‘Grease’ dancer teaches master class in East Portland

Why did a professional stage dancer from the traveling production of a Broadway hit take time to work with aspiring practitioners of Terpsichorean arts?

Keven Quillon, dancer from the touring production of the Broadway hit “Grease”, demonstrates hand movements to members of a “master class” held at the historic Day Theater facility on SE Foster Road.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The folks arriving at the new Spotlight Performing Arts studio one Saturday morning a few weeks ago were looking forward to more than just another class. They were coming to meet, and learn from, Keven Quillon, cast member of the national Broadway tour of “Grease”.

As the group warmed up and stretched, Quillon, originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, told us why he was up so early after performing the night before. “In addition to being a professional dancer, I also have a teaching license – and I love to teach. I like to ‘give back’ whenever I can. It’s great working with kids; many of them can see themselves doing this in the future.”

Quillon tells the class he loves teaching as much as dancing – and gets ready to start the class.

During his master class, Quillon taught some of the choreography from the show “Grease”. “This is actual choreography that we do on stage,” he told the group.

After the dance workout, Quillon said he would hold a mock audition, “The kind of audition like we do in New York for a show. It’s important for future dancers to know what to expect. Then, we will have a question and answer session. In addition to learning dance steps, I want these students to be able to learn what it takes to successfully audition and ‘make it’ in the business.”

Sherry Summerville, instructor, Spotlight Performing Arts says Quillon’s class can help some of her students learn how to become a professional dancer, as well as a proficient one.

As the class got underway, we talked with Sherry Summerville, the primary instructor at Spotlight Performing Arts, located in the Historic Day Theater building on SE Foster Road.

“We teach everything from ballet to jazz,” Summerville said. We also perform stage musicals. We’re doing “The Aristocats” for our little students this summer – and “Willy Wonka, The Musical.”

Spotlight Performing Arts offers class for kids as young as three years old – well into their teenage years. “Many of our 17 and 18-year-olds go to compete in state and regional competitions.”

Spotlight Performing Arts is located at 5514 SE Foster Rd. Call (503) 860-6562 for more information, or see their website at www.spotlightpdx.com.

“Here we go … 1, 2, 3, 4 …” Quillon counts off as the group of dancers start making their moves.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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