Chehon Wespi-Tschopp (just call him “key-on”), the Season 9 winner of the hit TV series “So You Think You Can Dance,” taught two master classes to aspiring dancers at InnerRhythms Dance Centre in Truckee.
Truckee High School student Kassidy Commendatore is credited for bringing the dance phenom to Truckee with persistent communication and sponsorship gathering.
Looking forward to her sophomore year at Truckee High, the straight-A student saw a town filled with world-class winter and team sport athletes. She also saw another dedicated community of athletes — dancers. InnerRhythms Dance Centre and its various performance companies have been Kassidy’s second family for more than a decade.
Kassidy was naturally drawn to “So You Think You Can Dance.” She can tell you who won what year without hesitation — citing the best dances, choreographers and the silliest judge’s comments. She admits her idea to bring a top-level dancer to teach at InnerRhythms was a long shot.
“I first thought of trying to contact Nico Greetham, who had finished in the top 10 in season 10. I thought his energy level and youth (Nico is just 19) would be a perfect fit for us,” said Kassidy. “I actually just went to his Facebook page, got his email address and wrote him, figuring I’d never get a response. Well, he did write back and I started to actually believe that he might agree to come.”
Kassidy took it upon herself to line up sponsors, securing necessary funds necessary through businesses to cover the appearance fees and expenses.
Scheduling conflicts eventually made it impossible for Nico to commit. She was put into contact with Nico’s agent, who offered the opportunity to have Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, the champion from season 9, take Nico’s place.
“I couldn’t believe we could get one of the winners up here,” she said. “I went from being totally disappointed to completely blown away when I found out that Chehon would be able to make it.”
Run entirely by the classically-trained Chehon, the May 31 classes were physically intense and artistically challenging. While his class for those under 12 was a combination of fun and exposure to the world of professional dance, when the older dancers came in it was all business.
“He was fabulous, plain and simple,” said InnerRhythms founder and Artistic Director Elizabeth Archer “We try so hard to bring the focus of what we do to the motivation behind the dance, not just how many times you can spin or how high you can leap. It was great to have someone with both his current popularity and skill level reaffirm our core principles.”
The classes with Chehon Wespi-Tschopp were two of the continuing InnerRhythms Master Class Series, intended to expose dancers to the highest level of dance education possible.
InnerRhythms is a California 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to inspire and motivate area youth through the performing arts, with nearly 200 students currently studying at its Donner Pass Road location.
For more information visit InnerRhythms.org or call 530-550-8464.