An unforgettable summer.
May (Early Summer)
UNA's Summer 2016 Season officially began with a masterclass at Velocity Dance Center in Seattle Washington, with myself and señor Kyle Filley. We also showed our then work-in-progress Bronco and we had a blast. Seattle was such a cool city, not to mention the amazingly beautiful Olympic Peninsula that we visited too. At the end of May I hosted the first of a new showing series, SWELL, where choreographers Lauren Kravitz and Shantel Prado and I showed works-in-progress at the Jack Crystal Theater. For the first informal showing of its kind, it went well, we learned lots and showed a FULL evening of work! This month was about revving up the creative engines again..
Photos of SWELL 1, by Catherine Ellis Kirk
June (Summer officially begins)
In the first week of June, I was intensively upgrading my choreographic toolbox with the wonderful Doug Varone. After being selected for Varone's DEVICES mentorship program, I was determined to get the most out of an awesome opportunity at the start of my full summer of creating. Doug challenged me and put me outside of my comfort zone that week in ways that I craved. Directly after the intensive my bags were packed and I was on a flight to Montreal, QC where I spent the next three weeks. Springboard Danse Montreal is a creative playground that any young choreographer dreams of, A LOT. I worked with 12 exceptional professional dancers, and we rehearsed Sunday through Thursday for two and a half weeks. For the first week I was lucky enough to have Catherine Ellis Kirk assisting me and keeping things fun. Making a six minute new creation on 12 people provided its challenges, but I was excited by all of them- I got to focus on nothing else but making this dance all day every day while I was in Montreal (which oddly felt like a choreographic vacation). The professionalism from the dancers and the willingness to explore and work hard every day was inspiring. My first work on a large cast, Atacama..
In addition, through SBDM and Place Des Arts, the emerging choreographers were able to perform work while in Montreal! Kyle took a quick trip to Canada for a fast and furious run of Bronco in an area of Place Des Arts that was open to the public (right next to the subway entrance). It was an energizing experience and now we are international!
You bet, the day after Springboard Danse Montreal was over, I was on a plane to my next creative location. SAN FRANCISCO (home). Two weeks were spent in residence through RoundAntennae at the ODC studios, with mentorship from the beautiful and inspiring KT Nelson. Rebecca Margolick, Kyle Filley and I were lucky to spend these two weeks rehearsing at ODC's beautiful studios and staying with my parents in the house I grew up in! These weeks also included a masterclass through ODC and an open rehearsal for the ever talented photographer Stephen Texeira. Without fully intending to, we created the beginnings of a new piece, and we had 18 minutes of it! Fatima is my newest work. We had a blast performing both Fatima and Bronco at the open showing on July 8th and received promising feedback for the new works. Thank you KT Nelson and Liz Heenan!
Once back in NYC after a month away, I had one week to finish getting the company ready for performing at Jacob's Pillow on the Inside/Out Stage! Jacob's Pillow is a place that is very special to me and returning to the historical place for dance with my own company was...pretty great. It also happened to be Alumni week while I was there (Alum of the School at Jacob's Pillow, 2012). Our performance was truly a blast and it was great to hear some of the questions and responses the audience had. Bonus - my mom and grandma (gram) came all the way to the Berkshires for this show...which was really special. We all enjoyed getting to kick back after the show in a house full of love... and a pool!
For July's grande finale, I hosted the second SWELL showing at the Jack Crystal Theater. This time, four Tisch Alumni choreographers were featured, showing works-in-progress. I am interested in finding more opportunity for young choreographers who want to be making work, but aren't necessarily. SWELL gives choreographers something to work toward. It gets their work seen at a stage that isn't "complete," as a way to let the audience in on their process and development of their voice. It was amazing to see what Franklin Barefoot, Lauren Kravitz/Shantel Prado, Ariel Lembeck and Benjamin Freedman came up with for this showing! And with the biggest audience yet for a SWELL showing, the night was a success! Looking forward to the future of this series and how it can grow.
August (End of Summer?!)
And just like that, August and the summer flew by...
The UNA-filled summer culminated with performances for Doug Varone's DEVICES program. With two shows at the Downtown Gibney Theater space, Rebecca, Kyle and I had the opportunity to perform Fatima in progress again. It was wonderful to have a month away from the brand new work, to get to come back and make revisions with the help of Doug and to continue sharing what I hope to be the beginning of an exciting new work. It was a pleasure to share the stage with new work by other choreographers' ranging in age and experience. The DEVICES program was fantastic and such a fulfilling way to begin and close my summer of dance.
And of course, more to come!