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Broadway Dancer Brings New Steps to Radford
For a dancer, New York and Los Angeles are professional magnets with opportunities for regular work. But if you can’t get to Broadway, the next best thing is to have Broadway come to you.
That’s exactly what Radford University’s Department of Dance did by bringing in this year’s visiting artist, Maxx Reed, an accomplished commercial dancer and teacher.
Reed has danced professionally since his teen years, working with the likes of Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Mariah Carey, as well as in touring ballet companies and on Broadway.
Last fall, Reed offered a master class on Zoom for Radford students, but this spring he was able to come to campus. He recently taught a pair of master classes and spent the evenings choreographing a new piece for Radford’s annual Dancing on the Edge show.
Amy VanKirk, Interim Chair for the Dance Department, brought Reed in specifically so students could capitalize on his depth and breadth of experience.
“One of our goals as a department is to create versatile dancers that have multiple opportunities in the professional world,” she explained.
The guest artist program helps train dancers in various styles to meet that goal.
“Maxx does a fusion of styles such as jazz, contemporary, Hip Hop and street styles so he was a perfect fit to compliment the current faculty and offerings,” VanKirk said.
It’s also an opportunity for Reed to share his philosophies and advice with eager listeners
“I’m really having a good time coming here and being able to touch on all the things I find are most important about having a professional career and longevity in the industry,” Reed said as he prepared to work with the evening rehearsal group.
Reed said he was setting a “commercial jazz meets street styles HipHop” piece and the students were responding with great enthusiasm and commitment.
The rigorous and dynamic group piece is challenging, with student rehearsals each night from 5:30 until 9:00 pm, all on top of a day of classes. And in some cases, students also have work schedules to meet as well.
Sophomore Paige Lake auditioned for his week-long intensive program to be a part of this show despite a demanding schedule.
“I’m really glad I did,” said Lake. “He’s a really genuine person. He’ll tell you how it is, but he won’t be brutal about it.”
She added that these experiences helped her feel more prepared for both the professional dance world and life after college.
That’s because Reed also spent time with the students to address professional concerns and strategies and offer the benefits of his years of training and experience.
“The kids here are really, really thirsty for new information,” Reed said. “And they are excited and focused, and I am enjoying that.”
Amiya Williams is in her first year of the program and felt like these opportunities were critical for her success in a highly competitive field.
“Everybody starting out has the questions, where do I start, how do I begin?” Williams noted. For her, Reed’s advice was invaluable.
“He’s an advocate for us getting into different classes from what we normally take, going up to the major cities, and picking up choreography so that when it comes to future auditions, these experiences are a huge help.”
The piece Reed choreographed, along with other faculty works, can be seen at Radford’s annual Dancing on the Edge performance on April 28, 29 and 30. More information is available by searching Radford University’s web pages for the Department of Dance.
Maxx Reed at Radford
Maxx Reed discusses his time at Radford and students reflect on thier experience learning from and working with this multi-skilled professional.