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A Q&A with dance senior Whitney Hester When Dreams Come True by Linda James

LJ: What process did you go thru to become an apprentice for Complexions? Did you audition?

WH: I have had a great relationship with Complexions ever since I began training at Booker T Washington HSPVA where I am a member of Repertory Dance Company I. During my first year in Rep I, we had a residency with Complexions. I was able to work with Desmond Richardson, Dwight Rhoden and Clifford Williams. I have attended multiple Complexions intensives as well, so the teachers already knew me. However, I actually got the apprenticeship through Elite Dance Tournament. I competed at a regional event where I also took a class with Desmond Richardson. I went to the finals really hoping to win scholarships, never believing that I would actually win the apprentice- ship. There I took a class with Ashley Mayeux, a current Complexions member. I did not know then that she had been texting Desmond, who was at the time in Russia, about the possibility of giving the apprentice- ship to me. It’s really funny now because on my video critiques you can hear her say through the middle of my solo “Oh yeah, she’s the one.” I have never cried so much in my life as I did when she announced my name for the apprenticeship.

LJ: You just had the opportunity to dance with Complexions at the Joyce. What was that like? What did you perform?

WH: Performing at the Joyce was the most amazing experience ever! I actually only performed the second week, but it was exciting being

backstage and watching the other dancers during the first week. I feel so lucky to have been a part of it all. Although watching is always great, actually performing with Complexions is just incredible! The Joyce has an amazing facility and the backstage crew is awesome. I performed a work called Chronicle, the piece is a compilation of a new work called When Hell Freezes Over and Mercy, an old work that was set on BTW’s Rep I by Gary Jeeter. Taking that final bow at the Joyce my first night per- forming with Complexions was indescribable.

LJ: What is it like to be the youngest member of the company?

WH: The company is very welcoming, so I feel very much at home when I am with the dancers. However, sometimes it’s hard because there are a lot of things that I can’t do yet that the rest of them can— especially since I am still in high school. For example, I can’t go out after rehearsals like everyone else because I have to stay home and do homework. But, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and this opportu- nity is very unique so it’s hard to complain!

LJ: Congratulations on being named a Ballet Finalist through YoungArts. Tell us about your solo and how you received notice of the award.

WH: Thank you! I was so excited when I found out and even more excited when I found out that I also got an Honorable Mention in Modern. My contemporary ballet solo was choreographed by Desmond Richardson. My mentor and ballet teacher, Catherine Lewellen, asked him to choreograph a solo for me last spring. He typically doesn’t do

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Feb.-Apr. 2016

DANCE! NORTH TEXAS a publication of the dance council of north texas

vol. 19 • no. 1

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