Jacquelyn Pritz shows her heritage and passion through the art of dance

Photo Credit: Christina J. Massad
Perched on two hands and one foot, her other leg reaching upward behind her, Jacquelyn Pritz demonstrates her strength in a hovered position an inch off of the floor. Wearing a white racerback tank and wine-red joggers, Jacque’s forward gaze is intense as she peers out from between wavy tendrils of her long dark hair.

October 27, 2023
Volume 5 Issue 1
By: Olivia Subero

Dance is an expressional art that takes on various forms, transcends barriers, and speaks to the audience. Jacquelyn, or “Jacque,” Pritz, is a personified example of how dance comes to life. A gifted performer, her every movement conveys a story.

Pritz’s introduction to dance began in childhood. Her mother put her in a multitude of extracurricular activities to build her confidence. Then she discovered dance.

“I was [also] encouraged to follow along with YouTube videos and shows like ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’” Pritz said, “I didn’t know exactly what [contemporary dance] was until I grew more accustomed to it; I could now put a name to it.”

Initially, Pritz began her lessons with a much younger group of students, but her passion for dance was more than enough motivation to progress. Declaring dance and marketing as her majors, Pritz graduated from the University of Florida, having found her niche.

Throughout her tenure at UF, Pritz was introduced to contemporary dance, and since then, she has incorporated it into her signature movement vocabulary. However, she has expanded her dance history and trained in a diversity of styles.

“I’m fairly open-ended with my vocabulary,” she said, “I’m not as prescribed with modern techniques; [contemporary] dance can look different for others, so I try to combine other movements patterns I’m interested in.”

Photo Credit: Christina J. Massad
In an image cropped close around her face and torso, Pritz spirals while gazing towards the camera from behind her wavy dark hair with bright red strands throughout. One arm reaches across and the other up behind her head, both arms extending out of frame.

Martial arts, storytelling, and culture are three factors that make up the basis for Pritz’s performances. For example, she showcases Tinikling, a Filipino dance form, as an important facet of her work. She emphasizes her cultural impact on the dance community, holding tight to the belief in making space for representation.

“[There’s a] need for representation in the world because it makes space for diverse ideas,” Pritz said. “People need to physically see and experience dance as an art form to truly appreciate it.”

Pritz also responded to the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes through her performance, “Noodles, White Rice, and Froot Loops,” which utilizes martial arts and hip-hop movements. To Pritz, martail arts and dance are connected due to their use of improv and partnering techniques. Another great example is her featured performance in Julio Medina’s desahogo//undrown, which combines her love of martial arts and contemporary dance.

Along with Medina and his exuberant approach and vocabulary, Pritz credits the Atlanta dance community—crediting the members as “doers who work creatively with personal resources”—a significant source of inspiration. In addition, Pritz says she utilizes a few practices when preparing for a show. First, she listens to the music and mentally runs through the performance to prepare for a show and avoid a “bad first rehearsal.” Through team-building games and exercises, she creates a safe and healthy environment to bond with cast and colleagues and allow them to thrive.

Throughout her career, Pritz has learned about the value of her personhood and artistic contributions. The influences and learning moments incentivize her to create a positive show for her audience. She sets the stage with stories that can touch her viewers’ lived experiences, keeping them captivated with her energetic, vivid movements.

“Dance has helped me learn more about my own humanity and physical limitations,” Pritz said, “[Dance] informs me in other parts of my life and helps me to explore [my] other passions.”

These lessons have been essential in how Pritz creates her choreography. The non-dance parts of her life have seeped into her work, allowing her to create a playful yet meaningful connection with her audience. As a Filipino-American woman, she creates performances that highlight the beauty of Asian culture while telling stories of integrating into American society. Viewers of marginalized groups can feel more engaged through her performances because they are real, relatable, and captivating.

“Soda Pop Swing” is Pritz’s piece dedicated to the history of Coca-Cola, the South’s most popular soft drink. Pritz explored Atlanta and Coca-Cola, combining her findings with 1940’s music and swing dance choreography. Her movements make the piece upbeat and energetic, bringing a well-known and well-loved American staple to life.

“There are many artists that address difficult topics,” Pritz said, “I lean more on joyful and healing themes rather than darker ones. That’s what I want to put out into the world.”

Pritz mentioned a few collaborative pieces she’s working on towards the end of 2023 and into 2024. She is participating in DanceATL’s 2024 A.M. Collaborative cohort with photographer Terence Rushin, and will showcase her work developed during the Rise City Dance Residency through the Neighborhood Ballet on December 16th. Through this residency, Pritz challenges herself to balance the concepts of healing while experiencing grief and loss. Within this performance, she wants to establish a memorable connection that her audiences can cherish for years to come.

Photo Courtesy of Olivia Subero
Olivia is posing with her violin and bow in hand. She’s wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and has her hair pulled back as she smiles for the camera.

Olivia Subero is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor. She has three years of writing and editing experience and about two years of freelance writing experience. During her college years, she has worked with businesses and entrepreneurs to create website content, with article writing as her specialty. Olivia’s writing is featured in online publications such as Comic Book Resources, Visionary Artistry Magazine, and The Peak. She has written and edited pieces ranging from indie musicians to “Top 10” lists; some are even educational, like her “9 Common Japanese Honorifics in Anime, Explained.”

Her love of writing started in childhood, just after learning to read. English was her favorite subject in school, and she loved reading all kinds of literature, from biographies to folktales. Olivia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Kennesaw State University with two minors in Professional Writing and Japanese. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in Professional Writing with concentrations in Creative Writing and Rhetoric and Composition. She is also working as an English Composition instructor at KSU.

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