In this episode we had a fascinating interview with b-girl, house dancer, choreographer and recent Bessie award winner Ephrat Asherie of Ephrat Asherie Dance. Ephrat revealed how she discovered and became drawn to the “immediacy” of breaking and house dancing. In the process, we learned about the history, music and context behind these dance traditions and how she brings them to the stage. We ended with a valuable discussion on the importance of the role that dance choreographers must assume in understanding and acknowledging their influences, using the example of the widespread influence of hip hop in the contemporary dance world.
Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, a 2016 Bessie Award Winner for innovative achievement in dance, is a New York City based bgirl, dancer and choreographer. As artistic director of Ephrat Asherie Dance (EAD) she has presented work at the Apollo Theater, FiraTarrega, Jacob’s Pillow, New York Live Arts, Summerstage, and the Yard, among others. Ephrat has received numerous awards to support her work including a Kevin Spacey Artist of Choice Award, a Mondo Cane! commission from Dixon Place, a Workspace residency from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, a Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation and two residencies through the CUNY Dance Initiative. Her first evening length work, A Single Ride, received two Bessie nominations in 2012 for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding Sound Design by Marty Beller. Ephrat is currently a participant in the LMCC’s Extended Life Residency Program where she was commissioned to create a new work for this year’s River to River Festival. Her new piece, Riff this, Riff that, was well received and toured to Spain in September. Ephrat is a regular guest performer with Dorrance Dance and has worked and collaborated with Doug Elkins, Rennie Harris, Bill Irwin and Gus Solomons Jr, among others. She is on faculty at Broadway Dance Center and is a founding member of the all-female house dance collective, MAWU. Ephrat earned her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she researched the vernacular jazz dance roots of contemporary street and club styles. For more information please visit www.ephratasherie.com.