BHS senior student stars in music video
Lauren Mortimer, a senior at Butler Senior High School, starred in a music video by local Pittsburgh musical artist Ashley Marina that premiered last month.
An exciting challenge
Lauren, who takes classes at SheLor School of Dance in Butler and has been dancing since she was 3 years old, said the music video for the song “Clouds Across the Sun” is in a contemporary partner dance style. The video features her and Slippery Rock University freshman Will VanSlander portraying young people in love.
“It’s a love story,” Lauren said. “It’s about two people falling out of love, and by the end of the song, they start to fall back into love.”
Lauren said her dance instructor, Miranda Maleski, recommended her for the role. The video was filmed in Maleski’s new studio space in New Kensington. Lauren said she and her partner learned the dance choreography for a few hours on a Sunday, and shot the video on a Wednesday.
“I never learned something that quickly; it was a challenge. I like challenges,” Lauren said. “I think it’ll prepare me for something in the future.”
According to Brandi Mortimer, Lauren’s mom, the experience of partner dancing was new to her daughter.
“Lauren and (VanSlander) never worked together before,” Brandi said. “He said he would have never known she hadn’t partner danced before. Watching them, you’d never know they’d never worked with each other.”
The dance included many partnered lifts and turns in an industrial-like setting. Lauren said the space was incredibly difficult to dance in as it was so cold the November day they filmed.
“We went outside to get warm,” Lauren said. “It was hardwood we were dancing on, very splintery.”
Lauren said the experience of dancing on camera was new and fun.
“I’ve never done anything this big before,” Lauren said. “It was a very fun experience.”
The video for “Clouds Across the Sun” came out Dec. 12 and already has more than 4,000 views and comments from near and far.
Paintbrush on a canvas
As she prepares to graduate high school, Lauren said she’d love to continue dancing in any capacity, and possibly work with kids.
“One of my major goals is to audition for the Rockettes, but there’s a lot you can do with dance besides becoming a Rockette,” Lauren said. “I really enjoy kids and I’ve considered an elementary education and dance double major.”
According to Lauren, dance has taught her a lot about discipline and self-confidence, which translates into other aspects of her life.
“You learn in the studio how to perfect yourself,” Lauren said. “I’ve learned a lot about self-confidence through dance. It’s definitely helped me with discipline in school.”
Lauren said some of the best advice she received from a peer was to take on as many learning experiences as you can with dance. She has since taken this to heart. While Lauren takes classes at SheLor, she also attends a class at Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh, as well as taking private lessons with Maleski.
The advice Lauren received years ago is the advice she wants to pass on to the next generation.
“Do as much as you can do with dance. Get out and explore,” Lauren said. “Every choreographer is different. What’s taught me the most is working with other people.”
Lauren said what she loves most about dancing is her ability to be expressive without words.
“I’m a paintbrush on a canvas when I’m dancing,” Lauren said. “I like being able to give it my all.”
The music video for “Clouds Across the Sun” by Marina can be viewed on YouTube.