As far as we're concerned, it's not really summer until our favorite dance festivals kick things off. This year's season is as packed and promising as ever, with seemingly everyone who is anyone converging on at least one big festival between now and August. Here are the artists, premieres and collaborations we can't wait to see.
It's summer festival season! If you're feeling overwhelmed by the dizzying array of offerings, never fear: We've combed through the usual suspects to highlight the shows we most want to catch.
Some dancers move to New York City with their sights set on a dream job: that one choreographer or company they have to dance for. But when Maggie Cloud graduated from Florida State University in 2010, she envisioned herself on a less straightforward path.
"I always had in mind that I would be dancing for different people," she says. "I knew I had some kind of range that I wanted to tap into."
In today's dance world, it seems to go without saying: The more varied the training, the better. But is that always the case? Rhonda Malkin, a New York City–based dance coach who performed with the Radio City Rockettes, thinks trendy contemporary techniques that emphasize improvisation and organic movement quality are detrimental to the precision and strength needed to be a Rockette, in a traditional Broadway show or on a professional dance team. Her view is controversial: "If you really want to work, making $40,000 in three months for the Rockettes or $25,000 in one day filming a commercial, you need ballet, Broadway jazz, tap, hip hop—not contemporary," she says.
On the flip side, techniques that allow dancers more freedom may help them connect more deeply with their body and artistry, while providing release for overused muscles. We broke down the argument for both sides:
Summer intensive audition season is almost here. But how do college students decide which program they're aiming for? With the number of intensives available, it can be overwhelming to choose the one that will serve you best. We talked to outgoing Juilliard dance division artistic director Lawrence Rhodes about how he advises his students:
If you're a first-year or sophomore: "Do a program that is going to benefit you physically and technically, and keep you on track to get your body in the best possible shape. If you sense that you need more exposure to modern or ballet, choose a program that features it."
If you studied at the American Dance Festival in the last 84 years, you may be in for a major treat—and an incredible career opportunity. As part of its 85th-anniversary season, ADF is seeking choreography submissions from alumni of its Six Week School and Three Week School (formerly the Four Week School for Young Dancers).
Summer festival season has arrived! From Bill T. Jones to Michelle Dorrance, Monica Bill Barnes to Marcelo Gomes, we got the inside scoop on where your faves will be appearing this year.
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In these times that are scary for artists and immigrants, it's good to be reminded that dance does not have to ignore politics. Maybe that's why more than one organization recently decided to honor Liz Lerman, an American choreographer known for working toward issues of social justice. This summer Lerman will receive both the Jacob's Pillow Award (a $25,000 prize) and American Dance Festival's Distinguished Teaching Award.
As Editor in Chief Jennifer Stahl pointed out the day after last fall's presidential election, dance has a long history of responding to social issues, and Lerman is part of that history.
At a time when dance artists are seeking ways to engage in the questions of the day, Lerman provides a roadmap. Passionate about issues of social justice, she's found ways to incorporate social issues, from poverty to environmental protection, into her dances. These are not simple "message" dances but fully layered works that care about craft as much as statement.
ADF will present Rosie Herrera's work in NYC this August. Here, Herrera working with Ballet Hispanico in 2014. Photo by Moris Moreno.
Last week, we announced that Jessica Lang will create a home and dance center in Long Island City, just a subway stop away from Manhattan. Now another organization is spreading its roots to New York City. This August, after its regular season ends in Durham, North Carolina, the American Dance Festival will present its first-ever NYC season. True to form, ADF's performances at The Joyce Theater will introduce Big Apple audiences to a new innovative choreographer and showcase a fan favorite.
First up is Tatiana Baganova's Provincial Dance Theatre in their NYC debut, August 1–3. But their artistic director is no stranger to the ADF family. Baganova, who hails from Russia, has had an ongoing relationship with the festival since 1992 when she took part in ADF's inaugural mini festival in Moscow. In 2008, writer Lea Marshall reviewed a performance of her work at ADF for Dance Magazine, saying "Tatiana Baganova moves dancers in such seamless, satisfying combinations that you feel that her dances could go on forever and never grow tiresome."
Following Provincial Dance Theatre, NYC will welcome the Miami–based Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre in Herrera's 2009 work Various Stages of Drowning: A Caberet, August 4–6. Herrera also has deep roots with ADF, and the organization has commissioned five new works by her through the years. Fusing femininity, surrealism and dance theater, Herrera's work blends a variety of influences to create a brand of performance that's supremely unique.
And if you can't make it to Manhattan, visitors to Durham can still enjoy ADF's broad-ranging season June 16–July 30. The programming features 26 companies from the U.S., France, Israel and Russia and 9 world premieres commissioned by the festival. From the shape-shifting Pilobolus to Savion Glover's scintillating rhythms to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's daring Forysthe program, there's a lot in store. Can't wait until summer? Check out the whole lineup here.