Mohawk Valley Ballet to feature two alums in spring show

Classics and Creations coming to MVCC theater

Two Mohawk Valley Ballet alums will return to their roots to perform at this year’s Classics and Creations at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Shafer Theater.

Julia Shove returns to choreograph a number titled “The Walk,” while Emily Elwell will return as a guest artist and will perform with Shove.

The show also will feature a varied repertoire consisting of contemporary works, and the classical favorite “Paquita.” Tickets to the show are $10, and are available at the door and through www.tututix.com/tickets.

“Being back at the MVB as a guest artist is so exciting to me,” Elwell said. “It is gratifying to be invited back to the place that helped me get my start as a dancer, and give me the leverage to make my dreams a reality.”

The two dancers studied ballet together under Delia Foley and Melissa Larish for seven years at Ballet Arts of Central New York in Clark Mills, examining under the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. While Shove did serve as the artistic director for two Tiny Tots productions in 2012 and 2016, she said “The Walk” is the first number to “grace the stage.”

“This is my first piece that I have officially choreographed,” Shove said. “Though I, as many dancers, play around with movement all the time, whether in the studio or in my living room.”

Shove said she is excited and honored that she can transition from dancer to choreographer, and that MVB Artistic Director Larish and the company placed their faith in her. Shove began working on “The Walk” this winter, and spent about two weeks searching for the perfect music. She then worked on the dance by recording some improvisation, then picking out what she liked.

The dance deals with the concepts of coexistence, solidarity, and routine. It looks at how we deal with strangers, evolving from a complete lack of awareness of others to an acknowledgement of their presence and similarity to ourselves, Shove said.

Elwell, who grew up in Marcy, just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in dance pedagogy from Butler University, from which Larish also graduated. Shove and Elwell have been friends for so long, and are so familiar with each other’s dance styles, that Shove said even though Elwell was away at school, the choreographing process was not difficult. Shove said the two have always worked well together, and their dancing seems to complement one another.

Shove recorded all the dance moves, and Elwell has been learning them from videos while she’s at school.

“Working with Julia Shove has been a very refreshing process,” Elwell said. “Not often do you get to work with another dancer that you have spent your whole life dancing alongside of…I love getting to see her passion and ideas come to fruition in my own dancing.”

Elwell still is deciding what her next step will be, but she will be exploring opportunities this summer at the Nashville Ballet and The City Ballet of San Diego.

Shove, who grew up in Utica, is in her junior year at Utica College and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a major is psychology and a minor in sociology.

“I chose to remain home and pursue my education locally and, by doing so, have been able to continue dancing, performing and teaching,” Shove said. “I consider myself lucky to be able to foster the education of young dancers and watch them grow.”

Once she graduates in December 2018, she intends to earn a master’s degree in social work to provide therapy to adolescents who suffer with eating disorders. She also hopes to continue teaching dance and earning a teaching certificate either through the Royal Academy of Dance or the American Ballet Theater.

“I’ve had so much fun trying new things,” Shove said. “It’s allowed me to push the boundaries of my own dancing.”

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