The Latest: Creating a Contemporary Standard

Trey McIntyre and Matthew Neenan will coach dancers at the 2014 USA IBC.

 

2010 USA IBC contemporary competitors. Photo by Richard Finkelstein, Courtesy USA IBC.

In the contemporary round at ballet competitions, dancers often perform wildly varying styles—it’s not uncommon to see neoclassical pointework followed by barefooted modern dance. But the USA International Ballet Competition, which runs every four years and returns June 14–29 to Jackson, Mississippi, hopes to standardize its contemporary category to make judging less subjective. This year, competitors who advance to Round II will work directly with choreographers Trey McIntyre and Matthew Neenan. “We decided it would be beneficial to the dancers if they not only get to learn pieces by highly acclaimed choreographers, but also have the choreographers work with them,” says executive director Sue Lobrano. “And the jury and audience will be able to see how well each dancer grasps the requisite contemporary choreography.”

In March, the competitors were given online access to videos of the selected works. Soloists will perform excerpts of pieces by McIntyre, who contributed one dance to each division (Junior Men, Junior Women, Senior Men and Senior Women); pairs chose one of two Neenan works per division. Dancers were responsible for learning the choreography on their own. Once the 99 competitors arrive in Jackson, McIntyre and Neenan will lead one-hour group coaching sessions before the judges, chaired by former Miami City Ballet artistic director Edward Villella, evaluate.

Dancers who move on to Round III will also perform a prepared contemporary solo or duet of their choice, choreographed in 2010 or later so that the works, says Lobrano, are “truly contemporary.”

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CalArts dance students. Photo by Josh S. Rose, Courtesy CalArts

4 Reasons Interdisciplinary Education Can Make You a Stronger Dancer, According to CalArts

After years spent training in their childhood studio, it can be hard for dancers to realize exactly how many pathways there are toward career success. The School of Dance at CalArts aims to show its students all of them.

Built with the intention to break barriers and bend the rules, CalArts' interdisciplinary curriculum ensures that students take classes that cover an entire spectrum of artistic approaches. The result? A dance program that gives you much more than just dance.

Last week, Dance Magazine caught up with Kevin Whitmire, assistant director of admission for CalArts School of Dance, and recent alum Kevin Zambrano for the inside scoop on how an interdisciplinary curriculum can make you a stronger artist. Watch the full event below, and read on for the highlights.

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July 2021