News

Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie on Collaborating—and Clashing—With Her Brother

Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie (front left) and her company in Odeon, which premieres at Jacob's Pillow this summer. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Courtesy Asherie

Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie is no stranger to Jacob's Pillow. The New York–based b-girl has performed on the famous Inside/Out stage and at the Doris Duke Theatre and has appeared several times as a guest artist with Dorrance Dance. The native Israeli returns this summer as the first recipient of the Jacob's Pillow Fellowship at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post (which includes a $15,000 grant, a weeklong Pillow residency and another residency at Long Island University)—and to premiere a new work, Odeon, with her company, Ephrat Asherie Dance.

You must be so excited to go to Jacob's Pillow again.

It's truly amazing to be somewhere where people value dance so much. There's a weight given to what we do that's special and not how the rest of the world tends to operate around art. It's like a dance fairyland.


What was the inspiration for Odeon?

I knew I wanted to collaborate with my brother, Ehud, who's a jazz pianist. I would always go see his gigs, and there was a composer he played all the time, Ernesto Nazareth. I started listening to more of that music, and Ehud said, "Why don't we just do a project with Nazareth?"

The music straddles popular Brazilian rhythms and then this very classical, romantic music. Ehud helps the percussive feel come out, so it's very connected to the styles I do, which are all African-based. The title of the show, Odeon, is one of my favorite Nazareth tunes—but it's also the name of a kind of Greek and Roman building where people would gather for performances.

What is it like collaborating with your brother?

The same thing that makes it great makes it difficult! We can speak so directly to each other, which is efficient—nobody needs to be coddled. But, when we have a disagreement, we can really disagree. We're cut from the same cloth, so we're both pretty stubborn. At the same time, though, he introduced me to the music for Odeon and he loves it so much. That love itself is infectious.

The last time you were at Jacob's Pillow was with Dorrance Dance, whom you've been touring with quite a bit. What has it been like working with tap dancers?

I have this reverence for tap dancers because they're both musicians and dancers. Tap is the first of this lineage of African social dance; you can see in it the roots of everything that my company and I do. It feels like we're all cousins—it totally makes sense to work together. It's also helped me think about the percussive values of the things I do and think about choreography in a different way. I ask myself: What does this sound like in my mind, even if someone else can't hear it?

After your Pillow premiere, what's next?

We received a National Dance Project grant from New England Foundation for the Arts, so we're going on tour with Odeon. We're going to be able to keep living in the work, keep growing, keep seeing how it changes. Performance is ephemeral, but we'll get to live in it a little.

Day in the Life

Most people may know Derek Dunn for his impeccable turns and alluring onstage charisma. But the Boston Ballet principal dancer is just as charming offstage, whether he's playing with his 3-year-old miniature labradoodle or working in the studio. Dance Magazine recently spent the day with Dunn as he prepared for his debut as Albrecht in the company's upcoming run of Giselle.

Dance Training
Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Mark Morris Dance Group

You know compelling musicality when you see it. But how do you cultivate it? It's not as elusive as it might seem. Musicality, like any facet of dance, can be developed and honed over time—with dedicated, detailed practice. At its most fundamental, it's "respect for the music, that this is your partner," says Kate Linsley, academy principal of the School of Nashville Ballet.

Keep reading... Show less
The USC Kaufman graduating class with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gus Ruelas/USC

Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.

Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:

Keep reading... Show less
In Memoriam
Ross Parkes, right, teaching in Shanghai in 1983. Lan-Lan Wang is at left. Courtesy Lan-Lan Wang.

Notable dancer and beloved teacher, Ross Parkes, 79, passed away on August 5, 2019 in New York City. He was a founding faculty member at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, where he taught from 1984 to 2006. Lin Hwai-min, artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theater, said: "He nurtured two generations of dancers in Taiwan, and his legacy will continue."

About his dancing, Tonia Shimin, professor emerita at UC Santa Barbara and producer of Mary Anthony: A Life in Modern Dance, said this: "He was an exquisite, eloquent dancer who inhabited his roles completely."

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox