Dinita Clark. Photo courtesy Cultural Counsel

Two Choreographers Are Among the Recipients of 2019 Pew Center Grants

Philadelphia's Pew Center for Arts & Heritage announced its 2019 grantees Monday evening, and the list included a couple of familiar names: Dinita Clark and David Gordon.


Clark has been named the recipient of a Pew Fellowship, worth $75,000. Formerly known as Princess Di, the choreographer co-founded Just Sole! Street Dance Theater in 2011 with her husband, and caught our eye in 2014 as a standout with Rennie Harris Puremovement. Recognizing her multifaceted practice, the Center wrote, "Through her work as a choreographer, performer, and teacher, Clark engages the vocabularies of hip-hop culture and street dance and centers women within the dance form."

A Project Grant has been awarded to Christ Church Preservation Trust for Gordon's upcoming THE PHILADELPHIA MATTER/2020. Connecting live performances happening simultaneously in Philadelphia and New York City via video stream, the work marks the newest iteration of Gordon's 1972 The Matter. Filled with references to the choreographer's previous works, it has been updated and reimagined periodically since its premiere, most recently at NYC's Museum of Modern Art as part of the museum's "Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done" exhibition. Given his interest in "archiveography," it's exactly the sort of project we expect from Gordon, who will receive a Dance Magazine Award alongside his partner, Valda Setterfield, this December.

A man with salt-and-pepper hair and mustache smiles crookedly at the camera as he points with both hands to his eyes, framed by dark, round glasses.

David Gordon

Andrew Eccles, Courtesy Cultural Counsel

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020