What’s up in the dance community
Dancer Featured in DSL Dies in Bombing
Aadel Qies Aadel was a young Iraqi dancer who was determined to study hip-hop despite all odds and obstacles—a fact that earned him recognition from this publication and other media outlets. On July 3, Aadel (also known as Adel Euro) was among almost 300 people killed in Baghdad by a truck bomb.
Aadel’s relationship with New York City’s Battery Dance Company, which included lessons via Skype and training and a performance in Jordan, was featured in Dance Studio Life (“Dancing to Connect,” January 2016). After the bombing, company president and artistic director Jonathan Hollander told Dance Studio Life that even with no teacher, studio, or performance opportunities in Iraq, Aadel’s “brilliance, self-direction, and hard work” had been evident.
In his tribute to Aadel, Hollander urged the dance community to “take a break from what we see in the mirror, look inside, and ask what we might be able to do in our own communities—or across the world—to connect with others.” It could be as simple as being a sounding board for a young person passionate about dance, he wrote, as Battery Dance was for Aadel. This promising young dancer, Hollander said, “told his friends that the time in Amman, Jordan, when he got to rehearse and dance onstage with Battery Dance, was the best time of his life.”
Modern Master Lubovitch Honored by ADF
As an art major and gymnast years ago at the University of Iowa, Lar Lubovitch knew nothing about dance. Accepting the American Dance Festival’s Scripps Lifetime Achievement Award on July 11 in Durham, North Carolina, Lubovitch recalled those days: while attending a José Limón Dance Company performance, he said, “my life changed between curtain up and final bows.”
Intrigued by that first exposure to modern dance, Lubovitch sought information at American Dance Festival. His first day of training included classes with Limón, Martha Graham, and Alvin Ailey, who “all said marvelous things, but the lessons were in their bodies—the way they moved, their magisterial presence, the dedication and mastery, the resolute integrity of their mission.”
The choreographer, admired for his innovative work in dance that stretches from 48 years with his Lar Lubovitch Dance Company to Broadway to television, said making dances is always a struggle. “When it gets really painful, I make a bargain with God or the devil to let me get through this one, and I promise to never do it again. I always break the promise.”
Lubovitch, co-founder of Chicago Dancing Festival, recently joined the dance department at the University of California–Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts as a distinguished professor.
Live and Print Arts Intersect in Dance Ink
Beautiful photos of dance and dancers abound. Yet award-winning performing arts journal Dance Ink, published from 1989 to 1996, did more than present pretty pictures—it commissioned new dance works, which it photographed and presented in an exquisitely designed quarterly magazine. Dance Ink created a unique alternative performance opportunity for the New York City dance community.
Now, after 20 years, Dance Ink is back. The original publisher, Patsy Tarr, and designer/editor, Abbott Miller, have relaunched the journal in the “desire to create a platform for the amazing new talent in performance,” Tarr said in a release from the design consultancy Pentagram.
The revival’s first issue celebrates both the new and the old. Black-and-white photos capture New York City Ballet principal dancers Amar Ramasar and Adrian Danchig-Waring re-creating choreography from NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go (2014); in some of these photos Ramasar and Danchig-Waring are joined by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member Silas Riener. In other photos, Riener re-creates poses from original photographs of the Cunningham solo Changeling (1957). Christian Witkin is the sole photographer for this issue.
Tarr and Abbott kept busy during Dance Ink’s absence, creating awareness and appreciation for dance and choreography through their 2wice Arts Foundation, publishing the performing arts–focused magazine 2wice, and creating choreography remix apps such as Dot Dot Dot, Fifth Wall, and Passe-Partout. Visit 2wice.org for information.
Computer Careers Calling BA Dancers
Retiring Ballet Arizona dancers might soon find themselves leaping from Coppélia to coding.
Beginning this month, the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe is offering half-ride scholarships (valued at up to $50,000) to contracted company dancers and recent alumni who would like to pursue post-dance careers in areas such as digital media, gaming design, robotics, or artificial life programming.
UAT connected with the ballet this spring after company dancer Kenna Draxton, president of the company’s Artist Relief Fund, was introduced to UAT president Jason Pistillo at a performance. Draxton spoke of the career challenges retiring dancers face and explained that the Relief Fund subsidizes college costs for several dancers. Pistillo called shortly thereafter with the offer.
“It’s exciting for the dancers to see that a university is taking an interest in their futures,” Draxton told Dance Studio Life, adding that she probably will pursue an advanced computer science degree at UAT. “So many of our dancers incorporate tech into their self-promotion, posting creatively on social media, [and] talking about the video games they played all weekend. I’m excited about this collaboration.”