Archive 2008 - 2019

Resident Choreographer at Dancing Arts Center

by Karyn Edison

Variation is all 14-year-old Holliston High School freshman, Julia Luo, has ever known.  Her parents are from China but moved to Canada, where she was born. Her family then moved to Philadelphia, and just three years ago moved again to Holliston.

During what can be a difficult time for teenagers, Luo had to go to a new school, learn the culture of a new state and town, and make new friends. But through all of this change, one thing has been constant, Luo’s love of dance.

“I’ve been dancing since I was six-years-old,” she says. “I love the energy of contemporary dance and the gracefulness of ballet. I’ve always loved how dance is very expressionistic and individual.”

Luo joined the Dancing Arts Center in Holliston to continue her ballet and modern dance instruction, but choreography soon caught her interest. Now she arranges movements, steps, and patterns of other DAC students.

“I got into choreography the minute I got here,” she says. “I started developing my own dance solos, and that grew into creating a dance for another student. I choreographed a student concert piece last year for two friends. My friends encouraged me along the way, and I became inspired to continue to choreograph pieces.”

Luo spends about 11 hours a week at DAC, an hour or more of which is comprised of learning the intricacies of choreography from DAC Director Karyn Edison and Master Ballet Instructor Wayne Stewarte. Keeping up with her own dance classes while helping others develop their artistic talent, and managing a life outside of DAC hasn’t been easy for Luo, but is has paid off.

Luo has been chosen for DAC’s resident student choreographer position. Each year, a DAC student is given the opportunity to work with three master choreographers, and sit in on production meetings with the artistic director, stage manager, lighting designer and supporting crew as they prepare for the annual spring concert.

“The role of resident student choreographer grew out of our annual Student Dance Concert's growing list of experienced student choreographers.  The position has become a coveted honor reserved for the most prolific choreographer of the season,” explains DAC Director Karyn Edison. “This experience helps the student gain skill and knowledge at the professional level of choreography, rehearsal and production support.”

Edison says Luo will produce one piece and have it performed in DAC’s Spring Concert May 10 – 12, and during DAC’s community tour, which begins March 31 and continues until June 9.

“I am very proud that Julia has been chosen by the DAC staff.  Her past creations have been well designed, rehearsed with detail, and present a complete message.  I look forward to the work she develops this season,” Edison adds.

One of Luo’s pieces will be a contemporary dance involving five other dancers mixing different songs together.

“My idea is to create an image that helps me illustrate the dance, which will be a metaphor for how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. The music will have a dramatic change, and I’m hoping for a dramatic costume change as well,” Luo says.

Luo’s dance also serves as a metaphor for her own life. As much as the caterpillar morphs into a butterfly, Luo too has

Coincidence or not, Luo’s own life experiences mirror the caterpillar’s challenge of adapting to change. As does her success much like the emergence of the butterfly’s spectacular color and brilliance.