The Ridgefield School of Dance bid farewell to three senior Company members as they made their farewell performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream June 11-12.
While goodbyes can be sad as Ridgefield’s Sofia Garrett and Ingrid Karlson and Karina Rao have grown up together at this studio, they are fondly regarded by their teachers. The studio’s executive director Alison Brown, artistic director Jess Boelts and the teachers will miss them but are looking forward to seeing what the future brings for them.
Sofia Garrett, a Ridgefield School of Dance member for 13 years, and company captain for the past three, will be attending Northeastern University this fall. Sofia has excelled at the Ridgefield School of Dance, taking almost every dance class offered, from funky hip-hop to classical ballet to partnering. She will be continuing dance in college in an extracurricular dance company. Garrett, who performed as the mischievous sprite Puck in this year’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, has also performed as Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and in the Nutcracker she has danced the roles of Sugar Plum, Dew Drop and Marzipan. Sofia realized her talent in choreography at the Ridgefield School of Dance, creating multiple jazz and contemporary pieces performed by her peers. These dances demonstrate her creative spark and have been included in both winter and spring productions for the studio. “Choreographing has become my favorite part of dance and I’m so grateful that the studio allowed me that opportunity. Having the independence to create choreography in a safe and nonjudgmental environment with my friends is so exciting and fun,” Sofia explains. Her final choreography pieces for the Ridgefield School of Dance were performed in “Journey,” the presentation by the Jazz Department
Ingrid Karlson has been with the Ridgefield School of Dance since 2009. She will be attending the University of South Carolina next year and is considering minoring in dance. In this year’s presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Karlson was Titania, queen of the fairies. With many roles to her name such as Diamond Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, the Pas de Trois in Paquita and The Nutcracker’s Ice Queen, Dew Drop and Arabian, Titania was a favorite because of the acting, partnering, comedy and regal choreography involved. Originally focusing on ballet, friends and teachers at the studio introduced her to contemporary and jazz styles. These different styles strengthened Ingrid’s technique and her love for dance. “I’m so grateful that the studio also offers partnering classes,” Ingrid says. “I’ve learned how to connect with and trust my partners, and learned so many fun pas de deux!” As Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ingrid partnered with several of the guest artists who also joined her in partnering classes.
Since 2006, Karina Rao has continuously danced at the Ridgefield School of Dance. Karina has balanced school work and dance commitments well and she will be attending Dartmouth University this fall. She plans to keep dance a part of her life by joining either the performance ensemble or a student run group. Karina has danced Marzipan and Arabian in The Nutcracker, and Sapphire Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. For this year’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Karina performed the role of the commanding Hyppolita, Queen of the Amazons. Karina notes that her favorite part of the studio is definitely the people she has met, thanks to the Ridgefield School of Dance’s tight-knit community. Karina reflects on her favorite memory, “when the Company members did a studio lock-in in 2020; we had a big picnic dinner and watched our old performances all night.” Karina describes the studio’s Company as a family who have grown up together, both as dancers and as people.
From ballet and jazz and as company members in both disciplines, these extremely talented artists have had an amazing solidarity. Executive Director Alison Brown says, “They have been such an integral part of our studio. It’s going to be a really big change to not see their smiling faces virtually every day. They have been an inspiration to all of their peers and the younger dancers. We look forward to their visits in years to come.”
For more information, www.theridgefieldschoolofdance.com.