ingramis a yes- man.He’s the kind of choreographerwho sets a new, breathtaking solo hours before the curtain opens.He is talented, confident, and patient. Ingramsays he has alwayswanted to have his own compa- ny, but had no idea this is howthat journeywould begin.

Dreams ended up being a great success at IABD.Dance critic Margaret Putnamdescribed the piece eloquently, saying, “In Zach LawIngram’sDreams five dancers arc slowly, their filmy clothes fluttering prettily.One by one they shed the gauzy fabric to don shiny outfits of lime-green, red, pink and blue and the style and mood change fromdreamy to very deliberate and controlled,most notablywith long balances on one foot.”

While IABDhad come to an end, the group decided to continue creating together. Ingramnamed our baby company 6 o’Clock Dance Theatre, after his love for dancer’s long, six o’clock exten- sions. “Iwant to share and exploremy passion for dance,” Ingram toldme. “Choreographing, teaching, and directing allowme to give back.”

Still a performer inBroadway andMiami’s The LionKing, Ingram choreographswhen he’s not on stage.He has committed dancers in NewYork,Boston,Miami, andDallaswhowork together to form6 o’ClockDance Theatre. Ingramsays he looks for strong dancers who are advanced in both ballet andmodern technique. 6DT does not favor a uniformlook, butwelcomes all body types, races, and cultures.

“My style is very technical and requires full body focus,” explains Ingram. “It consists of crisp turns, long extensions, pattern changes, andmoments of unexpected surprise.Most ofmymovement has a natural flowto it.”

DANCE!NORTHTEXAS a publication of the dance council of north texas

Pictured: Zach Ingram. Photo:MariaDay

DancerBritneyRush began dancingwith Ingramlastwinter.A Garland native,Rush has performedwith five different dance com- panies since graduating fromWest TexasA&MUniversity in 2009. She says 6 o’ClockDance Theatre is unique in that Ingramlooks for ways to highlight his dancer’s individual strengths. “Zach is an amazing director toworkwith,”Rush says, smiling. “He takes time to celebrate individual successes, aswell as the success of the group.”Rush describes Ingram’smovement as “ballet on bottom, modern on top.”

While 6 o’ClockDance Theatre is in its beginning stages, Ingram’s dreams for the company are ambitious. ThisAugust the company premiered its first full evening-length showinNewYork and shared the powerful pieceWARat theBostonContemporaryDance Festival. In January the companywill return to IABD, this year in Cleveland, aswell as guestwithMarshallEllisDance (MEdance) in Miami. Ingramis also applying to theDallasDanceFest.Wherever he takes the company, however, he says he strives for a final product that is very polished, distinctive, and always in fashion.

“When I look back atmy own teachers and directors I realize I am standing on the shoulders of giants,” Ingramsays smiling. “Judith Jamison,AnnWilliams,Uri Sands...thewisdomand insight I received frommy directors once helpedme become a better per- former. Today it is helpingme to become a better director.”

MarielleMcGregor is freelancewriter and dancer based inDallas.An SMU alum, she is currently performingwith ContemporaryBalletDallas and 6 o’ClockDance Theatre.

vol. 18 • no. 1 Feb-Apr 2015 page 5

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