Credo: Ike Edeani

Jessica and Clara visited choreographer and founder of BalletCollective, Troy Schumacher (and his cute dog Shallot), at his sunny apartment in NYC. We learned about Troy’s collaborative approach to creating ballets by integrating artists who work in different mediums, such as music and photography, into the process and presentation of work. We also discussed his current aesthetic interests and were impressed by his ability to balance the demands of multiple roles: choreographer, director of a contemporary ballet company and not least of all, ballet dancer with NYCB.  We had the pleasure of seeing BalletCollective perform last fall and we look forward to seeing the company again on October 27th and 28th at NYU Skirball Center in Manhattan. Buy tickets before they sell out! Oh, and if you too are curious to see the “World’s Greatest Victory Dances” that Troy choreographed for PlayStation, check out the playlist on YouTube.

Troy Schumacher was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Although his infatuation with dance began with tap, a Nutcracker audition led him to ballet and he began studying with Atlanta Ballet in the year 2000. In 2001, Troy started taking summer sessions at the Chautauqua School of Dance, and soon after, at age 15, he became a full-time student at the School of American Ballet. In 2005, Troy joined New York City Ballet as a member of the corps. Only 5 years later, while dancing full time with NYCB, he began to form a ballet company that eventually became BalletCollective. The mission of BalletCollective is to present ballet-based work in an intimate setting with live music that represents contributions from a unique, evolving collective of artists. This idea of cross-disciplinary artistic collaboration is rooted in an understanding that dance is a collaborative art and is inspired by the historic examples of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the creative partnership between Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky when creating Agon. Since beginning his choreographic career, Troy has received commissions from New York City Ballet, 92nd Street Y, Danspace Project, Performa, School of American Ballet, New York Choreographic Institute, and Atlanta Ballet. He is also active in other cultural media and has participated in collaborative projects for Google, Sony PlayStation, Capezio and more. As a dancer at NYCB, Troy has performed principal roles in a number of ballets, including George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter Martins’ Swan Lake, and Jerome Robbins’ Four Seasons and Interplay.

GO SEE DANCE[!]: Reid Bartelme, Reprised


Credo: Choreography by Matthew Neenan for Ballet X

We brought costume designer Reid Bartelme back to the studio, nearly a year after our first interview with him, to delve further into his design process and his vast knowledge of the dance landscape at large. In the meantime to our 2015 interview, the New York Times published an article about Reid highlighting his ability to bring together often-disparate factions of the dance world. We addressed the themes of that article, including the best strategies for learning and educating across worlds, the stigmas that sometimes get attached to one dance world by another, and how the terms “downtown” and “uptown” come into play. (Check out Danspace Project!) As usual, Reid was a lively conversationalist and a complete pleasure to engage. Here are few photos of costumes by Reid & Harriet that came up in the course of conversation, including the notorious “S&M bunny” ears for Trey McIntyre’s Ballet X.

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Reid Bartelme is a freelance fashion and costume designer who lives and works in New York.    Prior to designing he spent many years dancing for companies throughout North America, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, Alberta Ballet, Shen Wei and Lar Lubovitch. He has designed costumes for many dance luminaries including Pam Tanowitz, Michelle Boule, Trey McIntyre, Kyle Abraham and Christopher Wheeldon, Matthew Neenan.  Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung founded Reid & harriet Design in the Fall of 2011. They were classmates in the fashion design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  Collaboratively, they have designed costumes for  Justin Peck,  Marcelo Gomes,  Andrea Miller,  Emery Lecrone,  Kyle Abraham,  Mauro Bigonzetti,  and Doug Varone. They have costumed productions at American Ballet Theater,  New York City Ballet and Ballet Next and have produced clothes for commissioned works at Fall for Dance,  the Youth America Grand Prix,  and Dancers Responding to Aids. Along with Justin Peck, they are featured in the documentary Ballet 422 which premiered at the 2014 TriBeCa Film Festival.

INTO SUNLIGHT: Ron Honsa, Nan Penman & Robin Becker


We had an engaging conversation about a recent dance film collaboration between filmmaker Ron Honsa, choreographer Robin Becker, and producer Nan Penman.  Watch the trailer here. We learned how Robin and eventually Ron became inspired by the historical events and subject matter based on the book They Marched Into Sunlight, written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, David Maraniss.

Into Sunlight is an evening-length dance by choreographer Robin Becker inspired by the book They Marched into Sunlight. The book portrays the tumultuous shift of cultural perspective caused by the Vietnam War through the lens of events in October 1967. By weaving together stories about soldiers in Vietnam with growing social and political unrest on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Maraniss explores the effects of violence on both those in battle and those at home. (Learn more at, new & improved site coming soon!)

Ron Honsa, Executive Director of Moving Pictures, first became aware of this dance project three years ago and was immediately drawn to the compelling subject matter based on Maraniss’ powerful non-fiction book. Working closely with Robin Becker and her dancers, Ron documented rehearsals and performance footage from the company’s New York premiere, as well as their recent tour in Vietnam. He juxtaposes dance performance against provocative conversations with the choreographer, author, dancers and several veterans, as well as family members and protesters who are highlighted in Maraniss’ book. Learn more about Moving Pictures at

WELCOME TO THIS SITUATION: Interviews from ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival


(Ori Flomin, right, watches his dancers perform in his workshop.)

We spent a fantastic day at the ImPulsTanz Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria on July 22nd, during the first week of the festival, and we’re absolutely thrilled to share our interviews from the day! In between taking movement workshops in the morning, observing a workshop dedicated to the work of Tino Sehgal in the afternoon and seeing Simon Mayer’s “Sons of Sissy” performance at night, we spent time speaking to participants and artists on site. Here’s a run-down of our interviews, including approximate start times in the recording. Remember they take place on site at the festival, so you’ll hear lively background noise (and even some beautiful opera during Ray Chung’s)!

Minute 22:00 – Ori Flomin taught the morning movement workshop that Jessica took, “The Energetic Body through Dance and Meridians.” We spoke to him about the meridian theory upon which he bases much of his choreography and teaching as well as the origin of his choreographic style and even his favorite “element” (you’ll have to listen to understand!). Originally from Israel, Ori has been creating and presenting his choreography extensively in New York, Europe and Asia. He is currently an Adjunct Faculty at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in New York City.

44:00 – Adam Naughton participated in both Ori Flomin’s movement workshop in the morning and the fascinating presentation of Tino Sehgal “The Situation” that we observed in the afternoon. He helped us better understand Tino Sehgal’s piece and shared his thoughts on learning to move with an awareness of meridians and elements. Adam attended ImPulsTanz with a small group of emerging choreographers who were selected to participate in workshops for the entire festival.

55:40 – Ray Chung taught the Contact Improvisation workshop that Clara took, “Riding the Curve of Space.” In this interview he shared how he became involved in contact improvisation (including the role of “jams”), the key principles that make contact unique, and how he engages beginners in the technique. Ray has worked with Contact Improvisation since 1979 as part of improvisational performance practice. He integrates other movement forms into his work, including martial arts, bodywork and Authentic Movement.

1:04:00 – Christian Apschner, who took Ray Chung’s contact improvisation class and would later teach “Contemporary Contact Ballroom” in week 4, talked to us about making a career of contact improvisation after working as an environmental engineer for many years. Christian is co-founder of the Vienna-based rollingpoint association for Contact Improvisation and related dance and movement forms. He developed what he has termed “three-dimensional flow movement sequences.”



In our first Skype interview, we connected with Kimberly Falker, founder of Balancing Pointe podcast and Premier Dance Network.  Kimberly shared how she became inspired to start the first dance podcast and eventually the first dance podcast network.  She also revealed tips and advice on dance podcasting and opened up about lessons learned and her greatest assets for success—consistency, work ethic and going back to her “why.”  Learn how she continues to expand the conversation on dance as she encourages other dancers with her mantra of podcasting for all.

You can also find Balancing Pointe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Kimberly Falker is the host of Balancing Pointe Podcast, where she interviews successful and inspiring guests who are living and working in the world of professional ballet and dance. Each episode offers specific “take away” advice for the aspiring dancer and valuable information on the “real” world of professional dance. Kimberly is a Florida native who worked in Elementary Education before attending law school and building a career as a prosecutor for the Department of Social Services in Boton. During college, she performed in the Florida State Flying High Circus, which is similar to Cirque du Soleil. Now, Kimberly is the mother of both an athlete and a serious student of ballet. As her daughter, Cosette, became more focused and passionate about pursuing a future in ballet, Kimberly realized that she needed to learn how to best support and guide Cosette through the world of ballet. She launched Balancing Pointe podcast as a way to learn about the dance world and share her learnings with other students, parents and anyone interested in dance. Since launching Balancing Pointe Podcast, Kimberly has interviewed over 100 talented and passionate dance makers.


CHRISTOPHER_NEL_RETOUCHED-3We were delighted to sit down again with Nel Shelby, dance videographer and entrepreneur, to follow up on our brief conversation from earlier this year at the Dance on Camera Festival. In this episode we delve deeper into Nel’s filmmaking process for PS DANCE!, her highly successful new documentary about dance education in public schools that has spawned a movement to bring dance to every child. (You can find our interviews with PS DANCE! viewers here.) We also learn about Nel’s intuitive, collaborative approach to making documentaries and dance films and about how she built her own company, Nel Shelby Productions, over time. Nel articulates her learnings about drawing out interviewees by being present without becoming the focus and shares a positive, optimistic attitude about the future of dance.

Nel Shelby is the founder of Nel Shelby Productions, a production company based in NYC and focused specifically on preserving and promoting dance through dance videography. (more…)

Jessica Lang

Jessica Lang and Kanji Segawa by Christopher Jones

We sat down with Jessica and learned about her approach to choreography and her latest work Thousand Yard Stare, which will be presented at the Joyce June 14th through the 19th. She revealed how her education at Juilliard eventually put her on the path of choreography and how she came to realize that a performance career was not for her. We also talked about her experience forming her own company and opening a dance studio in Long Island City. For more information about her show at the Joyce, visit or visit Jessica Lang’s website.