Old Flames and New Names at APAP
In some ways, APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) makes the dance world go round. Without this annual meeting ground of presenters and small performing arts groups from all over the country, very few dance companies would get work. Yes, you can send your video to a potential presenter, but if they can see you perform live, they are more likely to know if your work is right for their audience.
APAP showcases are spread throughout NYC and they cover the gamut—muscular modern, chamber ballet, minimal conceptual, tap, urban dance, classical Indian and more. I attended only five of the hordes of showcases (40 groups were listed at the Ailey building alone in the last two days). It’s hard to keep track but even if you’re not a presenter, APAP provides a chance to catch up on your favorite artists’ current work and see groups new to you. It can be as thrilling to rediscover an old flame as to discover a new name.
Getting gigs through APAP means that the people who book you can see your offstage personality too. Cynthia Oliver showed BOOM! at the Live Artery series at New York Live Arts, and the crowd could see not only that she had created a gutsy, funny, harrowing duet, but also, in the brief talk afterward, that she speaks easily and eloquently about her work.
For me it was a chance to see out-of-town artists I hadn’t seen before, for instance San Francisco’s Keith Hennessy in his shamanistic Bear/Skin solo, as well as work by cherished New York artists that I can’t always keep up with. Tere O'Connor, Miguel Gutierrez (both part of American Realness) and John Jasperse (in Live Artery) always push the boundaries in ways that are stimulating.
Anyone who has a hankering for Israeli dance would have enjoyed Out of Israel, the showcase of five excerpts at the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center. Zvi Gotheiner’s energized dancers threaded through his spirited Dabke. Idan Porges, a performer who blew me away in Barak Marshall's Rooster a few years ago, is now making his own work—very much his own. In Danielle Agami’s new piece, For Now, each dancer breaks out of a mask of diffidence to explode in their own way.
I was happy to see a new showcase titled Emerging Women of Color at the Ailey building, organized by dancer-turned-booker Francine Sheffield. I was impressed by strong work from Ananya Chatterjea’s fierce, Odissi-based women of Minneapolis and Christal Brown/Inspirit’s foray into the life of Muhammad Ali. I also discovered a new name, Danielle Russo, an NYU grad who paired two guys in a gripping battle between aggression and intimacy. Weird confrontations—chin to throat, crown of head to chest, violent crashing into confident strutting—locked these two in a sweaty, sexy world of their own.
There’s one more day to APAP and I am not done seeing things or taking workshops. Whether you’re on the giving or getting end, I hope you enjoy it.
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.
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.
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:
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."