On May 20, a sea of blue caps and gowns at Columbia University was speckled with rose red T-shirts as the House of the Roses (HOTR) Volunteer Dance Company made its way to the Miller Theatre. While university students celebrated graduation, non-profit HOTR borrowed space to hold its tenth annual Roses Are Dance performance.
Founded in 2003 by Steps on Broadway faculty member Jeff Shade, HOTR enlists volunteer teaching artists to lead onsite weekly creative movement workshops for children and teens in New York City homeless shelters and community centers. Trained in the open teaching philosophy of HOTR, volunteers use movement games and imagination to help dancers create choreography for the culminating performance.
With the theme “Roses on the Move,” this year’s show emphasized locomotion, and each center performed an original dance. The students’ work conjured up images of planes, trains, automobiles and even snorkeling and submarines, with “The Seaweed Dance,” “Under the Sea,” and “The Hip Hop Ocean.”
For some children, it was their first time performing onstage, but HOTR knows how to ease young nerves. The performance followed a macaroni-and-cheese party, where dancers got to socialize with their friends and peers from other centers. During the show, volunteers joined dancers onstage to maintain a sense of fun and comfort.
For more information, visit houseoftheroses.org.
Photo by Brad Willard