So Long, DC
American Dance Institute moves to Catskill, New York.
In the five short years since expanding its mission, a modest dance school in a Washington, DC, suburb has remade itself into one of the most progressive modern dance presenters in the country. With its out-of-the-ordinary Incubator program, American Dance Institute has provided unprecedented support for mid-career artists like Jane Comfort, Susan Marshall and David Neumann. “I’ve never had the opportunity to be in a theater like that,” says Comfort, who was given a tech crew for herweeklong residency in 2011. Her dancers were fed, housed and paid during their stay.
Susan Marshall's Chromatic will come to New York City's The Kitchen, June 23-25. Photo by Peter Serling, Courtesy ADI.
But at the close of the 2017 season, ADI, which was founded in 1999 by former ballet dancers Pamela and Michael Bjerknes, will move to a former lumberyard in Catskill, New York, a small town two hours north of Manhattan. This month, it will present its first season in New York City at The Kitchen, its new performance-space partner, featuring postmodern matriarch Yvonne Rainer’s The Concept of Dust: Continuous Project-Altered Annually, as well as works by Comfort, Marshall, Brian Brooks and Jack Ferver.
Finances are the driving reason for the move. Executive director Adrienne Willis says it costs about a million dollars a year to keep the Rockville, Maryland, location running, and at 20,000 square feet, it is far smaller than the new space. Purchased for $1.2 million, the new property features a 30,000-square-foot main building unencumbered by poles. Three adjacent waterfront barns and outdoor spaces will also be added in phase two of development. Willis envisions a self-contained artistic haven that can house between 24 and 26 dancers and crew in the upstairs part of the building, which will also have a warm-up studio, public lobby and chef’s kitchen. The groundbreaking took place in May, and ADI Lumberyard, as the facility will be called, will accept its first artistic residencies in summer 2018. Meanwhile, ADI will close out its Maryland space in 2016–17 with 11 performances, including works by Zvi Dance, Steven Reker/Open House, Marshall, David Dorfman, David Gordon and Stephen Petronio.
Will ADI’s move leave a hole in the metropolitan Washington, DC, dance community? Willis says she is committed to maintaining a presence, and is providing a new $100,000 subsidy for the programming of ADI-curated artists. ADI is also working with the local service organization Dance Metro DC to support an existing local artist commissioning program, with modest subsidies doled out over the coming two years. “We really want to help strengthen Dance Metro DC and the local community if we can,” Willis says. Stephen Clapp, director of Dance Metro DC, notes that ADI, which supported DC dance artists like Christopher Morgan and Tzveta Kassabova, would be missed. “In addition to the Incubator, ADI instituted excellent pre-show talks,” he says, “and it was really wonderful to hear the scholarly perspective on dance works.”
ADI’s adventurous presenting and residencies will be a loss for the Washington, DC, region. “They’ve been a great asset to this community,” says Clapp. “As they transition out of our area, I’m glad they’re committed to continuing to support this community. It speaks to the commitment that they have had from the beginning.”
Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.