"I had no idea you could do that!" says John Selya to Taylor Johnson-French, a freshman who has just executed a fiercely intentional and riveting passage of improv. Zooming like an arrow down a hallway lined with giant, neon coral sculptures, she looked to be seeking a target with her focus and the precise lines and angles of her limbs.
"I didn't either!" Johnson-French responds.
This exchange is one of many moments of empowerment and facilitated self-discovery from Selya's first semester as the dance chair at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, a public, statewide high school, where the arts disciplines (visual arts, music, theater and dance) are taught in daily three-hour intensives that follow the academic day. Founded as a charter school in 2010, the program is open to all students in New Mexico who qualify through a blind, competitive audition or portfolio admissions process.
Photo by Sage Morris-Greene, courtesy of New Mexico School for the Arts
Selya Rehearsing Tharp's Come Fly With Me
Photo by Gene Carl Feldman, courtesy of Come Fly With Me
Selya in Movin' Out
Photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy of the photographer