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Rhode Island Women’s Choreography Project celebrates 5 years and looks ahead

Celeste Kling and Natalia Andrade. Photo courtesy of RIWCP.
Celeste Kling and Natalia Andrade. Photo courtesy of RIWCP.

The Rhode Island Women’s Choreography Project (RIWCP) proudly commemorates its fifth anniversary this summer with live performances and a special fundraising initiative aiming to raise $5,000. The initiative will kick off a year-long capital campaign to create an endowment fund for the organization, which fills Rhode Island’s local ballet studios with life and energy during the summer months and brings together artists from all over New England and beyond.

RIWCP has a mission to nurture, elevate and empower female and nonbinary choreographers by providing them with the support and resources they need to create new and groundbreaking work. Beginning with its goal of raising $5,000 this August, the organization plans to lay a strong foundation for its future years in tandem with its upcoming annual performances this August 27th.

Founded by dancers Hannah Klinkman and Louisa Mejeur, RIWCP began as a spontaneous, volunteer-based production with a vision for gender equity. The gender gap in ballet and contemporary choreography is striking. According to the Dance Data Project’s 2023 First Look Report, only 22 percent of the largest ballet works in the U.S. last season were choreographed by women and people of other or mixed gender. Observing this underrepresentation within their own dance careers, Klinkman and Mejeur set about producing a show choreographed entirely by women. “Our beginning was not profound”, says Mejeur of the project’s early days. “We needed an opportunity to choreograph and there wasn’t one, so we made it. Sometimes, an artist only needs a chance.”

Since 2018, RIWCP has proven itself to be that for many growing artists. Twenty-seven female and non-binary choreographers to date have created new work through the project, many of them for the first time. Currently directed by Kristy DuBois and Eugenia Zinovieva, the project now offers performance stipends, choreographic mentorships and more. Next steps for the organization include increasing its artist compensation and geographic reach.

“I’m proud to play a part in an organization that exists to support up-and-coming artists,” says DuBois. “Going forward, I would like RIWCP to grow into a nationally recognized residency program that is known for launching the next generation of dance makers.”

To support RIWCP’s vital work, individuals can make a donation by visiting the campaign page. Supporters local to the Rhode Island area can also purchase tickets to RIWCP’s performances at 1 pm and 5 pm on Sunday August 27, in Providence, RI.

RIWCP is sponsored by Ballet RI, Providence Ballet Theatre, Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism, Providence Tourism Council, and Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Performances will be held at the Ballet RI Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $15.

For more information, visit www.riwomenschoreographyproject.com.

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