Pooja Savansukha ’15
Mary Iris Loncto’16 stands out as one of the promising artists in this year’s freshman class. Her drive and unwavering enthusiasm to create and perform are characteristics that differentiate her from her peers. Loncto channels her abundant energy and passion into performance, predominantly through dancing but also through acting.
Mary Iris has been dancing since her infant years. At the age of four she trained in classical Russian Ballet. The extremely strict and spelled out techniques of the dance form are conducive to an increased sense of control and articulation, which are elemental to a dancer’s skillsets. Happy to have started off with this dance form, Loncto also began to take lessons in Character, a Russian folk dance as well as Jazz techniques that provided her with a different but equally enjoyable outlet for movement. Her talents did not go unrecognized as she was invited by a classical ballet school to train in Pantomime, during which time she realized her yearning to branch into acting. Her over-enthusiasm while training in Pantomime often invoked comments of her being “such a little actress,” and she eventually did realize that her performance abilities did go beyond dancing alone.
Starting at the end of fourth grade right into high school, Loncto started to train in musical theater, giving herself the opportunity to delve into music to a greater extent than she was able to through dance. She switched dance studios resulting in a style switch from classical ballet to the Balanchine technique. This allowed her to re-learn ballet with a new technique. The Balanchine technique provided Loncto with the platform to take classical ballet and transform it into more contemporary styles. Now she is now proficient in both styles. She was also performing the Nutcracker every year, building on the training received from learning both styles of dancing. To further her own understanding of movement, Loncto also began to explore hip-hop, tap, jazz and more International techniques. These techniques have played a role in developing her skills as a dancer and made her more open minded to different styles of movement.
Loncto became drawn towards the New Players Company” later on in Middle School, which was essentially a high school ran acting group. She was put in their junior company, which allowed her to focus and learn the skills of basic acting while continuing to be a part of the local musical theater group.
In high school, The New Players Company became an integral part of her artistic development. The group put on three main stage plays, one main stage musical and a bunch of student run reviews and projects. Loncto was able to extensivley practice choreography at this time. One of her fondest memories is from her senior year, when she was given the opportunity to direct scenes for a performance of ‘Chicago.
She also studied vocals and was very interested in choir and chamber music. The broad field of music became appealing to her. An improved understanding and appreciation of music also helped her approach choreography in innovative ways allowing her to discern that there is more to dancing than the techniques. She also composed solo music pieces, which she choreographed and danced to. Her music and theater background provided her with the ability to enhance her contemporary art and lyrical groundings.
In high school, her dance group was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall for an event called The Magic of Christmas,’ receiving a rare opportunity to perform at a huge venue so early in her career. She continued to do summer intensive courses at the Boston conservatory and the Joffrey Ballet School, improving her skills as a dancer.
Mary Iris joined Trinity last fall as an Interarts student. The program has helped her comfortably transition into college life. She was also able to meet some great friends who have enhanced her own understanding of art. Loncto knew from the start of her fall semester that she would be majoring in Theater and Dance. She instantly became involved with Trinity’s Dance Company and has taken many dance classes.
She has also performed on stage here at Trinity. As part of the jesters group, she performed in “The Importance of Being Ernest.” She auditioned and got cast in the main stage production this spring, “Disintegration Loops.” As a lead member in the cast she has the chance to further develop her talents and even defined her experience in the play as one of her best college experiences thus far.
This spring Mary Iris has also performed with the Dance Company and has been a part of Anthony Rosado’s and Jonathan Gonzalez’s senior theses performances. While being a part of the Dance Company helps her to practice her traditional training, the senior theses performances allowed her to explore more postmodern styles which she thoroughly enjoyed. The experience allowed her to learn from well-experienced seniors and take away valuable tips for next year.
Later this semester, Loncto will be performing a solo piece at the Spring Dance Fest and is also featuring in the Final InterArts Showcase, “Duende Unleashed.” She has also already been accepted into the LaMama Program in the fall, which will further develop her talents in performance. Loncto aspires to start her own company some time in the future and hopes to find ways to collaborate her understandings of music and dance together on a larger scale.
She looks up to figures from the art world, such as Pina Bausch, Jerome Robbins and William Forsyth. She will undoutebdly become an important member of the Theater and Dance program here at Trinity in the future.