Tag Archive | "92nd Street Y"

Budding, Not Yet Blooming: Donna Salgado’s CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet


By Tara Sheena of Dance Informa.

For this month’s “Budding, Not Yet Blooming” series we profile New York-based choreographer and Artistic Director of CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet, Donna Salgado. Salgado’s company, founded in 2010, has already gained significant attention for their highly technical work and boundary-defying ideas of contemporary ballet. Their notoriety has continued with high-profile performances at the 92nd Street Y, DanceNOW, and multiple summers on the famed Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out stage. Next month, Salgado will showcase her work for the Columbia Ballet Collective at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center. Excerpts of her interview with Dance Informa’s Tara Sheena are below.

What originally drew you to choreography? Do you have any early influences you can recall?

Pursuing an artistic life can begin in the most simple way— mine was a desire to create beautiful things. At an early age I took great interest in coloring and painting, sketching fashion designs, perfecting my signature, and making all sorts of arts and crafts. My favorite aspect of creating was discovering ways to improve my projects and make them look better or more interesting. Meanwhile, as a child, I was taking dance lessons and freely dancing in my parents’ home because I loved the feeling of my body moving through space to music. It was inevitable that these two ideas would cross paths.

Donna Salgado

Donna Salgado, Artistic Director of CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet. Photo by Michael Darling.

How would you describe your aesthetic and style to someone who has never seen your work?

Collage-like, elegant, movement oriented, soulful.

What is the biggest challenge for emerging choreographers in NYC right now? What are the strategies you’ve employed to navigate that challenge?

All art professions are challenging, however, as my Dad says, “If you are going to shine, you are going to shine no matter what.” Just make art. That is the only strategy worth following. 

What are the next steps for you and your company?

Last spring, we welcomed resident choreographer, Juanjo Arques, from the Dutch National Ballet, and took great pleasure in experiencing a new and different process. After such a positive experience, [we are] making collaboration a major priority. This month, we will be working in the studio with [New York-based choreographer] Emery LeCrone. We also recently created the Understanding Dance blog at understandingdance.tumblr.com.

Right now, I am really excited to be creating a premiere for the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. The performances are on November 22nd and November 23rd at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center.

To keep up to date with Donna Salgado and CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet visit www.continuumcontemporaryballet.org


Photo (top): CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet performing at Jacob’s Pillow. Photo by Michael Darling.

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ABT soloist branches out to start own company


By Chelsea Thomas.

For some dancers that first claim to fame is enough to satisfy. Just making it into the rankings of one of the world’s most prestigious companies is enough to feel accomplished and fulfilled, no matter the position. Yet, for others that feeling doesn’t last and the unquenchable desire for something more creeps back in.

American Ballet Theatre soloist Craig Salstein knows this feeling of discontentment well. It has, in part, driven him to his latest project – starting his own dance company. Describing himself as a homegrown philosopher and slight skeptic, he explains that his new company, named Intermezzo Dance Company, was born out of his desire to see more fulfilled in the classical ballet sphere.

“Intermezzo will be a place that doesn’t represent any structure that is already here in the world of dance – the big companies and hierarchies including principals, soloists, corps, etc.,” Salstein explains. “I don’t think we need to be blindly following a pattern which stems from the origins of this classical structure. Someone has to be able to offer something new.”

And something new is just what this Miami native has planned. From what has thus far been released, Salstein’s company will be composed of ballet dancers from various backgrounds and companies – none fitting the textbook mold of a rigid, classical ballet dancer.

American Ballet Theatre male soloist

American Ballet Theatre soloist Craig Salstein. Photo courtesy of ABT.

“I wish to establish a strong group of people who will take this journey with me. I am using Carlos Lopez, who is not with American Ballet Theatre anymore, but was a former soloist and a colleague of mine. I’m using Stephen Hanna, who is a former principal at the New York City Ballet. I’m using Aran Bell, a young Billy Elliot star on Broadway. I’m using Kaitlyn Gilliland, a former NYCB dancer, who gave up a little too soon. I’m also using Shoshana Rosenfield, who is a former NYCB dancer,” Salstein details.

In addition, ballerinas Sarah James, a former ABT and North Carolina Dance Theatre dancer; Nadezhda Vostrikov , a current dancer with BalletNY, former dancer with Boston Ballet II and The Alberta Ballet in Canada; and Amber Neff, current corps de ballet member at The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, will be joining the ensemble.

This diverse band of dancers will have a “type of Mark Morris-feel,” describes Salstein. “Everyone will dance and there won’t just be a group of dancers standing at the back watching a Swan and a Prince.”

Ironically, Salstein, who seems frustrated with the unfair pyramid schemes rampant in the professional ballet world, has himself never really struggled for a chance to dance in the spotlight. Starting to dance with famed contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels at age five, he was dancing solos created by Michaels within a few years. His ballet training at the Ballet Academy of Miami led him to continued training with the Miami City Ballet, which he later joined as a company member in 1999 after more extensive training with The Joffrey Ballet, the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre as a National Training Scholar. During his formative years, Salstein was already being awarded honors, such as being named the Grand Champion of Ed McMahon’s Star Search in 1995.

Now, dancing as an ABT soloist since March 2007, Salstein is often given solos in major performances, such as the roles of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, the Bronze Idol and the Head Fakir in La Bayadère, Birbanto in Le Corsaire, Gamache in Don Quixote, the first sailor in Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, the Nutcracker-Prince in Kevin McKenzie’s The Nutcracker and the Champion Roper in Rodeo.

Craig Salstein starts dance company

Craig Salstein in ‘The Bright Stream’. Photo by Rosalie O’ Connor.

However, he says that in general he has always sided with the underdogs, who in this case are those dancers who are often overlooked and underappreciated inside bigger companies.

“As much as I’ve been propelled by my soloist status and my repertoire, I can’t help but look at my colleagues in the back who are just standing around,” Salstein explained. “For the dancers who are playing the cowboys in Rodeo and the villagers in Giselle, I’m more inclined to sympathize with them. I’d rather stick with the guys who are struggling.”

For this reason, Salstein is excited about the opportunities Intermezzo will offer these dancers and the classical ballet world. He says, “It’s about allowing talented dancers to really dance and cutting the puppeteer from the puppet.”

“As ballet dancers, we are often innocent bystanders to an insane amount of subjective authority, to the extent in which no one can really combat it. I mean, how can you combat a director’s preferences? The whole ‘You’re not tall enough,’ ‘You’re not skinny enough,’ ‘You’ve got brown hair’?”

With Intermezzo, Salstein wants to give each of his carefully selected and talented dancers either a second chance or a new opportunity. “I merely want to facilitate a place where dancers can practice, create and perform as dancers. They won’t have to put a mustache on or slide into a fat suit to fulfill a character role. Rather, they’ll all just dance,” he said.

Intermezzo’s debut performances will take place at the 92nd Street Y in New York City from October 18-20, 2013. The program will feature a celebration of the composer Giuseppe Verdi with two new ballets.  Five choreographers and eight dancers will tackle Verdi’s String Quartet in E minor, and a suite from Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) arranged for String Quartet, all played live by The Wyrick Quartet, led by Eric Wyrick, concertmaster of the New Jersey Symphony.

Craig Salstein as Mercutio

Craig Salstein as Mercutio in ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Photo by MIRA.

“The year 2013 celebrates the bicentennial births of two great opera composers, one being Giuseppe Verdi. As a huge opera fan, I decided I wanted to do something to celebrate his birthday,” Salstein explains.

A lifelong lover of music, Salstein also hinted that he could be announcing a composer-in-residence for Intermezzo soon. He said the composer, choreographers and dancers would work together to create completely original work.

Dancers Marcelo Gomes (ABT), Lisa de Ribere (formerly with NYCB and with ABT), Adam Hendrickson (formerly with NYCB), Gemma Bond (ABT) and Raymond Lukens (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School) will choreograph for the debut performances in October. Charles Barker will serve as Music Advisor for the program.

Long-term, Salstein hopes that Intermezzo will become an established ensemble that will provide dancers health insurance, dental insurance and good salaries while still keeping “ the passion of dance.” He is still accessing how this will work, but hopes that the efforts put forth by him and the participants will help create a new world for ballet.

“The goal for Intermezzo is to try and stimulate the individual dancer without having to go back to the same-old roles and sets. I want the company to be an ongoing project, which serves as a third party candidate to the standardized  ‘Republican’ and ‘Democratic’ parties,” he explains.

While openly critical of the classical ballet structure, Salstein also clarifies that he still appreciates the classics, just in their rightful place and time.

“I think we shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. And with Intermezzo, I am going to try my best to not create something that is just another black-and-white, constitutional ballet. This is about an inner hope that ballet can continue to grow and try new things.”

For more information on Craig Salstein or Intermezzo Dance Company, visit intermezzodancecompany.org.

Photo (top): Craig Salstein performs with American Ballet Theatre in 2007. Photo by Nancy Ellison.

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TrioDance Collective – Budding, Not Yet Blooming: A Profile on Emerging Choreographers


By Tara Sheena.

TrioDance Collective is really the product of a dynamic duo: Emily Jeffries and Barbie Diewald. Formed in 2010, the small company has presented its original work in many New York City venues, including The Kitchen and the Center for Performance Research.

Though Jeffries and Diewald both assume roles as artistic directors, the works they present are usually individual showings. In other words, Trio Dance Collective is an example of an important model more and more dance companies are employing these days: resource sharing.

By operating under the same moniker, Jeffries and Diewald have been able to present complete seasons of their work consistently over the past couple of years, as well as an annual emerging choreographer’s festival at the revered 92nd Street Y, Green Line. By pooling resources— whether that be space, marketing for shows or performers— the company has been a consistent force in the vast scene of emerging contemporary choreographers in NYC.

The pair exchanged ideas about their influences, challenges and the importance of time in making new works with Dance Informa.

What originally drew you to choreography?

Emily Jeffries

I have always been attracted to choreography. I am fascinated by physical communication in body language. When I was younger I’d watch and study the way people moved their hands, bodies and lips while holding conversation. Years later, I find choreography to be my clearest form of communication. I am greatly influenced by Carmella Ollero and Sachiko Takimura, dancers I have had the privilege of continually working with for some time. Structured improvisations influence my work a great deal, alongside research. 

Barbie Diewald

I remember watching [George Balanchine’s] Ballo della Regina over and over [at age 9 or 10], and having an understanding that someone had made that ballet. I think that was the first abstract ballet I had ever seen, and it was so specific and so virtuosic. One of my ballet teachers, Ken von Heidecke, had a very choreographic approach to class, and we worked with a lot of imagery. He helped me to see the creative core inside the classical discipline, and that has carried through in my work ever since. 

Barbie Diewald in rehearsal for TrioDance Collective.

Barbie Diewald in rehearsal. Photo by Mickey Hoelscher.

How would you describe your aesthetic and style to someone who has never seen your work?

Emily

My movement embodies the entire body and mind weaving through gestures and stillness to full bodied dancing that takes up a great deal of space. 

Barbie

I like to set everyday gestures alongside codified classical shapes or movements because I like the way they inform each other. I feel like there is a really truthful balance between, say, a beautiful passé and a gesture one might use to swat a fly away. I’m still negotiating that balance, but it definitely comes up in my work.

What is the biggest challenge for emerging choreographers in NYC right now? What are the strategies you’ve employed to navigate that challenge?

Emily

Time is a large challenge for choreographers. New York is very busy, very fast and very full. It takes a certain amount of concentration to slow down and focus on a singular concept or theme, or experiment. To navigate this I schedule rehearsals consistently and structure them to aide in conceptual development. 

Barbie

I think the hardest thing to do as a choreographer is to structure my time and my life in a way that fuels my art and nourishes the people who choose to work with me.  I’ve found that the best way to do this is to commit to a consistent schedule and to be realistic with what you can expect from your collaborators – in my case, five dancers. After a few years of trial and error, I’ve found a way to make the pieces fit together so that it all works.

What does the title “emerging” mean to you?

Emily

Beginning to be noticed. 

Barbie

The word “emerging” implies that I have somehow found my choreographic voice and anchored into a process that yields good work. Much of the past few years have been a searching process for me, an incubation, and I feel that I am finally able to settle into the kind of dance I would like to make right now. I don’t think a choreographer is considered “emerging” as soon as she/he begins making work. I think it is a process of working that brings you to that point. For some people it may be a quick process, but it has taken me a few years to get here.

What are the next steps for you and your company?

Emily

A series of practice-based research rehearsals focused on the neck. I’ll be in London for a bit starting this coming fall [for grad school] choreographing there and continuing to work in NYC electronically. 

Barbie

The first is a collaboration with a music group called the Nouveau Classical Project, which has us working with five classical musicians and our composer, Trevor Gureckis.  We’re working with this new musical lens, and it is really exciting!

The second project is something that’s been tugging at me for years, a work that centers on the life and writing of Virginia Woolf. I have a feeling this one might take a few years. 

For more on TrioDance Collective, visit www.triodance.com.

Photo (top): Dancer Sachiko Takimura in the forefront of a work by Emily Jeffries. Photo by Mickey Hoelscher. 

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Have choreography?


Opportunities to show your work in New York.

By Katherine Moore.

Living and working as a dancer in New York City can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re new to the city. Young dancers arrive in the Big Apple full of dreams, but often with very little concrete information about how to begin their dance careers.

This task can be even more daunting for aspiring choreographers looking for venues to show their work. In many cases, young choreographers have just graduated from college dance programs, where they had unlimited space, resources, mentorship, and guaranteed venues and performances to demonstrate their burgeoning creative talent. Making the big leap to showing work in New York can be extremely challenging for a multitude of reasons, but for emerging artists and for those who hope to gain an MFA in dance and enter higher education, choreographic experience outside of undergraduate work is an essential component of a career in dance. 

Luckily, the dance scene in New York is vast and varied in its opportunities for young artists. With a little pre-planning and organization of application materials, choreographers can find themselves performing and showing work all over the city in venues specifically designed for emerging artists and new work. These venues allow choreographers to gain exposure, feedback, and networking opportunities with their peers. For some dancers who have been unlucky in their search for dance employment, these venues give young artists the ability to take their performance career under their own control by creating opportunities to be seen doing what they love most: dancing.

These opportunities take creativity, organization, and initiative to bring to fruition, and in an effort to make the task more manageable for our inspired readers, we have compiled a listing of some choreographic opportunities suited for emerging dance artists and works-in-progress in New York. Each has its own set of requirements and dynamic character, some requiring fees and extensive documentation, but with a little pre-planning and, of course, some talent, young dance artists could be performing all over the city before they know it.

The Steps Performance Lab

http://www.stepsnyc.com/steps-beyond/performances/the-performance-lab/

 Green Space

-Fertile Ground Performance Series

-Take Root Performance Series

http://www.greenspacestudio.org/performance.html

Dance New Amsterdam

-RAW material

http://www.dnadance.org/site/artist-opportunities/gene-pool/

-Works in Progress

http://www.dnadance.org/site/artist-opportunities/works-in-progress/

Movement Research

-Open Performance

http://www.movementresearch.org/performancesevents/openperformance/

-Movement Research at Judson Church

http://www.movementresearch.org/performancesevents/judsonchurch/

Danspace Project

-Draft Work

 http://danspaceproject.org/forartists/about_our_programs.php

Amalgamate Dance Company

-Amalgamate Artist Series

 http://amalgamatedance.com/schedule/amalgamate-artist-series/

Williamsburg Art neXus

-WAXworks

http://www.triskelionarts.org/?page_id=1166

Chen Dance Center

-newsteps

http://www.chendancecenter.org/index.php/the_theater/series/

Jennifer Muller/The Works

-HATCH Presenting series 
http://jmtw.org/educational-programs-hatch-presenting-series.html

Dance Theater Workshop

 -Fresh Tracks 

 http://www.dancetheaterworkshop.org/freshtracks10 

Harkness Dance Center, 92nd Street Y

-Fridays at Noon 

http://www.92y.org/Uptown/Dance-Performances-and-Events/Fridays-at-Noon.aspx

-Sundays at Three

http://www.92y.org/Uptown/Dance-Performances-and-Events/Sundays-at-Three.aspx

Photo:  © Patrick J Hanrahan | Dreamstime.com

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Tara’s Top 5 Must-Sees of the 11-12 NYC Dance Season


By Tara Sheena

Summer is officially winding down and the fall season will emerge from the depths of yesteryear faster than Ashley Bouder’s petit allegro. The days of seeing your favorite dance companies light up the innumerable free outdoor venues NYC has to offer are long gone. Now, you have to pay for tickets and brave the chilled concrete jungle to catch a glimpse of your favorite movers and shakers. But, fear not! I have compiled a list of my top five ‘must-sees’ of the season so you can plan ahead and put that rainy-day cash to good use! Here they are, in no particular order:

Launch of NY Live Arts 

This fall brings us the launch of NY Live Arts, the merger between presenting venue, Dance Theater Workshop, and the chronically cutting-edge, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. The inaugural season of this historic partnership promises to keep the contemporary dance community on its toes. Established programs like the Studio Series and Lobby TALKS will continue with renewed momentum. New programs, like the Live Gallery and the broadened Replay Series, will allow greater exposure to the over forty performances New York Live Arts will present over the course of the next year. Major highlights I am looking forward to are Rosann Spradlin’s intensely physical vocabulary, the highly unique voices of Zoe | Juniper, and a promising replay of Big Dance Theater’s 2010 Bessie-award winning, Comme Toujours Here I Stand. The season kicks off on September 16, 2011 with a two-week run of Bill T. Jones’ highly acclaimed Body Against Body. What is already a historic event, this collaboration gives insight to where the dance community is headed and the endless collaborative possibilities the future holds for our beloved form.  www.newyorklivearts.org

 

Yannick Lebrun in Robert Battle's Takademe. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Robert Battle’s First Full Season as the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
 
The resident hard-hitting, rhythm-pulsing, heart-racing king of modern dance has officially been the Artistic Director of AAADT for just over two months, and already there have been some signature moments of the Battle Era. I am most excited for one of the biggest reforms initiated by Battle: the New Directions Choreography Lab. This program pairs emerging choreographers with veterans in the field and allows them the luxury of having rehearsal space, a stipend, and freedom to create without the pressure of a performance. Battle favors process over product, and his program allows choreographers to have that important liberty to just create. As with any new leader, Battle will bring new voices to the highly skilled, virtuosic troupe of dancers. Works by Ohad Naharin and Paul Taylor will receive their Ailey debuts, as well as a world premiere by hip hop master, Rennie Harris, ensuring these historic events will offer a memorable first season for the Battle era. www.alvinailey.org

 

The Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera is an amazing opportunity for classically trained dancers to perform alongside some of the world’s best opera singers, on one of the most revered stages, with some of the world’s best choreographers. Not a bad gig, eh? The upcoming season promises to deliver an exciting assortment of, to quote Wagner himself, ‘gesamtkunstwerk’ (AKA some really awesome stuff!) Two particular productions I cannot wait to witness are Faust, choreographed by Kelly Devine, and Manon, choreographed by Lionel Hoche. Devine brings a largely musical theater background to the project, most recently lending her moves to the US tour of Rock of Ages. It will be interesting to see the intersections between her brand of hard-hitting rock n’ roll with this tale of German folklore when it opens on November 29. During the second half of the season, we will see famed French choreographer Lionel Heche take on a fellow Frenchman’s tragic story: Massenet’s Manon. Heche has worked with many acclaimed companies, including the Paris Opera Ballet and Jiri Kylian’s Netherlands troupe, making him one of the most sought-after French choreographers in the world. His neo-classical style incorporates everything from Forsythe to ballet, and it will all be seen through the eyes of Manon when this production receives its Met premiere on March 26, 2012. www.metoperafamily.org

92nd Street Y Presents the Out of Israel Showcase

It is rare that the United States gets to benefit from witnessing the highly physical, intensely visceral experience of Israeli contemporary dance. That is why I am so excited that the 92nd Street Y is feeding all of the die-hard fans a dose of their own fanaticism (and saving me a trip to Tel Aviv) by bringing us the Out of Israel showcase in January 2012. Start the year off right with hometown favorite Andrea Miller and her electrifying troupe, Gallim Dance, and then delve into the worlds of Michael Samama, Neta Yerushalmy, Lior Schneior, and others. The entire weekend is devoted to this signature brand of movement, with varying programs and what is sure to be a unique set of shows. www.92y.org

Remembering September 11th with the NYC Dance Community

Jacqulyn Buglisi has been an important preservationist of modern dance in the US for many years. A featured dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Buglisi’s own company has been an important pillar of site-specific performance, and this September will be no exception. As a tribute to the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center buildings on September 11, 2001, Buglisi and one hundred other NYC dancers will stage a site-specific performance at Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza. Collaborating with Ms. Buglisi on the work are Italian artist Rossella Vasta and flautist Andrea Ceccomori. An important day in American history, the dance community will come together to recognize this great tragedy and work to acknowledge the hope that the future holds. The event will begin at 8:20am on September 11 and conclude at 8:46am, the exact time that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. An amazing way to pay respect and come together as a community, this event will use dance to portray the unfaltering will and determination of the American people.

Top photo: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Body Against Body

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