Video features dancers from Prospect studio

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Nefra Sullivan-Wihbey, owner of Connecticut Dance Theater and the Arts in Prospect, top row center, poses for a picture with her students during a shoot for Australian pop singer Michaela Baranov’s latest music video Sept. 15 in New York City. -CONTRIBUTED
Nefra Sullivan-Wihbey, owner of Connecticut Dance Theater and the Arts in Prospect, top row center, poses for a picture with her students during a shoot for Australian pop singer Michaela Baranov’s latest music video Sept. 15 in New York City. -CONTRIBUTED

 

PROSPECT — When Australian pop singer Michaela Baranov’s latest music video debuts some familiar faces will make their own debut in a music video.

Seventeen students from the Connecticut Dance Theater and the Arts on Old Schoolhouse Road were cast as dancers in Baranov’s new video for her song “Video.”  

The video was filmed in a loft in New York City on Sept. 15.

“It was absolutely wonderful for the kids in my studio to actually see how a music video is shot,” said Nefra Sullivan-Wihbey, owner of Connecticut Dance Theater and the Arts. “It was a loft type of space that we filmed in. So it was different for them to dance in that kind of atmosphere rather than on stage, too.”

Sullivan-Wihbey said the shoot, with hair and makeup, took about four hours. The experience brought the dancers out of their comfort zone of performing on stage for an audience and judges, she said.

The dancers were also struck by how different dancing for a music video is from competitive dancing.

Shane Lyskowski, 17, of Watertown, has been dancing for 14 years and has competed in competitions. But this was his first music video.

“It differed a lot from [competition dancing]. It was like this is where you are, this is the camera, here we go,” Lyskowski said.

Lyskowski said where the dancers were supposed to look stood out as a large difference. 

“[In competitive dancing] you’re certainly not looking at a certain camera. You’re interacting with the judges and the audience. This you’re right on point, one focus point,” Lyskowski said.

Christina Caporuscio, 22, of Waterbury, who has been dancing for 20 years, said that the biggest difference for her was not being in the spotlight.

“We are so used to having everything about us. On stage it’s our time to shine. But it wasn’t really our time to shine, so we had to pull back from that and let Michaela have her time,” Caporuscio said.

Caporuscio said everything moved much faster during the video shoot.

“We went there and it was just boom, boom, boom. We usually have hours before. We come an hour before and go on stage to get ready. We had no time to get ready. We had a half-hour to get our hair and makeup, get dressed, stretch, and then we were in front of the cameras,” Caporuscio said.

Although it was very different from what they were used to, both Caporuscio and Lyskowski said it was a great experience and they would definitely do it again.

The students weren’t the only ones who were pleased with how well the shoot went.

“I had an amazing time. Everyone was so magical yesterday,” Baranov wrote on her Twitter account the day after the video was shot.

Having students in a music video was a first for the dance studio, which has been in Prospect for 36 years. Sullivan-Wihbey said her parents bought the studio when she was 7 years old and she began teaching there when she was 11. Sullivan-Wihbey took the studio over from her parents about 10 years ago.

Sullivan-Wihbey said Mindy DiCrosta from EntertainmentCoaching.com contacted her about a possible opportunity for the studio’s students to perform in the video. DiCrosta’s daughter, Camrey, is a student at the studio and was one of the dancers in the video.

Sullivan-Wihbey said she did not know when the music video was going to be released. When it is finally released, it will be released worldwide, she said.

“They want it to be [Baranov’s] big breakout video,” Sullivan-Wihbey said.

Whether or not this video becomes an international success, Sullivan-Wihbey is satisfied she was able to give her students a new opportunity.

“They do a lot of competition dancing but I love to give them a lot of different opportunities just to become better dancers. This was definitely a different venue for them to understand the difference between what we typically do on stage and what it’s really like to do a music video or things like that. So it was a good experience for them,” Sullivan-Wihbey said.