Brandon Stengel, Courtesy Tu Dance

25 to Watch 2018: Alanna Morris-Van Tassel

In a quietly explosive solo embedded in Uri Sands' Matter, Alanna Morris-Van Tassel epitomized the grace and openness for which TU Dance is acclaimed. Wrapped in the American flag, she infused her twists and reaches, bound hands and open-armed vulnerability with a spring-loaded legacy of ancestral grief and personal gratitude before her hunched body detonated in heart-wrenching spasms of release.


Kari Mosel, courtesy Tu Dance

Morris-Van Tassel, who left TU Dance in the fall to embark on a solo career, is also intimately familiar with African diasporic dance traditions, including orisha dance from Trinidad. (Her mother is originally from Trinidad and Tobago.) She's currently building a project that will include solos created for her by Trinidadian choreographer Jamie Philbert (director of Art on Purpose, where Morris-Van Tassel was the artist-in-residence last year) and Israeli choreographer Idan Sharabi (commissioned as part of her 2015 McKnight Dance Fellowship).

Her depth of commitment includes workshops in community spaces and public schools. Wherever you find her, Morris-Van Tassel embodies the power of dance to create deep and lasting connections where words cannot.


Find out who else made Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" list this year.

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Cheryl Fox, courtesy W Publishing

Laurieann Gibson's New Book Is the Blueprint Dancers Need to Achieve Their Dreams

Emmy-nominated choreographer, director, producer and now author Laurieann Gibson proclaims she's an "unstoppable" force, and it shows. After taking a bus to New York City as a young dancer to train at The Ailey School, Gibson climbed her way to the top of the dance, film and television industries, choreographing and directing world tours for icons like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. Now, with the release of her first book, Dance Your Dance: 8 Steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live Your Dream, Gibson—a 2020 Dance Magazine Award honoree—uses her story to inspire dancers on their own journeys of harnessing their unique gifts.

To celebrate the release of Dance Your Dance, Gibson took to our Instagram for a live masterclass and Q&A with Dance Magazine editor in chief Jennifer Stahl.

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February 2021