A full house was on hand for last Saturday’s 60th anniversary concert of Terpsichord, the longest running high school modern dance company in the country, according to director Cathie Kasch, chair of the Girls Preparatory School Fine Arts Department in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Kasch says it was an “emotional homecoming” for the 36 alumnae who contributed choreography, attended rehearsals, and performed once again as a GPS dancer.
The Chattanoogian reported that Terpsichord began in 1954 under the direction of Peggy Evans Thomas. One dance on the anniversary concert program involved Thomas leading the Terpsichord alumnae in an improvisation once again, this time on stage with the audience watching. “They got to see the process of dance,” says Laurel Zahrobsky, assistant director and one of the participating alumnae.
Thirteen dances, including one by alumna Risa Callaway Miller, Class of ’90, and her two daughters currently in Terpsichord, were interspersed with video reflections from four alumnae in California, Philadelphia, and New York who could not attend: Mary Ann Casavant ’00, Lindsay Meek Edwards ’99, Jessica Robinson Love ’00, and Sarah Anne Patz ’72. All are still involved in dance education, outreach, or therapy.
A post-concert reception for the returning alumnae and their families seemed to prove Kasch’s belief that Terpsichord is “a place where different generations can come together and share a common bond.”
To see the original story, visit http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/9/17/284537/GPS-Reunion-Dance-Concert-Plays-To-Full.aspx.
For the first time, the American Dance Festival (ADF) will hold winter intensives in New York City and Pasadena, California.
The nine-day NYC Winter Intensive (December 27 to January 4, 2015) is designed for students ages 18 and older who are interested in exploring the NYC dance scene from an insider’s perspective through classes, workshops, performances, and more. Faculty will include Elizabeth Corbett, Gerri Houlihan, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Nia Love, Pamela Pietro, Gwen Welliver, and Jesse Zaritt. Tuition is $785.
The new five-day California Winter Intensive (December 27 to 31) allows dance students on the West Coast the chance to experience an ADF intensive closer to home with daily classes in technique, repertory, composition, and improvisation, as well as panels, open rehearsals, and more. Faculty will include Rodger Belman, Leah Cox, Rafael Lopez-Barrantes, and Stuart Singer. Tuition is $450.
For more information, visit www.americandancefestival.org.
Arthur Mitchell, founder of Dance Theatre of Harlem, will receive the 2014 NY Dance and Performance Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance during ceremonies for the 30th annual New York Dance and Performance Awards, set for October 20 at New York City’s Apollo Theater.
The awards, also known as The Bessies, will also honor Dr. Chuck Davis of DanceAfrica! with its Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance award.
Mitchell, a man of singular vision whose life has been spent as a pioneer in a field bound by tradition, created the first African-American classical ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem. As a dancer with New York City Ballet, Mitchell played a role in shaping George Balanchine’s vision of neoclassicism in ballet. Later, as an artistic director, he brought the innovative teacher Bessie Schonberg (for whom The Bessies are named) in to teach his company members choreography in the early 1990s, and built an eclectic repertoire that ranged from classical to contemporary, featuring works by artists as varied as Manuel Alum, David Gordon, Geoffrey Holder, and Talley Beatty.
Davis, known widely as Baba Chuck, is being recognized for the creation and stewardship of the revolutionary dance festival, DanceAfrica! With a dance career spanning more than 70 years, Davis has dedicated his life to bringing all Americans, regardless of cultural background, together as one through the joyous beauty of African dance, music, and art.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/thebessies.
Dance School Diaries, a popular new web series on the DanceOn YouTube network, looks inside the lives of four Orange County, California, teenagers competing in the Youth America Grand Prix.
“I believe Dance School Diaries gives an insight into the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices that dancers make in order to achieve their dreams,” said executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.
The series, which has been named a People magazine “Pick of the Week,” follows Madison Chappell, 15, and Sage Humphries, 16, students at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy; along with Andrea Guite, 16, of Southland Ballet Academy, and Lex Ishimoto, 16, who dances at Southland as well as at West Coast School of the Arts.
“With Dance School Diaries, we worked with the best in the industry, Nigel Lythgoe, the most prolific producer of dance entertainment for television, and YAGP, the world’s largest international student ballet competition,” said Amanda Taylor, CEO of the DanceOn network. “At DanceOn, we are committed to fostering a community for people who are passionate about dance by bringing great content to a global audience that is continuing to expand every day.”
Dance School Diaries episodes are posted every Friday at 1pm ET/10am PT. To visit the DanceOn channel, go to https://www.youtube.com/user/DanceOn. To see the full playlist and catch up on the series, visit http://goo.gl/vbmEjO. For more information, visit http://www.danceon.com/dance_school_diaries.
The Miami City Ballet is transforming under the leadership of artistic director Lourdes Lopez, who took over from founder Edward Villella two years ago, but how the changes will ultimately affect the company’s artistic profile—the way it dances, and its place in the dance world and in Miami’s cultural landscape—remains to be seen.
The Miami Herald said the most obvious changes are in the company leadership and staff. There has been an almost complete turnover—from a new board president and new executive director to new teachers at the company school. The board has become better organized and more functional, with a more clearly defined and helpful relationship with the company.
“I think Lourdes is gaining confidence,” says new executive director Michael Scolamiero, who held the same position at Pennsylvania Ballet for 17 years before moving to Miami in July. “She’s arriving at an identity for the company.”
Sweeping changes at an artistic institution mean far more than new marketing strategies; they lead to differences in aesthetic, in character, in identity. For Miami City Ballet, the changes point toward a repertory and style that are more mixed, more contemporary, and more similar to those of other U.S. ballet troupes; a more corporate organizational culture; and a new emphasis on community relationships.
The casual, mom-and-pop shop atmosphere the troupe had under Villella and his wife, Linda Villella, who founded and headed the company’s school, has been replaced with a more businesslike approach.
At the company’s school, which has become a regular source of the troupe’s dancers, enrollment and tuition are up for both the year-round program and the summer intensive. The focus of the training has shifted away from Villella’s emphasis on energy, urgency, and musicality—qualities that distinguished MCB from other companies. New teachers emphasize more traditional technique and a wider range of styles that will presumably prepare students for a different repertory, but also seem likely to make MCB’s dancers more like those at other troupes.
New board president Sue Kronick says the changes are inevitable, and will ultimately be positive. “There are transitions in any business,” says Kronick. “Some are messy, and some are good. The question is, ‘What is it that breeds success?’ ”
To read the full story, visit http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/09/13/4344947/miami-city-ballet-tranforms-itself.html.
Twyla Tharp, a Barnard College Class of 1963 graduate who returned to campus this fall for her yearlong residency as a distinguished guest artist, lectured Monday night on her life and her book, The Creative Habit, which explores the idea that conscious, directed repetition begets freedom, and that good working habits generate a lifetime of productivity.
The Columbia Spectator said, over the course of the evening, Tharp discussed topics ranging from choreographing horses in the musical film Hair to building Billy Joel’s Broadway musical Moving Out with technique evolved from her adaptation of The Bacchae, as well as her early dance career.
Tharp said she attended Barnard at a time when virtually no dance classes were offered. Instead, she moved between the studios of the great masters downtown until she felt ready to craft her own dances.
In October, Tharp plans to open a new dance school to train young dancers in a curriculum inspired by her own eclectic dance education. Classes will include isometric exercise, working with equal force of either side of a movement, as well as Tharp’s own “tree frog” technique, navigating the complexities of weight, balance, and dynamics with one’s feet stuck firmly to the floor.
Tharp stressed the importance of creativity as a discipline, having carved out a career for herself dancing in public spaces when she could not afford to rent out studio space. When it comes to creating something unique and working on a deadline, she told students, “If you run into a wall, you stay up all night and deliver on time.”
To see the full story, visit http://columbiaspectator.com/arts-and-entertainment/2014/09/16/twyla-tharp-bc-63-speaks-about-dance-art-lecture.
Math in Your Feet Curriculum Uses Percussive Patterns to Get School Kids Talking About Math Concepts
Percussive dance teaching artist Malke Rosenfeld has designed a curriculum, Math in Your Feet, that uses percussive dance to teach math to elementary students, reported Flowing Data.
Through learning and experimenting with dance patterns, students pick up on math concepts such as congruence, symmetry, transformation, angles and degrees, attributes, pattern recognition, symbols, and mapping on a coordinate grid.
In a video, (http://flowingdata.com/2014/09/12/teaching-math-through-percussive-dance/) Rosenfeld—a traditional clogger and step dancer—explains how she introduces students to the elements of percussive dance and then, within that structured framework, gives them the freedom to create their own percussive patterns.
Rosenfeld said her curriculum is based on research in embodied cognition, which has shown that children think and learn through their bodies. In the case of Math in Your Feet, she says, working creatively within the system of percussive dance provides children with an opportunity to represent their understanding of mathematical ideas within this new context.
Math in Your Feet addresses all eight Standards for Mathematical Practice in the Common Core State Standards.
Rosenfeld offers Math in Your Feet professional development workshops that instruct teachers in how to teach the movement, rhythm, and math aspects of this program. Designed for classroom teachers of grades 3 to 6, PE, and music specialists, the material taught during workshops can also be adapted by kindergarten to grade 2 teachers for the younger grades.
To learn more, visit http://www.mathinyourfeet.com/.
“XX: A Celebration of 20 Years” will look back at the two-decade history of New Jersey’s leading tap performance group, the New Jersey Tap Ensemble, through performances of 20 dance pieces from the group’s past and present.
Broadway World said group founder and artistic director Deborah Mitchell will narrate the company’s journey from infancy to today during the show, set for September 21 at 2pm at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey.
The program includes Jersey Bounce, That Rhythm Man, The New Low Down, and Savoy, choreographed and costumed by Mitchell in traditional tap styles reminiscent of the 1930s. Caravan, to be performed by Evan Ruggiero as a tribute to Peg Leg Bates, celebrates the power of the human spirit in the face of all odds. Opus One, choreographed by the late Dr. Harold Cromer, will be performed by Hillary-Marie Michael and Kyle Wilder. Special guest NJTAP2 (ages 12-17) will perform Crazy, choreographed by Maurice Chestnut, and Rhythms, by Mitchell.
Tickets are $75 (VIP with post-show reception) and $40 and can be purchased online at http://www.mayoarts.org/event/nj-tap-ensemble2. To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/NJTAP-Ensemble-to-Celebrate-20-Years-with-XX-on-Sept-21-20140912#.
San Francisco’s Museum of Performance + Design, the first museum in the country dedicated exclusively to the performing arts, will be holding a special launch party September 18 from 5:30 to 7:30pm to celebrate two new archive websites devoted to dance icons Lew Christensen and Anna Halprin.
The Christensen Family Digital Archive and Anna Halprin Digital Archive websites, two new online collections featuring 1,000 images from MP+D’s collection, will be accessible to the general public beginning Thursday via the museum’s website (http://www.mpdsf.org/?utm_source=SEPTEMBER2014&utm_campaign=SEP2014&utm_medium=email).
Christensen, one of George Balanchine’s first male dancers, was a New York City Ballet ballet master and also helped to lead the San Francisco Ballet in different administrative roles (including director) from 1949 until 1984. He also choreographed more than 110 works for SF Ballet.
Halprin, an early pioneer in the expressive arts healing movement, founded the San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop in 1955, has created 150 full-length dance-theater works, written three books, and won numerous awards for her groundbreaking work. At age 94, Halprin continues to perform, travel, and teach.
In the famous Lewis Carroll story, Alice in Wonderland, young Alice explores a magical and mysterious new world. Audiences at the Fort Wayne [IN] Dance Collective’s weekend fundraiser, “Wonderland,” might also find themselves tiptoeing though a world of wonder as part of an “immersive theater/choose-your-own-adventure” experience.
Indiana News Center said “Wonderland,” the Dance Collective’s second annual fundraiser, will be held September 12 at the Masonic Temple, 216 E. Washington Boulevard.
Audience members will be able to follow, interact, and perhaps dance, with Alice and the cast as the show journeys from floor to floor of the Masonic Temple. Organizers brought the idea to Fort Wayne from a show in New York, Alison Gerardot, outreach director, said. “Audience members will come in. There will be an initial scene that they’ll see, and they won’t really know when it’s going to happen—it’ll just happen. From there [they can] explore the entire space that is the Masonic Temple.”
Gerardot says all proceeds will go toward scholarships, community outreach programs for students and people with disabilities, and the Parkview Healing Arts program.
Tickets cost $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Doors open at 7:30pm with the show beginning at 8pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit
To see the original story, visit http://www.indianasnewscenter.com/news/local/Wonderland-Gives-Audiences-New-Interactive-Dance-Experience-274699181.html.
Lou Conte, founder and choreographer of Hubbard Street Dance Studio, will be honored at the city’s first-ever Fifth Star Awards on September 17 at 7pm at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
DNA Info Chicago said the free event will include video tributes and live performances saluting Conte and his fellow award winners: sculptor Richard Hunt; Ramsey Lewis, Grammy-winning jazz composer, pianist, and radio personality; and Lois Weisberg, former Chicago cultural affairs commissioner.
After performing on Broadway and across the country, Conte established the Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago in 1974. In 1977, he founded what is now Hubbard Street Dance Chicago with four dancers.
The Fifth Star Awards reference Chicago’s four-star flag, with a symbolic “fifth star” as representative of the city’s leading artists and cultural institutions, event organizers said.
The event will also highlight the 125th anniversary of the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, a historic landmark that served as the first home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
To see the original story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140908/near-west-side/city-honor-hubbard-street-dance-founder-lou-conte.
Dance Complex and Green Street Studios, two renowned Cambridge, Massachusetts, dance centers that have survived myriad challenges over two decades, are joining forces for “Holding Hands While Dancing,” a collaborative benefit performance on November 2 that reflects the vision of new leadership at both organizations.
The venture marks the first time the two Cambridge centers have teamed up in this way, and their leaders hope it will lead to a more symbiotic relationship going forward. “We’re so on the same page,” said Lorraine Chapman, executive director of Green Street Studios, in a recent joint interview with Dance Complex executive director Peter DiMuro.
Dancer/choreographers as well as part-time administrators, DiMuro and Chapman are excited for the opportunity to bolster both organizations while dispelling some prevailing notions of competition. “There’s been this mythical rivalry, so it’s nice to debunk it by actually doing something together,” said DiMuro.
The November benefit will feature performances by DiMuro and Chapman, Anna Myer and Dancers, and David Parker and the Bang Group at Green Street Studios. Then a “tour guide” will lead the audience down Green Street and through the Dance Complex garden for the evening’s second half.
The 55-year-old DiMuro, officially became executive director of the Dance Complex in July 2013. A longtime denizen at Green Street Studios, Chapman, 46, stepped into the leadership position in mid-May. Both leaders aim not only to attract broader audiences for dance, but to educate audiences to appreciate the intricacies of the art form.
The concert will start at Green Street Studios, 185 Green Street, in Cambridge, and continue at the Dance Complex, 536, Massachusetts Avenue. Tickets are $25 to $100 and can be purchased by calling 617.547.9363 or online at http://www.dancecomplex.org.
Dance Studio Life publisher Rhee Gold will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his motivational leadership and commitment to dance education at the 3rd Annual 2014 Industry Dance Awards, September 10, at the Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles.
Created to honor the artistic achievements and contributions of dancers, choreographers, and others who have elevated the medium in popular culture, this year’s ceremony will feature awards, performances, appearances, and presentations by Adam Shankman, Mary Murphy, Joe Tremaine, Kenny Ortega, Twitch and Allison Holker, Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, Poreotics, and others.
Along with Gold, other award recipients will include Nigel Lythgoe of So You Think You Can Dance receiving the Innovator Award, and global pop star and choreographer Paula Abdul receiving the Industry Dance Icon Award.
The 2014 Industry Dance Awards hope to raise more than $100,000 to support cancer research and prevention. Proceeds will benefit four non-profit organizations: The Keep A Breast Foundation, Breast Cancer Angels, Bright Pink, and the Circle of Hope Foundation, known for its “I’m A Dancer Against Cancer” campaign.
For more information, visit http://industrydanceawards.com/. To see the original story, visit
Nine awards will be presented to honorees in six categories, including outstanding dance performance, outstanding performer, and outstanding performing ensemble, at next month’s 10th annual Minnesota Sage Awards for Dance.
Four educators are vying for the Outstanding Dance Educator award: Kenna-Camara Cottman of Voice of Culture, a West African performing group with an emphasis on culture and artistic education; HIJACK, a choreographic collaboration between Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder; Judith Howard, associate professor of dance and chair of theater and dance at Carleton College; and Julie Kerr-Berry, director of dance at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
CBS Minnesota said the awards will be presented October 14 at The Goodale Theater at The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts in downtown Minneapolis. The awards gala includes dance performances by Megan Flood, Patrick Scully, B-Boy J-Sun, and Praxis.
The awards, created to celebrate the dance community and bring national attention to the high-caliber dance activity in the Twin Cities, are named in honor of Sage Cowles, a choreographer, performer, and philanthropist who died earlier this year. An anonymous group of peer panelists selects the recipients based on work presented during the past year.
For a list of nominees, visit http://www.sageawards.org/. To see the original story, visit http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/09/06/gala-set-for-10th-annual-minnesota-dance-awards/.
The Martha Graham Dance Company will present a special program, “Appalachian Spring Up Close and Personal,” on October 30—the 70th anniversary of the premiere of this modern-dance masterpiece.
The program will include a complete performance of Graham’s Appalachian Spring in costume and with the classic Noguchi set pieces. This one-night-only event will also feature film and photos from the piece’s 1944 premiere, and an introduction with quotes from Graham’s correspondence with Aaron Copland as they created the beloved American classic.
Mariya Dashkina Maddux will lead the cast in Graham’s role of The Bride. She will be joined by Lloyd Mayor, Natasha Diamond-Walker, Lloyd Knight, Xiaochuan Xie, Ying Xin, Charlotte Landreau, and Lauren Newman.
The Martha Graham Studio Theater is located at 55 Bethune Street, 11th Floor, (at the corner of Washington Street), in Manhattan. The event begins at 7pm. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.marthagraham.org.
Pineapple Dance Studios, a dance reality series centered around Pineapple Studios, a dance studio complex and performing arts school in London, England, that serves as a rehearsal space for some of the biggest and best West End shows, pop acts, and dance performances, will have its U.S. television premiere September 28 at 7pm (ET) on Ovation.
Broadway World said the series gives exclusive access to the world-famous dance space, capturing studio drama from auditions to dance-offs, spray-tans to pop meltdowns.
Pineapple Dance Studios follows a comical cast of real-life “characters,” including Louie Spence, the outrageous and outspoken artistic director; Andrew Stone, dance teacher and wannabe pop-star; Mark Battershall, dance teacher to the stars; YouTube divorcée sensation Tricia Walsh-Smith; and Debbie Moore, intrepid owner and founder of the studio.
The 12 episodes follow Moore, her teachers, and aspiring young dancers through auditions, video shoots, choreography sessions, and music recordings, all culminating in a special performance at London’s O2 arena celebrating the studio’s 30th anniversary.
Beginning September 28, Pineapple Dance Studios will air on consecutive Sundays on Ovation. To see the original story, visit http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/Ovation-to-Air-US-Premiere-of-PINEAPPLE-DANCE-STUDIOS-928-20140903.
Dance & Fashion, an exhibit exploring the relationship between these two embodied art forms, will be presented at The Museum at FIT, the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion.
The Dance Enthusiast said Dance & Fashion will feature nearly 100 dance costumes and dance-inspired fashions, ranging from the 19th century to the present, many of which have never been exhibited.
Items will include a superb display of ballet costumes and related fashions from the 1830s and 1840s, the era of the Romantic ballet, including a rare Spanish-style costume worn by the great ballerina, Fanny Elssler. A costume by Christian Bérard for Symphonie Fantastique, along with a costume by Mme. Karinska for Ballet Imperial, will demonstrate the evolution of the classic ballet costume, while a costume from Creole Giselle for Dance Theatre of Harlem will evoke the continuing appeal of the Romantic ballet.
Christian Dior’s Black Swan ball gown will epitomize ballet’s influence on fashion design. The pointe shoes of famous dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Margot Fonteyn will be juxtaposed with high-fashion styles by Christian Louboutin and Noritaka Tatehana. Costumes worn by dancers such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov will be on display, as well as noteworthy dresses loaned by the Martha Graham Dance Company (some designed and worn by Graham herself), that were the product of a close collaboration between Halston and Graham.
Dance & Fashion will run September 13 to January 3, 2015, and admission is free. A two-day symposium on October 23 and 24 (also free and open to the public) will further explore dance and fashion. For more information, visit http://www.fitnyc.edu/22418.asp.
In 1967, filmmaker Frederick Wiseman documented the residents and inmates at Bridgewater [MA] State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, in his film, Titicut Follies. Today, James Sewell of the Minneapolis-based Sewell Ballet is working with Wiseman on a new ballet based on that film.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune said the Wiseman documentary ignited controversy when state authorities sought to prevent its release, saying it violated inmates’ privacy. The legal case rolled through various jurisdictions, but the film was withheld from distribution for years. Wiseman went on to wide fame for his fly-on-the-wall documentaries on a variety of subjects, including high-school life, meat, public housing, boxing—and, in two movies, including a profile of American Ballet Theatre, the world of dance.
Sewell said Wednesday that he and Wiseman, 84, have been talking by phone about the project this summer, and that Wiseman is due in Minneapolis later in September for meetings and in-studio improvisation.
Sewell said the ballet, which may retain the movie’s title, is likely to require 10 male dancers, as well as other characters to portray the state hospital’s doctors and nurses. Likely to premiere in Minneapolis about two years from now, the ballet will include music and possibly video from the original film, Sewell said.
“When I first saw the film—so intense, so strange—I thought, ‘how could you make a ballet of this?’ But the elements are all there—humorous, poetic, horrifying, sad,” Sewell said.
The movie’s title comes from an annual variety show that Bridgewater officials and inmates staged at the hospital. “These violent criminals and mentally ill inmates would put on a show, singing Gershwin with pom-poms in their hands,” Sewell said.
To see the original story, visit http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/blogs/273809581.html#YWC3y29HjHbF4wLu.01.
Fine art photographer Kylli Sparre creates dance-inspired photographs, almost all of which depict the artist herself in various dreamlike states and situations. Now the artist is over the moon that one of her photos is featured as the splash screen for the 2014 Adobe Photoshop CC app.
Working with outdoor landscapes, often with bodies of water or ice, Sparre draws from years of formal ballet training to create the dramatic photographs. Sparre, a self-taught designer, describes her style as “dreamlike, symbolic, and sometimes surreal.”
Beautiful.Bizarre described her work as thus: “Her photo manipulations are full of symbols connected to her love for nature, literature, and arts. Her models, lost in some Scandinavian Emily Brontë kind of landscape, illustrate the smallness of the human being in Nature and question relationships between us and our surroundings. In its entirety, Kylli’s work takes us to a place of magical woodland creatures, of theatrical leap into the wild world.”
To see a sampling of her photos, visit http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/08/dreamlike-conceptual-self-portraits-fused-with-dance-by-kylli-sparre/, http://beautifulbizarre.net/2014/04/16/kylli-sparre-nimbleness-nymphs/, or the artist’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Sparrek.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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.”
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.
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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_
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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.