Edson Maldonado performs his piece to Torey Lanez’s Say It at the UFP New Year Workshop.

UFP Presents: The “New” Year Workshop
Hosted at Metro Dance in Morganvile, New Jersey; UFP Dance Troupe hosts a workshop featuring Bae Jean, Edson Maldonado, and Kenichi Kasamatsu bringing together New York and New Jersey based choreographers.

Taken from their Facebook event, “come ring in the NEW year with this workshop with teachers representing NEW Jersey and NEW York. Dance, have fun and work on the NEW you.”

About Bae Jean
Jean found her interest in dance through k-pop at age 13. Initially, it was nothing more than a fangirl phase until she entered college, where she was introduced to hip hop. The college held small hip hop classes that inspired her interest in choreography and through other dancers, was exposed to the NY dance community. In 2013, Jean joined Outburst Dance Company and was given the privilege to choreograph. After gaining genuine relationships, support, and inspiration from fellow dancers, she took the challenge and branched out to New Jersey and joined ARC and Ven15. Jean was also given the honor of choreographing a piece for ARC’s Cali set, where she was definitely challenged to the max being in a new environment physically and mentally. Joining multiple teams with long commutes was definitely a test, but it only pushed her to want to grow and learn more. She also recently choreographed Ven15’s Goodies piece shot and produced by Community Artistry.

Her piece during this workshop was performed with The Bomb A** Squad. Like many teams, they started because of close friendships. The ladies of the squad have always been motivating and supporting each other, and they have finally decided that 2016 was the year for their glow up. The squad’s goal is to always strive for better, and to never stay comfortable. Ladies can be powerhouses too.

About Edson Maldonado
Edson Maldonado, born from 2 artists, a musician and a dancer, he always had it in his blood to express himself artistically. Always dancing at family parties and gatherings as a child, it was only a matter of time before he fell in love with it. He was first formally introduced into dancing when he started performing in Sweet 16s and Quinceñeras from 8th grade into high school. Those opportunities later transitioned to performing in Hispanic heritage events at his high school. During his senior year he began delving more into hip hop and urban dancing where he was exposed to the west coast circuit and all the awe inspiring choreographers and teams. Seeking different opportunities to grow and learn, from attending cyphers and local performances, he found himself auditioning for Project D Dance Company where he was able to train and dance for the last 4 years ultimately working his way up to being one of the co-artistic directors. While directing, he strives to look for more opportunities to show his work.

About Kenichi Kasamatsu
My name is Kenichi Kasamatsu and I am a mix of Japanese and Malaysian. I was born in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, but moved to Bangkok, Thailand when I was five years old due to my father’s job. I took my first dance class (Hip Hop) when I was 12 and since then I’ve constantly been drawn to dance activities such as my school’s talent shows. I graduated from the International Community School in 2010, and only then did I really start pursuing a life in dance. Following my graduation, I took one whole year to build a small dance studio with my mum: Studio Zoom.

With the connections we had made over the past years by my annual visits to Japan, and my career as a former artist in Thailand, we started creating a home for aspiring dancers. Since then, my training consisted of the best dancers in Thailand whether it was Hip-Hop or Contemporary, and a visit I made to the states for the first time in 2012 which included taking classes at Broadway Dance Center New York, Debbie Reynolds, Millennium Dance Complex LA, and a weekend intensive at the Movement Lifestyle Tour D.C. My first job that I would consider big would be co-choreographing, with Neil Schwartz, a dance segment for Sephora’s launch of Pharrell’s “Girl” fragrance. I have been dancing for Neil a lot up until then for the past year and half so I was really honored when he gave me the opportunity to co-choreography for such a big event. With that said, Neil Schwartz has been a big influence in my dance life since I moved to New York, not only as an instructor, but also as a mentor and a friend. I have also received a substantial amount of growth from classes taught by Jared Jenkins, Luam, Carlos Neto, Ryan Davis, Mishay Petronelli, and Aurelia Michael, many of whom I have had the opportunity to work for outside of class.

I would love to leave a personal saying that has been with me ever since my passion for dance has put on this path: Everyone has the freedom to live, and I live for the freedom to dance.

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