Testimonials

DANCE

“Ariel is a successful and decorated 16-year-old Ballroom dancer. She has enjoyed unprecedented success in 3 different age divisions, 2 different styles, and in each of the syllabus and open levels. In the dance world she currently holds all of the major titles in her age division and she has successfully defended them numerous times. Her talent and hard work have been repeatedly validated by multiple world-class judging panels at local, national and world championship events, as well as across both the Smooth and Rhythm styles of competitive ballroom dancing. She is undeniably one of the one of the most remarkable double style pro-am competitors on the floor.

 

Embassy Ball Dancesport Championships are located on the west coast in Los Angeles and are the ballroom equivalent of the World Championships. Ariel won two championship titles in 2019 across two different styles, dominating her age division. This is a testament not only to Ariel’s performance talent but to her diligent dedication to conquer any goal she sets her mind to.”

Mayo Alanen, Professional Ballroom Dancer, Instructor and Choreographer – Embassy Dancesport World Championship, September 2019

https://www.mayoalanen.com

“The United States Dance Championships are the ballroom equivalent of the National Championships. Located on the east coast, this competition is renowned for its large, competitive heats. After winning the World Championships, Ariel boarded a plane, flew across the country, and competed at this event the very next day, winning the National title. This tremendous accomplishment solidified Ariel as one of the most well-rounded and dynamic young competitors in the dance circuit.

 

As her coach, it is deeply gratifying to see Ariel achieve her goals but what is even more rewarding is to witness the way she handles herself off of the dance floor. She is kind, genuine, cheerful, and, despite her many successes, never boastful. She shows a maturity beyond her years and goes out of her way to support her teammates and competitors. A pleasure to teach, Ariel handles herself with impeccable integrity at all times.”

Mayo Alanen, Professional Ballroom Dancer, Instructor and Choreographer – United States Dance Championship, September 2019

https://www.mayoalanen.com

“This year Ariel arrived at a new level in many ways. Not only in the improvement of her dancing, but also moving up to dancing in the adult level. While Ariel can dance two more years in the Youth division, it’s such an exciting challenge to dance in the most competitive “A” division. At the Premiere Pro/Am comp in the World, Ariel cleaned up in the Youth division and even placed in the Finals of the Adult A category. Watching her in that final made me reminisce of how far she has come! I’m excited to see what the future will bring this year!”

Edward Simon, U.S. Professional American Ballroom Champion, Designated World Class Judge, Choreographer for You Think You Can Dance – Ohio Star Ball, November 2019

“I have coached Ariel since she was a 12-year-old girl. Her dancing has grown dramatically. She has so much talent and is such a pleasure to work with. You don’t have to tell her twice. Ariel is very focused and hardworking. Her acting ability only emphasizes her dance performance. You would never know if she is stressed or under the weather, always coming out onto the floor with a big smile and expressing a full range of emotions. She showcases such a maturity, Ariel is beyond her years, but she will always be my little baby Ariel.”

Joanna Zacharewicz Decamps, 3x World Pro Rhythm Champion, 4x US Pro Rhythm Champion, US Pro Mambo Champion – Blackpool Dance Festival, May 2019

http://joseandjoannadance.com

“Ariel Is very beautiful, hardworking and talented young female who has very electric and bright personalities. She stands out on a floor the minute you lay your eyes on her. Ariel is very artistic and passionate in her delivery. I love working with her and to inspire her to continue falling in love with the dance.”

Alexandra Perzhu, 2x World Pro Smooth Champion, 5x US National Pro 9 Dance Champion, 2x US Pro Smooth Champion, Organizer of NY Americas Smooth Camp – Tri-State Dancesport, March 2019

https://www.nyamericansmoothcamp.com

“Ariel has so much raw talent and charismatic maturity when she moves that it’s easy to forget how young she is. She is a natural, clutch performer.”

Mayo Alanen Professional Ballroom Dancer, Instructor and Choreographer – Ohio Star Ball, November 2018

https://www.mayoalanen.com

“I have never debuted a brand-new student at a major event like Embassy before. It is always ideal to test your choreography, endurance, and personal limits at a smaller, less pressure-filled, event. What Ariel lacked in floor time and experience, she made up for with spectacular performance energy and genuine charisma.”

Mayo Alanen, Professional Ballroom Dancer, Instructor and Choreographer – Embassy Dancesport World Championship, September 2018

https://www.mayoalanen.com

“It takes a perfect storm to create a high level dancer. I’ve been fortunate to watch this perfect storm swirl around Ariel since she began her venture into the ballroom world. Ariel may have had physical challenges at a young age to bring her to dance, but she has far surpassed just the therapeutic nature that began her journey.

Ariel understood her teachers’ insistence on working the basics from the beginning and took on the challenges with verve. For many young dancers, being guided so well isn’t enough, but Ariel also had the passionate support of family. This combination allowed her to move up the ranks quickly. Now moving into the higher divisions she continues to apply her basic training to more complex work, adding style and expression that’s just bursting to get out.

 

Ariel, at the center of this perfect storm, always provides a fully committed attitude with positivity that is very refreshing, never ever giving the common youth trait of entitlement. I’m looking forward to both guiding and observing her journey as it continues without limits.”

Edward Simon, U.S. Professional American Ballroom Champion, Designated World Class Judge, Choreographer for You Think You Can Dance – Millennium Dancesport, June 2018

“I have had the pleasure of working with Ariel as her choreographer and dance teacher for three summers at French Woods Festival of Performing Arts. Ariel has excelled as a featured dancer in both Hairspray and West Side Story productions, being an ever reliable and hardworking dancer who picks up and retains choreography quickly and executes movement with grace and accuracy.”

Annabel Fleming, Head of Dance, French Woods Festival of Performing Arts – West Side Story, August 2018

“Ariel did something I have never witnessed in my entire pro-am ballroom career. She danced two major competitions on opposite coasts in 24 hours and won both of them! Ariel won two world titles in California, jumped on a red-eye flight, and (in the same hair and makeup) won her third National Youth Title in Florida the following morning. It was an impressive feat of endurance and mental fortitude, and I couldn’t have been more proud of her.

Since we had only danced together for six sessions before competing, our choreography was still far from being fully developed for such a new partnership. On the competitive floor, right before the Foxtrot music started, Ariel asked me to remind her of the timing to our intro. I laughed and told her, then watched as she launched nuclear bombs of intensity and confidence at the judges and audience.”

Mayo Alanen Professional Ballroom Dancer, Instructor and Choreographer – United States Dance Championships, September 2018

https://www.mayoalanen.com

“Ariel has been a part of my advanced dance classes over the last three summers at French Woods Festival of Performing Arts. Her technique has improved dramatically over the years to make her a beautiful addition to the class pieces and performances. She is a delight to work with for both teachers and other students alike.”

Annabel Fleming, Head of Dance, French Woods Festival of Performing Arts – Jazz Contemporary Dance, August 2018

ACTING

“It was splendid having Ariel in practicum with her curiosity, commitment and enthusiasm for the practice of movement and for the act of learning truly embodied. Her spirit, talent and generosity was a pleasure to guide through the practice of movement.”

Yo-EL Cassell, Head of/Assistant Professor of Movement, Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre, Advisor – Theatre Minors, Co-Chair – Dance Minors, Member – The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)Choreographer, Movement Director – Boston University Summer Theatre Intensive, August 2019

After a wide variety of types of roles: supporting (Calpurnia, Sebastian), sweet and innocent (Miranda), dangerous and disturbed (Lady Macbeth), a misunderstood/complex anti-hero (Shylock), and the steadfast best friend (Pisano), it was time for Ariel to play a true heroine; one at the very center of a Shakespearean play. That’s Viola in Twelfth Night. The play follows her journey, and it is a pretty bumpy one. Viola is a “pants” role—a woman who dresses as a man—a necessary box to check off for a classical actress. She navigated the sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking consequences of a woman deeply in love, but in disguise. Viola is not able to confess or show her love. Only once everybody leaves the stage does she get to cut loose and confess to the audience. Not only does Ariel feel comfortable talking directly to the audience during her soliloquies, but also she genuinely seems to thrive including them in her plight. I often invite friends and theatre colleagues to come see these shows, and most of their comments afterward are about Ariel. Why is she so engaging to watch? She prepares… HARD. She knows what every word means. She loves and relishes Shakespeare’s words. And that makes her fearless on stage. She showed real chops for comedy in this role, yet found subtlety and nuance. The clarity of her text was stronger than ever. Ariel took on the added challenge of singing solo, as well as choreographing the final dance sequence for the ensemble. She breathed new life into speeches I have heard a hundred times, fought hard for what her heart was after, and never gave up. It’s all you want in a Viola.

Sarah Bowles, Education Program Manager, Elm Shakespeare Company – Twelfth Night, May 2019

https://www.elmshakespeare.org

“Ariel Mayer is visually captivating, with terrific stage presence, versatility, and a ceaselessly kind and professional attitude. Diligent, creative, and charismatic, Ariel is truly mesmerizing on stage!”

Keely Baisden Knudsen, Co-founder/Artistic Director, The Legacy Theatre – Pygmalion, March 2019

www.LegacyTheatreCT.org

“Ariel has professionalism beyond her years. Hard working, passionate, and dedicated to her work. She had her lines learnt in no time at all so she could quickly work on the script including blocking and finding the truth in the characters. The added bonus of working with a performer as professional as Ariel is that her kind and bubbly personality helps brighten the room at any given moment. In this business, dedication and talent gets you work. Add in manners, humbleness and a fun, loving personality, you got yourself a career. After working with Ariel on this production I can say confidently that she has a long and successful career ahead of her in the arts.”

Antóin Ó Gormáin, Artistic Director, Giant’s Garden Theater Company,

Assistant Director, French Woods Festival of Performing Arts – Bank Robbery Farce – August 2018

“In this project with Elm Shakespeare’s Teen Troupe, Ariel played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. It was a no-brainer when I cast her in this role. Even though she was one of the younger students in the troupe, it was clear that she was ready to take on the challenge of this complex, intense, active character. It was absolutely thrilling to be in rehearsal with Ariel for this show: she was constantly bringing new questions, insights, and creative ideas to the production. It was clear that she was out-doing even herself with her preparation work.

Ariel had one of the largest roles in the show, and she was the first person to have her lines memorized. She became an inspiration to the rest of the team and shone so brightly in this role that the other students who saw what was possible when you work as hard as she does. This has been her position in the troupe ever since. The rest of the students look to her as an example in every way.”

Sarah Bowles, Education Program Manager, Elm Shakespeare Company – Macbeth, December 2017

https://www.elmshakespeare.org

“Ariel’s fourth production with the Teen Troupe was The Merchant of Venice. In this difficult play, Ariel took on Shylock, a role considered to be one of the greatest and most difficult in the whole Shakespearean canon. She approached the project with curiosity, passion, and attention to detail.

Often considered to be somewhat of a villain, Ariel was determined to show the humanity of the character. She captured Shylock’s pain, humiliation, profound loss, and shame that finally turns into rage and unwavering desire for revenge. It was a huge challenge, and Ariel blew audiences away. I remember seeing mouths gaped open, and hearing audible gasps from the crowd. Friends of mine who came to see the show could not stop asking me about her. ‘Is she really a high-schooler? WOW!’

 

All the while, Ariel remained the most supportive, caring, welcoming member of the cast. On day one, she said to the new members of the group, ‘We are so glad you are here. Please don’t be nervous or afraid of us. We already love you and are so happy that you’ve joined our family.’”

Sarah Bowles, Education Program Manager, Elm Shakespeare Company – The Merchant of Venice, April 2018

https://www.elmshakespeare.org

“Hairspray was the biggest show of the season with 65 kids and was the final 2017 summer production. Ariel made her presence known and danced her feet off every single night and sang with passion, heart and love!”

Roy George, Music Director, French Woods Festival of Performing Arts – Hairspray, August 2017

www.roygeorge.net

“Ariel’s fifth production with the Teen Troupe was Cymbeline, in which she played a character with a brand new set of challenges. Cymbeline is a difficult piece to pull off, as there is more than the usual number of intertwining storylines. She played Pisanio, the faithful and conflicted servant who ties the entire sprawling piece together.

 

I wanted to give Ariel the chance to expand her range even more by playing this central “low status” character. Ariel took on the challenge with gusto, mimicking on stage what she does for the troupe in real life—tying the group together. One of the most memorable moments in the show was when Ariel, left alone on stage, launched into a gorgeous monologue in which she worked through the conflicting messages and tasks she had been given, including being ordered to commit a murder. Her performance was powerful, inspirational, thoughtful, complex, and precise.

 

In this piece Ariel showed how much she has grown as an actor. Along with her innate passion, bravery and intensity, Ariel now has added a greater degree of confidence. She has poise, polish, and a wonderful sense of discovery and delight in the language. And as much as Ariel is Shakespeare’s number one fan, I bet he would be hers, if he were around!”

Sarah Bowles, Education Program Manager, Elm Shakespeare Company – Cymbeline, December 2018

https://www.elmshakespeare.org

“For Lucky Stiff the cast was insanely small, but so tight knit. We worked hard to get everything pristine. Working with Ariel, she always brought her “A” game and stood out even in such a small cast full of standouts. I had worked with her the summer of 2016 in Hello Dolly. Getting teens to understand Dolly is a challenge in and of itself, but working with Ariel, I could ask her anything and she would execute it ten times over again. Without complaining.”

Roy George, Music Director, French Woods Festival of Performing Arts – Lucky Stiff, August 2017

www.roygeorge.net

“The first time I worked with Ariel as an actor, it was in Elm Shakespeare’s Teen Troupe production of The Tempest. I was impressed with Ariel’s dedication and enthusiasm for Shakespeare and, most of all, her warm personality. She is an absolute delight to work with, and her peers think so, too.

In this play, Ariel was cast as Miranda. She worked diligently with her script at home and was, therefore, always prepared to really dig in and perform beautifully in rehearsal. One of the most impressive moments was when Ariel had to step into a second role (Sebastian) because we lost a cast member. It showed her bravery and team spirit. She more than succeeded at it! In fact, it looked like she was having a blast being a villain for the first time.

 

It was great to see Ariel increasing her range as a young actor, simultaneously creating two very different characters and stepping in and out of them seamlessly during the show.”

Sarah Bowles, Education Program Manager, Elm Shakespeare Company – The Tempest, April 2017

https://www.elmshakespeare.org

“Ariel fulfilled a significant part of Elm Shakespeare’s inaugural teen production of Julius Caesar. A key part of a seven-person ensemble, she played four roles – Calpurnia, the Soothsayer, Metellus Cimber, and Brutus’ tragic young servant Lucius. The production and the program were deeply affected by her professionalism, generosity, and talent. She almost instantly became a leader in the group and set the bar very high for hard work, emotional commitment, and inclusiveness. She embraced each of her very different roles with gusto and great curiosity, creating performances that were emotionally nuanced, specific, committed, and super engaging.

Ariel is a performer through and through, thrives with an audience, and has an undeniable joy on stage. As a former education director, who has worked with hundreds of students over 25 years, I believe Ariel is more likely to succeed as a professional artist than almost any student with whom I have ever worked. She is already well on her way.”

Rebecca Kemper Goodheart, Producing Artistic Director, Elm Shakespeare Company – Julius Caesar, December 2016

https://www.elmshakespeare.org