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Forty Steps Dance Concert Returns To Nahant

The following article was published in The Lynn Daily Item by Sam Minton June 22, 2021 read here

NAHANT — Forty Steps Dance is aiming to bring people together after such a long year apart.

The Nahant dance studio will be hosting its 28th annual concert Saturday evening. Concertgoers will be in for a treat as new choreography and some old favorites will be on display.

Just like every aspect of human existence, dance was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year the studio held its performance outside and will continue to do so on Saturday.

With Forty Steps finding success in their new, al fresco last year, coupled with relaxed guidelines from the state, Artistic Director Sallee Slagle said the best decision was to once again have the performance outdoors.

“We didn’t know, so we decided to prepare for an outdoor performance as we knew that we would probably be able to do that and were uncertain if we would be able to do any indoor variation,” said Slagle.

The choreography was also affected by the pandemic. A new work titled “Reverse Dance” utilizes and represents a medieval dance form that has dancers spread out and making limited contact.

For many, the arts can be used to bring the community together. Slagle and other dancers are very excited to be able to perform for the crowd once again.

“Just being able to present to the community and keep the arts alive — not just bring them alive but keep them alive — that’s the key, and we really feel like arts are essential especially to our spirit and all of that,” said Slagle. “I think through the isolation that we all experienced with the pandemic it’s really soul-feeding in that way and it definitely is something that we all missed during this period of time.”

Getting to perform for a crowd is not something that Slagle and her dancers take for granted, especially when they were forced to have online performances last year, she said.

“As dancers and performers, we have done some online work as well and it’s rewarding but it doesn’t have that same instant connection with your audience and you are never quite as sure whether you have connected with your audience when you are online,” said Slagle. “So, this (performance) is where we get to interact and connect and that’s really the soul of art.”

Slagle will also be performing a special solo, “Window Panes.” While it was choreographed in 2016, the piece strikingly hits home since it is focused on isolation.

“‘Window Panes’ kind of has the idea that you are always looking at other people’s lives and comparing your life to their life, and I think we’ve all had some introspective moments through this period too,” said Slagle. “Looking at our life and looking at others—  trying to figure out what’s best for all of us — it has that kind of quality.

“It does show that there’s a little bit of that despair in there, but the final point … they are working together as a group as well.”

Tickets are available at fortystepsdance.org.

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Alana Comeau

Alana has been dancing since the age of two and it truly became a lifelong passion. Alana graduated from the Dance Teachers Club of Boston Training School in 2007. She holds a Certificate in Dance Education, Summa Cum Laude, and an Associate Degree in Dance, Magna Cum Laude from Northern Essex Community College. Alana also graduated from Salem State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science also in Dance, Cum Laude. Alana has been teaching multiple genres of dance since 2007. Alana loves dance because it combines the power of athletics with the creativity of art, the perfect combination! Alana is a newer member to the group and is enjoying every minute of it. Alana joined Forty Steps Dance September 2019

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Emma Limperis

Emma Limperis is from Methuen, MA, and has studied under various instructors and choreographers from the Boston Ballet, Urbanity Dance, and Backhausdance of California. Emma graduated with a BA in English from Endicott College in 2018, where she additionally earned a Minor in dance and performed with the Endicott Repertory Dance Ensemble. At Endicott, Emma founded and presided the school’s first student-run dance club, Endicott Dance Group (EDGE). More recently, Emma can be found teaching and choreographing in the Greater Boston area. She currently teaches at the studio where she grew up dancing, the Center for the Performing Arts in North Andover.

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Ricardo de Matos Simoes

When being asked why he is a dancer, Ricardo will explain that he worked as an extra at the RLT Neuss (Schiller’s Intrigue and Love) and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duesseldorf Germany (Aida, The Abduction from the Seraglio) to pay his rent for his studio apartment as a student. At the opera he was exposed to the magic and beauty of numerous live operas and classical ballet performances in the evenings. Taking ballet and dance classes would offer significantly better paid jobs as an extra so he began his endeavor as an adult dancer. As a student at the University in Duesseldorf, he was able to attend a wide range of complimentary evening dance classes in ballet, modern and contemporary dance they offered, He has continued taking regular evening drop-in classes in universities and ballet schools in Germany, Austria, UK, USA and other countries for over 17 years. He has been trained by numerous notable teachers and currently with Sallee Slagle since early 2019. During the pandemic he continues training online at home with classes at Ballet Academy East.  Joined Forty Steps Dance 2019.

Photos from 2020 Residency at MCC

Forty Steps Dance was artist-in-residency at Middlesex Community College in February 2020. Here are a few photos from the concert. photos: Sallee Slagle

photo: Sallee Slagle
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Photos from 2019 Spring Concert

The 2019 Annual Spring Concert, held March 2019 at Nahant Town Hall, featured new and old works, and a work-in-progress made up of 40 steps: 40 Steps (Work-in-Progress), Echoes and Shadows (2019), Flax Pond (2019), Missing Pieces (2012) with Guest Artist Kelley Donovan and music interludes performed by Cellist Julie Ouellette Earp. Photos: Glen Tines

Open post photo: Teresa

Teresa Tobin

Teresa was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up in Stoneham, MA after a short stint in Lugano, Switzerland. She began training at a young age at Sandra Marie’s School of Ballet in Melrose, MA which operates today as the Northeast School of Ballet in Reading, MA. During that time she had the opportunity to train with Minneapolis Dance Theatre under Gloria Govrin (who trained under George Balanchine) and also with the Boston Ballet School in Boston’s Back Bay. She performed various works including The Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and an original work with the Boston Musica Viva based off the tales of the Brothers Grimm.  She earned a BS in Psychology from Fordham College at Lincoln Center and had the opportunity to perform with some of Bushwick’s most avant-garde movement artists in the 2016 production, “Authority Figure” choreographed by Monica Mirabile (FLUCT) and Sarah Kinlaw. Since returning to Boston she has been an active member of Nozama Dance Collective and has participated in the Salem Arts Festival, Dance for World Community, and various other local festivals and events. She teaches ballet and tap at A Dancer’s Dream in Marblehead, MA and has been a member of 40 Steps Dance since December 2018.

Open post photo: Lauren

Lauren Beck

Lauren Beck is originally from Arlington, Massachusetts.  Lauren graduated with a BFA in Jazz Dance from the University of the Arts in 2008.  Lauren has performed in many venues in the Philadelphia area including the Merriam and Drake Theaters. After, graduating, Lauren continued on to the seas, working for PGT Entertainment, as a dancer,  on board the Sea Princess cruise ship. Lauren joined Forty Steps Dance in 2009, and has recently returned from a two-year sabbatical with her husband in Australia.  

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