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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Martha Graham and Paul Taylor in Clytemnestra. Photo by Martha Swope, courtesy MGDC

The Graham Company Is Making Quarantine Magic With its Archives

Martha is having her YouTube moment. Who can resist the sight of the modern dance icon donning 3-D glasses for the Wednesday Martha Matinees, a marvelous hump day mix of vintage and recent performances? These are just one of many outstanding pieces of digital programming coming out of the Martha Graham Dance Company since the lockdown, which have also included the world premiere of Immediate Tragedy (a lost 1937 solo reimagined for the internet), company member Lloyd Knight's lively interviews with the dancers and a robust Instagram network of Graham technique classes.

This is not only Martha's moment, but Janet Eilber's as well, as she has been creating historical context for the company's work since she took the helm. Fans are well acquainted with Eilber's vast insights during her pre-show curtain talks, but now she is putting her Graham smarts to work in a way for us all to learn.

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