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The Koresh Youth Ensemble was formed in the fall of 2008 to give gifted, young dancers more intensive dance training and greater performance opportunities. Students who demonstrate both the talent and desire to become professionals are selected to join the group. The ensemble allows young dancers the chance to show their commitment to dance and strive for excellence in performance, under the direction of some of the most highly respected teachers and choreographers in Philadelphia.
Melissa Rector, assistant artistic director of Koresh Dance Company, oversees the ensemble, teaching and rehearsing with them on a weekly basis. Students also have the opportunity to work with other instructors throughout the year as they prepare for various performances. In the past, they have performed choreography by Roni Koresh, Melissa Rector, Shannon Murphy, Sammy Reyes, Eric Bean, Jr. and Cheryl Carson. Working with instructors from various disciplines allows them to become strong and versatile dancers.
Members of the ensemble have gone on to study at Boston Conservatory, SUNY Purchase, La Escuela Profesional de Danza de Mazatlan, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, The University of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, among others. Through dance classes, rehearsals and performance, the Koresh Youth Ensemble gives dancers the necessary tools and experiences to become professional dancers.
The Koresh Youth Ensemble performs at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia, PA as part of Koresh Dance Company's home seasons. The company has two home seasons each year, one in the fall and one in the spring, and the ensemble typically opens several performances during each run. In the past, they have performed company repertory by Roni Koresh and new choreography by Melissa Rector at these shows. They have consistently received rave reviews for their performances at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Of a performance in 2010 the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: "Normally a student group wouldn't be reviewed, but the ensemble's 13- to 18-year-olds danced the challenging piece as well as I recall the professional troupe did some five years ago." After a performance in December of 2012, The Dance Journal wrote: “The 14 dancers of the Koresh Youth Ensemble were tenacious as always. Their technique, like that of the Ensemble’s director, Koresh veteran Melissa Rector, was impeccable and it’s no surprise that these students end up accepted to dance programs all across the country.”
WATCH A SELECTION OF ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCES ONLINE HERE.
They also consistently perform at the Koresh Artist Showcases, which are typically held six times a year at Koresh Dance Company. This gives them the opportunity to work with various choreographers throughout the year.
Students must be 13-18 years old in order to be eligible. There is a strong emphasis on training as members are required to take a minimum of four classes a week in the children's program at the Koresh School of Dance. Classes include ballet, modern, jazz and company repertory. In addition, they have rehearsal every Saturday. There is a fee for being a member of the ensemble.
Please note that specific class requirements may change year to year.