Giant New Home for Contemporary Dance
ADI's new location
The American Dance Institute is making major moves. This summer, the beloved institution in Rockville, Maryland, closed its school to focus on presenting contemporary dance. Now, ADI just announced it will move its Incubator residency program, which gives choreographers studio space, housing and other resources, to a brand new complex in Catskill, New York (a 2 and a half hour drive north of New York City). With the help of a $500,000 grant from New York state, ADI will transform a former lumberyard on the Hudson River into a four-building facility dedicated to contemporary dance, with a theater, dance studios, housing for up to 26 artists and more. In a statement to the press, executive director Adrienne Willis said the move will lower ADI's overhead and "exponentially increase the number of artists and productions we can support annually.” Three cheers to that!
The one downside? This could be a loss for the D.C. area, where the suburban institution had recently become an unexpected powerhouse for experimental dance. Although ADI says it plans to continue presenting contemporary choreographers in the region, it will close its Rockville facility after the 2016-2017 season. (The first of the four Catskill buildings is scheduled to open in May 2018.)
Hagoromo, one of many pieces developed at ADI
ADI was originally founded as a ballet school in 2000 by former American Ballet Theatre dancer Pamela Booth Bjerknes and former Joffrey Ballet dancer Michael Bjerknes. Under the leadership of Willis, who's been executive director since 2010, it's drastically transformed its mission. She launched Incubator in 2011 to serve contemporary artists around the country—recent works developed there include Urban Bush Women's Walking with ’Trane, Chapter 3, David Neumann’s Hagoromo for Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, John Jasperse’s Within between, and Susan Marshall's upcoming CHROMATIC. Moving ADI to New York state brings it closer to The Kitchen in Manhattan, where the organization now presents new works developed in the Incubator residency.
Luckily, no matter where ADI is located, all the creativity nurtured inside of it is a boon for the dance scene nation-wide.
There's a rare moment in Broadway's Hadestown where the audience is able to breathe a sigh of relief. The smash-hit success is not well-known for being light-hearted or easy-going; Hadestown is a show full of workers and walls and, well, the second act largely takes place in a slightly modernized version of hell.
But deep into the second act, the show reaches a brief homeostasis of peace, one of those bright, shining moments that allows the audience to think "maybe it will turn out this time," as the character Hermes keeps suggesting.
After songs and songs of conflict and resentment, Hades, the king of the underground, and his wife, the goddess Persephone, rekindle their love. And, unexpectedly, they dance. It's one of the most compelling moments in the show.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
There's always been something larger than life about choreographer Mark Morris. Of course, there are the more than 150 works he's made and that incisive musicality that makes dance critics drool. But there's also his idiosyncratic, no-apologies-offered personality, and his biting, no-holds-barred wit. And, well, his plan to keep debuting new dances even after he's dead.
So it should come as little surprise that his latest distinction is also a bit larger than life: The New York Landmarks Conservancy is adding Morris to its list of "Living Landmarks."
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.