Video by Maria Rios
March 11, 2017, just before 2:00 pm, in the Ryan Arts & Culture Center in McKees Rocks, parents, siblings and spectators pack into a small theater to watch the Ryan Arts resident dancers and the Trevor C. Dance Collective. It is a 10 minute performance, but nevertheless a powerful display of talent and different types of dance, from hip hop to lyrical.
Ryan Arts & Culture Center is the home of Trevor C. Dance Collective. He is the most recent recipient of a Heinz Endowment TAP (Teaching Artist Program) grant of $60,000. The grant pays local artists a salary for two years to work with underserved youth, partnering with a local non-profit. Before working with Ryan Arts & Culture Center, Trevor worked with Urban Pathways, but found the bureaucracy in schools to be limiting to the kind of dance that he wanted to teach. Trevor tells stories with dance. He works with dancers from ages 7 to 17, and dances right along with them as an equal. Every nationality, body type, and culture is represented in the collective, from the type of performances to the dancers themselves.
Kaylee and Asia both found their way to the dance collective and Ryan Arts & Culture Center through a program at their schools and began going to the Saturday classes offered through the site. Both performers show appreciation of the dance collective, citing the fun environment and a chance to further themselves with dance, while also learning the discipline and focus required for performances. Kaylee draws inspiration from the lyrical dances the collective performs, transforming personal experience and emotions into the dance itself. Asia prefers hip hop for the expressions one can do during the performance.
Trevor himself holds a deep love of modern and contemporary storytelling dances, and has performed pieces about identity issues, cancer, and mental health. He feels that this kind of storytelling is vital to breaking down stigmas in underserved communities, particularly with regard to mental health and the barriers POC face, as well as the stigma of reaching out for help when needed.
Trevor Miles and his dance collective are currently on tour and can be seen here:
- 4/1 Saturday – PROGRESS’s Speak Up!- Duquesne University, Pay-What-You-Can, Sold Out, 11-2 PM
- 4/5 Wednesday – CCAC Week of Diversity – CCAC SOUTH Campus, Free Event, All Day Event, performance is at 12:35 PM
- 5/13 Saturday – Ryan Arts Spring Semester Showcase – Ryan Arts & Culture Center, 1-3 PM, Tix Available at the door (Price TBD)
- 5/17 Wednesday – Spring Concert – Sto-Rox High School, Free Event, 6:00 PM Doors
- 5/24 Wednesday – End Of Year Celebration – Sto Rox Middle School, Pay-What-You-Can, 6:00 PM Doors