What’s up in the dance community
BalletBoyz Film Honors WWI Troops
In today’s cinema, where war often is depicted through graphic CGI images of stunning realism, U.K. dance company BalletBoyz is releasing a feature-length film that uses dance—and no dialogue—to tell the story of the cusp-of-adulthood British boys who fought and died for their country during World War I.
Filmed on location in Northern France, Young Men follows a young soldier and his squadron as they prepare for and then face combat in a war that, according to a BalletBoyz press release, caused the “devastation of a continent.” BalletBoyz artistic directors Michael Nunn and William Trevitt directed this cinematic offering, which is based on their original 80-minute, 2015 stage production of the same name. Choreography is by Iván Pérez of Nederlands Dans Theater with music by singer-songwriter Keaton Henson.
According to the company, a 60-minute version of the film will air on BBC2 later this year, with the 72-minute feature film to be released at a later date. Visit youngmenmovie.com.
R.I. Company Thinks Big in Small State
Perhaps it’s because of its small size—or its quirky reputation—but Rhode Island isn’t the first location that springs to mind when thinking of dance. As founder and artistic director of Fusionworks Dance Company, Deb Meunier set out to change that when she founded the Northeast Choreographers Festival (NECF).
“Dance is very vital here in Rhode Island and there is a lot going on,” Meunier told Dance Studio Life, adding that her company’s board saw the festival as a “chance to dig a little deeper into what we do” and connect to the dance community outside the state.
Meunier said she was thrilled to receive responses from 60 modern and contemporary choreographers to the festival’s nationwide call for submissions. Three artists from Rhode Island, two from New York, one who works in New York and Boston, and one from Arizona were selected to set works this summer on the Fusionworks main and junior companies in preparation for the NECF concert on November 5 at the McVinney Auditorium in Providence. An educational concert for schoolchildren will take place on November 4, and a series of open master classes will wrap up on November 5.
The festival met the company’s goal of making connections—so much so, in fact, that in the future, NECF will stand for Nationally Emerging Choreographers Festival. “It’s been exciting to put our little dance company on people’s radar—to be ‘on the map,’ ” said Fusionworks dancer and marketing associate Brittni Laquidara Forkey. Visit eventbrite.com/e/necf-2016-tickets-24221695744/ for tickets. (See “Performance Corner.”)
She’s the Top: Brenda Bufalino Recognized
The conceptual effort and commitment required for tap artistry can be “a grind,” Brenda Bufalino said in 2014 for an episode of the video podcast The Interviews by tappers Travis Knights and Tanya Rivard. “I have no patience, but I’m incredibly tenacious. I quit. Every day I quit. I have quit show business every day of my life and come back the next day.”
That dedication to the art of tap dance, which includes a multifaceted career of performing, teaching, writing, and advocacy, was recognized when Bufalino received The New York Dance and Performance Award (The Bessie) for Lifetime Achievement in Dance during the 32nd Annual Bessie Awards ceremony, which was held October 18 in New York City.
One of the first to present tap dance in a full-length concert format, Bufalino, along with Charles “Honi” Coles and Tony Waag, founded the nonprofit dance company American Tap Dance Orchestra in 1986. Later renamed American Tap Dance Foundation, the organization continues to present and preserve the art of tap dance through educational programming.
Scholarships, Info Available at CNADM College Fair
Through improvements and expansions to its annual College and Career Fair, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters (CNADM) supports high school dancers as they navigate the sometimes stressful path to higher education.
Debbie Werbrouck, fair chairperson, former CNADM president, and studio owner for 47 years, said she has found a growing interest among dance students in either majoring or minoring in dance. “There are so many career opportunities—to perform, to teach, to work on a related job in the dance field. We want students to make good, informed decisions, and find a college program that works for them,” she told Dance Studio Life. “We also want to make parents aware that their child will not be a starving artist if she comes away with a degree in dance.”
Four years ago CNADM started a small, information-only college fair held during the organization’s Fall Dance Workshops. This year’s expanded event features booths for more than 20 dance programs, two scholarship auditions (one for ballet/contemporary students and a second for potential musical theater majors), panel Q&As with program reps, and an information session for teachers and studio owners. Auditioning students have the opportunity to win scholarships from participating programs, including those at Hofstra, Montclair State, and Southern Methodist universities.
The fair runs from 8am to 5pm on November 5 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago–Oak Brook Hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois. General admission is free but there are fees to participate in auditions, panel discussions, and workshops. Visit cnadm.com for details.