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Posts Tagged ‘dance’

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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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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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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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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Family’s Housecleaning Leads to Discovery of Never-Before-Seen Martha Graham Images

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Martha Graham in a photo by Robert Fraser; photo courtesy Hardesty Arts Center

Martha Graham in a photo by Robert Fraser;
photo courtesy Hardesty Arts Center

“Martha Graham: December 19, 1937,” an exhibit of about 30 of the 170 individual photographic images Robert Fraser made during a Martha Graham Dance Company performance at New York City’s Guild Theater on December 19, 1937, will run this Thursday through September 20 at the Hardesty Arts Center, 101 E. Archer Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma. The exhibit is free.

Tulsa World said the exhibit is a unique look at Graham and her company at its most revolutionary, when Graham was beginning to revolutionize the form with highly personal dance works that spoke to present-day events—the rise of fascism in Chronicle, the horrors of the Spanish Civil War in Deep Song.

Douglas Fraser, an instructor at Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering, said that although many of the images in the collection have not been shown publicly, he knows that his father printed at least some of them.

“In a letter he wrote to his parents, he mentioned that he had shown these pictures to Martha Graham and that she was impressed,” Fraser said. “She thought that they were some of the best images she had seen of the company in performance, and that Dad had a ‘wonderful sense of the dramatic.’ ”

Fraser said the family rediscovered the rolls of film while cleaning out the family home. He approached a Dartmouth colleague who teaches modern dance and had been a student of Martha Graham’s to ask if she knew of some place that would appreciate having the images.

Fraser said the original negatives were “in pretty rough condition” after years of neglect, with dust particles, fingerprints, and scratches. “When the Martha Graham Company indicated how significant these pictures were, I started work on restoring them as best I could,” said Fraser, who added that the family has donated the images to the Martha Graham dance archives.

For more information, visit http://ahhatulsa.org/exhibitions/marthagraham/.  To see the original story, visit http://www.tulsaworld.com/scene/artsandentertainment/rare-photos-of-dance-pioneer-martha-graham-to-debut-in/article_14dcfce9-493a-5e60-9f7f-dec5faf22b54.html.

 

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Studio Owner’s Desire for a Place to Dance Results in Second Detroit Dance City Festival

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Joori Jung; photo by Scott Lipiec

Joori Jung; photo by Scott Lipiec

The second annual Detroit Dance City Festival, set for August 22 to 24, brings together local and out-of-state dancers, both professionals and students, in a celebration of all things dance, with more than 20 all-day workshops, classes, and afternoon and evening performances in downtown Detroit.

“I love Detroit,” says Joori Jung, festival founder and artistic director of ArtLab J, told the Detroit News. “But there is still a bad perception about it. Detroit has so much potential and opportunity, but people don’t know it. So my goal is to bring more people to Detroit through dance and change their mindset.”

Jung, a native of Seoul, South Korea, moved to Detroit from New York two years ago to open a dance studio. She initially wanted to create a space for herself and local artists to workshop and showcase their completed or works in progress. What started as a bi-monthly showcase at her Eastern Market ArtLab J studio expanded into the first Detroit Dance City Festival. More than 1,000 participants attended last year, coming from as far away as New York.

DDCF’s 23 faculty members, who are all donating their time, include Jung and such local professionals as former Radio City Rockette Denise Caston and Tracy Pearson, a 2014 Kresge Fellow and dance instructor at Marygrove College in Detroit.

Professionals coming from out of state include Carolyn Dorfman of Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company from New York, and ballet dancer Sheena Annalise, founder of the all-female Arch Contemporary Ballet, also from New York.

The festival will run Friday through Sunday with workshops from 9:30am to 5pm at the Detroit Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and The Carr Center, with performances at the YMCA Boll Theater and 1515 Broadway. Free dance classes and performances will also be held outdoors at Paradise Valley/Harmonie Park, all three days, from 11am to 5:30pm, followed by community after-parties from 9 to 11pm.

For more information, call 313.683.2192 or visit www.detroitdancecityfestival.com.

To see the original story, visit http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140821/ENT01/308210010/Detroit-Dance-City-Festival-brings-students-pros-together.

 

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Taylor Swift a ‘Heroine Triumphing through Klutziness’ in Dance Video

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Taylor Swift in her video, “Shake It Off”; photo courtesy ABC News

Taylor Swift in her video, “Shake It Off”; photo courtesy ABC News

The controversial music video of the moment is Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” which was released on Monday. As New York Times’ ArtsBeat dance critic Brian Seibert writes, the controversy seems mainly to be about three things: 1) Swift’s move to pop material (a sign, for certain fans, of selling out); 2) her dancing; and 3) the supposed racism in a section on twerking. (On Twitter, the rapper Earl Sweatshirt, after admitting that he hadn’t actually watched the video, rather quickly accused Swift of “perpetuating black stereotypes.”)

“Shake It Off” is not really a dance video. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is a dance video in the current pop sense—a video that treats dance less as an art in itself than as a cultural signifier. The concept of the video is to put Swift in the position of a pop star or R&B diva or rapper, fronting backup dancers. The scenarios cycle through genres: ballerinas in Swan Lake costumes; a crew of b-boys; emotive contemporary dancers in spandex; a cheerleading squad; Lady Gaga futurists in shiny tracksuits; and yes, a line of ladies jiggling the contents of their cut-off denim shorts.

The joke in each case is that Swift doesn’t fit in. Only in the final section does she belong: a zone where “normal people” (including fans of Swift chosen over social media) just do their own thing and shake off outside expectations.

The punchlines—as Seibert writes, he was happy to see—are mostly dance jokes. The way Swift trips over the crossed legs of the ballerinas and topples while trying to bow deeply in toe shoes is not highly clever or knowing, but it’s funny. And the frightened and confused look that she gives the overwrought contemporary dancers earns a dance critic’s immediate empathy. Swift in “Shake It Off” is like Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett, a heroine triumphing through klutziness.

To read the full critique and see the video, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/taylor-swifts-shake-it-off-video-a-dance-critics-take/?ref=dance.

 

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Hubbard Street 2 Announces Winners of Choreographic Competition

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Hubbard Street 2; photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography, courtesy Bizbash

Hubbard Street 2; photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography, courtesy Bizbash

Hubbard Street Dance 2 named Victor Alexander, Bryan Arias, and Ihsan Rustem winners of the organization’s 15th annual National Choreographic Competition, renamed the International Commissioning Project. The three choreographers will be creating new dance works in International Commissioning Project–supported residencies in fall 2014 at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago and at Indiana University Bloomington’s IU Contemporary Dance department.

As part of its mission to identify and nurture young choreographers, the program provides residencies to choreographers, offering them the opportunity to create original works for HS2’s dancers and to conduct master classes. Past winners include Robert Battle, Aszure Barton, Camilie Brown, and Jessica Lang.

2014 winner Victor Alexander, formerly a principal dancer with Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, has performed with several U.S. companies, including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2012, he was selected by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum as one of four choreographers in CDF’s yearlong Lab Artist Program for creative development. He currently serves as director of the Ruth Page School of Dance and co-director of the Ruth Page Civic Ballet.

Bryan Arias, a native of Puerto Rico, danced with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and Kidd Pivot. Arias won awards for his choreography at the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition and New York City’s Dance Gallery Festival. He has choreographed for dancers at The Juilliard School, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, and for NDT’s annual choreographic workshop and charity benefit.

London-born Ihsan Rustem has performed with many international companies, including Matthew Bourne’s Adventures in Motion Pictures, Ballet Theater Munich, and Lucerne Dance Theater. He has choreographed for numerous organizations including Northwest Dance Project, Lucerne Dance Theater, and BYU Contemporary Dance Theater, and was named winner of the Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest in 2011 for his work State of Matter.

All three new works by the selected choreographers, alongside recent IC Project premieres, will be presented at IC Project’s 15th anniversary celebration, December 16 at 5:30pm at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance as part of the Harris Theater’s series “Eat to the Beat.”

Subscriptions to the six unique “Eat to the Beat” programs, October 2014 through May 2015, are available beginning August 25 for $25, at http://harristheaterchicago.org, or by calling 312.334.7777. Single tickets to “Eat to the Beat” programs will be available at a later date.

 

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Royal Ballet of Flanders Parts Ways with Artistic Director

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Assis Carrerio; photo by Katrijn Van Giel/De Standaard

Assis Carrerio; photo by Katrijn Van Giel/De Standaard

According to Flanders Today, the Royal Ballet of Flanders has ended its contract with artistic director Assis Carreiro, the organization announced last week. In a short statement, the now merged ballet and opera said performances would continue as programmed.

“We have all it takes to continue on our path to represent classical ballet in all its forms and possibilities in Flanders and abroad,” said general manager Lena De Meerleer.

Hired in 2012, Carreiro was a controversial choice for the role of artistic director. She had little dance experience, unions complained, and mainly worked in coordinating roles. “She let it be known that she will not be attending rehearsals or auditions herself, but will bring in assistants and consultants to support her in those activities,” Servais Le Compte of union ACV-Transcom Cultuur told De Standaard in 2012. “But judging dancers is by far one of the most important jobs of an artistic director.”

Over the last two years, the company has toured far less, giving dancers fewer opportunities to perform, and the level of physical conditioning decreased, with injuries suffered routinely by dancers taking longer to heal. A dossier was put together containing “dozens” of complaints to be submitted to the committee charged with accident prevention and protection in the workplace.

Dancers wrote a letter to the organization’s board late last year citing that 69% of them had voted no confidence in the artistic director. Eventually, one-third of the company left—15 dancers out of 45, including some of the more prominent names. The ballet will name a successor as quickly as possible, the statement said.

To see the original story, visit http://www.flanderstoday.eu/art/royal-ballet-flanders-parts-company-assis-carreiro.

 

 

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Virginia Company Director to Represent U.S. at International Festival in Germany

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Lucy Bowen McCauley; photo courtesy BMD

Lucy Bowen McCauley;
photo courtesy BMD

Lucy Bowen McCauley, artistic director of Virginia’s Bowen McCauley Dance (BMD), will serve on an American delegation of dance artists and administrators at the international dance festival Internationale Tanzmesse, August 27 to 30, in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The Internationale Tanzmesse will bring together more than 400 dance companies from around the world. McCauley will travel as part of American Dance Abroad, an organization that helps American choreographers and companies build international relationships by connecting them with dance professionals around the world.

The Internationale Tanzmesse is a biennial marketplace and festival platform for communicating and networking in the field of contemporary dance. At the Tanzmesse, international dance companies and artists present their work live on stage; and choreographers, dancers, agencies, presenters, and cultural institutions network and present their work in a lively marketplace.

For more information, visit http://www.bmdc.org/about.

 

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Flagstaff Dance Company Inaugurates Program for Parkinson’s Patients

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Gordon Holt in Canyon Movement Dance Company class; photo by Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun

Gordon Holt in Canyon Movement Dance Company class; photo by Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun

Since July 7, Canyon Movement Dance Company has been teaching members of the Flagstaff Parkinson’s Support Group and their caregivers about basic movement principles, reports the Arizona Daily Sun. Armed with professional training from the original New York City Dance for Parkinson’s Disease group, they borrow elements of jazz, modern and interpretive dance in step with classical and rock and roll tunes.

Dancer and Canyon Movement Director Gina Darlington saw her father suffer through the later stages of Parkinson’s. She said it was hard to watch when his medication wore off exposing the full scope of his symptoms. He died eight years ago.

Darlington attended a conference where she learned about Dance for PD, led by David Leventhal and the Mark Morris Dance Group with the Brooklyn Parkinson’s Group. The Arizona Arts Commission funded a trip for Darlington and three instructors to attend Leventhal’s sessions and come home with a pilot program.

Studies show dance to be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s Disease, and Canyon Movement Dance Company’s Dance for Parkinson’s class has proved popular. “We’ve got six people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers that come regularly. I feel like we’re a huge success.”

In July, the city of Flagstaff provided additional funding to continue the program. The class is held at the Flagstaff Aerial Arts Studio, 401 W. Santa Fe Avenue, # 2, Mondays from 10:30 to 11:30am. People living with Parkinson’s, caregivers, and friends are all welcome to attend. This class session ends August 25, with another eight-week session starting September 8.

For more information, visit www.canyonmovementcompany.org.

To see the original story, visit http://azdailysun.com/lifestyles/life-in-motion-new-dance-class-helps-patients-with-parkinson/article_5d214af0-1f5a-11e4-8990-0019bb2963f4.html.

 

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Exit12 Dance Company to Raise Awareness of Erbil, Iraq, at NYC’s Summer Streets

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Exit12 in Homecoming; photo by Jud Schultz

Exit12 in Homecoming; photo by Jud Schultz

Exit12 Dance Company, a contemporary dance company founded by United States Marine Corps Sergeant Roman Baca after returning from service in Iraq, will perform in New York City’s annual Summer Streets festival, reports Broadway World.

The company, based in Manhattan, will be joined by student dancers from Ballet Theatre Company of West Hartford, Connecticut, in a performance at Foley Square, Saturday, August 16 at 10:30am.

In April of 2012, Baca returned to Iraq as a civilian artist and ran a Dancing to Connect program with young men and women from Kirkuk and Erbil, supported by a grant from the U.S. Embassy Baghdad and supported on the ground by local partners. Jonathan Hollander of Battery Dance Company organized this program with Emad Salem supported by a fellowship from The Mission Continues.

“The experience has left deep impressions for all of us and we are doing everything possible to establish solidarity with our Dancing to Connect participants in Erbil and elsewhere in the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq against the monstrous forces of the so-called Islamic State or ISIS,” said Hollander from his studios in NYC.

“The performance provides a window into the struggles of the populations of Northern Iraq who live in constant danger, invoking familiarity and empathy with the audience,” Baca added.

Exit12 will perform Conflict(ed), a work that suggests a common underlying humanity. Exit12 will be joined by BTC students for Yarjuun, (Kurdish for “hope”) a piece that originated in Iraq with Baca’s students in 2012.

All Summer Streets activities are free of charge and are accessible to people of all ages and ability levels.

To see the full story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/Exit12-Dance-Company-to-Raise-Awareness-of-Erbil-Iraq-at-Summer-Streets-NYC-816-20140811#.U-kOR4DYOc8.

 

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Free Classes for All Ages Highlight of Kansas City Ballet’s Dance Day

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Kansas City Ballet’s Dance Day; photo courtesy Kansas City Ballet

Kansas City Ballet’s Dance Day;
photo courtesy Kansas City Ballet

Free dance performances, classes, and demonstrations will take center stage during Kansas City Ballet’s fourth annual KC Dance Day at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity on August 23 from 9am to 6:30pm.

Artistic director Devon Carney said about 2,000 area residents of all ages are expected to enjoy the day, which will include dance performances by local companies, plus an open rehearsal by Kansas City Ballet and the KCB second company and trainees, with a sneak peek of the ballet’s upcoming production of Alice (In Wonderland).

More than 20 dance and movement classes open to the public include creative movement and pre-ballet for ages 3 to 8, ballet for ages 8 to 11, and Zumba, Pilates mat, hip-hop, jazz, modern, ballet, tap, and yoga for ages 12 and up.

World dance classes appropriate for all ages will include Hawaiian, Irish step, Spanish, West African, Mexican, and Chinese.

Doors open at 8:30am, with classes running from 9:15 to 4:45pm. Registration for free classes is available online. For more information, visit www.kcballet.org.

To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/Kansas-City-Ballet-to-Present-Annual-KC-Dance-Day-823-Schedule-Announced-20140805#.U-JDCs90yUk.

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NDEO Fall Online History Course Involves Study of 32 Choreographers

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National Dance Education Organization is offering a three-unit online dance history education course this fall that covers 32 different choreographers working in modern, ballet, hip-hop, tap, and cultural forms from 1953 to today.

The course, offered through NDEO’s Online Professional Development Institute (OPDI), takes a thematic rather than chronological approach, allowing for close study of feeling, form, and historical context. Themes include: non-narrative dance, myth, gender, culturally specific explorations, music, and social and political commentary. Emphasis is on viewing numerous works rather than extensive readings and on finding fresh applications for a wide variety of teaching situations.

OPDI-106 Choreographic Explorations in Dance Since 1953 runs September 22 to December 14. Application and registration is open until September 12. Course tuition is $450. Students must be NDEO members or apply to OPDI by signing up for a NDEO individual membership (additional fees apply). Undergraduate credits (3) offered through the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

For more information on this and other OPDI courses, visit www.ndeo.org/opdifall2014.

 

 

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Washington State “Friday Night Lights” Event Raises Funds for Dance Therapy

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Lake Washington High School Dance team; photo courtesy Facebook

Lake Washington High School Dance team;
photo courtesy Facebook

Sixteen high school dance teams from Washington State will be dancing in support of the Andréa Rizzo Foundation’s nationwide fundraising effort, “Dance Across America,” through the third annual “Drea’s Dream: Friday Night Lights” event.

The event, hosted by the Lake Washington High School Dance team, will be held August 22 at 6pm at Lake Washington High School football field, located at 12033 NE 80th Street, Kirkland, Washington. A $5 minimum donation is required for admission.

“Dance Across America” is one of many fundraising efforts created by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to bringing dance therapy to children with cancer and special needs in pediatric hospitals, including Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, public schools, and Ronald McDonald houses across the country.

For more information, visit https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/
lakewashingtondance/FNL2014
.

 

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Wisconsin’s Dance Factory Participates in Cultural and Artistic Exchange

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Katelyn Duber; photo by Jennifer Du Puis

Katelyn Duber; photo by Jennifer Du Puis

When Tina Hansen visited the town of San Pedro in Belize more than 20 years ago, she saw a group of female dancers wearing teal dresses and ornate headpieces. When she looked closer she saw safety pins holding the handmade dresses together, shredded hems, and bare feet. The worn attire didn’t draw Hansen in. The girls’ beautiful, smiling faces and eloquent dance moves did.

According to the Gazette Xtra, after speaking with a Belizean dance teacher that night, Hansen decided to create an exchange program with her competitive dancers in Delavan, Wisconsin, and the San Pedro Dance Academy.

Over the last 16 years she has taken about 60 Dance Factory students to San Pedro and brought close to the same number of Belizeans to Delavan. Most recently, eight girls, ages 9 to 18—accompanied by two staff members, a parent, and Hansen—spent almost two weeks partaking in intensive dance classes and cultural exchange. The girls lived with a host family, danced with Belizean dancers, and performed all across the island.

Usually up to eight dancers come to the U.S. at a time, but this year visa troubles permitted only one Belizean dancer, Solani Graniel, 18, to come to the U.S. to dance and immerse herself in American culture.

“I don’t think people realize how life-changing [the exchange] is,” Hansen said. “It broadens the students’ horizons.

Katelyn Duber, 9, learned Belize is “a really different country in a beautiful way.”

Rylyn Donahue, 14, and Makena Ekman, 15, realized how different their opportunities are in the U.S., where college or training after high school is the cultural norm, rather than a cherished blessing, as it is in Belize. Performing at an orphanage and dancing with 65 Belizean participants reminded the two why they love dancing. “Sometimes you forget why you keep doing it, and you see them so happy,” Donahue said. “They inspired me to keep growing.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.gazettextra.com/20140809/dance_factory_dancers_participate_in_
exchange_program_with_belize_dance_company
.

 

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Ballet Training Takes to the Pool

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Madison Contemporary Vision Dance instructor Gisela Baldwin; photo by John Hart, courtesy Wisconsin State Journal

Madison Contemporary Vision Dance
instructor Gisela Baldwin; photo by John Hart,
courtesy Wisconsin State Journal

Walking into a ballet class, you expect certain things. Plenty of pliés and pirouettes, perhaps an instructor calling out moves or clapping in time with the music. What you don’t expect is the overwhelming smell of chlorine, says the Wisconsin State Journal.

At the Madison Contemporary Vision Dance summer intensive program in July, dancers took a break from their traditional ballet classes and worked on their technique in the pool. “It gives them a different perspective and helps them focus on what muscles they should be activating while they’re in certain moves to make them more graceful,” said instructor Allison Kenison.

Artistic director Sara Willcutt said her program is unique to their school. “There are some swim clubs that offer (what they call) water ballet classes, but that is more like synchronized swimming,” Willcutt said.

Willcutt developed the classes by chance during her pregnancy. “I was amazed by how I was able to move in the water,” Willcutt said. “I could really move, even though it was hard for me to dance at that point in my pregnancy. I thought it would be a great way to teach ballet movements.”

Kenison explained that resistance created by the water slows and controls the dancers’ movements, giving them more time to think about how they should position their arms, the degree to which they need arch their back, or if their toes are pointed. She said it also makes dancers more aware of the muscles they’re engaging in each move. “We’re trying to teach them to relate what they do in the water with what they do out of it,” Kenison said.

“If we slow it down like this, we can think more about the transitions in our movements, which helps us be better artists,” Kenison said. “It allows for more time to melt into the next move and smooth out the movement.”

To see the full story, visit http://host.madison.com/entertainment/arts_and_theatre/water-ballet-class-teaches-dancers-grace/article_67129489-7981-583b-8afd-0d0d094d2f5d.html.

 

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Google Glass Gives Choreographers New Tool

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Google Glass; photo courtesy Reuters

Google Glass; photo courtesy Reuters

Founder of the arts website Ballet to the People, Carla Escoda, reports in the Huffington Post that four dance artists have employed the much maligned Google Glass to create dance video that can, for the first time, integrate what the dancer sees into the work that she is performing. Google Glass can also send text and audio instructions to the dancer via the tiny prism display on her forehead; and can send her visual inspiration, or deliberately disrupt her concentration.

In June 2013, Google launched a competition on Twitter soliciting bids from people interested in beta-testing its latest foray into wearable high tech. The winners—known as Glass Explorers—ponied up $1,500 for the privilege of membership in a highly exclusive club of early adopters.

But many have expressed outrage over perceived invasion of privacy, and Google and other tech firms have become a symbol of corporate greed.

Google, in part to mitigate the negative response, recently bestowed grants on five non-profits who will use Glass in their community outreach, including Mark Morris Dance Group, which will incorporate the use of Glass in their work with Parkinson’s patients.

Amid the swirl of controversy surrounding Glass, Ballet to the People assembled four of the hottest young dance-makers in the San Francisco Bay Area to experiment with the technology.

At the heart of the groundbreaking experimental film, titled Capture, Milissa Payne Bradley pays sly homage to the iconic Russian classic Swan Lake, using Glass as a magical tool that transforms sea birds into young women trapped on the beach.

Dexandro “D” Montalvo collaborated with his dancer, Babatunji Johnson, to convey the experience of dance from the eyes of a dancer, and the evolution of breakdance from gestures that implicitly mark out a dancer’s social identity.

Lauren Benjamin worked in the movement style of House Dance, whose freedom, positive energy and playful spirit to her evokes the qualities that children naturally bring to their exploration of the world.

Robert Dekkers plays with the notion that we use technology to hide, to craft and project an image of ourselves. His dancers wear Glass to signify a partial revealing (and concealing) of one’s genuine self.

To read the original story and to view the video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carla-escoda/dances-with-google-glass_b_5663708.html.

 

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Dance and Music Workshop Part of San Francisco’s Son Jarocho Festival

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The third annual San Francisco Son Jarocho Festival, named for a folkloric music style from the Southern Mexican state of Veracruz, will be held August 14, 16, and 17 at several venues in San Francisco.

Son Jarocho is an Afro- Mestizo hybrid form that blends Spanish, indigenous Meso-American, and African elements into a joyous celebration of Mexican identity. In the last decade, this style has seen resurgence as many young people have adopted it and expanded the sonic and rhythmic possibilities it offers.

The annual festival has become a cornerstone of the emerging Son Jarocho music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area, attracting the top performers in this genre and providing workshops for local musicians to interact with the masters of this music.

The festival includes a dance and music workshop August 17 from 10am to noon at the Brava Theater Center, plus a free performances at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival (August 14 from 12:30 to 1:30), a “community fandango” at Union Square (August 17 from 2 to 4pm), and evening concert at Brava Theater Center (August 16).

For details, visit www.brava.org.

 

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Fiji Sends First Crew to Vegas to Compete in Hip-Hop World Competition

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Fiji’s hip-hop crew, KVT 679, at Hip Hop International World Dance Championships; photo by Sthanlee B. Mirador

Fiji’s hip-hop crew, KVT 679, at Hip Hop International World Dance Championships; photo by Sthanlee B. Mirador

To say Fiji’s first dance crew to attend the Hip Hop International World Dance Championships in Las Vegas was excited was an understatement. The dancers are representing Fiji alongside more than 3,000 dancers from 60 nations.

“Fiji’s crew, KVT679, is made up of experienced Fijian hip-hop dancers that came together at the start of this year to make this dream a reality,” choreographer and co-founder of VOU Dance Sachiko Soro told the Fiji Times Online.

Dance crew leader Jiuta Tigarea said the journey was one of struggle, determination, and naturally, sweat. “It has always been my lifelong dream to come and compete in the world championships in Las Vegas, and I can hardly believe that we are here now. This experience has been better than I have ever expected,” Tigarea said.

According to Soro, the KVT679 crew had been taking part in workshops with Parris Goebel, associate choreographer and cast member of Step Up All In. “The KVT679 crew hopes to come back to Fiji and conduct hip-hop workshops with youth to share what they have learned during their time in Las Vegas,” she said.

Hip Hop International’s World Dance Championships ran August 5 to 10 at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. To see the original story, visit http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=276680.

 

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Dance Theatre of Harlem Street Festival Encourages Dance Fans to Get Involved

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Dance Theatre of Harlem Street Festival; photo by Idris Solomon

Dance Theatre of Harlem Street Festival;
photo by Idris Solomon

Free performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s company, summer intensive students, and special guest artists will be part of the Summer 2014 DTH Street Festival on August 9 from noon to 7pm at West 152nd Street between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Avenues, New York City.

The annual Street Festival affirms the organization’s ongoing commitment to the Harlem community by entertaining, informing, and encouraging community members to become a part of the Dance Theatre of Harlem family as new students, volunteers, and supporters. Over the years, the Street Festival has grown more successful both in content and attendance.

The festival offers seven hours of fun and entertainment, including live performances of music and dance, plus an array of street vendors who offer a variety of American and ethnic foods, jewelry, books, clothing, and other items for sale.

For more information, visit http://www.dancetheatreofharlem.org/outreach/2014-dth-annual-street-festival.

 

 

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Teachers Helps Inmates, Addicts, At-Risk Persons Use Dance to Tackle Demons

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San Francisco County Jail inmates in dance class; photo by Craig Hudson, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco County Jail inmates in dance class;
photo by Craig Hudson, San Francisco Chronicle

For the past four years, Sylvie Minot, 50, and her Syzygy Dance Project have been bringing meditative dance to incarcerated women, to ex-soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder at veterans’ hospitals, to addicts inside recovery centers, and to young people at camps for at-risk youth, helping them use physical energy and movement to overcome anger, stress, and self-doubt.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Minot, with the help of her wife, Wendy Heffner, works with 20 volunteers and leads six different Syzygy movement classes a week.

“When I dance with the inmates, it just opens my heart,” said Minot, who came to dance two decades ago as a way to overcome her own struggles with alcohol and to help her release an anger she carried since childhood. Her father, a general in the Lao Army, died in a concentration camp in North Vietnam, and she was she was forced to flee a posh home two blocks from the presidential palace in Saigon with her mother and older sister. Minot grew up in overcrowded apartments in Singapore, the Philippines, France, and finally Sunnyvale.

In her classes, Minot incorporates 5Rhythms spiritual dance practice, which puts the body in motion to still the mind. There are no steps to follow, but Minot inserts exercises into the hour-long class, always connected to a life skill. This evening, during class at San Francisco County Jail, the theme is support.

“What do you need support for?” Minot asked the group.

“Finding my freedom!” dancer Tasha Anderson answered.

“What does freedom look like as a movement?” Minot asked.

Just to give people an idea that there’s another way to face their demons—and release them without being self-destructive—is offering a bit of hope. “After Tuesday dance class, it sets me up for the week. I feel like I am better able to let things go that are bothering me,” said inmate Marisabela Sarria.

To read more, visit http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Meditative-dance-frees-women-from-emotional-5669822.php.

 

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Music Teacher Arrested for Damaging Props Left at High School for Recital

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A music teacher was caught on surveillance video in June damaging equipment left by a dance studio that had rented the auditorium of Lake Shore High School, according to Evans [NY] police.

WIVB News reported this week that 4Dance Connection of Derby, New York, rented the auditorium between June 18 and 20. The dance studio owner set up her equipment on June 18, held a dress rehearsal, and then left the building. When she returned on Friday for the recital, she found three racks of costumes thrown around, six broken props, and a vinyl banner that had been ripped down.

The owner of the dance studio reported the incident and police investigated. Footage from the school cameras led police to arrest Glenn Molik, the music teacher at Lake Shore High School.

The 46-year-old Derby man is charged with third degree criminal tampering and criminal mischief.

To see the original story, visit http://wivb.com/2014/08/05/teacher-accused-of-damaging-dance-studios-property/.

 

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Teen Flamenco Dancer is First Vail International Dance Festival Scholar-in-Residence

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Elena Heiss; photo by Kyle Zimmerman/Special to the Daily

Elena Heiss; photo by Kyle Zimmerman/Special to the Daily

A new program developed by Vail International Dance Festival artistic director Damian Woetzel is recognizing 16-year-old flamenco dancer, Elena Heiss, as the festival’s inaugural scholar-in-residence.

The Vail Daily said Woetzel created the program to offer promising young artists/scholars the opportunity to participate in the artistic and cultural life of the Vail International Dance Festival.

As program honoree, Heiss received one-on-one mentorship provided by New York City ballerina Tiler Peck, and was a featured performer on Tuesday’s mixed-bill program highlighted by the powerhouse contemporary dance company, BalletX.

“As a young scholar, the dancer, in the final stages of training before embarking on a professional career, will be able to observe, interact, and learn from the leading artists in the field over the course of the festival,” Woetzel said.

Heiss, an honors student and junior at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, began flamenco at age 8 at the National Institute of Flamenco. During her tenure at NIF, she has won annual scholarships since 2006 and the Student of the Year Award in 2013. Heiss has studied with internationally acclaimed artists Nino de los Reyes, Sonia Olla, and Ismael de la Rosa at the University of New Mexico in conjunction with NIF’s artist-in-residence program. She is currently a member of Alma Flamenca, which performs at various events around New Mexico, and has performed professionally with Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The festival runs through August 9 at the Gerald A. Ford Amphitheater. To see the original story, visit http://www.vaildaily.com/entertainment/activitiesevents/12473898-113/dance-festival-heiss-flamenco.

 

 

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Stop By NMD And Say Hello to NYCB Dancer Jacques d’Amboise

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Jacques d’Amboise; photo courtesy National Museum of Dance

Jacques d’Amboise; photo courtesy National Museum of Dance

The public is invited to meet Jacques d’Amboise, former New York City Ballet dancer and longtime dance educator, at the National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 10 at 11am.

D’Amboise won esteem for his performing career on stage and in films such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In 1976 he founded the National Dance Institute, which annually provides dance instruction to 40,000 NYC low-income schoolchildren free of charge.

D’Amboise joins film legend Gene Kelly as one of the 2014 inductees to the museum’s Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame.

This event is free and open to the public. Brunch will be served. The National Museum of Dance, 99 South Broadway, is open for daily admissions Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 12 noon to 4pm. For more information, visit www.dancemuseum.org or call 518.584.2225.

 

 

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Threats Cause Israel University to Cancels Student Dancers’ Edinburgh Festival Appearance

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Ben-Gurion University student dance company; photo courtesy Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University student dance company;
photo courtesy Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on Sunday canceled the planned performances of its student dance company at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next week, due to security concerns for the dancers, reported the Jerusalem Post.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city, attracting thousands of performers from around the globe who present theater productions, comedy, dance performances, circuses, cabarets, children’s shows, operas, and exhibitions.

The decision by BGU was taken in light of the intentions of anti-Israel protesters to demonstrate against Operation Protective Edge [recent military actions of Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip] and at the urging of the venue’s operator.

“The personal safety of the members of the dance company is the most important factor and we will certainly not compromise on that in any way. We received warnings that their participation could endanger the dancers, therefore, in consultation with the relevant parties, we made the hard decision not to send the company to the planned performances in Edinburgh,” BGU president Prof. Rivka Carmi said on Sunday.

“It is a shame that this is the state of affairs—where artistic freedom of expression is being sorely tested. The company has no connection to politics, but everything has become highly politicized. Considering the quality of the company, its withdrawal from the festival is a loss to all art lovers.”

The 12-member BGU Dance Company was set to perform the piece La Karina by Dedi Alofer August 9 to 12.

To read the full story, visit http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/BGU-Dance-Company-cancels-performance-at-Edinburgh-Festival-Fringe-in-wake-of-anti-Israel-protests-369909.

 

 

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U.S. Appearances Help Raise Profile of Dance Born in Rio de Janiero Slums

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Dancers during “A Batalha do Passinho”; photo by Nan Melville for Lincoln Center

Dancers during “A Batalha do Passinho”;
photo by Nan Melville for Lincoln Center

Audiences at New York City’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival sampled a new Brazilian street-dancing style: Passinho, Brazil’s version of b-boying or breakdancing, born years ago in the slums of Rio de Janiero and still shunned by its home country.

The concert, called “A Batalha do Passinho,” was sponsored by the Secretary of Culture for Rio de Janiero. Bill Bragin, director of public programming at Lincoln Center, told Fox News Latino that the reception of these dancers have been overwhelmingly positive.

“Everyone’s been pretty ecstatic about it,” Bragin said. “I think people have just been blown away by their virtuosity and their close connection to the origins of hip-hop.”

Passinho, much like hip-hop, came from an underprivileged culture. Born in the favelas of Brazil, Passinho is normally associated with criminals and gang activity. The dancers who performed on July 24 reasserted that the dance is now just a form of art that started in the slums.

For others, having the dance performed in the U.S. gives Brazilians a chance to fight the problems going on in their country. “This [performance] helps us in Brazil to fight persecution,” says disc jockey Sany Pitbull. “It’s as if New York is giving funk music oxygen to continue, to take a breath and continue this fight.”

Pitbull is one of the leading producers and advocates of Funk Carioca, which is Brazilian funk music created in response to racial, social, and economic issues in Brazil, and Passinho was created from it, having been provided with a soundtrack to dance to.

“Brazilians have many preconceived notions in regards to this genre [funk] and the scene suffers from these prejudices,” Tiago Gomes, project manager at the Secretary of Culture, told NBC News. “Events like this one, funded by the consulate, are extremely important for us because if we are able to legitimize funk abroad then we can legitimize it within Brazil.”

To see the original story and a performance video, visit http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2014/08/01/banned-brazilian-dance-receives-warm-welcome-in-us/.

 

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Documentary Explores Ririe-Woodbury’s Importance in Utah Arts

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Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in a pre-show rehearsal earlier this year; photo courtesy Facebook

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in a pre-show rehearsal earlier this year; photo courtesy Facebook

A new film detailing the groundbreaking history of Salt Lake City’s Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company offers a peek into the longtime friendship of company founders Shirley Ririe, 84, and Joan Woodbury, 86, who apparently found the fountain of youth through their love of dance and arts activism.

The Salt Lake Tribune said Claudia Sisemore began filming the dance company in the late 1990s, and then began working specifically on a film documenting its history in 2004. The documentary gracefully weaves together dance clips with interviews, but also includes plenty of scenes of Woodbury, Ririe, and former artistic director Charlotte Boye-Christensen sitting on the floor and making notes in rehearsal.

“One of the most remarkable things was seeing how well Joan and Shirley work together after so many years,” Sisemore says. “They have such respect for each other. Things run smoothly because those two get along so well.”

The Ririe-Woodbury film serves as a companion to an earlier Sisemore film about Repertory Dance Theatre, the city’s other longtime dance company, plus documentaries of other important Utah artists such as dance teacher Virginia Tanner. Now, the filmmaker hopes to find grant funding to make her videos available to local schools, universities, and museums, along with curriculum to help teachers use them in lessons.

The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company will receive its first public screening August 6 at 7pm at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City. Admission is free but reservations are required by calling 801.297.4241 or at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-ririe-woodbury-dance-company-a-claudia-sisemore-film-tickets-7157043911?aff=es2&rank=0.

To see the original story, visit http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment2/58241971-223/dance-woodbury-company-ririe.html.csp.

 

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NYC Companies Challenge Young Audiences through Experimental ‘Victory Dance’

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Ballet Hispanico at Victory Dance; photo by Paula Lobo for the New York Times

Ballet Hispanico at Victory Dance;
photo by Paula Lobo for the New York Times

A new three-week “experiment” called Victory Dance invites schoolchildren from grades 5 to 11 from summer schools, day camps, and homeless shelters to the New Victory Theater in New York City to view top artists such as Keigwin + Company and Ronald K. Brown/Evidence present dances they normally present to adult audiences.

“We don’t do what people think of as children’s theater,” said Cora Cahan, president of New 42nd Street, the theater’s nonprofit parent, told the New York Times. “We don’t even use that phrase.”

Mary Rose Lloyd, the theater’s director of artistic programming, explained that it’s work “that doesn’t speak down to children but that will excite them.” As she discussed with participating artists which pieces they might bring, she kept having similar conversations: “They would show me work and say, ‘We couldn’t do this,’ and I would say, ‘You can do more than you think.’ ”

After a morning show last week, dancers and choreographers gathered to discuss the experience, which included a question and answer session and movement activities for the students. Monica Bill Barnes, who hadn’t performed much for children before, said it was a pleasure “because I feel like they haven’t learned not to react.” She continued, “As a performer, I’m trying to understand the work by reading the audience. With kids, you hear this inner monologue on how it’s going.”

Sarah East Johnson, the artistic director of Lava, an all-female troupe of dancer-acrobats, said that she was most excited by the opportunity to open up possibilities for how children might understand dance and themselves.

“Kids are my favorite audience,” said Lil Buck, talking with the other performers. “I love to hear their reactions, because it’s not just a reaction. You’re putting something in their heads. You’re changing their minds.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/arts/dance/dancing-and-hoping-to-win-fans-for-life.html?ref=dance&_r=0.

 

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Glee’s Harry Shum Jr. Video Series Asks: Is Dance a Sport, and Vice Versa?

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“Parallels;” image courtesy Red Bull

“Parallels;” image courtesy Red Bull

A new video series by dancer, actor, and choreographer Harry Shum, Jr. (Glee, Step Up 2) draws parallels between disparate dance forms and extreme/action sports, utilizing slow motion to pinpoint the striking similarities between both genres, both in movement and approach.

Shum became interested in comparing dance to sports after viewing a 1958 TV special where Gene Kelley used the moves of top athletes such as baseball star Mickey Mantle and boxer Sugar Ray Robinson to choreograph dance routines, while also teaching the athletes to dance.

Shum teamed up with filmmaker Cole Walliser to create the series, “Parallels,” which looks at how control, rhythm, grace, timing, strength, and balance are present in movement whether one is a dancer or an athlete.

In one video, ballerina Kylie Lewallen’s jetés are juxtaposed with freestyle motocross biker Alexey Kolesnikov’s mid-air moves. In another, the themes of rhythm and balance are explored through similar moves that b-boy Kid David and skateboarder Johnny Johannes can execute.

“I think all movement is interconnected and the only thing that separates it is the intention behind it,” Shum said. “Ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov . . . no one can deny his incredible athletic abilities, and the artistry behind athletes like Michael Jordan can be clearly seen when you take the ball out of the equation. I hope this sparks a conversation . . . ‘Is dance a sport and is sport an art form?’ ”

To view the videos, visit:
• Exploring “Parallels:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HosQAh7SJfk,
• Grace—Ballet vs Freestyle Motocross: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqinMKCIx68
• Control—Acrobatic Dancing/Tricking vs BMX Riding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9QImmGlMOU
• Rhythm—B-Boying vs Skateboarding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9a0Tz8XEn4

 

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Dancers’ Job Opportunities Vary from East Coast to West Coast

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TV series Debbie Allen and Benjamin Allen; photo courtesy SAG Foundation

TV series Debbie Allen and Benjamin Allen;
photo courtesy SAG Foundation

While it may still be easier for New York dancers to break into the industry, the number of commercial jobs available in Los Angeles is rising, experts say.

Debbie Allen, often advises students at her Los Angeles studio to go east when they start looking for work. “There are musicals, there’s Off-Broadway, there’s Off-Off-Broadway. We just don’t have the theater expansion in L.A.,” she told Backstage before a recent SAG Foundation event. “Most of the work here is cinema.”

She noted that films like Step Up and such as Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have given dancers opportunities in Hollywood. But for those starting out, the opportunities are limited.

In New York, meanwhile, even scripted series such as HBO’s Boardwalk Empire hire dancers. “You can hustle in New York, you can’t get on the lot [in L.A.],” said Allen. “You could go into an audition, look at the man at the stage door and say, ‘Please, I need to see Bob Fosse, he’ll just love me.’ That can happen in New York. Doesn’t happen here. Your name has to be on a list. It’s tough.”

It might be tough to get on the lot for TV and film in Los Angeles, but the city is seeing a boom in commercial work, according to Benjamin Allen, a dancer and choreographer who runs a company called GROOV3.

“Those opportunities come up a lot,” he said. “Broadway shows have long runs so when that spot opens up, someone gets a job for that one spot and then has that for months and months or a year or two or three years. Here you do an episode of this, you do one-off shows, maybe an awards show.”

The challenge then isn’t finding the work in L.A.—it’s finding enough of it to sustain a career.

To see the original story, visit
http://www.backstage.com/news/debbie-allen-dancers-still-find-fame-nyc/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+backstage%2FNews-Features+%28Backstage+-+News%26Features%29.

 

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Seven Illinois Studios Strive to Raise $5,000 for Drea’s Dream

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RippleFX; logo by Ken Garnhart

RippleFX; logo by Ken Garnhart

Seven northern Illinois dance studios have come together to host RippleFX, a dance performance with the goal of raising $5,000 to help establish a Drea’s Dream dance/movement therapy program at a local area hospital.

More than 100 dancers are scheduled to perform in the show, set for August 16 at 2pm at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Illinois. Participating schools include DanceFX, Evolve Dance Company, Mary Lee’s School of Dance, Resilience Dance Company, Rockford Dance Company, Steps to Grace Dance Academy, and Turning Pointe Dance Company.

RippleFX is open to the public. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and $2 for children ages 2 to 5 (under 2 free) and can be purchased at the door. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event will benefit Dance Across America, is one of many fundraising efforts created by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to bringing dance therapy to children with cancer and special needs in pediatric hospitals, public schools, and Ronald McDonald houses across the country.

For more information, visit www.DreasDream.org.

 

 

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Mark Morris Seeks to Harness Benefits of Parkinson’s Therapy in an App

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Dance with Parkinson’s; photo by Rosalie O’Connor

Dance with Parkinson’s; photo by Rosalie O’Connor

The Mark Morris Dance Group is designing software that will bring their dance-therapy techniques into people’s homes through the use of Google Glass head-mounted smartphones.

MMDG, which has been running dance-therapy classes for 13 years, won a $25,000 grant in early July to come up with a Google Glass app to help Parkinson’s sufferers, said the Brooklyn [NY] Paper.

“We’re thinking about ways we can expand what we do in the dance class beyond the studio,” said David Leventhal, program director of Dance for PD, a collaboration between MMDG and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group.

Leventhal’s program already offers a DVD of its routines, but he thinks that Glass, which can be controlled using voice commands or a touchpad located on the side of the glasses, will free up people’s hands and allow them to do the exercises wherever and whenever they want.

Pamela Quinn, a Parkinson’s patient who runs a therapy class and helped with the initial planning of the Glass project, said the practice and pace provided by dance instruction works as therapy and as a coping mechanism for the acute onset of symptoms.

“One of the many ways in which Parkinson’s affects you is that it affects the way you move—your posture, your stride, your balance,” Quinn said. “Dance is an art form that deals with these very issues” by helping people focus on their bodies, and by providing a rhythm to move to.

Google issued the grant as part of a contest that garnered 1,300 applications. The marketing company SS+K is helping MMDG engineer the software. “Google is trying to push boundaries,” said Kevin Skobac, who works on digital strategy for SS+K, said. “They want people to explore how we can use these things.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/31/all-google-glass-dance-parkinsons-disease-2014-07-25-bk_37_31.html.

 

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New Dance Film Opens Video Casting Call on August 15

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Untapped; image courtesy Facebook

Untapped; image courtesy Facebook

An open video casting call will begin accepting submissions August 15 for Untapped, an inspirational dance film about hope, healing, and self-empowerment.

Brothers Young Productions of Atlanta said that Untapped is scheduled to begin production in early 2015. The movie follows the journey of a teenage girl overcoming emotional and physical struggles after the death of her parents who discovers dance to be the expressive outlet she needs to find her inner strength.

Set to direct is Janlatae Mullins, Best Director at the 2014 Black Women Film Festival. “This story is a resuscitation of the heart,” she said. “It reminds those that feel lifeless that they can be revived, greatness is for them, and they can be loved.”

The open casting call will seek to fill several roles ranging in age, gender, and appearance. Submission guidelines will be posted August 15 on www.untappedmovie.com. To view a video trailer, visit http://youtu.be/u4JanrNSRp0.

 

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Roman Catholic Priest’s Flamenco Attracts Congregants

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Father Jose Planas Moreno; photo by Campanillas Malaga via YouTube

Father Jose Planas Moreno;
photo by Campanillas Malaga via YouTube

A Roman Catholic priest in southern Spain has parishioners banging down his church doors, all so they can praise God and dance the flamenco.

Jose Planas Moreno, or Father Pepe, as he is known, attracts flocks of congregants to the Nuestra Senora del Carmen church in Campanilla by clicking his heels and strutting his stuff.

The 66-year-old priest and female worshippers twirl down the aisles doing the sevillanas, a traditional dance very similar to flamenco, said the New York Daily News. While other Roman Catholic churches deal with dwindling numbers of the faithful, Father Pepe’s pews are filled to overflowing.

“Something happens when I dance,” he told Diario Sur, the local Malaga newspaper, according to Britain’s The Telegraph. “I love it. It brings me closer to God.” He has flamenco in his blood, he said, because his mother was a gypsy.

In 1997, he said, he danced for the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. To see the original story, visit http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/flamenco-dancing-spanish-priest-draws-crows-mass-article-1.1881331.

 

 

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Retiring PBT Corps Member Stephen Hadala in a Class By Himself

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Stephen Hadala; photo by Nicholas Coppula

Stephen Hadala; photo by Nicholas Coppula

In a mid-sized company like Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, a corps de ballet member is usually a face in the crowd—a villager, one in a group of friends, a supporting player.

But after his final PBT performance as the foppish nobleman Gamache in Don Quixote, Stephen Hadala took center stage, surrounded by the entire company. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it was the first time in more than 40 years that PBT had so honored a member of the corps de ballet.

Maybe that was because the 16-year veteran was in a class by himself, above the usual distinctions between principal dancer, soloist, and corps. During his career, he never coveted a promotion. His steadiness, work ethic, and sense of humor made him a “rock” of the company, his colleagues say.

Robert Vickrey, assistant to the artistic director, recalls how the young Hadala would attend a full day of PBT rehearsals then walk to a full-time job at a Rite Aid.

“It was his determination and perseverance,” Vickrey said. “He never slacked off. He kept his nose to the grindstone and was always in class. But there was no one in the world who was more fun than Stephen. You could say anything to him and he had an answer for it.”

Hadala joined the company in 1998, and quickly began to show a gift for character roles, making his mark as Dracula, Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Dr. Coppelius in Coppélia.

“Stephen personalized roles no matter how big or how small,” PBT principal dancer Julia Erickson said. “He made something out of everything.”

He gradually developed into a secure partner, debuted in contemporary works, helped to train new dancers, and, as union representative for 14 years, won the respect of management and fellow dancers.

Hadala will return to Detroit so he and his sister can take over the Allard Academy of Dance, the place where everything began. To read the full story, visit http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/theater-dance/2014/07/27/Pittsburgh-Ballet-Theatre-loses-a-rock-as-Hadala-retires/stories/201407230001.

 

 

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Not All Residents Approve of Library’s Plan to Add Dance Studio Space

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Library renovation public hearing; photo by Nikhita Venugopal/DNAinfo

Library renovation public hearing;
photo by Nikhita Venugopal/DNAinfo

A plan to renovate a public library by adding dance studios has created a rift in the community—with some claiming it’s a sign the neighborhood is turning too “tony.”

DNAInfo NewYork said the Brooklyn [NY] Public Library is negotiating a $1.8 million renovation to its 7,500-square-foot Red Hook branch that would convert roughly half the main library room into dance and rehearsal studios for artists.

BPL is hoping to partner with Spaceworks, a nonprofit group and initiative of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, which would run the studios. The group is “dedicated to expanding the supply of long-term, affordable rehearsal and studio space for artists” and currently operates two artist workspaces in Long Island City and Gowanus.

Spaceworks would fund $650,000 of the total $1.8 million renovation, and the City Council would provide the remainder.

But the studios would invade a free and public space where adults and children come to read and learn, said locals at last week’s Community Board 6’s landmarks and land use public hearing.

“Isn’t that taking away from what we come to library for in the first place?” said Yasmin Rahman, who lives in Red Hook.

The proposal allows for Cora Dance, a Red Hook dance school and studio, to provide 100 hours of free programming in the new studios during the first year. Shannon Hummel, Cora’s founder and artistic director, highlighted the school’s affordable pay-what-you-can classes, a model she hoped to expand into the new space.

To read the full story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140725/red-hook/red-hook-locals-divided-over-plan-add-dance-studios-public-library.

 

 

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Virginia Dance Company Is Going to the Dogs—Literally

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Jane Franklin Dance’s Cute Animals; photo courtesy WebMD

Jane Franklin Dance’s Cute Animals; photo courtesy WebMD

Can your dog do a mean fox trot? Virginia’s Jane Franklin Dance is looking for dogs and their human owners willing to partner up and dance through her fall program, “Cute Animals.”

The fall program is an effort to spark a connection between area residents who share a common love for dogs and who would enjoy being introduced to a new physical activity they can share with their canine companions.

Practices will be held August 18, August 25, and September 8 from 6:30 to 7:30pm, with a free public performance set for September 10 at 7pm. Rehearsals and performance will be held at the Charles Beatley Central Library, 5005 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia.

The program specifically seeks dogs and owners from the Duke Street dog park, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, Charles Beatley Library’s PAWS reading program, Alexandria Animal Welfare League at Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, or residents of the neighboring area.

The program is open to all ages and levels of dancers. There is no charge to participate—but a dog is required. To sign up, call 703.933.1111 or visit http://www.janefranklin.com/performances for more information.

 

 

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British Dancewear Supplier Started By Studio Owner With a Desire To Sew

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Anne Walker with sewing equipment; photo courtesy IDS

Anne Walker with sewing equipment;
photo courtesy IDS

A Devon, England–based supplier of dance equipment has boosted its profile in the U.S. after attending a reception held at the British Consulate in New York, according to Insider Media.

IDS (International Dance Supplies), which sells dancewear, shoes, costumes, accessories, fabrics, and other dance-related items such as barres and CDs, arranged the trip through UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and has since received orders from dance teachers across 48 states.

IDS was formed 35 years ago by Anne Walker, who had opened her own dance school at the age of 17. Initially she supplied her students with leotard and shoes from a local shop where she had negotiated discounted prices, but as the school developed, Walker decided to try and make leotards for her students herself. She borrowed some sewing equipment, enlisted the help of one mother and her older students (who cut out the garments), and began selling the garments they produced to other dance teachers.

Eventually, the dancewear manufacturing and sales needed to become a separate business from her dancing school. Today IDS is the UK’s largest wholesale dancewear supplier with a customer base of more than 14,000 dance teachers and retailers worldwide.

To see the original story, visit http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/south-west/119834-. For more information on IDS, visit http://www.ids.co.uk/Content.aspx/Info/History.

 

 

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Longtime Dance Teacher’s Poem Recognized With International Prize

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Joan Kunsch; photo courtesy Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts

Joan Kunsch;
photo courtesy Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts

“Night Blizzard,” a poem written by Joan Kunsch, associate director at Connecticut’s Nutmeg Ballet, has won an International Publication Prize from the Atlanta Review, and will be featured in the fall 2014 issue, reports the Register Citizen.

Kunsch, who celebrates 50 years of teaching this summer, has had her writing published in the U.S., Norway, England, and India. She translates contemporary Norwegian poets, presents readings in Norwegian as well as English, and performs “Flute Meets Poem” in a duo with her sister, Kathi Byam.

This is the second time Kunsch’s work has received the award. The first was in 2006, with “Ballet Teacher’s Brief Bio.”

As a guest teacher and choreographer, Kunsch has worked in North America and abroad, particularly Scandinavia, England, and the Netherlands. She has choreographed more than 60 works for concert stage, television, sacred space, and outdoor sites.

To see the original story, visit http://www.registercitizen.com/arts-and-entertainment/20140723/nutmeg-ballets-associate-director-celebrates-50-years-of-teaching.

 

 

 

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Blind Students Dance with Confidence at Florida Studio’s Annual Workshop

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Arthur Murray Dance Studio; photo courtesy Facebook

Arthur Murray Dance Studio; photo courtesy Facebook

Five years ago Lania Berger, owner of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Palm Harbor, Florida, heard about the nervousness visually impaired students were experiencing prior to a Valentine’s Day dance and wanted to lend a hand.

“Lots of people get nervous about a dance party, especially for Valentine’s Day, but now make it pre-teens who can’t see,” Berger told the Suncoast News. “The kids were terrified.”

Berger offered free lessons to the children from Lighthouse of Pinellas, an organization that assists blind and visually impaired person. That 2009 collaboration went so well that the studio continued working with Lighthouse students ever since. Thursday marked the studio’s annual Lighthouse for the Blind Dance Workshop, which the studio holds in celebration of National Dance Day.

“The idea behind National Dance Day is to get everybody up and moving and having fun,” Berger said. “We take this as a nice opportunity to bring a little more attention to an organization I so strongly believe in and have a great relationship with.”

To see the original story, visit http://suncoastnews.com/su/list/news-suncoast-pinellas/palm-harbor-dance-studio-helping-visually-impared-learn-some-steps-20140724/.

 

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International Dance Star, Ángel Corella, Assumes Helm of Pennsylvania Ballet

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Ángel Corella; photo courtesy Muppet Wikia

Ángel Corella; photo courtesy Muppet Wikia

Often called “one of the finest dancers of his generation,” American Ballet Theatre standout Ángel Corella has been appointed artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

“We are incredibly excited to be bringing a director with this level of talent, experience, and passion into our community,” board co-chair David Hoffman said in a release. “Pennsylvania Ballet is at the threshold of a new and dynamic era that calls for an artistic leader with the vision, energy, and creativity to excite audiences. Ángel has the power to make Philadelphia one of the most exhilarating dance cities in the world.”

Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Corella joined ABT in 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer the following year. He is credited with elevating the technique and artistry of male dancing throughout the world and possessing incredible technical skills matched only by his warmth and passion for the dance.

Corella has spent the last six years in Spain as director of his own company, originally the Corella Ballet Castilla y León, which became the Barcelona Ballet. “Pennsylvania Ballet has such a great reputation, such great dancers and such a loyal audience,” he said. “My dream is to build on this rich history, its Balanchine legacy, and make the company a center for all the best in ballet, a true national model.”

He will replace Roy Kaiser, who is stepping down after 19 years as artistic director to assume the title of artistic director emeritus. To see the full release, visit http://www.paballet.org/pennsylvania-ballet-trustees-appoint-%C3%A1ngel-corella-artistic-director.

 

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Influential Modern Dance Master Bill T. Jones To Receive National Medal of Arts

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Bill T. Jones; photo courtesy Kennesaw State University

Bill T. Jones; photo courtesy Kennesaw State University

Bill T. Jones, artistic director of New York Live Arts and artistic director/co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, will receive the 2013 National Medal of Arts in a July 28 ceremony at The White House.

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award presented to artists and arts patrons by the United States government, and is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who “ . . . are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States.”

Jones said of the honor: “At a time when the arts have an ever-dwindling presence and importance in education and daily life, I am grateful that the United States government and President Barack Obama take the time to recognize the necessity of art, and to pay respect to the artistic voices that influence and inspire the public to challenge, question, and discover meaning through the arts. I look forward to continuing to engage the people of the United States and the world through the art of movement.”

The National Medal of Arts has been awarded yearly to a select few artists by the National Endowment for the Arts. Dance world recipients have included Jacques d’Amboise, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Trisha Brown, Merce Cunningham, Katherine Dunham, Suzanne Farrell, Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins, Judith Jamison, Gene Kelly, Bella Lewitzky, Agnes de Mille, Arthur Mitchell, Pearl Primus, Twyla Tharp, Maria Tallchief, Paul Taylor, Jerome Robbins, and others.

For more information, visit http://arts.gov/honors/medals.

 

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