David Neumann's I Understand Everything Better. Photo by Maria Baranova, courtesy Neumann
Collaboration is a curious thing. For choreographers, it can open their practice to another set of eyes. It can allow their work to exist in a larger way. It can add serious heft to the final artistic product, with a signature all of its own.
But: There's an art to working in close communion with another artist, whether they're a designer or a composer. At the heart of the process is developing a rapport where each collaborator feels a sense of freedom within a set of given limits, where each understands what the other needs. Getting to that point takes some back and forth, trial and error, and several stabs in the dark.
Jermaine Terry working on fellow Ailey dancer Sarah Daley-Perdomo's dress while on tour in Frankfurt, Germany. Courtesy Terry
It's widely known how jam-packed an Ailey dancer's schedule is: the company averages between 175 and 200 performances each year. So it's hard to imagine that these artists have time for anything else.
Impressively, eight-year AAADT dancer Jermaine Terry has somehow maintained a second career in costume and clothing design. From wedding dresses to one-of-a kind evening gowns for Ailey galas, the self-taught designer is inspired by the challenge.
What He Has To Say: Terry gave Dance Magazine the scoop on how, in the words of Project Runway's Tim Gunn, he is able to "make it work."
Bartelme and Jung compare colors. Photo by Michael Manata, courtesy Reid & Harriet
Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung were still students at the Fashion Institute of Technology when their first joint commission came along: Creating the costume for a Fall for Dance piece Andrea Miller choreographed on Drew Jacoby. The pair officially joined forces in 2011, forming their eponymous label and building a resumé that includes designing for American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Miami City Ballet. Reid & Harriet Design's success lies in their ability to mix bold colors and unique textures with an innate understanding of what dancers need to perform comfortably.