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Student explores harrowing themes through dance

Miami-native hopes to incorporate comedy into future work

Written By Kelsey Eiseman

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In a dance routine on campus, a student plays a strong grown man watching three young girls in dresses with their hair in pigtails as they play. The man is dancing, visibly frustrated, while the girls flutter and dance around joyfully.

Continuously watching, the man is lurking in the background. He starts to interact with the young girls, twirling them around, displaying his dominance.

Maytte Subirana Albarellos, someone who is respected by her peers, aspiring to have a career in dance, and with other interests, such as comedy, created this routine.

The scene replays a storyline of a pedophile in her first choreography piece, “One in Seven Girls,” which was showcased at the Student Choreography Project.

With Albarellos first ever choreographing challenge, she grasped the task and ran with it. Manipulating movements of the dancers to play off of the music is very important when choreographing, according to her. It helps create movement and if she has a purpose in mind rather than just dancing, the whole process is easier for her.

Albarellos chose the title “One in Seven Girls” because of a statistic that states one in seven girls will be molested. She decided on this topic after looking into dark subject matter like serial killers over the summer.

“I decided to go through with [naming my piece] and make it more aware because most victims are too scared to come forward,” Albarellos said.

Albarellos’ favorite moment while creating this routine was connecting with the cast, making them aware of the topic and having them be open to interpreting what she was asking them to do.

“Seeing it on stage is very real, very nice,” Albarellos said.

According to Albarellos, the level of difficulty she faced while choreographing this routine was extreme.  With such a sensitive topic, not crossing a line but getting fairly close to it was difficult.

Not having personal experience with pedophilia, Albarellos consulted a friend who has.  She checked in with this friend throughout choreographing, asking if what she was doing was okay and making sure it wasn’t crossing any lines.

Jason McDole, a dance teacher who had Subirana Albarellos as a student for multiple classes and her advisor for the Student Choreography Project, stressed his pride in her. As a young artist, McDole thought she did a great job of raising awareness and questions, and making viewers feel strong emotion.

“I’m really proud of her,” said Jason McDole, assistant professor at Point Park University. “I was also proud of her for wanting to voice and discuss something that people are very uncomfortable talking about. It’s the only way people sit up and listen or be asked to have some thought.”

He stressed that she had transformed from a quiet, reserved, very disciplined dancer to a strong, expressive, passionate person, performer and choreographer.

McDole shared he has witnessed the transformation and watched her have some of her most prominent moments as a dancer.

“She created such great sense of tension at the same time being very respectful, which is really hard to do.” McDole said. “It’s hard to articulate through dance but be mindful and thoughtful on how to educate this through a dance, she found a great balance to do that, just enough for you to feel it but not be invasive, it was a very qualitative thoughtful approach,”.

The 20-year-old junior dancer major started her journey in Miami, Fla., in her mom’s dance studio.  Beginning at the age of three, Albarellos was taught by her mother who was a dancer in the Joffrey Ballet for 10 years in New York.

When she goes home in the summer, she follows her mother’s steps, and teaches at various dance studios around Miami: Spring Dance Center, Miami Dance Company, MADD Dance Company, Moving Artist Dance Company and Artistic Dance Company to name a few.

Her goals are to work at a modern contemporary company, but she is willing to pursue just about any opportunity presented to her, such as working in Broadway. Albarellos wishes to dance professionally first, then move into choreographing.

“To make others feel something, life is hard, especially with nine to five jobs, you feel stuck in this routine and I feel like going to a dance show really helps people feel something and get inspired in many ways,” Albarellos said.

Her goal for this year is to continue choreographing and to become a more versatile dancer.

Everyday life for Albarellos is filled with dance classes and relaxation.  Some days are busier than others, but her typical day includes ballet in the morning, academic classes, and her modern and jazz dance classes throughout the rest of the day.

After a long day, she goes home to her apartment off-campus to eat dinner and decides between doing homework or watching Netflix. She arrives a half hour early to warm up to begin her rehearsals with the other cast members from 6:30 p.m.- 10 p.m. in the dance studios at Point Park when she is cast into a routine.

Albarellos has been cast in many shows at Point Park, showcasing her versatility and accomplishments.  She said she has had great experiences with Point Park Connections, Student Choreography Projects, and Student Showcase.  She is also involved in the hip hop club Impulse.

With just completing the Student Choreography Project, Albarellos auditioned for and got a spot in the Winter Showcase.  There, she will be performing in the piece called “Chairman Dances” by Lucinda Childs.  The show will be performed on Dec. 1-10 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Her time is mostly consumed by dance, but she still finds time to do things she enjoys. Comedy is one of Albarellos’ other passions. She helps write jokes for her friend who is a stand-up comedian.

With comedy in mind, she is already planning on choreographing a piece for the Student Showcase next semester, in collaboration with her friend Laura Barrett, a junior dance major. They are considering doing a comedy-dance combination piece.

“We have been studying comedy for the past few years and we are trying to find a way to combine our two favorite things: dance and comedy” Barret said.

Barret, who describes Albarello as a kind, hilarious, selfless person and an extremely talented dancer, said that she is looking forward to working with her on this piece.

“We are very excited to see how we could mix dance and comedy together,” Albarellos said.

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