For the past 11 summers, emerging choreographers and dancers from across the country have gathered in southern California for the National Choreographer’s Initiative. And the benefits are two-fold: Dancers on their summer break receive engaging, process-oriented work, while the four selected dancemakers receive creative freedom, valuable studio time and highly-trained artists to work with.
Starting Monday, this year’s chosen choreographers—Gabrielle Lamb, Barry Kerollis, Garrett Smith and Philip Neal—have three weeks at the University of California, Irvine dance studios to create a new work. The dancers (eight men and eight women) are an eclectic mix, hailing from Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Austin, Los Angeles Ballet, Ballet Met, Richmond Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Company “C” Contemporary Ballet and Festival Ballet Theatre. The project culminates in a performance at the Irvine Barclay Theatre on July 26th.
As an added benefit, Lamb, Kerollis, Smith and Neal will retain the right to promote and license their works to other companies. This is very good news, indeed—since 2004, NCI has produced 44 new works, 23 of which have entered company repertoires throughout the U.S.
Frederic Franklin in Valerie Bettis' A Streetcar Named Desire (1952). Photo courtesy DM Archives
In the June 1974 issue of Dance Magazine, our cover subject was the endlessly charming Frederic Franklin, then 60 years old. After declaring at the age of 4 that he was "going to be in the theater," the Liverpool-born dancer spent a lifetime doing exactly that.