Arizona State University musical theater students got a very special valentine on Feb. 14 when Karli Dinardo, co-dance captain with the touring cast of "Hamilton," taught a dance master class at ASU.
“Be sponges,” Dinardo said to the aspiring performers. “Take in as much as you can. Work as hard as you can.”
Dinardo, who is originally from Australia, is the co-dance captain, swing and understudy in "Hamilton." She said the show is difficult but very much worth the work. There are six male “tracks” and five female “tracks” in the show. A track is the part each ensemble member dances, props they touch, where they enter and with whom they dance. Each one is unique.
“We lead all rehearsal for all the swings, understudies and stand-ins as they’re learning new tracks,” Dinardo said. “Once they learn their tracks, it’s about maintaining them all so they can go on at any moment in time.”
Dinardo taught the students her own choreography in the master class, instructing piece by piece and then letting the students perform in small groups. Throughout the class, she gave students advice she has learned while auditioning and performing.
“I think figuring out what applies to you and how you can make the best of every situation is the best mindset to have,” Dinardo said. “Especially in school before you go out into the world, that is amazing and brilliant, but sometimes very tough as well. I think if you can prepare yourself in school, you’re only putting yourself forward with the best foot.”
The students were inspired and grateful that Dinardo came to teach them. Many of the students have dreams of performing like Dinardo.
“It’s just cool to get to interact with the professional artist you want to be like someday,” ASU student Analise Rosario said. “Especially because she’s like our age, so it’s really cool that it’s not that far out of reach for us. It’s good to see what the bar is set at so we know this is how hard we have to work to get there."
ASU Gammage has been connecting communities all school year with master classes by dancers and performers from the various touring companies that perform on the ASU Gammage stage. Each student received a "Hamilton" souvenir book to commemorate the experience.
“It was such a treat to see how excited the students were,” said Dale Dreyfoos, a professor in the School of Music. “They all immediately jumped in and 'put their best feet forward' in working on the combination.”
Students from all corners of the arts had the opportunity to fine-tune their skills or learn new ones. At Dinardo’s master class, five opera majors and one Doctoral of Musical Arts candidate attended the class to learn more about dance performance.
“I know how much fun the music theater students had working with someone of Karli's caliber,” Dreyfoos said. “It was most especially rewarding to see how our five Master's Opera majors and our DMA Conducting major went beyond their usual comfort zone and got to experience 'life on the other side' as a dancer, which will also help them be even more compelling performers in their own genres.”
"Hamilton" is playing at ASU Gammage through Feb. 25. Visit www.asugammage.com for more information.