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Archive for the ‘DSL Dance Wire’ Category

American Dance Festival Invites Students to Winter Intensives in NYC, California

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Gerri Houlihan teaches at American Dance Festival; photo courtesy ADF

Gerri Houlihan teaches at American
Dance Festival; photo courtesy ADF

For the first time, the American Dance Festival (ADF) will hold winter intensives in New York City and Pasadena, California.

The nine-day NYC Winter Intensive (December 27 to January 4, 2015) is designed for students ages 18 and older who are interested in exploring the NYC dance scene from an insider’s perspective through classes, workshops, performances, and more. Faculty will include Elizabeth Corbett, Gerri Houlihan, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Nia Love, Pamela Pietro, Gwen Welliver, and Jesse Zaritt. Tuition is $785.

The new five-day California Winter Intensive (December 27 to 31) allows dance students on the West Coast the chance to experience an ADF intensive closer to home with daily classes in technique, repertory, composition, and improvisation, as well as panels, open rehearsals, and more. Faculty will include Rodger Belman, Leah Cox, Rafael Lopez-Barrantes, and Stuart Singer. Tuition is $450.

For more information, visit www.americandancefestival.org.

 

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DTH Founder Arthur Mitchell Receives Lifetime Achievement Bessie Award

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Arthur Mitchell; photo courtesy Tumblr

Arthur Mitchell; photo courtesy Tumblr

Arthur Mitchell, founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem, will receive the 2014 NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance during ceremonies for the 30th annual New York Dance and Performance Awards, set for October 20 at New York City’s Apollo Theater.

The awards, also known as The Bessies, will also honor Dr. Chuck Davis of DanceAfrica! with its Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance award.

Mitchell, a man of singular vision whose life has been spent as a pioneer in a field bound by tradition, created the first African-American classical ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem. As a dancer with New York City Ballet, Mitchell played a role in shaping George Balanchine’s vision of neoclassicism in ballet. Later, as an artistic director, he brought the innovative teacher Bessie Schonberg (for whom The Bessies are named) in to teach his company members choreography in the early 1990s, and built an eclectic repertoire that ranged from classical to contemporary, featuring works by artists as varied as Manuel Alum, David Gordon, Geoffrey Holder, and Talley Beatty.

Davis, known widely as Baba Chuck, is being recognized for the creation and stewardship of the revolutionary dance festival, DanceAfrica! With a dance career spanning more than 70 years, Davis has dedicated his life to bringing all Americans, regardless of cultural background, together as one through the joyous beauty of African dance, music, and art.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/thebessies.

 

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Four Teens with Competitive Dance Dreams Featured in Web Series

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Lex Ishimoto of Dance School Diaries; photo courtesy Dance School Diaries

Lex Ishimoto of Dance School Diaries;
photo courtesy Dance School Diaries

Dance School Diaries, a popular new web series on the DanceOn YouTube network, looks inside the lives of four Orange County, California, teenagers competing in the Youth America Grand Prix.

“I believe Dance School Diaries gives an insight into the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices that dancers make in order to achieve their dreams,” said executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.

The series, which has been named a People magazine “Pick of the Week,” follows Madison Chappell, 15, and Sage Humphries, 16, students at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy; along with Andrea Guite, 16, of Southland Ballet Academy, and Lex Ishimoto, 16, who dances at Southland as well as at West Coast School of the Arts.

“With Dance School Diaries, we worked with the best in the industry, Nigel Lythgoe, the most prolific producer of dance entertainment for television, and YAGP, the world’s largest international student ballet competition,” said Amanda Taylor, CEO of the DanceOn network. “At DanceOn, we are committed to fostering a community for people who are passionate about dance by bringing great content to a global audience that is continuing to expand every day.”

Dance School Diaries episodes are posted every Friday at 1pm ET/10am PT. To visit the DanceOn channel, go to https://www.youtube.com/user/DanceOn. To see the full playlist and catch up on the series, visit http://goo.gl/vbmEjO. For more information, visit http://www.danceon.com/dance_school_diaries.

 

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Miami City Ballet Works Toward New Identity Under Lopez’ Leadership

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Miami Ballet artistic director Lourdes Lopez teaches class; photo by Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald staff

Miami Ballet artistic director Lourdes Lopez teaches class; photo by Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald staff

The Miami City Ballet is transforming under the leadership of artistic director Lourdes Lopez, who took over from founder Edward Villella two years ago, but how the changes will ultimately affect the company’s artistic profile—the way it dances, and its place in the dance world and in Miami’s cultural landscape—remains to be seen.

The Miami Herald said the most obvious changes are in the company leadership and staff. There has been an almost complete turnover—from a new board president and new executive director to new teachers at the company school. The board has become better organized and more functional, with a more clearly defined and helpful relationship with the company.

“I think Lourdes is gaining confidence,” says new executive director Michael Scolamiero, who held the same position at Pennsylvania Ballet for 17 years before moving to Miami in July. “She’s arriving at an identity for the company.”

Sweeping changes at an artistic institution mean far more than new marketing strategies; they lead to differences in aesthetic, in character, in identity. For Miami City Ballet, the changes point toward a repertory and style that are more mixed, more contemporary, and more similar to those of other U.S. ballet troupes; a more corporate organizational culture; and a new emphasis on community relationships.

The casual, mom-and-pop shop atmosphere the troupe had under Villella and his wife, Linda Villella, who founded and headed the company’s school, has been replaced with a more businesslike approach.

At the company’s school, which has become a regular source of the troupe’s dancers, enrollment and tuition are up for both the year-round program and the summer intensive. The focus of the training has shifted away from Villella’s emphasis on energy, urgency, and musicality—qualities that distinguished MCB from other companies. New teachers emphasize more traditional technique and a wider range of styles that will presumably prepare students for a different repertory, but also seem likely to make MCB’s dancers more like those at other troupes.

New board president Sue Kronick says the changes are inevitable, and will ultimately be positive. “There are transitions in any business,” says Kronick. “Some are messy, and some are good. The question is, ‘What is it that breeds success?’ ”

To read the full story, visit http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/09/13/4344947/miami-city-ballet-tranforms-itself.html.

 

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Peek Behind the Scenes, Meet Dancers, on ABT YouTube Channel

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ABT; photo by Renata Pavam

ABT; photo by Renata Pavam

The new American Ballet Theatre ABT YouTube channel, under the channel name of “ABTBalletTheatre,” will offer an in-depth and candid look at the company as it covers such topics as performance rituals, perseverance, and competition.

Current dancers from all ranks will be showcased in two or three minute Meet the Dancer vignettes that explore their experiences and points of view. Videos featuring special events and company activity will also be posted, along with behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals and day-to-day company life.

The channel provides users with a new social media experience in addition to ABT’s Facebook (http://facebook.com/AmericanBalletTheatre) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/ABTBallet) presence.

Access to the ABT YouTube Channel can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/ABTBalletTheatre.

 

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Twyla Tharp Discusses Creativity as a Discipline; Prepares to Open Dance School

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Twyla Tharp; photo courtesy the Richard Avedon Foundation

Twyla Tharp; photo courtesy the Richard Avedon Foundation

Twyla Tharp, a Barnard College Class of 1963 graduate who returned to campus this fall for her yearlong residency as a distinguished guest artist, lectured Monday night on her life and her book, The Creative Habit, which explores the idea that conscious, directed repetition begets freedom, and that good working habits generate a lifetime of productivity.

The Columbia Spectator said, over the course of the evening, Tharp discussed topics ranging from choreographing horses in the musical film Hair to building Billy Joel’s Broadway musical Moving Out with technique evolved from her adaptation of The Bacchae, as well as her early dance career.

Tharp said she attended Barnard at a time when virtually no dance classes were offered. Instead, she moved between the studios of the great masters downtown until she felt ready to craft her own dances.

In October, Tharp plans to open a new dance school to train young dancers in a curriculum inspired by her own eclectic dance education. Classes will include isometric exercise, working with equal force of either side of a movement, as well as Tharp’s own “tree frog” technique, navigating the complexities of weight, balance, and dynamics with one’s feet stuck firmly to the floor.

Tharp stressed the importance of creativity as a discipline, having carved out a career for herself dancing in public spaces when she could not afford to rent out studio space. When it comes to creating something unique and working on a deadline, she told students, “If you run into a wall, you stay up all night and deliver on time.”

To see the full story, visit http://columbiaspectator.com/arts-and-entertainment/2014/09/16/twyla-tharp-bc-63-speaks-about-dance-art-lecture.

 

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Math in Your Feet Curriculum Uses Percussive Patterns to Get School Kids Talking About Math Concepts

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Math in Your Feet; photo courtesy Math in Your Feet

Math in Your Feet; photo courtesy Math in Your Feet

Percussive dance teaching artist Malke Rosenfeld has designed a curriculum, Math in Your Feet, that uses percussive dance to teach math to elementary students, reported Flowing Data.

Through learning and experimenting with dance patterns, students pick up on math concepts such as congruence, symmetry, transformation, angles and degrees, attributes, pattern recognition, symbols, and mapping on a coordinate grid.

In a video, (http://flowingdata.com/2014/09/12/teaching-math-through-percussive-dance/) Rosenfeld—a traditional clogger and step dancer—explains how she introduces students to the elements of percussive dance and then, within that structured framework, gives them the freedom to create their own percussive patterns.

Rosenfeld said her curriculum is based on research in embodied cognition, which has shown that children think and learn through their bodies. In the case of Math in Your Feet, she says, working creatively within the system of percussive dance provides children with an opportunity to represent their understanding of mathematical ideas within this new context.

Math in Your Feet addresses all eight Standards for Mathematical Practice in the Common Core State Standards.

Rosenfeld offers Math in Your Feet professional development workshops that instruct teachers in how to teach the movement, rhythm, and math aspects of this program. Designed for classroom teachers of grades 3 to 6, PE, and music specialists, the material taught during workshops can also be adapted by kindergarten to grade 2 teachers for the younger grades.

To learn more, visit http://www.mathinyourfeet.com/.

 

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Twenty Years of New Jersey Tap Ensemble Celebrated in Show

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New Jersey Tap Ensemble; photo courtesy Broadway World

New Jersey Tap Ensemble; photo courtesy Broadway World

“XX: A Celebration of 20 Years” will look back at the two-decade history of New Jersey’s leading tap performance group, the New Jersey Tap Ensemble, through performances of 20 dance pieces from the group’s past and present.

Broadway World said group founder and artistic director Deborah Mitchell will narrate the company’s journey from infancy to today during the show, set for September 21 at 2pm at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey.

The program includes Jersey Bounce, That Rhythm Man, The New Low Down, and Savoy, choreographed and costumed by Mitchell in traditional tap styles reminiscent of the 1930s. Caravan, to be performed by Evan Ruggiero as a tribute to Peg Leg Bates, celebrates the power of the human spirit in the face of all odds. Opus One, choreographed by the late Dr. Harold Cromer, will be performed by Hillary-Marie Michael and Kyle Wilder. Special guest NJTAP2 (ages 12-17) will perform Crazy, choreographed by Maurice Chestnut, and Rhythms, by Mitchell.

Tickets are $75 (VIP with post-show reception) and $40 and can be purchased online at http://www.mayoarts.org/event/nj-tap-ensemble2. To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/NJTAP-Ensemble-to-Celebrate-20-Years-with-XX-on-Sept-21-20140912#.

 

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Archives of Dance-makers Lew Christensen and Anna Halprin Available Online

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Lew Christensen; photo courtesy MP+D

Lew Christensen; photo courtesy MP+D

San Francisco’s Museum of Performance + Design, the first museum in the country dedicated exclusively to the performing arts, will be holding a special launch party September 18 from 5:30 to 7:30pm to celebrate two new archive websites devoted to dance icons Lew Christensen and Anna Halprin.

The Christensen Family Digital Archive and Anna Halprin Digital Archive websites, two new online collections featuring 1,000 images from MP+D’s collection, will be accessible to the general public beginning Thursday via the museum’s website (http://www.mpdsf.org/?utm_source=SEPTEMBER2014&utm_campaign=SEP2014&utm_medium=email).

Christensen, one of George Balanchine’s first male dancers, was a New York City Ballet ballet master and also helped to lead the San Francisco Ballet in different administrative roles (including director) from 1949 until 1984. He also choreographed more than 110 works for SF Ballet.

Halprin, an early pioneer in the expressive arts healing movement, founded the San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop in 1955, has created 150 full-length dance-theater works, written three books, and won numerous awards for her groundbreaking work. At age 94, Halprin continues to perform, travel, and teach.

For more information on the digital exhibits, visit https://www.facebook.com/mpdsf  or https://twitter.com/mpdsf.

 

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Grand Rapids Ballet Stunned at Philanthropist’s Gift of $1 Million

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Grand Rapids Ballet supporter Peter Wege in 2007; photo by Lori Niedenfuer Cool/Grand Rapids Press

Grand Rapids Ballet supporter Peter Wege in 2007;
photo by Lori Niedenfuer Cool/Grand Rapids Press

Grand Rapids [MI] Ballet has received $1 million from the estate of philanthropist Peter M. Wege, a gift that triples the size of the company’s endowment fund.

MLive said Wege, former chairman of Steelcase, Inc., and a patron of the arts in West Michigan, died in July at age 94.

Grand Rapids Ballet’s Meijer-Royce Center for Dance, which opened in 2001, was built with Wege’s support. Six years later, the company opened the doors of its 300-seat Peter Martin Wege Theatre, which Wege, whose middle name was Melvin, insisted was named, not for him, but for his father, who founded Steelcase.

Grand Rapids Ballet artistic director Patricia Barker, who took the helm of the company in July 2010, danced at the inaugural performance in the theater, built with a 50-by-50–foot surface and a sprung dance floor.

“Peter Wege was a true blessing to our organization and the community at large and will always hold a special place in our hearts,” said Glenn Del Vecchio, executive director of Grand Rapids Ballet.

The Wege Foundation previously had contributed $1 million toward Grand Rapids Ballet’s $2.5 million campaign to retire the company’s debts, build a cash reserve, develop new repertoire, and create a brand-new production of The Nutcracker. The production, designed by illustrator Chris Van Allsburg, a native of Grand Rapids who wrote the children’s book, The Polar Express, will debut in December.

A specific use for the $1 million gift from Wege’s personal estate to Grand Rapids Ballet’s endowment fund will be decided at a later date. “We’ve never dealt with this situation before,” Del Vecchio said. “We’ll put together a plan in the coming months.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/09/grand_rapids_ballet_receives_1.html#incart_river.

 

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South African Dancer, Keoikantse Motsepe, Shatters DWTS Tradition

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DWTS newcomer Keoikantse Motsepe is set to dance with Olympian Lolo Jones; photo courtesy ABC

DWTS newcomer Keoikantse Motsepe is set to dance with Olympian Lolo Jones; photo courtesy ABC

When the new season of Dancing with the Stars kicks off tonight, the cast of professional dancers will feature Keoikantse (Keo) Motsepe, who arrives at the ABC show by way of South Africa.

The New York Post said Motsepe’s appearance is a milestone for the show. Motsepe, an accomplished performer who has won every national dance title in South Africa and danced on the Burn the Floor world tour since 2012, is the first non-white pro dancer in the show’s 19-season history.

“Me being the first black, non-white dancer in the show, obviously there’s something special about me, there’s something the producers saw,” Motsepe tells The Post. “I’m very honored and feel very blessed about that. For me it’s about making history in my life and making history in the world.”

Motsepe, an avid fan of DWTS, says he was only partially surprised it’s taken so long for a person of color to be cast as a dancing pro in a show that has often had African American celebrities as competitors.

“The other day I was in tech [rehearsal] and a guy goes to me, ‘Wait, are you doing Dancing with the Stars? He said . . . ‘Now I’m going to start watching.’ If one non-white person can think like that, the word-of mouth is the biggest tool in the world,” he said.

“Someone different, competing their first time, why not? A different color. Anything’s possible in life. You just have to believe and have faith and hope. That’s what I tell Lolo [Jones, his DWTS partner] every day.”

To see the original story, visit http://nypost.com/2014/09/10/meet-the-first-african-american-pro-on-dancing-with-the-stars/.

 

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Character Dancers Needed for Live-Action Production of A Charlie Brown Christmas

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A Charlie Brown Christmas; image courtesy San Francisco Symphony

A Charlie Brown Christmas;
image courtesy San Francisco Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony is seeking 12 ballet or musical-theater dancers/actors able to create character through movement and with a strong comic sensibility for its holiday season production of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Auditions for the roles of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and other members of the Peanuts gang will be held September 20 from 10am to 6pm at The Nourse Theater, 201-299 Hayes Street, with callbacks September 21 from 10am to 2pm at Davies Symphony Hall, Zellerbach Rehearsal Room C, 300 Franklin Street, San Francisco. There are roles available for teenage and adult (ages 18 to 25) male dancers, teenage and adult (ages 18 to 35) female dancers, and one 8- to 10-year-old female dancer. Rehearsals will begin December 10.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is a 30-minute, live-action performance with orchestral accompaniment and video sets that will be presented as part of the symphony’s Christmas Spectacular, running December 19 to 24 at Davies Symphony Hall.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is directed and choreographed by Liza Gennaro, in collaboration with New York Theatre Ballet.

Interested dancers can schedule an audition by emailing a headshot and resume to danceauditions@sfsymphony.org. Walk-ups will not be accepted. Pay will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

 

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Audience Joins the Story at Fort Wayne Dance’s Interactive Performance

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Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s “Wonderland”; photo courtesy Facebook

Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s “Wonderland”;
photo courtesy Facebook

In the famous Lewis Carroll story, Alice in Wonderland, young Alice explores a magical and mysterious new world. Audiences at the Fort Wayne [IN] Dance Collective’s weekend fundraiser, “Wonderland,” might also find themselves tiptoeing though a world of wonder as part of an “immersive theater/choose-your-own-adventure” experience.

Indiana News Center said “Wonderland,” the Dance Collective’s second annual fundraiser, will be held September 12 at the Masonic Temple, 216 E. Washington Boulevard.

Audience members will be able to follow, interact, and perhaps dance, with Alice and the cast as the show journeys from floor to floor of the Masonic Temple. Organizers brought the idea to Fort Wayne from a show in New York, Alison Gerardot, outreach director, said. “Audience members will come in. There will be an initial scene that they’ll see, and they won’t really know when it’s going to happen—it’ll just happen. From there [they can] explore the entire space that is the Masonic Temple.”

Gerardot says all proceeds will go toward scholarships, community outreach programs for students and people with disabilities, and the Parkview Healing Arts program.

Tickets cost $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Doors open at 7:30pm with the show beginning at 8pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

http://fwdc.org/FWDC/event/wonderland-a-fundraising-event/.

To see the original story, visit http://www.indianasnewscenter.com/news/local/Wonderland-Gives-Audiences-New-Interactive-Dance-Experience-274699181.html.

 

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Live Streaming Allows Ballet Fans to Visit Five Companies in One Day

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World Ballet Day; photo courtesy San Francisco Ballet

World Ballet Day; photo courtesy
San Francisco Ballet

Five of the world’s leading ballet companies will stream live behind-the-scenes action from their rehearsal studios on October 1, the first-ever World Ballet Day.

Starting at the beginning of the dancers’ day, each of the five ballet companies—Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet—will take the lead for a four-hour period streaming live from their headquarters. Starting with the Australian Ballet in Melbourne, the live link then passes across time zones to Moscow to London to Toronto to San Francisco.

The live streaming will throw a spotlight on the differences in style between the five companies as they follow a very similar routine, but approach choreography and performance in the ways that have made them unique on the world stage.

Viewers will be able to engage and interact with dancers, choreographers, and coaches who live and breathe ballet every day of their working lives, asking questions throughout the day via Twitter, as well as having the opportunity to submit a video of themselves doing a pirouette. The day’s streaming will be repeated on YouTube in full, with edited highlights also made available for further viewing.

World Ballet Day grew out of the success of Royal Ballet Live, a nine-hour live streaming of the Royal Ballet in class and rehearsal via YouTube and The Guardian website in March 2012 which attracted 200,000 views of the live stream, with repeat broadcasts receiving 2.5 million views.

The complete broadcast will be available on http://www.sfballet.org/worldballetday and https://www.youtube.com/user/SFBallet. Visit the SF Ballet page for a rundown of broadcast times.

 

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Hubbard Street Founder Lou Conte Recognized for Contributions

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Lou Conte; photo courtesy DNA Info Chicago

Lou Conte; photo courtesy DNA Info Chicago

Lou Conte, founder and choreographer of Hubbard Street Dance Studio, will be honored at the city’s first-ever Fifth Star Awards on September 17 at 7pm at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

DNA Info Chicago said the free event will include video tributes and live performances saluting Conte and his fellow award winners: sculptor Richard Hunt; Ramsey Lewis, Grammy-winning jazz composer, pianist, and radio personality; and Lois Weisberg, former Chicago cultural affairs commissioner.

After performing on Broadway and across the country, Conte established the Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago in 1974. In 1977, he founded what is now Hubbard Street Dance Chicago with four dancers.

The Fifth Star Awards reference Chicago’s four-star flag, with a symbolic “fifth star” as representative of the city’s leading artists and cultural institutions, event organizers said.

The event will also highlight the 125th anniversary of the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, a historic landmark that served as the first home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

To see the original story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140908/near-west-side/city-honor-hubbard-street-dance-founder-lou-conte.

 

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Joffrey School Teams Up With Complexions Ballet for New Competition

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Desmond Richardson leads a master class; photo courtesy Élite Dance Tournament

Desmond Richardson leads a master class;
photo courtesy Élite Dance Tournament

The Joffrey Ballet School and Complexions Contemporary Ballet have combined forces to launch a new national competition, Élite Dance Tournament.

In its inaugural year, the tournament will provide an apprenticeship with Complexions Dance Company, a full-time position with the Joffrey Concert Group, and $180,000 in cash and scholarships, including $10,000 each for the “ultimate” dancer, studio, and choreographer.

2015 tour locations include:
• Tampa—University of South Florida, February 27 to March 1
• Brooklyn, New York—Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, March 13 to 15
• Denton, Texas—Texas Women’s University, March 20 to 23
• San Francisco—ODC Theater, March 27 to 29
• Charlotte, North Carolina—Blumenthal Performing Arts Centers and Booth Playhouse, April 10 to 12
• Long Beach, California—California State University, May 1 to 3
• Finals—May 22 to 24 (location TBA)

Following a strong commitment to education, all competitors will be required to participate in master classes in their discipline. Instructors and judges will include Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson of Complexions; and Michael Blake, Jo Matos, Davis Robertson, and Josie Walsh of the Joffrey Ballet School. Special guest judges will be on hand in several tour locations. They include: Jodie Gates (Long Beach), Christina Lyon (San Francisco), Nigel Lythgoe (finals), Adam Sklute (Texas), and Ethan Stiefel (New York).

Élite will feature the judging system DanceComp Genie, which allows individual dancers and groups to access their scores and corrections, including listening to each judge’s notes while reviewing a playback of their performance online.

For more information, visit https://www.elitedancetournament.com/.

 

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Cincinnati Ballet Dancers Mourn Loss of Company Comedian Michael Sharp

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Michael Sharp; photo courtesy Jeff Corcoran

Michael Sharp; photo courtesy Jeff Corcoran

Michael Sharp was not only Cincinnati Ballet’s fiercest Captain Hook, he was also the funniest. When he took on the outlandish drag role of Mother Ginger in The Nutcracker, even the stagehands lined up in the wings to see what hilarity Sharp would unleash on the audience that day.

Cincinnati.com reported that Sharp, 60, died September 2 of a pulmonary embolism.

“He was so handsome and so funny and so full of life,” Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet artistic director and CEO, said. “He had such a great sense of humor—audiences adored him.”

Sharp, born in Lafayette, Indiana, was an unlikely candidate for a successful dance career. He didn’t take his first ballet class until he was in his mid-20s, according to his older brother, Jim Sharp, of Lafayette.

“He had a desk job of some sort and was feeling out of shape,” Kay Hurley, Sharp’s third wife, said, but a photo of Mikhail Baryshnikov spurred him to take class. Within a year, he had moved from Lafayette to Chicago, began studying at the noted Stone-Camryn School.

When a friend auditioned for a short-term job in Cincinnati Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker in 1979, Sharp tagged along. He got cast, and never left. He performed character roles with the ballet well into the last decade. After leaving Cincinnati Ballet he began a career as a painter and sculptor.

“Hearts are breaking today,” former dancer Jacqui Haas wrote on the Cincinnati Ballet Alumni Facebook page. “Michael was a wonderful dance partner, actor, comedian, performer, and friend . . . when I look back at my time as a dancer with the company, his animated and joyful presence is an enormous part of all my memories.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.cincinnati.com/story/entertainment/arts/2014/09/09/cincinnati-ballet-dancer-and-artist-michael-sharp-dies/15298257/.

 

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NYCB Star Patricia McBride Named a 2014 Kennedy Center Honoree

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Patricia McBride; photo by Jeff Cravotta

Patricia McBride; photo by Jeff Cravotta

Former New York City Ballet dancer Patricia McBride, now associate artistic director at Charlotte [NC] Ballet, will be recognized by the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors for her work as a ballerina and devotion to the field of ballet.

McBride will receive her Kennedy Center Honors medallion on December 6, along with other 2014 honorees: singer Al Green, actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks, singer-songwriter Sting, and comedienne Lily Tomlin. A star-studded celebration saluting the talent and work of the honorees set for December 7 will be broadcast on CBS on December 30 at 9pm.

“I am honored, astonished, moved, humbled, and ecstatic to have been chosen by the Kennedy Center Honors committee as a 2014 honoree. This is the giant of all honors! I have so many wonderful memories of dancing at the Kennedy Center with the New York City Ballet, and George Balanchine and Jerry Robbins, who made this all possible for me,” McBride said in KnightArts.

McBride joined NYCB in 1959, and in 1961 became the company’s youngest principal dancer. Over a three-decade career in New York, McBride performed more than 100 ballets—with several roles in masterworks by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins that were created for her.

Joining Charlotte Ballet in 1996, McBride, along with her husband Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, president and artistic director, have expanded and diversified Charlotte Ballet’s repertoire and continued its reputation for excellence.

To see the original story, visit http://www.knightarts.org/community/charlotte/charlotte-ballets-patricia-mcbride-to-become-a-kennedy-center-honoree.

 

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Designer’s Spring Collection Inspired by Martha Graham

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Tracy Reese (left) and model; photo by Richard Drew/Associated Press

Tracy Reese (left) and model;
photo by Richard Drew/Associated Press

Designer Tracy Reese had dancers pop out of the audience for a brief performance that opened her New York Fashion Week show Sunday, putting her inspiration for spring—the choreographer Martha Graham—into motion.

Reese divided her clothes into three “acts,” along the lines of how Graham lived life: discipline, craft and exuberance.

She built slowly from a series of dark black dresses and skirts to bright yellows, greens, pinks and purples in mixed prints and sparkly embellishments. Reese said some of the prints were inspired by nature, succulent gardens and the insects that inhabit them.

Her final “act,” representing exuberance, included tops, pants and dresses in a hot pink—the same shade she used for her final gown.

Reese said she admired the way Graham lived her life. “She talked a lot about taking the time to learn your craft and master it before you can go on and be free to fully express it,” she said.

To read the original story, visit http://www.denverpost.com/denver/ci_26488952/ny-fashion-week-tracy-reese-cacti-dance.

 

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Cambridge Dance Institutions Teaming Up for Benefit Concert

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Green Street Studios executive director Lorraine Chapman and Peter DiMuro, executive director of Dance Complex; photo by Katherine Taylor/Boston Globe

Green Street Studios executive director Lorraine Chapman and Peter DiMuro, executive director of Dance Complex; photo by Katherine Taylor/Boston Globe

Dance Complex and Green Street Studios, two renowned Cambridge, Massachusetts, dance centers that have survived myriad challenges over two decades, are joining forces for “Holding Hands While Dancing,” a collaborative benefit performance on November 2 that reflects the vision of new leadership at both organizations.

The venture marks the first time the two Cambridge centers have teamed up in this way, and their leaders hope it will lead to a more symbiotic relationship going forward. “We’re so on the same page,” said Lorraine Chapman, executive director of Green Street Studios, in a recent joint interview with Dance Complex executive director Peter DiMuro.

Dancer/choreographers as well as part-time administrators, DiMuro and Chapman are excited for the opportunity to bolster both organizations while dispelling some prevailing notions of competition. “There’s been this mythical rivalry, so it’s nice to debunk it by actually doing something together,” said DiMuro.

The November benefit will feature performances by DiMuro and Chapman, Anna Myer and Dancers, and David Parker and the Bang Group at Green Street Studios. Then a “tour guide” will lead the audience down Green Street and through the Dance Complex garden for the evening’s second half.

The 55-year-old DiMuro, officially became executive director of the Dance Complex in July 2013. A longtime denizen at Green Street Studios, Chapman, 46, stepped into the leadership position in mid-May. Both leaders aim not only to attract broader audiences for dance, but to educate audiences to appreciate the intricacies of the art form.

The concert will start at Green Street Studios, 185 Green Street, in Cambridge, and continue at the Dance Complex, 536, Massachusetts Avenue. Tickets are $25 to $100 and can be purchased by calling 617.547.9363 or online at http://www.dancecomplex.org.

To read the full story, visit http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2014/09/06/cambridge-dance-complex-green-street-studios-team-for-benefit-performance/V7D5sWXnZwRzioYLGAlEfI/story.html.

 

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Former NYCB Soloist Launches Website

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Kathryn Morgan, photo courtesy YouTube

Kathryn Morgan, photo courtesy YouTube

Kathryn Morgan became severely ill in 2010 with a thyroid disorder, leaving New York City Ballet in 2012 to focus on recovering in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

Now, according to the New York Times, Morgan is focused on returning to the stage, and she isn’t doing it alone: In May, she started a YouTube channel, which currently has more than 6,800 subscribers. On Facebook, she has more than 87,000 followers. She also posts regularly on Instagram.

Her videos are geared toward aspiring ballet dancers and include hair and makeup tutorials, barre workouts and question-and-answer sessions in which viewers submit anonymous questions about topics ranging from hyperextension to the dilemma between attending college or pursuing a professional dance career.

Ms. Morgan’s advice is refreshingly no-nonsense. “Do not match your eye shadow to your costume,” she said, laughing. “Please don’t.”

But with more serious issues, she is careful yet firm with her counsel and plans to create stand-alone videos that delve deeper into topics like dieting. “I don’t want to encourage dieting, especially with young girls,” she said. “They’re still growing. I’ve seen, time and time again, these 13-year-olds with eating disorders.”

Mainly, Morgan bases her videos on what she would have liked to have learned from a professional dancer when she was growing up. “The thinking behind it is me catering to my 13-year-old self.”

She also reveals, perhaps unknowingly, the grit that it takes to make it back to the stage. Morgan has shed 25 of the 40 pounds she gained as a result of her illness, and this month is in New York to train with Garielle Whittle, a former faculty member at the City Ballet-affiliated School of American Ballet, and Nancy Bielski, her favorite teacher at Steps on Broadway.

Morgan plans to audition for ballet companies this fall and is hoping to end up in Europe.

In a statement, NYCB ballet master in chief Peter Martins said Morgan was one of the greatest talents he had ever seen. “Her decision to leave New York City Ballet was an enormous loss, but was, of course, necessary so that she could focus on her health.”

For Morgan, being able to open up about her illness has aided her healing. “I also love talking about it to show younger dancers that it’s not all wonderful all the time,” she said. “Once you get into a company, you’re not the star from then on. Even big stars have had problems that people don’t know about.”

Dancers in ballet start young and essentially grow up onstage; the experience of finding her voice online has helped Morgan transform from a girl into a woman. “I didn’t realize how much I was wrapped up in ballet until I got sick,” she said. “When I didn’t have ballet anymore, I couldn’t function. I didn’t know how to be a person.”

As a dancer, she said, self-worth comes down to whether you perform well or not, or how thin you are. “This has helped me be confident no matter where I am or what I look like,” she said. “It’s really helped me be a person rather than just a dancer.”

To read the original story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/arts/dance/kathryn-morgan-uses-social-media-as-she-gears-for-her-return.html?ref=arts.

 

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Joe Tremaine Recognized for Contributions at Career Transition For Dancers Jubilee

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Career Transition For Dancers Annual Gala; image courtesy CTD

Career Transition For Dancers Annual Gala; image courtesy CTD

Competition and convention director and master teacher, Joe Tremaine, will be honored at Career Transition For Dancers’ 29th anniversary jubilee, “New York, New York: a helluva town,” set for October 6 at 7pm at New York City Center.

This one-night-only event features appearances and performances by big-name entertainers of stage and screen, with all proceeds supporting Career Transition For Dancers’ mission of enabling dancers to define their career possibilities and develop the skills necessary to excel in a variety of disciplines.

Angela Lansbury will receive the 2014 Rolex Dance Award, with additional honorees including Tremaine, fundraiser Janice Galli Becker, and dance patron Fe Saracino Fendi. The event will include appearances by James Earl Jones, Chita Rivera, Chuck Scarborough, and Karen Ziemba. Performers include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Arthur Murray Dance Center (Columbus Circle), Ballet Hispanico, Jonah Bokaer, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Industrial Rhythm, Silva Dance Company, Tony Waag’s American Tap Dance foundation, and Rockette alumnae.

For more information, visit http://www.careertransition.org/Fundraisers/.

 

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Rhee Gold, Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul Special Honorees at Industry Dance Awards

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Industry Dance Awards; image courtesy Industry Dance Awards

Industry Dance Awards;
image courtesy Industry Dance Awards

Dance Studio Life publisher Rhee Gold will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his motivational leadership and commitment to dance education at the 3rd Annual 2014 Industry Dance Awards, September 10, at the Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles.

Created to honor the artistic achievements and contributions of dancers, choreographers, and others who have elevated the medium in popular culture, this year’s ceremony will feature awards, performances, appearances, and presentations by Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy, Joe Tremaine, Kenny Ortega, Twitch and Allison Holker, Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, Poreotics, and others.

Along with Gold, other award recipients will include Nigel Lythgoe of So You Think You Can Dance receiving the Innovator Award, and global pop star and choreographer Paula Abdul receiving the Industry Dance Icon Award.

The 2014 Industry Dance Awards hope to raise more than $100,000 to support cancer research and prevention. Proceeds will benefit four non-profit organizations: The Keep A Breast Foundation, Breast Cancer Angels, Bright Pink, and the Circle of Hope Foundation, known for its “I’m A Dancer Against Cancer” campaign.

For more information, visit http://industrydanceawards.com/.  To see the original story, visit
http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/2014-industry-dance-awards-benefit-show-honoring-nigel-lythgoe-live-from-avalon-hollywood-1944468.htm.

 

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Minnesota Annual Awards Recognize Dance Performers and Educators

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Minnesota Sage Awards for Dance; photo by Romina Amato/Red Bull via Getty Images

Minnesota Sage Awards for Dance;
photo by Romina Amato/Red Bull via Getty Images

Nine awards will be presented to honorees in six categories, including outstanding dance performance, outstanding performer, and outstanding performing ensemble, at next month’s 10th annual Minnesota Sage Awards for Dance.

Four educators are vying for the Outstanding Dance Educator award: Kenna-Camara Cottman of Voice of Culture, a West African performing group with an emphasis on culture and artistic education; HIJACK, a choreographic collaboration between Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder; Judith Howard, associate professor of dance and chair of theater and dance at Carleton College; and Julie Kerr-Berry, director of dance at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

CBS Minnesota said the awards will be presented October 14 at The Goodale Theater at The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts in downtown Minneapolis. The awards gala includes dance performances by Megan Flood, Patrick Scully, B-Boy J-Sun, and Praxis.

The awards, created to celebrate the dance community and bring national attention to the high-caliber dance activity in the Twin Cities, are named in honor of Sage Cowles, a choreographer, performer, and philanthropist who died earlier this year. An anonymous group of peer panelists selects the recipients based on work presented during the past year.

For a list of nominees, visit http://www.sageawards.org/. To see the original story, visit http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/09/06/gala-set-for-10th-annual-minnesota-dance-awards/.

 

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Special Program Honors Graham’s Appalachian Spring on 70th Anniversary

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Appalachian Spring, 1945; photo by Arnold Eagle

Appalachian Spring, 1945;
photo by Arnold Eagle

The Martha Graham Dance Company will present a special program, “Appalachian Spring Up Close and Personal,” on October 30—the 70th anniversary of the premiere of this modern-dance masterpiece.

The program will include a complete performance of Graham’s Appalachian Spring in costume and with the classic Noguchi set pieces. This one-night-only event will also feature film and photos from the piece’s 1944 premiere, and an introduction with quotes from Graham’s correspondence with Aaron Copland as they created the beloved American classic.

Mariya Dashkina Maddux will lead the cast in Graham’s role of The Bride. She will be joined by Lloyd Mayor, Natasha Diamond-Walker, Lloyd Knight, Xiaochuan Xie, Ying Xin, Charlotte Landreau, and Lauren Newman.

The Martha Graham Studio Theater is located at 55 Bethune Street, 11th Floor, (at the corner of Washington Street), in Manhattan. The event begins at 7pm. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.marthagraham.org.

 

 

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No Public School Due to Teachers’ Strike? Goh Ballet Say, “More Time for Ballet”

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Goh Ballet; photo courtesy Goh Ballet

Goh Ballet; photo courtesy Goh Ballet

Vancouver’s Goh Ballet has created a special daytime program to provide support for parents who require care for their children while the British Columbia, Canada, teachers’ strike drags on past last week’s scheduled opening of school.

The province’s 41,000 public school teachers went on strike two weeks before the summer break started, booting half a million students out of class. The sticking points are pay, class size, and the amount of support staff per class.

A Goh Ballet release said the 8:30am to 3pm program began September 2, and was designed to continue into subsequent weeks should the strike persist and students remain out of school. The curriculum includes ballet classes, dance history lessons, choreographic labs, and opportunities to watch the academy’s Senior Professional Dancers train and rehearse.

“As a parent myself, I realize the challenges that can accompany something as displacing as this strike,” said director Chan Hon Goh. “I knew that we had to do whatever we could to assist families as they look towards a very busy September. We see this as an opportunity for students to gain additional artistic education while they are not in academic school.”

The daytime program is open to students ages 7 to 12 and costs $40 per day—the exact amount of the daily stipend offered by the provincial government to parents for each public school student under the age of 13 to help with day care costs during the strike.

For more information, visit http://gohballet.com/pdf/Media%20Advisory%20-%20Goh%20Ballet%20Provides%20Support%20During%20Strike.pdf.

 

 

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London Dance Drama, Pineapple Dance Studios, Premieres in U.S. on Ovation

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Pineapple Dance Studios; photo courtesy Ovation

Pineapple Dance Studios; photo courtesy Ovation

Pineapple Dance Studios, a dance reality series centered around Pineapple Studios, a dance studio complex and performing arts school in London, England, that serves as a rehearsal space for some of the biggest and best West End shows, pop acts, and dance performances, will have its U.S. television premiere September 28 at 7pm (ET) on Ovation.

Broadway World said the series gives exclusive access to the world-famous dance space, capturing studio drama from auditions to dance-offs, spray-tans to pop meltdowns.

Pineapple Dance Studios follows a comical cast of real-life “characters,” including Louie Spence, the outrageous and outspoken artistic director; Andrew Stone, dance teacher and wannabe pop-star; Mark Battershall, dance teacher to the stars; YouTube divorcée sensation Tricia Walsh-Smith; and Debbie Moore, intrepid owner and founder of the studio.

The 12 episodes follow Moore, her teachers, and aspiring young dancers through auditions, video shoots, choreography sessions, and music recordings, all culminating in a special performance at London’s O2 arena celebrating the studio’s 30th anniversary.

Beginning September 28, Pineapple Dance Studios will air on consecutive Sundays on Ovation. To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/Ovation-to-Air-US-Premiere-of-PINEAPPLE-DANCE-STUDIOS-928-20140903.

 

 

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New Ballet ‘Think Tank’ to Consider Past, Future, of the Classical Art Form

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Jennifer Homans; photo by Chang W. Lee/New York Times

Jennifer Homans; photo by Chang W. Lee/New York Times

Dancer turned historian Jennifer Homans, who wrote a sweeping history of ballet, Apollo’s Angels, is heading up a “ballet think tank” to consider how the classical art fits in today’s changing world and ask questions such as: “What is ballet going to become . . . what can it become?”

The New York Times said the new organization, the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, where Homans is a scholar in residence, will open this month with the help of a $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Homans said its goals include establishing ballet as a serious subject of academic inquiry; drawing new voices into a discussion of its past, present, and future; and expanding the conversation beyond the confines of the dance world.

The center will grant a few fellowships each semester to people from the world of dance, academia, and beyond, and allow them to pursue a broad range of projects. That includes documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, who created the 1995 profile of American Ballet Theatre, Ballet, and is working on a ballet with choreographer James Sewell; and former New York City Ballet dancer Heather Watts, who wants to analyze and contextualize the ballets of George Balanchine for 21st-century audiences.

While the new center will not initially serve students, Homans said she hoped it would ultimately help ballet secure a greater toehold in academia. “You take Music 101, you take Art 101—where is the dance?” she asked. “And where is the ballet in particular? Here is an art form that has a history, a 400-year history, and is part of our civilization, and yet it doesn’t have a presence.”

To read more, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/03/arts/dance/new-center-at-nyu-focuses-on-dance-and-the-arts.html?_r=0.

 

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NYC Museum Exhibit Explores Connection Between Costumes and Couture

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A Martha Graham Dance Company costume for Tangled Night designed by Halston; photo courtesy The Museum at FIT

A Martha Graham Dance Company costume for Tangled Night
designed by Halston;
photo courtesy The Museum at FIT

Dance & Fashion, an exhibit exploring the relationship between these two embodied art forms, will be presented at The Museum at FIT, the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion.

The Dance Enthusiast said Dance & Fashion will feature nearly 100 dance costumes and dance-inspired fashions, ranging from the 19th century to the present, many of which have never been exhibited.

Items will include a superb display of ballet costumes and related fashions from the 1830s and 1840s, the era of the Romantic ballet, including a rare Spanish-style costume worn by the great ballerina, Fanny Elssler. A costume by Christian Bérard for Symphonie Fantastique, along with a costume by Mme. Karinska for Ballet Imperial, will demonstrate the evolution of the classic ballet costume, while a costume from Creole Giselle for Dance Theatre of Harlem will evoke the continuing appeal of the Romantic ballet.

Christian Dior’s Black Swan ball gown will epitomize ballet’s influence on fashion design. The pointe shoes of famous dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Margot Fonteyn will be juxtaposed with high-fashion styles by Christian Louboutin and Noritaka Tatehana. Costumes worn by dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov will be on display, as well as noteworthy dresses loaned by the Martha Graham Dance Company (some designed and worn by Graham herself), that were the product of a close collaboration between Halston and Graham.

Dance & Fashion will run September 13 to January 3, 2015, and admission is free. A two-day symposium on October 23 and 24 (also free and open to the public) will further explore dance and fashion. For more information, visit http://www.fitnyc.edu/22418.asp.

To read more, visit http://www.dance-enthusiast.com/features/all/view/FIT-Dance-Fashion#.VAYxVu6yXcc.facebook.

 

 

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Documentary on Hospital for Criminally Insane Serves as Basis for New Ballet

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James Sewell; photo by Tom Wallace/Star Tribune

James Sewell; photo by Tom Wallace/Star Tribune

In 1967, filmmaker Frederick Wiseman documented the residents and inmates at Bridgewater [MA] State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in his film, Titicut Follies. Today, James Sewell of the Minneapolis-based Sewell Ballet is working with Wiseman on a new ballet based on that film.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune said the Wiseman documentary ignited controversy when state authorities sought to prevent its release, saying it violated inmates’ privacy. The legal case rolled through various jurisdictions, but the film was withheld from distribution for years. Wiseman went on to wide fame for his fly-on-the-wall documentaries on a variety of subjects, including high-school life, meat, public housing, boxing—and, in two movies, including a profile of American Ballet Theatre, the world of dance.

Sewell said Wednesday that he and Wiseman, 84, have been talking by phone about the project this summer, and that Wiseman is due in Minneapolis later in September for meetings and in-studio improvisation.

Sewell said the ballet, which may retain the movie’s title, is likely to require 10 male dancers, as well as other characters to portray the state hospital’s doctors and nurses. Likely to premiere in Minneapolis about two years from now, the ballet will include music and possibly video from the original film, Sewell said.

“When I first saw the film—so intense, so strange—I thought, ‘how could you make a ballet of this?’ But the elements are all there—humorous, poetic, horrifying, sad,” Sewell said.

The movie’s title comes from an annual variety show that Bridgewater officials and inmates staged at the hospital. “These violent criminals and mentally ill inmates would put on a show, singing Gershwin with pom-poms in their hands,” Sewell said.

To see the original story, visit http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/blogs/273809581.html#YWC3y29HjHbF4wLu.01.

 

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Photographer Uses Dance Training and Unique Perspective to Create Magical Photos

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A dance-inspired photo by Kylli Sparre; image courtesy Colossal

A dance-inspired photo by Kylli Sparre;
image courtesy Colossal

Fine art photographer Kylli Sparre creates dance-inspired photographs, almost all of which depict the artist herself in various dreamlike states and situations. Now the artist is over the moon that one of her photos is featured as the splash screen for the 2014 Adobe Photoshop CC app.

Working with outdoor landscapes, often with bodies of water or ice, Sparre draws from years of formal ballet training to create the dramatic photographs. Sparre, a self-taught designer, describes her style as “dreamlike, symbolic, and sometimes surreal.”

Beautiful.Bizarre described her work as thus: “Her photo manipulations are full of symbols connected to her love for nature, literature, and arts. Her models, lost in some Scandinavian Emily Brontë kind of landscape, illustrate the smallness of the human being in Nature and question relationships between us and our surroundings. In its entirety, Kylli’s work takes us to a place of magical woodland creatures, of theatrical leap into the wild world.”

To see a sampling of her photos, visit http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/08/dreamlike-conceptual-self-portraits-fused-with-dance-by-kylli-sparre/, http://beautifulbizarre.net/2014/04/16/kylli-sparre-nimbleness-nymphs/, or the artist’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Sparrek.

 

 

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Dancers Stand A Bit Taller in DC Studio’s High Heels Dance Class

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JuWan Bizzell’s heels; photo courtesy Facebook

JuWan Bizzell’s heels; photo courtesy Facebook

Hip-hop performer JuWan Bizzell wanted to create a “different” class for Washington DC’s Momentum Dance & Fitness studio, so he decided to leverage the skills he’d learned while backing up drag queens in nightclub shows.

His high heels class, held every Friday, is more than just a chance to boogie down to kick off the weekend, Momentum owner Roberta Rothstein told the Washington Post—it’s also an education in how to wear high heels without injuring yourself.

Although Bizzell looks like a natural in his size 14 pumps, he promises that he wasn’t at first: “I felt like the weirdest thing in heels. I was a mess.” So if he can manage to stay upright during complicated routines, Bizzell says, his students can too.

It starts with a warm-up strut, so students get accustomed to standing tall and taking powerful strides across the studio. Then Bizzell drills a series of exercises. There’s the “flamingo stance,” which requires balancing on one leg. To make it harder, he has students perform standing side crunches (bring that upraised knee to your elbow).

Squats and calf raises come next, thankfully with some stretches in between to keep the leg muscles happy. Then there’s really good news: It’s time to kick off your shoes. Bizzell prefers that everyone learn the choreography for his dance routines in flats or bare feet as a safety measure.

Miraculously, when both the music and the shoes came on, no one fell over. “Somehow, by the end, I’ve always got it and I’m asking for more,” marveled Dinah Reese, 43.

To read the original story, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2014/09/02/at-this-capitol-hill-dance-class-a-dude-teaches-you-to-how-to-move-in-high-heels/.

 

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PBS Documentary Mia, A Dancer’s Journey, Proves Pioneering Ballerina Not Forgotten

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Mia Slavenska; photo courtesy Maurice Seymour

Mia Slavenska;
photo courtesy Maurice Seymour

Mia, A Dancer’s Journey tells the story of Mia Slavenska, Croatia’s first prima ballerina who became one of a small band of famous European émigré ballerinas who changed the face of American dance by introducing audiences across the country to ballet as an art form.

The documentary will air on PBS SoCaL, PBS for Greater Los Angeles, on November 20 at 7pm, and on PBS stations nationally in 2015.

Born in Croatia, Slavenska was celebrated in Western Europe as the likely successor to Anna Pavlova. However, with World War II looming, she escaped to the U.S. as one of the stars of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Her commanding technique, innate theatricality, and physical beauty won raves, and her pioneering spirit led her to start a ballet company with Frederic Franklin and convince Tennessee Williams to allow her to produce a ballet version of A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway. But in spite of her artistic success, the feeling of living in exile haunted Slavenska throughout her life.

At the end of her life, she feared that she had been forgotten, not only in the U.S. but also in her native Croatia. Before she died, Slavenska’s daughter, Maria, promised to tell her mother’s story. As Maria retraces Slavenska’s life journey in Mia, A Dancer’s Journey, she unearths the story of a maverick ballerina and a lost time in American dance.

And, Maria makes a most surprising discovery: Mia Slavenska hasn’t been forgotten after all.

Voiced by the Emmy award–winning actress Blythe Danner, the documentary features interviews from historians as well as from colleagues Slavenska influenced as a dancer and friend. For more information, visit http://www.pbssocal.org/tv/nationalproductions/mia/.

 

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Ballet Company Thinks of Clever Way to Announce Nutcracker Casting

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A happy Ballet Company of East County Nutcracker cast member; photo courtesy Facebook

A happy Ballet Company of East County Nutcracker cast member;
photo courtesy Facebook

The Ballet Company of East County, Brentwood, California, notified 81 children and teens that they would be performing in The Nutcracker this Christmas by posting the good news in their front yard while they were sleeping.

With the exception of the dancer cast in the lead role of Clara, young people traditionally have found out whether they made the cut from a cast list that’s posted online and at the ballet company’s Brentwood studio, managing director Nina Koch told the Contra Costa Times. (“Clara” receives a phone call.)

When a couple of advisory board parents suggested expanding on a marketing tactic the company had used last year (in which some families bought signs advertising the show and placed them in their yards), Koch ordered plastic signs and customized each with a handwritten announcement of the role that child would be playing.

Choreographers and parents in on the plot visited homes in Rio Vista, Mountain House, Discovery Bay, Brentwood, Oakley, and Antioch, for four hours one night, tiptoeing onto lawns and hammering in signs with mallets.

“It was complete shenanigans,” Koch said, recalling the time she jumped over a hedge while sprinting from the scene when a parent unexpectedly pulled into the driveway.

The merry band of messengers took photos as it made the rounds, posting its handiwork on Instagram and Facebook. To see the original story, visit http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_26424586/eye-east-bay-young-ballet-dancers-get-happy.

 

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New Orleans Studio Founds Community Festival to Confront Violence and Inspire Action

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Dancing Grounds; photo by Peter Nakhid

Dancing Grounds; photo by Peter Nakhid

Dancing Grounds’ first Dance for Social Change Festival seeks to bring artists, activists, and community members together to inspire dialogue and action about key issues confronting New Orleans, according to the Times-Picayune.

The festival, under the theme “Overcoming Violence,” will be held September 21 from 2 to 5pm with activities and performances on the 1300-1700 blocks of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and in the Ashé Cultural Arts Center. Several site-specific contemporary dance performances are planned, and New Orleans youth will serve as tour guides, taking audience members from site to site and creating their own movement as they travel.

Collaborating partners include Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Junebug Productions, Youth Empowerment Project, KM Dance, The Movement Studio, and Cease Fire.

Community events include free master classes with the choreographers Thursdays in September from 7:30 to 8:45 at Dancing Grounds; free youth workshops (ages 12 and up) September 12 and 19 from 5:30 to 6:30pm at YEP Youth Center, and free performance excerpts on September 13 from 8:30 to 9:30 at Dancing Grounds.

For a full schedule, visit http://dancingrounds.org/dance-for-social-change/.

To see the original story, visit http://blog.nola.com/new_orleans/2014/08/dance_for_social_change_festiv.html.

 

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St. Louis Dance Community Spurred to Take Action by Ferguson Tragedy

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“Step Up” facilitators Keith Williams and Sara Burke; photo by Nancy Fowler/St. Louis Public Radio

“Step Up” facilitators Keith Williams and Sara Burke; photo by Nancy Fowler/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis–area dance community is seeking to respond with movement to issues unearthed by Michael Brown’s death, St. Louis Public Radio said.

More than two dozen dancers, musicians, and related professionals responded to a call by studio owner Sara Burke and dancer/instructor/choreographer Keith Williams to begin a “Step Up” project around the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Are we willing to step up and be a voice for change?” Williams asked the group gathered in Sara Burke’s City Studio Dance Center.

Williams and Burke are Katherine Dunham–trained dancers. Dunham, a legendary Illinois-born dancer and social activist, took many stands, including refusing to perform in the heavily segregated city of Louisville in the mid-1940s. “That was way before Rosa Parks,” Williams said. “Katherine Dunham was a community engagement artist before it was popular.”

Ideas around a response varied widely, from a collaborative dance performance to a food bank to a social-media response similar to the “ice bucket challenge.”

Malena Amusa told the gathering how she and others from her African dance school began performing in a protest line in Ferguson, significantly altering the mood of that gathering. “You could see angst turn to joy,” Amusa said. “That’s what artists do. We add life. We turn up the volume of what’s already happening.”

The group plans a second meeting at City Studio September 18 at 8:15pm to discuss short- and long-term goals. To read more, visit http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/stl-dancers-putting-their-spin-ferguson-and-michael-brown-s-death.

 

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Miami City Ballet Looking For Young Dancers to Join Nutcracker Cast

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Miami City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker; photo courtesy Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker; photo courtesy Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet will hold auditions this September for area children who would like to dance in this season’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

The production will feature a cast of more than 100, with many of the roles performed by children. Performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker will be held at Artis–Naples on December 6 and 7, at the Kravis Center December 27 to 30.

Auditions for dancers from Naples and the surrounding area will be held September 14 at Artis–Naples, 5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Naples. Auditions for Palm Beach County–area children will be held September 28 at Ballet East, 2365 Vista Parkway, Suite 7, West Palm Beach.

At both locations, MCB children’s ballet masters will audition prospective dancers ages 8 and up with previous ballet training beginning at 11:30am.

Naples rehearsals will be held daily from September 15 to 21, followed by weekly rehearsals beginning September 22 at Naples Academy of Ballet. Palm Beach County rehearsals will take place weekly on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons beginning October 7 at Ballet East.

For more information, visit http://www.miamicityballet.org/news.php.

 

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Classic Musical-Theater Routines Come Alive Again at the Joyce Theater

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ADM21 presents Charles Askegard and Sarah Weber-Gallo in “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” choreographed by Hermes Pan; photo Christopher Duggan

ADM21 presents Charles Askegard and Sarah Weber-Gallo in “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” choreographed by Hermes Pan; photo Christopher Duggan

American Dance Machine for the 21st Century, an organization dedicated to the preservation of dance masterpieces from American musical-theater history, will give its first public performances November 11 to 16 at The Joyce Theater in New York City.

The event will feature eight performances of musical-theater dance numbers by Rob Ashford, Michael Bennett, Patricia Birch, Andy Blankenbuehler, Gower Champion, Jack Cole, Henry LeTang, Jerry Mitchell, Jerome Robbins, Susan Stroman, and others.

Each dance will be performed by a company of dancers and guest performers from the musical theater, ballet, and contemporary dance worlds, featuring live music.

ADM21 has worked with artists including Susan Stroman, Donna McKechnie, Robert La Fosse, Marge Champion, Nicole Fosse, and Kathryn Doby to reconstruct the original choreography of Michael Bennett’s “Music and the Mirror” from A Chorus Line, Jerome Robbins’ “Mr. Monotony” from Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Susan Stroman’s “Simply Irresistible” from Contact, Bob Fosse’s “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar” from Big Deal, and Bennett’s “Turkey Lurkey Time” from Promises, Promises.

The organization is run by Nikki Feirt Atkins, founder and artistic producer, and Margo Sappington, artistic director. Visit www.adm21.org for more information.

 

 

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Choreographer’s Sondheim-Inspired Dances Now Available on App

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Dancing Sondheim; photo courtesy Facebook

Dancing Sondheim;
photo courtesy Facebook

Dancing Sondheim, a free app of seven short dance movies by choreographer Richard Daniels using the music of Stephen Sondheim, is available as of September 1.

Playbill.com said Dancing Sondheim is the fourth installment from Dances for an iPhone, which uses technology as a medium to transmit modern dance to the general public. To date, the free apps have been downloaded 15,000 times in more than 100 countries.

Selections from Sondheim’s celebrated works Sunday in the Park With George, A Little Night Music, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, and Pacific Overtures will be set to various recordings by artists including Cleo Laine, Maria Friedman, Macy Robison, Patrick Mason, and David Starobin.

The roster of performing dancers includes Janis Brenner, Carmen de Lavallade, Deborah Jowitt, Robert La Fosse, Brian McGinnis, Rebecca Rigert, Risa Steinberg, Jodie Toogood, Melissa Toogood, and Megan Williams.

Six of the selections were choreographed by Richard Daniels, with the seventh—“Pacific Passages,” danced to an instrumental movement from Pacific Overtures—choreographed by Christopher Caines, the first choreographer invited to collaborate with Daniels. Janis Brenner assisted with choreography of her “No One Is Alone” dance from Into the Woods.

The New York Times said the second and third volumes of Dances for an iPhone remain available as well. The first two are eclectic musical programs, with baroque and contemporary works as well as theater music and jazz. The third volume is devoted to works by Alexander Scriabin. Daniels said through a spokesman that Android versions of the apps would be available soon.

For more information, visit www.DancesforaniPhone.com. To see the original story, visit http://www.playbill.com/news/article/music-of-sondheim-will-be-featured-in-dances-for-an-iphone-app.

 

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Colorado Ballet Moves Into $6.5 Million New Home in Denver’s Art District

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Colorado Ballet dancers Maria Mosina and Domenico Luciano; photo by Sue Daniels Photography

Colorado Ballet dancers Maria Mosina and Domenico Luciano; photo by Sue Daniels Photography

Colorado Ballet has completed the move into its new home, a 30,000-square foot building at the north end of Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe Drive, reported Broadway World.

The new $6.5 million facility features seven state-of-the-art dance studios for the company and the Colorado Ballet Academy. The Armstrong Theater, a multi-use black box theater equipped with theatrical lighting, sound, and telescoping seats, will function as both a dance studio and performance space. Improved amenities for the company include locker rooms, showers, and a physical therapy room. The new academy location also includes a safe student drop-off area and increased parking in the neighborhood for academy families.

Colorado Ballet artistic director Gil Boggs said the new facility will allow the ballet to grow its outreach efforts and bring dance to thousands of school kids and people with disabilities. “We will also host small performances and events in our new theater, exposing more people to the magic of dance in this thriving arts neighborhood,” he said.

“This is the first time in our nearly 54-year history that we will own our building, and that is very exciting for everyone involved with Colorado Ballet,” said Boggs. “We have so much to celebrate in our organization, not just the new building, but also last season’s record-breaking attendance and performance revenue and our upcoming season of performances.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/Colorado-Ballet-Moves-into-Denvers-Art-District-20140828#.VACLxM90yUk.

 

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TWB’s Annual Open House Gives Guests a Sneak Peek at Upcoming Season

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TWB’s Sleepy Hollow; photo by Dean Alexander

TWB’s Sleepy Hollow;
photo by Dean Alexander

Guests will have an opportunity to view exclusive excerpts from The Washington Ballet’s upcoming productions of ALICE (in wonderland), Swan Lake, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia at its annual open house, September 21 from 2 to 5pm, at the ballet’s northwest DC location, 3515 Wisconsin Avenue.

Open house visitors can watch rehearsals and class demonstrations from The Washington School of Ballet, enjoy refreshments, and participate in family-friendly events and activities. Artistic director Septime Webre will talk about his process of creating full-length ballets, such as this upcoming season’s world premiere of Sleepy Hollow, in a Q&A.

The Washington School of Ballet will showcase class demonstrations with programs performed by students of the company’s northwest and southeast (TWB@THEARC) DC campuses. Representatives from the school will be on hand to answer questions about registration for the school and its classes conducted for children and adults at the southeast and northwest DC campuses.

Ongoing events during the day include makeup demonstrations, interactive kid-friendly “Make-A-Ballet” workshops, a costume try-on station, a “The Perfect Hair Bun” station, and pictures with professional dancers.

The event is free and open to the community. For more information, visit http://www.washingtonballet.org/_pdf/Press%20Releases%202014/The%20Washington%20Ballet%20Open%20House%20FINAL.pdf.

 

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Staffing Ranks Swept Clean at Pennsylvania Ballet; Many Long-Time Leaders Gone

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Jeffrey Gribler accepts accolades after a Pennsylvania Ballet performance; photo by Peter Tobia

Jeffrey Gribler accepts accolades after a Pennsylvania Ballet performance; photo by Peter Tobia

With a single swing of the ax, the new leadership of Pennsylvania Ballet has cleared out the longtime artistic pillars of the company, reported Philly.com.

Jeffrey Gribler is gone. The energetic personification of the company, who arrived in 1975 as an apprentice and quickly worked his way through the corps to become principal dancer and ballet master, was let go after nearly four decades. Tamara Hadley, who joined the same year and was much loved as principal dancer in the major classical roles, has been dismissed as ballet mistress. Also fired were William DeGregory, a star dancer before becoming director of the ballet school and Pennsylvania Ballet II, and former dancer Michael Sheridan, assistant to the artistic director and the cofounder of the annual AIDS fund-raiser Shut Up & Dance.

The dismissals—carried out Monday and not announced publicly by the company—come as Pennsylvania Ballet continues to remake itself after commissioning a report from arts consultant Michael M. Kaiser that, in the words of one ballet leader, aimed to bring the company “back to the top ranks of American ballet companies.”

In quick order after Kaiser’s evaluation a year ago, both artistic chief Roy Kaiser (not related to Michael Kaiser) and executive director Michael Scolamiero left, and by this July the company had appointed Spanish dancer Angel Corella as its new artistic director.

Asked Wednesday about the reasons for the dismissals, Corella said in an interview at the company’s headquarters: “I’m sure the people were great, but it was about the team you feel comfortable with. Energy is important in an arts organization. If you are comfortable, everything will fall into place.”

Julie Diana, who retired in April as principal dancer, has been appointed ballet mistress, and her husband, principal dancer Zachary Hench, the new ballet master. Corella said that he had known Hench and Diana for about seven or eight years before coming to Philadelphia, since bringing them to Spain to dance with his former company there.

The ballet also let go its marketing director, a member of the development staff, and the administrator of the ballet school. The school’s director will now be retired dancer Arantxa Ochoa, its former principal instructor, whom Corella said he had known from childhood when she was his sister’s best friend.

Ochoa was also a member of the search committee that named Corella artistic director.

To read the full story, visit http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140828_Pennsylvania_Ballet_
fires_longtime_artistic_leaders__administrators.html
.

 

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Modern dancers, Audiences, Form Connection Through First Annual DanceFest Vermont!

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Hanna Slatterlee’s Animal; photo courtesy Seven Days

Hanna Slatterlee’s Animal;
photo courtesy Seven Days

Ten Vermont choreographers will present works during the first annual DanceFest Vermont!, a showcase and celebration of modern dance, set for September 5 and 6 in venues in Barre and Stowe.

The festival’s artistic director, Erika Lawlor Schmidt, is a lifelong dancer and a professional teacher and choreographer who spent most of her adult life in central Florida. She moved with her husband, composer Gary Schmidt, to Pawlet on a whim in 2007. The creative couple set up private studios on their property, but Schmidt found herself frequently driving an hour or so in search of other dancers.

Schmidt expects the event will encourage dancers and choreographers to connect both with one another and with audience members. Over time, organizers hope to expand the festival into a multiple-weekend event in locations around the state. The aim is twofold: to grow a local modern dance audience throughout Vermont, and to give “some well-deserved visibility to these dancers and the genre,” Dan Casey, executive director of the Barre Opera House, says.

The program for September 5 at the Barre Opera House features solos, duos, and trios by choreographers Schmidt, Paul Besaw, Patty Smith, and Toby MacNutt, along with an improvisational movement-inspired dance by Willow Wonder.

Ensemble work will be featured September 6 at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe. Dances will be presented by choreographers Hanna Satterlee, Heather Bryce, Pauline Jennings, Lida Winfield and Ellen Ahern-Smith, and Paul Besaw.

To read more, visit http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/local-dancers-take-the-stage-in-inaugural-dancefest-vermont/Content?oid=2425845.

 

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Anti-Bullying is Theme of National Dance Weeks’ Kick for Kindness Campaign

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National Dance Week Foundation; image courtesy NDWF

National Dance Week Foundation; image courtesy NDWF

The National Dance Week Foundation is urging dance studios, dance teams, and dance troupe to join its anti-bullying Kick for Kindness Campaign, which will be celebrated this October and November.

Suggested activities include:
• Choreograph and film or perform a special dance, or learn one of three dances (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) that will be posted on the NDWF website in September.
• Sell NDWF Kick for Kindness red bracelets as fundraisers in support of anti-bullying.
• Create Kick for Kindness anti-bullying posters.
• Dedicate a half-time show or pep rally to Kick for Kindness.

Videos or photos of performances sent to NDWF will be posted on the NDWF website. Online voting for “favorite video” will be held the first two weeks in December.

NDWF will also award Special Service Awards to one individual and one group for their community efforts to eliminate bullying based on a submitted essay and photos. Awards will be given out during American Dance/Drill Team Nationals in March.

For more information, visit http://www.nationaldanceweek.org/kickline/2014/files/NDWF-KickforKindness.pdf.

 

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Studio Owner Battling Cancer Inspires Young Girls with Positive Attitude and Joy

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Lori Fain; photo by Ed Keller

Lori Fain; photo by Ed Keller

Hanging near the front door of Miss Lori’s Dance Express in Temperance, Michigan, is a message in pink crayon, written in a young girl’s cursive handwriting: “When cancer is cured, we will dance for joy. For now, we dance for life.”

With her family, friends, and dancers by her side, that’s exactly what Lori Fain is doing.

The Monroe News reported that “Miss Lori” is battling breast cancer for the second time in six years, and this time, it’s moved into her lungs.

But Fain isn’t letting cancer stop her. She has life to live, life to plan, people to see, and much more dancing to do, she said. More important, she’s hoping to lead by example and show the young women who look up to her that cancer doesn’t have to take everything away. It doesn’t get to win.

“I know cancer all too well,” Fain said. “But I want the kids to know that just because you have this disease, it doesn’t have to control your life—you can take charge of it.”

Fain’s battles with cancer began when her oldest son, Jacob, was diagnosed when he was just 2. After treatment, Jacob was cancer-free for 10 years before the disease returned. He died, at age 14, in 2005. Not long after, when she lost a second son only 14 hours after he was born, her husband suggested she follow her dream and open a dance studio.

Fain’s dance studio is well known around Bedford Township as a place where girls are taught to love themselves and be respectful of others. “The trophies are all beautiful, but I want the girls to know that what’s more important is the person they are becoming,” she said. “They need to be kind to one another and be there for each other, support each other, because to me that’s what it’s all about.”

To see the full story, visit http://www.monroenews.com/news/2014/aug/26/bedford-dance-teacher-perserveres-she-battles-canc/.

 

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Dancer’s Devotion to LGBT and Anti-Bullying Leads to Documentary Film

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Filming Same Difference; photo courtesy Same Difference Film

Filming Same Difference;
photo courtesy Same Difference Film

Dancer Joshua Sweeny’s life-altering project—to create the documentary, Same Difference, about LGBT youth—started out in 2009 as a response to a CNN clip of crying mother of a 13-year-old boy in Texas who had committed suicide after being bullied for being openly gay.

As he watched the clip, Sweeny flashed back to himself at 15, wanting to come out to his brothers. “I could tell my brothers and the people around me . . . [the] simple . . . three words: ‘I am gay,’ ” Sweeney, a graduate film student, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Or I could jump off of this five-story building. Those were my two thoughts.”

“I had spent a decade of my life training to become a professional dancer and right then and there I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to hopefully keep some other young person from experiencing that,” he said.

Same Difference follows the true stories of Graeme Taylor (who grows up in a supportive environment) and Justin Aaberg, a LGTB youth who is bullied at school and was one of nine young people in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota to commit suicide between 2009 and 2011. The film also integrates interviews with professionals such as Dorothy Espelage and Antoine Douaihy, who study anti-bullying and gender issues in adolescents.

Most of the film was made out-of-pocket, and production has stuck to a low budget. Now in postproduction, the film will be ready to enter into several film festivals in January, Sweeney predicts.

“It’s been intense,” Sweeny said. “This has been the most difficult, challenging experience of my life, and I also think it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.post-gazette.com/life/lifestyle/2014/08/27/Childhood-memories-made-dancer-turned-filmmaker-change-his-routine/stories/201408270004#ixzz3BbNjGQT5.

 

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Wall Explains How SYTYCD Career Began With Determination and an Apology

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Travis Wall; photo courtesy Co.Create

Travis Wall; photo courtesy Co.Create

Toddlers tend not to be the most dedicated dance students, but Travis Wall, who started taking classes at his mom Denise Wall’s Virginia Beach dance studio as soon as he could walk, was an exception. “I would behave in class. Sometimes you put a 2-year-old in a class, and they’re screaming and kicking. I was so focused and ready to go. I wanted to learn so much,” Wall tells Co.Create.

Wall studied everything in his mom’s studio, from contemporary to lyrical to jazz, and secured a role in The Music Man on Broadway when he was just 12. By 15, Wall was choreographing for dance competitions. At 18, he was runner-up on So You Think You Can Dance, and since then, has used the exposure he gained on the show to launch a career as a choreographer, dancer, company director, and celebrity.

Wall told Co.Create he confidently auditioned for SYTYCD in Los Angeles, and was surprised to be cut by a producer charged with selecting the dancers who would audition in front of the judging panel. Determined, Wall flew to Charleston, South Carolina, for another round of auditions. This time, audition supervisor Bonnie Lythgoe sent him to audition in front of her husband, Nigel Lythgoe, and the other judges.

According to Wall, both Lythgoes were perplexed that the dancer didn’t make it through the cattle call in LA, and Nigel asked who had cut him. Wall pointed to the producer, Jeff Thacker, who acknowledged his error, wrote the word “Words” on a piece of paper, and ate it. “He pretty much ate his words,” says Wall, adding that Thacker is like a father figure to him now.

To read the full interview, visit http://www.fastcocreate.com/3034678/then-and-now/getting-up-stepping-up-how-travis-wall-went-from-dancer-to-choreographer.

 

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Championship Dance Team Loses Coach Due to Incident at Team-Building Event

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Cannon Falls Bomber Dance Team; photo courtesy KMSP-TV Fox 9 News

Cannon Falls Bomber Dance Team;
photo courtesy KMSP-TV Fox 9 News

After football, the dance team is the biggest program at Cannon Falls [MN] High School. But an apparent prank gone wrong at an all-night team-building event has the team reeling because their coach is now out of a job.

KMSP-TV Fox 9.com said Monday night’s school committee decision to relieve Madi Salisbury of her coaching duties sent shockwaves through the Cannon Fall Bomber Dance Team (HVL Conference Kick Champions 2008-2013).

In the incident, a staff member brought cap guns into the darkened high school building where the dance team was spending the night. Fox 9 News was told it was something of a gag, perhaps to scare the girls; however, at least a few of the younger team members were terrified. Some have sought counseling, and the superintendent made it clear the district’s policy is black and white on the issue.

“Zero tolerance is zero tolerance,” school superintendent Beth Giese said. “Cannon Falls schools take security very seriously—the safety of our students. We really found this incident was in violation of our hazing and weapons policy.”

Salisbury will have 15 days to appeal the decision, and it’s clear that her dancers hope she will, even though the search for her replacement will begin immediately. One told Fox 9 News that Salisbury was not the staffer who brought the cap gun in. In fact, the dancer said, Salisbury immediately turned on the lights and had the cap gun put away once she learned about it. The person who is believed to have brought in the cap gun has already been let go.

“We, as a team, know it is not a situation to be taken lightly,” Maddie Moskal told Fox 9 News. “We understand the difficult situation we are all in, and are sensitive to the subject of school violence. We also know acknowledging mistakes and learning from them—and being given second chances should not be taken for granted.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/26367450/cap-gun-prank-costs-cannon-falls-dance-coach-her-job.

 

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Broadway Choreographer Writes Guide to “Making It” in Show Business

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The Business of Show: A Guide to the Entertainment Business for the Performing Artist; image courtesy Adam Cates

The Business of Show: A Guide to the Entertainment Business for the Performing Artist;
image courtesy Adam Cates

Director, choreographer, and performer Adam Cates [featured in Dance Studio Life’s May/June competition judge article, “Straight Talk”] has released a book written especially for performers ages 16 to 25 who aspire toward professional careers as dancers, actors, and singers.

The Business of Show: A Guide to the Entertainment Business for the Performing Artist focuses on the essential business skills required of performers in today’s industry. More than 90 successful and seasoned actors, singers, dancers, directors, choreographers, artistic directors, producers, agents, and casting directors contribute insightful facts, advice, and stories on topics including marketing and networking; understudies, unions, and agents; “type,” strategy, and auditions; finding where the work is and dealing with rejection; rehearsal protocol and professional conduct; and much more.

Cates, the assistant choreographer for the Tony-winning Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, has worked as a director, choreographer, and/or performer on and off-Broadway and in national tours, on television, in regional productions, and at Lincoln Center. He has assisted Broadway choreographers Kathleen Marshall and Tommy Tune, and served as guest choreographer, master teacher, and guest lecturer at higher education institutions such as The Juilliard School, Texas State University, and Ithaca College; as well as industry organizations such as Broadway Artists Alliance, Dance Masters of America, Dancers Inc., and the World Dance Challenge.

The Business of Show is available for purchase at bookstores and online retailers in paperback ($19.95) and eBook ($9.99) editions. For more information, visit www.businessofshow.info.

 

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Gina Gibney Renovates Former DNA Space with Needs of Dancers in Mind

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Gibney Dance; photo courtesy DNAInfo New York

Gibney Dance; photo courtesy DNAInfo New York

A dance organization that opened a center in Tribeca, New York City, earlier this year is set to launch even more programs and classes there this fall, after completing two floors of new high-tech arts spaces.

DNAInfo New York said Gibney Dance is in the midst of renovating its 32,000-square-foot home at 280 Broadway near Chambers Street—which formerly housed Dance New Amsterdam—in the hopes of building a modern, affordable creative hub for Lower Manhattan’s dancers, said Gina Gibney, the studio’s owner.

Gibney’s dance organization, which also has a studio at 890 Broadway in Flatiron, expanded to Tribeca in February and has already been offering dance and yoga classes from a handful of rooms on the two-level space’s second floor.

Renovations that are now underway will add a ground-floor performance and rehearsal studio equipped with projector screens and high-tech cameras, which dancers can use to record their work. They will also be able to edit what they record in a new digital working room. Both those spaces are set to open on October 30, Gibney said.

The performance studio will have windows facing Chambers Street so that passersby can watch dancers as they rehearse and perform, she added. Also under construction is a large studio and performance space on the second floor, which is expected to open on September 3.

The renovations are partially funded by $600,000 from the city, including $96,000 from Councilwoman Margaret Chin. Gibney hopes to raise a total of $10 million and has secured $3 million in private donations so far.

The new spaces will allow Gibney Dance to offer more programs starting in October, including workshops on money management and brand building for dancers. To read the full story, visit

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140821/tribeca/dance-company-builds-high-tech-studios-performance-space-tribeca.

 

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