Live stage performances have been curtailed during the pandemic, but it hasn’t contained the passion and expression for one King dancer.
Stage veteran Hannah Richardson can’t wait to share her passion with audiences once again.
It’s difficult to go from the pinnacle of live performing, to total withdrawal.
Richardson noted she travelled with her fellow dance mates from Alvin Ailey to Amsterdam to perform at the 2020 Holland Dance Festival. She was a featured dancer in the festival and was honoured to have been chosen to present flowers to HRH Princess Beatrix of Netherlands at the opening ceremonies.
Richardson also had the pleasure to work with Evidence, A Dance Company with Ronald K. Brown as artistic director, on their debut performance of “Mercy.” This was performed at the wonderful Fisher Center at Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson, a truly fantastic space. The original music was live and it was “magical,” she said.
She also had “the exhilarating pleasure” to have performed at the Lincoln Center, the Mecca of the performance stage, not once but three times.
“I will always be excited entering those doorways, hallways, tunnels, aisles, that stage where greatness has danced, sung, performed, and witnessed magic being created. It will always be my honour.”
Certainly the pandemic has put a pause on her plans. Since all touring stopped, many of her performances have been online.
“For example I taped my part for recording artist Teyana Taylor’s music video, ‘Made It,’ in my washroom in King City then they edited and arranged it to be part of the music video. As well, I cleared out my living room to resemble an empty dance studio to shoot a promo video for Jonathan Singletary’s single, ‘Falling Away.’ I kept shouting ‘quiet on the set’ to my family’s dismay.”
And Richardson feels “very fortunate” to be able to participate “in dance bubbles.” These are very contained atmospheres of dancers coming together, living and working in the safest way possible. That includes multiple COVID testing, quarantining, taking all precautions.
“I truly would take as many tests necessary to be able to come together as dancers, onto the marley floor and create something beautiful.”
When the world is “repaired,” Richardson hopes to back to rehearsing and performing around the world, sharing her love and joy of dance.
“I enjoy interacting with the audience and alway feel blessed when I get the chance to speak to them during any Q&A sessions or talkbacks. And after a very long, rewarding career I hope to come home and start my own performance school that will consist of the triple threat; acting, singing and dancing.”
Richardson has been performing since the tender age of three. She began her dance training at Maple Academy of Dance under the direction of Ginette Guimond. She has graduated with honors from the prestigious Ailey School in New York City. Prior to her life at Ailey’s, Hannah traveled coast to coast competing in many dance competitions taking home many overall awards, top honours and has been a recipient of many scholarships.
Hannah performed on TV shows such as Family Channel’s The Next Step, Disney Channel’s Backstage, and also roles in movies. She played Katie in the film “Everyday,” based on the book written by David Levithan, directed by Michael Sucsy. She has also performed in the 2017 fall/winter Vogue Collections fashion video and has been the opening and closing performer for many New York Fashion Week shows.
Hannah has performed works by Bradley Shelver, Tina Bush, Ray Mercer, Fredrick Earl Mosley, Clifton Brown, William Forsythe.
She was also a principal dancer in performances at the 2020 Holland Dance Festival and took part in a video performance for Def Jam artist Teyana Taylor. Hannah is currently a special guest artist with Evidence: A Dance Company and the newest company member with Ailey II.
When she was 13 years old, she auditioned for a position at the renowned Alvin Ailey summer intensive program in New York City, home to The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. And then she was offered a scholarship to attend.
“I had a wonderful time training and meeting new people. I knew this was the place for me. In my senior year of high school I had been accepted to institutions here and abroad to further my training like Ryerson, AMDA NYC, Boston Conservatory, and Tisch at NYU to name a few but it was love and fondness I had for The Alvin Ailey School that was my deciding factor.”
Her love of dance is admittedly very emotional.
“I love the creativity of each movement, each jester, each rise and fall. It’s a beautiful unspoken language. It’s the hard work and appreciation of achieving the choreographers thoughts and sentiments successfully fluidly on to the stage.”
Richardson notes her personal style of dance is constantly renewing and adapting, always developing.
For more on Richardson, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Instagram: @hannahxrichardson (main page) and @thehanexperience (dance page).
Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel