A local nonprofit is investing in the next generation of dancers.
6 o’Clock Dance Theatre will host its inaugural Summer Workshop Series from Aug. 6 to 11 at Ballet Burn in Preston Center.
Open to pre-professional and professional dancers ages 12 and up, the dance workshops will be led by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre company alumni Zach Ingram. Dancers may choose from afternoon and evening workshops. The week will conclude with a studio performance and reception on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Zach Ingram brings innovative and unique ideas to the contemporary ballet scene – enhancing the city’s arts and culture. He was first recruited to the metroplex by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, leaving New York for the allure of downtown Dallas’ growing arts district.
Years later — after multiple tours with ‘The Lion King’ — Ingram planted firm roots in Dallas when he decided to start his own company. Teaming up with SMU Dance alumni Marielle McGregor, the two formed 6 o’Clock Dance Theatre.
Today, the company is a transformative nonprofit that provides an avenue for Dallas’ dance professionals to perform at elite levels, while also giving them the flexibility to work full-time in their chosen career path.
“What’s most important is I pass on the gifts I have been given,” Ingram said. “People dedicated their time and energy to give me the foundation I needed to excel in the dance world. And I want to pay it forward.”
The Summer Workshop Series with 6 o’Clock Dance Theatre will offer three options for participants to include the Afternoon, Evening, and Everything Pass. The third option includes a contemporary class and a repertoire class with a break in between for dinner (and additional classes at Ballet Burn).
“Ironically what the dance world often lacks is flexibility,” said Marielle McGregor, the company’s executive director. “From our company’s rehearsals to our summer workshops, we’re giving dancers options to move in a way that fits their schedule. Our company members don’t have to choose between dance or a living wage, and our workshop students don’t have to choose between dance or a summer vacation. You can have both.”
McGregor’s attraction to a “build it your way” dance schedule began at SMU where she double majored in dance performance and advertising. She chose the university because it offered that flexibility.
Today her relationship with SMU continues, recruiting many of its graduates to dance with 6 o’Clock Dance Theatre and offering private lessons for SMU Dance hopefuls. In fact, the company held its first full-length show at SMU Meadows School of the Arts and Ingram hopes to one day set a piece on the students.
“I love creating new choreography and just began working on a new piece for the Summer Workshop Series,” says Ingram. “Advanced students who sign up for the evening classes will get to join me in the creation process.”