Sharing her passion for dance

Camas grad holds performance for Juilliard tuition

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When 2009 Camas High School graduate Fiona Hoffman started dancing at age 9, she thought it was silly and girly. She only did it because her mom made her.

Now, Hoffman is about to begin her junior year in the dance program at The Juilliard School in New York and she dreams of one day starting her own dance company.

Hoffman is hosting a solo concert to raise money for her tuition so she can continue attending Juilliard and work toward her dream of dancing professionally.

Her performance will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at Northstar Ballroom, 635 N. Killingsworth Court, in Portland. Tickets are $20 per person at the door. Additional donations will also be accepted.

Entitled “To be found,” her performance is based on a poem she wrote about discovering herself through dance. Juilliard has been an amazing and challenging experience, she said, and has provided her the opportunity to discover the direction she wants to take with her art.

Hoffman will perform five pieces, two of which she choreographed herself. Her final piece, which she is hoping will be ready before the concert, is still a work-in-progress.

“I have no idea what it’s going to end up being,” she said. “It’s exciting.”

The other three pieces are choreographed by Portland-area choreographers Tracey Durbin, Josie Moseley and Mary Oslund, who are volunteering their expertise.

“They’re doing it from the generosity of their hearts,” Hoffman said. “And I don’t know how to thank them except to do the best I can and keep that good will going.”

All the pieces are modern dance, except for Durbin’s, which is classic jazz.

The music ranges from The Beatles to Franz Schubert to complete silence.

“I love it,” she said. “Every piece is so different.”

Hoffman said she wants to offer her audience a unique experience. Attendees will be seated in a circle in the big, open ballroom and Durbin’s daughter will play live music between performances.

In addition, a few pieces of Hoffman’s artwork will be available for sale.

She decided to host the performance because although she has a scholarship and has taken out loans, she still needs additional funds to cover tuition and living expenses. The school estimates the total cost of living plus tuition to be $50,000 annually.

Hoffman also wanted to hold a concert because she loves performing.

“I have a need to perform,” she said. “I have a need to share in that way.”

Hoffman is learning to express herself through dance at Juilliard, a school she never thought she’d get in to. Her dance instructors in Portland told her to audition when she was applying to colleges, and she thought they were crazy.

The audition was an all-day event where people were cut every couple of hours. Hoffman made it all the way to end and through the interview, but she still did not believe she had a chance.

“I didn’t think I was going to get in, so I was just having fun at the audition,” she said.

A month and a half later, she received a phone call that she would be one of 24 students attending Juilliard’s dance department in the fall.

“I started laughing and crying at the same time,” she said.

For more information, contact Hoffman at fkh2@juilliard.edu or 772-3115.