Go Deeper For the love of dance: Gala's local ensemble, Pt. 1

For the love of dance: Gala’s local ensemble, Pt. 1

Posted September 9th, 2016

Jérôme Bel’s Gala is a joyous performance that celebrates the love of and desire to dance without the complexes that often keep people from cutting loose. Twenty dancers of all different ages, levels of training, and walks of life take the stage to interpret a series of dances across a range of eras and in turn their performances reveal each person’s desire to move, to strive for joy, perfection, to transform with unabashed expression. The show reinvents itself with each staging, building an entirely new ensemble out of local performers each time it moves to a new city. On September 13, Gala will have its Philadelphia premiere as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Over the next few days we’ll be introducing you to some of the dancers that will be a part of this iteration’s ensemble. For more info and tickets click here.


(photo by Wesley Adeyinka-Skold)

Sarah Adeyinka-Skold

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in Kaduna, Nigeria. I live in University City on Penn’s campus. I’m a full time sociology graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. I love sleeping, watching TV with my husband, dancing, and singing out loud. I also LOVE EATING!

Why do you love to dance?

Dance is so freeing. It helps me to get in touch with feelings that are far from me in my daily life. It is important to be able to reach those feelings. My earliest dancing memory is from elementary school. I would dance around the house to Christian music. I guess some things never change. My fondest memory is dancing in two plays for my senior year of college. What a phenomenal experience that was!


zach-ermeyZachary Ermey

Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you born? Where do you go to school? What do you like to do in your free time?

Philadelphia. St. Peter’s School. I like to play sports like soccer, play Pokemon cards and learn about prehistoric sharks.

[ed.’s note: Zachary will be starting first grade at St. Peter’s School on the opening day of Gala.]

Why do you love to dance?

Because it makes me faster and more flexible. My body just tells me what to do by the sound of the music. I don’t think about anything; I’m just keeping on dancing. I feel kind of happy, kind of impressed and kind of scared sometimes. At my school, St. Peter’s, we have dance parties. I also remember doing lots of ZoomDance plays and I had a ZoomDance birthday party when I was 4. This summer, I did Hip Hop (at Koresh School of Dance) for a week with Ryan, the teacher. He taught me to do my favorite dance to “No Water in the Water Fountain.” I also like to do the Whip and Nae Nae and dance to “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers. The first song I liked to dance to was Uptown Funk.


(photo by Kim Carson)

Bi Jean Ngo

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in Washington DC and grew up in Northern Viriginia. My parents were Vietnam War refugees. Philadelphia is my home and has been for the past decade. There’s some great art and great Vietnamese food in this city! I am a professional actor and a teaching artist. In my free time, I’ve been working on cultivating more skills. A couple of months ago, I ran away to California to study at Dell’Arte. This winter, I’m going to head up to Massachusetts and study Shakespeare for a month. So, a lot of my free time this year is focused on further self-exploration.

Why do you love to dance?

I love feeling the air whoosh around me when parts of my body cut through space. I love that feeling of abandon when a good song comes on and my body responds because the beat is so good. I remember being afraid to dance for many years. One of my earliest awkward dance moments was at my 8th grade dinner dance when I didn’t know what to do with my arms or legs and just stood there feeling ashamed. When I grew into adulthood, I realized that no one was judging me but myself, and that it felt really good to dance and enjoy it. I think I dance like a muppet, but I don’t care. I love it.


dsc00727Michaela Shuchman

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born in New Haven, Connecticut, but moved to Philadelphia when I was 5 and have lived here ever since! I just graduated from Swarthmore College in May where I studied theater and education. I am an actor and teaching artist. In my free time, I love to sing, do improv with friends, read, drink chocolate milk, and go to the beach.

Why do you love to dance?

I love to dance because whether I am dancing alone or in a group, I always feel connected to those I have danced with in the past: at parties, weddings, in shows… it makes me feel connected with other people, especially my family. Dance has taught me so much about where I have come from on both sides of my family, which are very different spiritually, emotionally, and physically, but has provided me a unique connection with each. My earliest dancing memory is dancing around my house to the Nutcracker every day when I was very little. I would put on all different assortments of dress up clothes and stage my own ballets. My fondest dancing memories are spending all night dancing with my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins at large family gatherings like weddings or birthday parties, making other party-goers wonder “Will they ever sit down??”