Author: jessilliams

Grant writer by day and dancepreneur by night.

Jennifer Tipton

Jennifer Tipton

Jessica had the pleasure of interviewing lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, who was recently nominated for a Tony award for her work on A Doll’s House Part 2 (on Broadway through July 23rd).  Jessica and Jennifer chatted over coffee about many aspects of her process starting with her approach to collaboration with directors and choregraphers, to how she gets inspiration, key differences in lighting dance and theater, as well as trends in lighting, and tricks of the trade.

Jennifer Tipton is an internationally recognized lighting designer whose distinctive designs have redefined the relationship between lighting and performance. Tipton has been an important presence throughout her prolific career in dance, drama, and opera productions of all scales, and she is regarded as one of the most versatile designers working today. Best known for her work in dance, Tipton’s painterly lighting evokes mood and defines and sculpts movement. Preferring a small but powerful palette of colors, she pioneered the use of white light in theatre and dance. For both small theatre and Broadway productions, Tipton’s artistry interacts intimately with the work’s physical appearance and emotional resonance.  As a committed teacher, Tipton has influenced a generation of lighting designers, and her dramatic imagination continues to push the visual boundaries of lighting design in new and exciting directions.

She has designed lighting for numerous dance performances for such companies as the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and for theatrical productions at such venues as St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Public Theatre, and the Metropolitan Opera, among many others. Since 1994, she has served as an adjunct professor of lighting design at the Yale University School of Drama.

DANCE ON CAMERA FESTIVAL, 2017!

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Marie’s Attitude by Kristi Grunditz

Jessica and Clara returned to the Dance on Camera Festival this year. We were on-site on Saturday, February 4th, interviewing interns, filmmakers, dancers and audience members about a range of films including documentary, narrative and choreography.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the topics you’ll hear covered in this episode, as well as an extended version with information about each segment after the “Read More” tag:

Minute 0-5:40 – Into Sunlight (feature)

5:40-15:54 – Jonah (short)

15:54-39:53 – Marie’s Attitude (feature) and Broken Memories (short)

39:53-54:14 – VR (Virtual Reality) Projects

54:14-End – Shorts Program (various short films) (more…)

Bonus episode: Barak Heymann, Producer of Mr. Gaga

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Jessica caught Tomer and Barak Heymann (the Producer and Film Director duo of Heymann Brothers Films) after a Q&A at Film Society of Lincoln Center while promoting the release of Mr. Gaga, their acclaimed documentary film about Ohad Naharin.  Naharin is is the long-standing Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company and subject of the film which follows his life from childhood until the present.  Jessica interviewed Barak and learned more about the filmmaking process, where the idea for the film came about, how Tomer selected archival footage, and how Ohad reacted to seeing the film for the first time.

Do not miss this film! It is screening at Film Forum and Lincoln Center through February 16th.   Learn more about Mr. Gaga at http://www.mrgagathefilm.com/.  And learn more about Tomer and Barak’s films at http://heymannfilms.com/.

NEVER LET THAT LIGHT BE EXTINGUISHED: JOSHUA THAKE

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Eugenia Repelskii as Henriette in Raymonda’s Wedding

Jessica and Clara had a lively chat with Joshua Thake, ballet dancer of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (better known on stage as Eugenia Repelskii and Jacques d’Aniels).  Josh revealed what it is like to prepare for roles and travel all over the world with the Trocks.  We discussed why their brand of humor works so well and how the Trocks use certain themes and elements of humor to bring ballets to life.  Naturally, we slipped into a dialog about what qualities make a great dancer connect with their audience.

Visit www.trockadero.org to find where the company is performing in a city near you.

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BY EVERYONE, FOR EVERYONE: EPHRAT ASHERIE

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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. (more…)

WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU WANT TO SEND? : Helene Davis

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Helene Davis loves her job.  We sat down with Dance Publicist, Helene, and learned how she created her dream job and started her own business.  We were inspired to hear how much joy she derived working with luminaries in the performing arts world and the people who made her job interesting over the years. (more…)

FINDING COMMON GROUND: Troy Schumacher

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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. (more…)