Dancenter to present 4 unique productions at Phillips Center


Cameron Dancenter’s Annual Production features four distinct performances beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, at the Phillips Center. Tickets for each performance are $6.

Submitted photo by Jim Burgess
Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 9, 2014 at 5:35 p.m.

Cameron Dancenter presents its Annual Production, which features four distinct student recitals on Friday and Saturday at the Phillips Center.

Friday’s performance begins at 6:30 p.m. But that’s just the beginning, as the curtain continues to rise for performances on Saturday at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for the performances — each unique — are $6 and available from the Phillips Center box office, either in advance or at the door.

All four shows have a roughly two-hour duration and include ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip-hop students of all levels and ages.

“I feel it’s more of a full production than just a recital,” said Dancenter owner Nina Cameron. “So we call it that.”

Each distinct show features more than 30 dances. “We are celebrating 31 years,” said Cameron, who opened the Dancenter in 1983. “We are so excited. All of our 18 teachers will be presenting numbers that showcase the talent and ability of our wonderful students.”

Those students include 13 graduating high school seniors: Brittany Bennett, Kylee Cannon, Alexis Clay, Chanterelle Davis, Karen Lopez, Alex Martin, Brooke Matthews, Marissa Pardo, Mara Pino, Ilyssa Schatz, Skylar Stevens, Kyla Warm and Holly Xin.

“All of them perform a solo,” Cameron said. “Some of them choreograph it themselves; some of them have a teacher do it. The seniors all have something particular they want their solo to say.”

The seniors will be attending many colleges and conservatory intensive programs, she noted.

“Skylar Stevens was accepted into the Alonzo King LINES Ballet trainee program, where only 38 were accepted out of the entire U.S.,” she said.

Camoron added that Brittany Bennett successfully auditioned for the UF School of Theatre and Dance dance major, which is highly competitive.

“On June 1, we had a senior banquet which honors all the seniors and they all give a speech,” Cameron said. “It’s very emotional.

The graduating seniors make the performances a bittersweet production for the Dancenter, she added.

“Only one of the 13 seniors is staying (in Gainesville), and we are losing a very special teacher, Jordan Benton, as she graduates from University of Florida,” Cameron said. “To have a dancer all the way through high school, and then to have them through all of college too, I feel very blessed.”

The Dancenter has an extensive summer schedule. The studio has two locations, one in Ridgeway Village and another in Haile Village.

In addition to the studio’s own offerings, several Dancenter students will travel to attend elite intensive programs for which they successfully auditioned.

These dancers include Cassandra Fleming, studying at Princeton Ballet; Juliet Clavier, attending the FSU Summer Dance Intensive; Mariah Matkozich, for the second time attending Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago; and Marissa Vairo, participating in Broadway Artist Alliance.

Dani Liu and Corinna Pohl will study at Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Marina Bolser, Allison Potapow and Anna Tovkach will train with Sarasota Ballet.

The students listed above are all performing member of Danscompany of Gainesville, the non-profit performing company of The Dancenter.

Danscompany works will be part of each of the four recitals.

Cameron founded Danscompany just two months after launching her studio business.

Cameron is former area director of Dance Masters of America, and she has served as the director of the Florida Mr. and Miss Dance competitions. She has been both president and vice president of Florida Dance Masters Inc.

She was selected to serve as area director of the famous Jazz Dance World Congress, founded by American dance legend Gus Giordano. Cameron attended the first Congress, in 1990, and continues to attend annually.

In 2006, Cameron was honored by Santa Fe College with its Women of Distinction Award. The following year, the city of Gainesville and the county Division of Cultural Affairs granted her the Lifetime Achievement Award. January 23, 2007, was declared Nina Cameron Day.

Sarah Ingley can be reached at mazedance@gmail.com.

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