Meet the Yard’s budding young stars

Dance interns play many roles at the Yard, gaining experience and learning all the while.

Caitlin Canty and Agnese Cebere dance together on Moshup Beach. — Siobhan Beasley

For many of us, the Yard is a highlight of summer entertainment. It brings contemporary, classic, and out-of-this-world dance troupes to the Island, and also hosts a troupe of dancers on the campus for the duration of the summer. You may see these interns manning the ticket or merchandise tables at an event, or teaching a dance class, but all of them are accomplished dancers. The Times photographed and interviewed these budding young stars to get a look at what brought them to the Island, and what their experience is like.

Ali Geroche, 22

Loveland, Colo.

When did you first start dancing?

I first tried out dance class when I was 3 years old. Although I was one of the more talented kids in my class (or so my parents say), a paralyzing experience of stage fright kept me from dancing for the five years following that first class. I began dancing again when I was 8 years old, at a local studio where I studied for six years. I have some early memories of performing Britney Spears dances for my family members in our living room.

What inspires you about dancing on Martha’s Vineyard?

Ali Geroche makes lovely lines at Moshup Beach. — Siobhan Beasley

At the Yard, I have the opportunity to watch live dance performance multiple times every week. This exposure to different artists and their work fuels my own dance practice. It is particularly inspiring to have the opportunity to speak with the artists about their work and career in the field. The personal connections I have made with artists have given me insight into the world of dance and how I might interact within it. Being surrounded by gifted, working professional dancers and choreographers each week is one of the most exciting parts of this internship and being on Martha’s Vineyard.

Why do you dance?

I dance because I am the best version of myself when I am dancing. I dance because it constantly challenges my integrity and work ethic. I dance because moving to music brings me deep joy. I dance because of the exhilaration that comes with a committed performance. I dance because I am privileged to have parents who could afford lessons. I dance because it is one of the only careers that is physical and cannot be mechanized. I dance because it is my chosen mode of expression.

Anaya Bobst finds a peaceful moment at Duarte’s Pond. —Siobhan Beasley

Anaya Bobst, 25 

Stockholm, Sweden

Any educational dance background? What’s on your dance résumé/repertoire?

I graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in dance and a minor in entrepreneurship from Point Park University in April 2017. While at Point Park, I had the privilege to perform in works by Martha Graham, David Norsworthy, Matt Pardo, Douglas Bentz, student´s choreographies and installations, and in my own solos. I studied dance with professors Rubén Graciani, Jason McDole, Doug Bentz, Matt Pardo, and Susan Stowe, and worked as an assistant and demonstrator for Jason McDole`s junior modern dance class for a semester. I choreographed for 2015’s Student Choreography Project Performance and 2017’s Senior Project Performance at Point Park University. In addition, I implemented and premiered the first independently choreographed installation at the Conservatory. Prior to my time at university, I choreographed group and solo works for Mario Burdette´s project group BDT at Danscentrum, Stockholm, Sweden.

Why do you dance?

I dance to communicate and share how physical, creative, and innovative language can express the generosity, energy, vibration, and inspiration that life and people give me.

Is this your first summer on the Vineyard? What do you make of living here?

Yes, this is my first time on the Island. I love the nature, people, and food. They all deeply enhance the quality of life and work here in so many ways.

Agnese Cebere, 27

Stockholm, Sweden, and Riga, Latvia

What are your earliest memories of dance?

I started dancing when I was about 8; however it hasn’t always been my focus, as I have pursued other passions. My earliest memory of dance is seeing some children perform a dance about the sun, wearing yellow leotards. That’s when I told my mom I wanted to take dance class.

Any educational dance background? What’s on your dance résumé/repertoire?

Throughout my childhood and adolescence I took dance classes and performed. I did jazz, contemporary, ballet, and some hip-hop. In college I went to art school and got a degree in intermedia art from Edinburgh College of Art, focusing on performance and video art. During this time I did a lot of experimental performance and happenings, both choreographing and performing, mostly solo pieces. I also did the Laban Conservatoire

Agnese Cebere dances on Moshup Beach. —Siobhan Beasley

Summer School in London in 2013, taking mostly modern classes. My background is more in the visual arts, but I like to use all kinds of media in my artmaking, including moving bodies. In 2015 I came to New York to train at the Martha Graham School, where I studied primarily Graham technique but also ballet and conditioning, such as Gyrokinesis, Pilates, and yoga. I am now in the middle of an M.A. in media studies at the New School, where I try to incorporate dance/movement wherever I can, making dance films and researching the interactions of digital media and the moving body.

What inspires you about dancing on Martha’s Vineyard?

Nature! The sounds and rhythms, the smells (!), and the shapes of nature are very present on this island. Dancing at Mytoi Japanese Gardens on Chappaquiddick early in the summer was the epitome of this, dancing to the rain on the pond and the wind in the trees and grasses. It was a beautiful and inspiring experience. I am also inspired by the community involvement that the Yard cultivates, and the many events that we organize where community members are participating directly and dancing with us.

Is this your first summer on the Vineyard? What do you make of living here?

This is my first summer on the Vineyard; I had never even been here before, and didn’t quite know what to expect. It seems to have the best of both worlds — the isolation and solitude of an island, but with amazing artists and culture coming here from all over the country, and the world — all supported by the year-round population of open-minded and generous people.

What do you do on your off days?

Go to the beach! We usually get a group of us together and head to Lucy Vincent to hang out, read, and swim. I also try to think about and further my own projects, doing research and drawing out ideas. And grocery shop.

Caitlin Canty began dance lessons at age 3. Here, she employs expressive dance at Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury. —Siobhan Beasley

 

Caitlin Canty, 23

Concord

When did you first start dancing? What are your earliest memories of dance?

I first started dancing when I was 3 years old at a dance studio in my town. My earliest memory of dance is being in dance class with my best friend Katie; we always had to be separated in class, but we loved to dance, and often played dress-up with all our costumes and made up our own dances in our backyards.

Is this your first summer on the Vineyard? What do you make of living here?

This is my first summer on the Vineyard! It’s beautiful. I have been exploring a lot of the walking and running paths, and I’m looking forward to experiencing more of what the Island has to offer when things get a little less busy in the fall.

What do you do on your off days?

On my off days I make big breakfasts, then go to the beach.

 

Siobhan Beasley

Juan (Coel) Rodriguez, 25

Phoenix, Ariz.

When did you first start dancing? What are your earliest memories of dance?

I started dancing at the age of 12. Funny enough, though, from the age of 7 my family would push my cousin and me to battle each other at family functions. Who would have thought he and I would become the dancers and collaborators we are today?

Any educational dance background? What’s on your dance résumé/repertoire?

I graduated from Arizona State University in 2014 with a B.F.A. in dance. I’ve since been performing for my local Phoenix community in festivals such as CONDER/Dance’s Breaking ground, several [nueBOX] residencies, as well as creating my own and other local artist’s pop-up performances. Nationally I’ve been fortunate enough to perform collaborative works as well as participate as a resident artist/teaching artist for Middle Circle in San Francisco, Western Wyoming Community College, American University in D.C., as well as an upcoming performance for Boston Contemporary Dance Festival on August 12.

Is this your first summer on the Vineyard? What do you make of living here?

This is my first time visiting the Vineyard. I’m from Arizona, so the water and the abundance of the color green is fascinating to me. I feel like the people who are here really appreciate being here, and I love interacting with all of the nice and helpful people that live here.

What do you do on your off days?

On my off days I go to the beach, walk through towns, and try my best to find new foods and restaurants to try.