Dancers choreograph three nights of 'fun'

Whether she's choreographing a routine for the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, teaching a class at the Joffrey Ballet School, or starring in her own production, Sarah Weber Gallo is dancing.
Whether she's choreographing a routine for the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, teaching a class at the Joffrey Ballet School, or starring in her own production, Sarah Weber Gallo is dancing.
Gallo, 44, first entered the world of dance when she was 4 and began taking classes in her hometown, Indianapolis.
She continued to dance throughout her adolescent years and studied the art, along with psychology, at Goucher College in Baltimore before moving to New York to pursue a career in dance.
Like many aspiring performers, Gallo took a job as a waitress in New York, unlike others, she quickly got her big break when a fellow dancer pushed her to audition for the Metropolitan Opera ballet.
Gallo, who's lived in Hoboken for 20 years, became a full-time company member and is now a senior dancer entering her 20th season.
"It's still a great experience to be on a stage in that huge house with friends and the chorus,'' she said, adding that she also enjoys performing in "really intimate areas, where you're very up close to the dancers and the audience." Next week, she'll focus on that small-space experience with "The Sarah and Whitney Show,'' a production she choreographed with Queens resident Whitney Jacobs that will be performed Thursday through Aug.
18 at Mile Square.
The show marries Gallo's "Fun Head" and Jacobs' "You're Full of Air,'' resulting in an hour-long work that tackles everything fun, Gallo said.
"I hope that people will have fun, that people will laugh,'' she said.
"It's absurd, and I think people often don't know what to do when faced with absurdity, but we're doing this really high-impact performance that should make people laugh almost with discomfort and then realize it's OK and that they're in on the joke." In the piece, the dancer/choreographers explore excess, effort, risk and messiness, Gallo said.
They deal with why people seek fun, even though it can be disappointing and expectations often aren't meant, Gallo said, and the idea that every time we go out and seek companionship we ultimately end up home alone.
Over the years at the Met, Gallo has been featured in the works of Christopher Wheeldon, Sean Curran and many other directors.
Last year, she danced as a Rat Pack-era Las Vegas showgirl in Michael Mayer's take on Verdi's "Rigoletto." This year, she and other dancers performed nearly six hours straight in Francois Girard's production of Wagner's "Parsifal," spending the entire second act standing in a pool of blood with spears in their hair.
Gallo has also performed with the New York City Opera and the Radio City Rockettes.
After the birth of her daughter Olivia in 2009 and earning her MFA in dance at the University of Wisconsin, Gallo's passion for choreographing came out strong.
"The scandal of the ballet world is that all choreographers are white men and that all dancers are woman,'' she said, "so I am really trying to subvert that as much as possible and get dancers to think like choreographers." About four years ago, she said, Gallo was asked by Mile Square artistic director Chris O'Connor to start a dance portion for the theater's children's education wing.
In the beginning, she had an average of three students a class.
Today, the program has 120 students and the theater is opening a larger space.
Gallo teaches ballet and contemporary dance and is dedicated to getting more girls to "think like choreographers," she said.
Gallo helps choreograph dance for Mile Square productions, as well as showcasing her own productions.
Last year, she presented "The Magic Hour." This year, it's next week's "The Sarah and Whitney Show.'' "I'd like for this to create a buzz in the community for presenting other types of dance,''she said.
If you go ...WHAT: "The Sarah and Whitney Show'' WHEN: 8 p.m.
Thursday, next Friday and Aug.
18WHERE: The Mile Square Theatre, 1400 Clinton St.
Hoboken DETAILS: Recommended for ages 10 and up.
For information, call 201-683-7014 or go to milesquaretheatre.org.

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