MEET THE COMPANY
The North Star Dance Company laid down its roots 7 years ago in November 2016 with their premier performance of original works on the North Star Theater Stage in Cordova, Alaska. The company’s founding members have all since graduated leaving behind their legacy and inspiration for our current company dancers.
The company has had the pleasure of working with acclaimed artist, Katherine Kramer, who created a piece specifically for the company in March 2017. In March 2019, these dancers had the unique opportunity to set pieces to music by the Alaskan band, The Super Saturated Sugar Strings, to collaborate with them as well as perform their work LIVE with the band. Also last spring, the company exchanged choreography with Dance Momentum, an Anchorage based dance company. Plus, the company dancers got to learn from Okaidja Afroso, visiting guest artist from Portland, who shared his African dance and music heritage and collaborated with both Dance Momentum and the Super Saturated Sugar Strings along with our dancers!
The company staged its own production in February 2020, Incrementum, highlighting four graduating dancers.
Despite COVID, the company has managed to create and share space to work on pieces to share with the community. Performances in the winter and spring of 2021 were limited, but gladly the dancers were able to perform to the greater general public in December 2021 and March 2022.
Arianna Dawn Jeppson-Bolin, 14
Ari started dancing with us when she was 3 years old.
She says, “When I dance, I feel free in the movement. It’s like I can truly be myself and let go of what’s holding me back.”
She likes the support that she gets from her fellow dancers and the sense of community from being around such amazing people in the Company.
She would tell younger dancers to have perseverance, even if you’re thinking that it’s not worth keeping at it, it always will be.
Ari loves the great outdoors and making memories with those that she loves the most.
She plans on graduating high school and attending trade school for diesel mechanics. She also wants to travel the lower 48 and just see where life takes her.
Morgan Saiget, 15
Morgan was born in Hood River, Oregon and started dancing when she was 6 years old.
She says, “I dance because I love the feeling. I don’t have to think or worry, it’s just really freeing. I hate being the center of attention unless I’m dancing.”
In the Company, she loves being able to bond with the other dancers and learn how to move together.
Her advice to younger dancers is that it will be hard, but the further you get, the more you accomplish. You just enjoy it more and more.
Morgan enjoys a lot of other arts as well – music, drawing, & crafting.
Morgan wants to pursue dance and go to college somewhere new once she graduates.
Avery Reynolds, 13
Avery started dancing when she was 3 years old.
She says, “I dance because it’s something I love. I like being able to find movements to match words and ways to express myself. Dance is a bigger creative outlet for me than any other thing I’ve done. I like to just be able to move to the rhythm and feel the lyrics.”
The thing she likes most about being in the Company is being able to choreograph with the help and input of others. Having others dance with me opens up more possibilities and more ideas.
She would tell younger dancers to just keep trying. Keep finding ways to tell yourself you’re doing great. “Don’t let others tell you otherwise, and just dance like no one’s watching. Let the music embrace you and dance.”
Avery loves to make people laugh when they’re down, even if it means embarrassing herself.
In the future, Avery plans to travel. She loves Cordova, but she would like to see more of the world. She sees herself traveling to Europe and New York.
Layla Phillips, 12
Layla started dancing when she was 3.
She says, “I dance because it is a very freeing and creative way to show your emotions. When I dance, I feel that I can be myself in many different ways.”
What she likes most about the North Star Company is the community that it provides. “This community is like my second family.”
If she would tell younger dancers one thing, it would be that it becomes such a great community of dancers. Once you are in this community, you will never want to leave.
Layla wants to pursue dancing for the rest of her Jr High and High School years.
Lillian May Simpler, 13
Lillian started dancing when she was 3.
She says, “ I dance because I can flow freely, with no hesitations. I can express myself without having to talk about things. When I dance, I feel free.”
Being in the North Star Dance Company allows Lilly to dance in duets, solos, and other arrangements of dancers.
Lilly’s advice to young dancers is a way to help them through challenging moments. She states, “If you get mad, don’t keep doing the move, take a break, then try again. Try your best.”
Sometimes, she watches the Disney Channel movies and makes funny parodies for her family to watch.
Her dream job is to be a Nascar racer or race car racer.
Camilla Tabatha Vargas, 13
Camilla started dancing when she was 3.
She states, “I dance because it is something I love and enjoy. I love being able to express myself in dance and feel the music.”
Camilla likes dancing in the company because she loves the people and Marita and Alyssa are amazing teachers. She loves being with her friends and doing what she loves.
Her advice to a young dancer is to have fun and practice. “Don’t stress, just feel the music.”
She does not have anything planned for her future; just see where life takes her.
Giannaleah Dunn Gullett, 13
Giannaleah started dancing when she was 3.
She says, “When I dance, I forget all the troubles in my life.”
She likes how the dancers choreograph the dances and that the dances don’t come from a video or the teachers.
She would tell younger dancers to “not let anyone dull your spark. Dance is what makes you shine.”
In the future, she’d like to own her own bakery!