By Idyllwild Arts Academy
"Even though I'm super-busy, I had to do this one," Brooke Manning says. "It's too important not to do."
The Idyllwild Arts Academy twelfth-grade dance major will give the Friday night, Dec. 13 IDYTalk at the Idyllwild Town Gallery. Manning was talking about her role in the academy's Environmental Club, of which she is co-president.
She explains that the Environmental Club's commitment to global thinking and local action this school year will involve "beach and trail clean-ups and tree plantings, and also planning for our campus celebration of Earth Day," next April, among other activities.
In pursuit of the Environmental Club's goals, Manning will also play a big part in the upcoming Idyllwild Arts Symposium on Sustainability (in late February), organized by the Art in Society program.
Even though Manning considers choreography "a hobby" and admits that she likes dancing more, she is working with the academy's visionary dance instructor, Stephanie Gilliland, on choreography for the symposium. Academy dance students will perform Manning and Gilliland’s choreography to music played by guest artists from South Dakota’s Lakota Music Project.
Finally, her engagement with the Idyllwild community takes the additional form of teaching in the academy's children's dance program "ages three and four for ballet and six to nine for modern."
As for the rest of what makes Manning super-busy, there is of course her commitment to her own dancing, as well as to what many high-school seniors regard as the "extra class" of researching, visiting, and applying to colleges.
She just kept going
Manning is from the unincorporated Lake Arrowhead community, two hours northwest of Idyllwild.
"That's where I started dancing when I was three," she recalls. "It was at the Lake Arrowhead School of Dance, which runs the Lake Arrowhead Classical Ballet Company. Tons of little girls start ballet lessons when they're three or four. They have fun doing it for a few years, but by middle school, most of them start finding other things they're interested in."
"Like sports," Manning says as she shrugs.
"One day I looked around and saw that all the other girls I'd started with had quit,” said Manning. “This was in middle school, or maybe high school. The practice had become intense, but I just kept going."
Lake Arrowhead School of Dance had done a lot for her. Twelve years of lessons had prepared her for even more intense training, so after ninth grade, she transferred to Idyllwild Arts Academy.
The academy dance department chaired by Ellen Rosa-Taylor requires comprehensive modern dance and jazz dance training in addition to ballet. Manning soon made a discovery that is common — though far from unanimous — among those students of Rosa-Taylor's who come to the academy with a ballet-dominated background.
"I still like being in ballets, but contemporary dance is my favorite because it's more freeing," admitted Manning.
She has become accomplished enough to become a professional dancer, even though she knows it's very competitive.
Not surprisingly, she "would prefer contemporary or commercial dance, including hip hop and the kind of dancing you see in music videos."
Before her career, however, will come college. She's looking at several of the University of California campuses, especially the ones in San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Irvine. California State University, Long Beach is another possibility.
Despite Manning's love of dance she foresees "most likely a minor in dance, and majoring in something like marketing, which interests me a lot."
A stronger candidate for her college major seems to be Environmental Studies.
The talk will be given at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the Idyllwild Town Gallery, 54425 N. Circle Drive. It is sponsored by the Idyllwild Arts Art in Society program. The talk is free and open to the public.