Kayla Rowser with Nicolas Scheuer in Swan Lake

Courtesy Nashville Ballet

News of Note: Everything You Might Have Missed in January 2020

Here are the latest promotions, appointments and transfers, plus notable awards and accomplishments from the last month.


Comings & Goings

Medhi Walerski, a tan man with greying, curly hair, looks intensely at the camera.

Medhi Walerski

Rahi Rezvani, Courtesy Ballet BC


Medhi Walerski has been named artistic director of Ballet BC, effective July 2020, when current director Emily Molnar will depart to lead Nederlands Dans Theater.

Amy Miller and Nigel Campbell have been named directors of the newly revamped Gibney Company, which will double in size and transition to become a contemporary repertory company after a $2 million gift.

Suzanne Geiss has been named president and Kaneza Schaal vice president of the board of Performance Space New York. Additionally, the Keith Haring Foundation has gifted PSNY $1 million to fund the newly announced Keith Haring Curatorial Fellowship and an annual Keith Haring Lecture Series.

José Carayol has been appointed head of the Joffrey Academy of Dance's studio company and trainee program.

Martin Wechsler, formerly the director of programming at New York City's Joyce Theater, has been named senior advisor for The Music Center's Arts Dance presentations.

Leah Cox has joined the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance at University of Texas at Austin. She will continue as dean of American Dance Festival.

Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman will step down from the directorship of Staatsballett Berlin at the end of 2020. Öhman will become artistic director of Swedish dance presenter Dansens Hus, while Waltz will refocus on her choreographic endeavors (though she will continue to work with Staatsballett Berlin as a choreographer through 2021).

Lucy Sexton has stepped down as executive director of The Bessies. Michele Thompson has been named interim executive director.

Ballet Memphis founding artistic director Dorothy Gunther Pugh will retire at the end of June. Stephen McMahon took over as artistic director in May 2019; Carol Miraglia will serve as interim director until a permanent executive director has been hired.

Adam Robert Dickerson and Shawn Lesniak have joined Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Margaret Mullin will leave the company at the end of the season.

Kayla Rowser will retire from Nashville Ballet at the end of this season.

Awards & Honors

Dance Theatre of Harlem has received a $4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as an additional $1 million in matching funds to be raised by the company's board, to support the organization's capacity-building efforts. It represents the largest single gift in DTH's history.

Sadler's Wells has named Olive Hardy, Vidya Patel, John-William Watson and Magnus Westwell young associates for 2020–21.

Ann Carlson has been invited to participate in the inaugural Newhaven Artist Residency during the 2020–21 season.

The 2020 class of United States Artists Fellows, who each receive a $50,000 unrestricted cash grant, include Dianne McIntyre, Lisa Nelson, Will Rawls, Elizabeth Streb and Abby Zbikowski.

Elizabeth Streb, an older white woman with spiky black hair and thick-rimmed glasses, peers at the camera.

Elizabeth Streb

Tom Caravaglia, Courtesy United States Artists

Winners of the 2019 Knight Arts Challenge included Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts ($30,000 for Birds of Paradise, in collaboration with Pioneer Winter Collective), Carla Forte ($20,000 for dance film installation Femme), Kayla Castellón ($6,000 for Show and Talk work in progress showings), Miami Light Project, Inc. ($25,000 for ScreenDance Miami Festival), NWD Projects ($28,000 for Endangered Ecological Timescapes) and Tango Out ($20,000 for CONEXION—Miami's First International Queer Tango Festival).

Recipients of Dance/NYC's Dance Advancement Fund, awarding $400,000 across 25 dancemakers, are Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Arthur Aviles Typical Theater/BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Bombazo Dance Co., Inc., Dancing in the Streets, Davalois Fearon Dance, Full Circle Souljahs, The Black Iris Project, Kyle Marshall Choreography, Nimbus Dance, Big Dance Theater, Fist and Heel Performance Group, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Jiva Performing Arts, LEIMAY, MBDance, Miguel Guiterrez, Something Positive, Inc., Eglevsky Ballet Company of LI, Inc., Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, Born Dancing, Dances for a Variable Population, Divine Rhythm Productions, Elisa Monte Dance, Ayazamana Ecuadorian Dance Group and Sidra Bell Dance New York.

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Get More Out of Your Dance Degree—Whether You're on Campus or Not

When Rose Conroy-Voza entered Rider University in 2016, she thought all she needed to focus on was her dance classes. But the 2020 graduate found herself cherishing experiences outside of the studio—memberships in upwards of 10 clubs, an on-campus job and meaningful connections with her professors. "As I was introduced to all these different opportunities," she says, "I realized that there is so much more that dancers could have."

Just because you got into a great dance program does not mean you are getting everything you possibly can out of your college education. Whether you're online or on campus this semester, there's an abundance of resources available. All you need to do is figure out how best to take advantage of them.

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