Go Deeper For the love of dance: Gala's local ensemble, Pt. 3

For the love of dance: Gala’s local ensemble, Pt. 3

Posted September 14th, 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, dancing abilities, 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. (Find Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 here)

fb_img_1473223146045Kharrima Stevens

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I was born and raised in South Philadelphia and I still live here. I’m currently a student in high school. Some of my favorite hobbies are cooking, dancing and playing video games. I also like to listen to music a lot.

Why do you love to dance?

I love to dance for a lot of reasons. I used to be nervous to dance in public because of my size and how people would think that big girls can’t dance, but now I break that stereotype. Dancing has helped me be more confident, lose weight, and express my feelings. I would always dance to the music on the commercials and the music videos on the TV as a baby trying to mimic the people on the screen. My fondest dancing memory would be when I finally stepped out of my shell and danced at a party.


Cameron Birts

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.


(photo by Richard Calmes Photography)

I am originally from Roswell, Georgia. I began dancing at the age of 5 studying in ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. I am currently attending school in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts as a Dance Major and I will be going into my final year August 29th. In my free time I really love to go sit at the park and listen to music and write/doodle in my journal.

Why do you love to dance?

I love to dance because there’s this constant learning process and this discovery of new and old things within the learning. And I think it’s the easiest way for me to express myself. I would have to say my first tap class is my earliest memory. My sister was in dance before me and I would always look into her class until one day my sister’s tap teacher came up to me and asked if I wanted to join. We managed to find a pair of tap shoes that fit me that day and from then on, dance became my life.

Edgardo Colon

Tell us a little about your background.


(photo by Rick Day)

I was born and raised in Philly. North Philly to be exact. I did move to Orlando, FL for a couple of years, but Philly is home. I work full time for H&M. I love fashion. I also teach Latin dancing. In my free time? Network. Create. Sleep lol. I also model during my free time.

Why do you love to dance?

It’s my passion. It’s my outlet. It’s my therapy. My earliest dancing memories are of family parties with my Aunt Sandy, dancing merengue. My fondest dance memory has to be performing for the Phillies during Latino night. Such an adrenaline rush!!


Cliff Schwinger

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

How Philly Moves 2014 ñ community dance photo sessions hosted by JJ Tiziou Photography For more info:

(photo by JJ Tiziou)

I am 61 years old and have lived in the Philadelphia area all of my life. I grew up in the Oxford Circle section of the city, and now live in Cheltenham about 4 miles from where I was born and raised. I have a son and daughter and three grandsons, all of whom live in the area. I am a structural engineer and view what I do as a form of art. We work for architects so most of the structural engineer’s “art” is hidden by the facade, walls and ceilings, but it gives me satisfaction to be part of a team contributing to a successful building projects.

In my free time I enjoy riding my bicycle – meandering around the city and exploring streets I never knew existed. I really didn’t begin to discover Philadelphia until I started seriously riding eight years ago. I enjoy finding beautiful old buildings, and then learning about their history and the architects who designed them, but what I enjoy even more than discovering old buildings is talking to people I meet along the way. I feel so much more connected to the world when I’m on my bike and I meet people I would have never even noticed if I was in my car. Cycling has opened my eyes and expanded my world.

Why do you love to dance?

I enjoy dancing because it’s fun! But over the years I was pre-occupied with work and raising my children and haven’t danced much – and I’ll confess, my dancing style is similar to Elaine’s on Seinfeld – but I feel happy when I dance! A friend said to me last week, “Dancing is so freeing, done ‘well’ or not.”

My earliest dancing memories are from the mid-70’s during the disco years. My friends and I would go over to New Jersey on Saturday nights to go dancing at the discos over there. I am pretty sure that my fondest dancing memory is yet to come – participating in Gala at this year’s Fringe Festival! What a thrill to be chosen to participate in this performance!