In this episode, our new co-host Michael joined the mic with Clara to interview choreographer, Tiffany Mills ahead of the world premiere of her new work, Not then, not yet. Tiffany shared how she drew inspiration for this evening-length work from Mary Shelley’s life and writings. The motif of liminality became a powerful, generative force behind the work to explore movement, emotion, and character in between contrasting states of being. Having come from a diverse background of tap, gymnastics, and modern dance, Tiffany revealed how she eventually became interested in choreographing dance from a theatrical and dramaturgical perspective. (more…)
Jessica and Clara talked to Jenn Freeman, a choreographer, artistic director of Freemove Dance, and prolific teacher of contemporary dance. Jenn shared how she developed her theatrical and highly physical style of dance while traversing multiple dance worlds from modern dance in academia to contemporary style in the dance convention circuit. She talked about how it all started with a chance encounter with Mia Michaels and led to more exciting opportunities and connections. She also shared her insider view on how the convention dance world has changed over time and how it has been positively impacting enrollment in academic dance programs. (more…)
In this episode of Pod de Deux podcast, Clara and Jessica sat down with dancer, curator and Bollywood choreographer, Pooja Uberoi. Pooja shared how Bollywood has changed over recent years to incorporate a range of styles including Indian classical dance, jazz, and hip-hop. She is organizing this year’s New York City Dance Week, a 10-day dance festival that partners with studios across NYC to give back to the community. Pooja also curates Funkar (Urdu for “artist within you”), a performance night of diverse contemporary and traditional dance that takes place every month at Dixon place. Pooja talked about her passion for helping artists find a platform, which led her to start ArtistsEast West in 2018 to represent Indian artists abroad. Jessica and Clara also asked her about the dance form she developed, BollyJazz, which combines Bollywood and Jazz. You can find Pooja and Bollyjazz at multiple studios throughout NYC. Finally, Pooja talked about IkiGAI – USA, a multifaceted company that works with artists to help them monetize and make money from various crafts.(more…)
In honor of CDI’s upcoming 5th anniversary performances, Jessica and Clara interviewed the Director of CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), Alyssa Alpine, and Choreographer, Gabrielle Lamb of Pigeonwing Dance.
Alyssa talked about how CDI started as a pilot initiative and grew to become a successful private/public partnership model of support for artists in NYC. She shared how she works with various CUNY campuses to provide rehearsal and performance spaces for artists, and creative ways in which artists have connected with students.
Gabrielle talked about how CDI helped her produce her first full-length evening performance, launching her trajectory to present more evening-length work. She also shared her artistic process for her world premiere for CDI’s 5th Year Fest, in March.
Alyssa and Gabrielle talked about some of the many challenges artists face today, like supporting emerging and mid-career artists, getting audiences to come to shows, finding entry-points for artistic work, and the competitive dance landscape.
CUNY Dance Initiative will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a series of performances by past CDI artist recipients, called 5th Year Fest, from March 20–23, 2019, at Baruch Performing Arts Center, in Manhattan. Tickets range from $11 to $36, and can be purchased online at www.baruch.cuny.edu/bpac
5th Year Fest performing artists include Heidi Latsky Dance; Sonia Olla & Ismael Fernandez; Andrew Nemr; Miki Orihara; Loni Landon; Urban Bush Women; Kinesis Project dance theatre, Gabrielle Lamb; Parijat Desai; MBDance; and Ephrat Asherie Dance. (more…)
Jessica interviewed choreographer Tere O’Connor leading up to his NYC premiere of Long Run at NYU Skirball (10/12 & 10/13). They talked about how Tere’s fascination with structure led to the multi-layered aesthetic he has become known for. Tere revealed some of the processes he uses to convolute movement phrases, focusing on rhythm, the mixing of dance techniques, density, and invalid structures. (Learn more about all of these in the interview!) Tere related his choreographic processes to the nature of the mind itself, which remains in and out of a constant episodic flow of consciousness.(more…)
Jessica and Clara interviewed Tiler Peck leading up to the premier of her new documentary, BalletNow, which will be available for streaming on Hulu on Friday, July 20th. The film, directed by Steven Cantor (who directed Sergei Polunin’s DANCER) and produced by Elisabeth Moss, shows Tiler assume many roles as curator, artistic director, rehearsal director and dancer in preparation for a performance at the Music Center in Los Angeles last July. In the interview, Tiler revealed what it was like rising to the greatest challenge of her life in preparing for a production that included 15 ballets in three programs, all while dancing in eight pieces. Tiler spoke about her curatorial rationale for the performance, which featured choreographers Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon, Michelle Dorrance, Bill Irwin, and more. Beyond BalletNow, we talked about Tiler’s enthusiasm for stepping into a new role as choreographer this summer at Vail Dance Festival, how leadership at City Ballet is developing after the departure of Peter Martins, and how she has become known as “the ballerina who stops time.” (more…)
In this episode, Jessica and Clara interviewed dancer Paul Hamilton about his experience collaborating with a diverse range of choreographers including Alonzo King, Elizabeth Streb, Reggie Wilson, Ralph Lemon and Keely Garfield. He shared a bit about each choreographer’s style and process and talked about his own journey of discovering and re-discovering dance as his passion and joy. He also let us in on some of the fascinating dramaturgical processes behind Reggie Wilson / Fist and Heel Performance Group’s production of Moses(es), and Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room (from which the above image derived).
Soul Train was one of the influences behind Paul’s Bessie-nominated performance of Scaffold Room. Enjoy this video homage to Soul Train!(more…)
In this episode, Jessica was in Havana, Cuba interviewing Marta Ortega, a dancer with Acosta Danza. Acosta Danza was formed in 2016 when international ballet star, Carlos Acosta retired from a highly regarded 30-year ballet career with the Royal Ballet and moved back to Cuba. The company commissions international choreographers such as Mats Ek and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui to create original contemporary works on its dancers. In 2018, Acosta Danza will perform in Havana and tour in the US, Europe and Singapore. Learn more at http://www.acostadanza.com/en/
Acosta Danza will perform at New York City Center April 25-27th as part of the ¡Adelante, Cuba! Festival. Get tickets here. (more…)
In this episode of Pod de Deux podcast, Clara and Jessica interviewed Stephan Quinci while traveling in Berlin. Originally hailing from Italy and Ohio, Stephan now calls Berlin his home where he collaborates with artists and investigates his own performance work. Stephan shared how his current training in release technique influences his performance work and free expression on the Berlin Club dance floor. We talked about his dialectic process for creating conceptual performance, and the European performance landscape.
In this episode of Pod de Deux, Clara and Jessica interviewed performance curator, Ali Rosa-Salas, who serves as the Director of Performance Programs at Abrons Arts Center. We spoke about the many roles of a performance curator and how Ali approaches her work at Abrons as she strives to create a place for inquiry and community. In the process, we learned about the history of Henry Street Settlement and its founder, Lillian Wald. Clara joined Ali and Jessica via skype from Minnesota where she was visiting her family for Thanksgiving.(more…)
In this episode we spoke to Ben Oddo, Content Manager of Dance Network as well as Michael Mahany, NYC Dance Network Correspondent. We learned how co-founders, Julie Stadler and David Medeiros, formed Dance Network. Michael shared his favorite moments as a correspondent and journalist of dance in New York City, as well as his passion for dance, wine, and cooking. Ben and Michael spoke about the network’s growing dance content and future plans for the platform.
We are also so excited to announce our new partnership with Dance Network which will be launched with the release of this episode! Pod de Deux will now be featured on Dance Network along with their family of programs. (more…)
In this episode, we interview Fran Kirmser, co-author of the new book, A Life in Dance: A Practical Guide. Fran revealed how a class assignment turned into a quest with Rebecca Stenn to create a resource book for dancers. Fran read from the book and shared some stories from contributing artists. Throughout our conversation, we talked about the various strengths and skills dancers possess that they can rely on to make their own life in dance and beyond. Look for the book on Amazon and www.alifeindance.com. (more…)
Jessica and Sarah Benvenuti, founder of Benvenuti Arts, met up for a friendly chat and drink on a rooftop bar in New York City. Sarah shared her seasoned approach to fundraising for small arts organizations and artists while sharing helpful tips for artists interested in increasing their fundraising impact. They talked about practical fundraising strategies, donor and audience engagement, the case for support, grant writing, crowdfunding, fiscal sponsorship, and more. Artists, this is not an episode to miss! (more…)
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. (more…)
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…)
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.
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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.(more…)
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.
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 Joyce.org or visit Jessica Lang’s website.
Pod de Deux attended this Dance/NYC 2016 Symposium discussion and workshop and learned how the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI) is developing new dance audiences while offering NYC dance companies free space to rehearse and perform. After the session, we interviewed PDD alum Jamie Benson, who presented helpful tips on how to build a following with social media strategies. We also recorded enthusiastic feedback from audience members and another presenter, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, a CUNY Venue Director.
Audience members were enthusiastic to share what they learned from this Dance/NYC 2016 Symposium session, which spotlighted select funding initiatives underway to address racial justice and equity in dance and the larger cultural sector.
At the Dance/NYC 2016 Symposium we gathered thought-provoking feedback on an array of discussions presented throughout the day, including: New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Diversity Initiative, Dance with Technology: Silicon Alley Meets Silicon Valley, National Voices: Embodying Equity and Inclusion at Dance/USA, and A Journey through Juba and Other Social Dances.
In June 2015, the Center for Urban Future published its second Creative New York report, which tracks trends in New York’s creative sector over a ten-year period and offers recommendations for real estate affordability, government funding and support, economic and community development, and diversity and inclusivity. This session, moderated by the researcher Adam Forman, puts members of the report’s advisory board into conversation about the study’s findings and its implications for dance artists and companies. He started the discussion by asking panel speakers: Are you an optimist or pessimist about the future of dance in NYC?
We continued the discussion with audience members and one of the featured speakers, Potri Ranka Manis, Founder and Artistic Director of Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage.
Organizations were onsite at the Dance/NYC 2016 Symposium, offering information to dancers and dance-makers. We learned more about valuable resources provided by The Actor’s Fund (which recently acquired Career Transitions for Dancers), Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Jean-Louis Law, and Pentacle. Listen to learn more!
We sat down with Miro Magloire, choreographer of New Chamber Ballet, to learn how his musical background influences his expressive style of contemporary ballet choreography, what it was like being a piano accompanist for ballet class, and how he selects fascinating contemporary composers for his work, like Karlheinz Stockhausen. We also had an interesting chat about the definition of musicality and how he uses his dancers to express his unique vision.
You can see his work on April 15th and 16th at City Center Studios (130 W. 56th Street) and also on May 19th at Florence Gould Hall (55 East 59th Street). Learn more about New Chamber Ballet and upcoming shows at www.newchamberballet.com
We talked to a few audience members about highlights from a strong roster of creative short films presented in the Shorts Program I at Dance On Camera Festival. We heard a lot about Indigo Grey and enthusiastic commentary about the rest of the roster as well. It was a great way to end our day at Dance on Camera Festival!
We spoke to Marta Renzi, choreographer and director of Honeymoon, a hot short film with a surprising twist featuring dancers Carlos Gonzalez and Tina Vasquez. She gave us a sneak peek into her inspiration and process behind the film before we saw it on the big screen.
Each year, the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center screens one Work-in-Progress. through the Dance Film Association‘s Production Grant, Alexandra Shilling’s latest video project The Other Side of Stillness | Installation was selected and screened as a special event on February 13. Alex talked to Pod de Deux about the process of making the project and what it was like working with DFA to present her work.
Flamenco is one of the world’s few art forms that is believed to be passed down exclusively through bloodlines. For Barcelona’s Gypsy community, it can’t be learned at a school or on paper. It is lived within the home, created at the bar and perfected on the street corner. Bajari, directed by Eva Vila, goes to all those places with the dancer Karime Amaya, who is working with some of the most talented up-and-coming musicians and dancers to create an innovative show, and little 5-year old Juanito Manzano who takes his first steps toearn his white flamenco boots. We talked to Ron Honsa, board member of Dance Films Association about the film.
Audience members of all ages shared their love for Natalia Makarova after a screening of her self-directed Ballerina Program 1: Body and Soul–the first section of a four part BBC Documentary series. They gushed over her career, partnerships, free spirit, charm, and her lasting influence on ballet.
In this episode with Ron Honsa, Filmmaker and Executive Director of Moving Pictures, we continue coverage of the Dance on Camera Festival (DOCF), leading up to PDD’s “takeover” on Saturday, February 13th! Ron Honsa’s documentary about Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers, The Men Who Danced, will be honored this year at DOCF, 30 years after its initial release. Jessica sat down with Ron and learned more about his historical and contextual approach to documentary filmmaking, as well as the importance of Jacob’s Pillow, Ted Shawn, Ruth St. Denis, and the Denishawn Dance Company to the development of American modern dance. Ron also revealed how he learned to film dance through a chance encounter with Alwin Nikolais and shared advice for dance filmmakers. The Men Who Danced will screen on Sunday, 2/14 followed by a moderated discussion with Norton Owen and Ron Honsa. The festival runs February 12th – 16th; tickets are still available here!
In this episode we speak with dancer and choreographer Loni Landon about her process of creating lush, captivating movement and the influence of her early career in Germany on her collaborative choreographic process. Importantly, Loni illuminated the difficulty of cultivating an artistic life that pays the rent, even as a dance artist who is widely regarded as enjoying early success and potential. We felt inspired by her proactive approach to changing the dance world for the better as we learned about her enthusiasm for pursuing collaborative projects and dance-based experiences with other artists, as well as her founding of The Playground, a financially accommodating space for dancers and choreographers to come together and explore (www.theplaygroundnyc.org). Don’t miss Loni’s choreography with Keigwin & Co at the Joyce, Dec. 8th, 10th and 12th: http://www.keigwinandcompany.com/event/kc-returns-to-the-joyce-theater/
“Dancing is fun!” Sometimes we all need the reminder, and this episode couldn’t have been a better one. Finally back in Btoven Studio, with dancer, choreographer and marketing professional Jamie Benson, we had some of the most fun yet as we dug deep into topics that ranged from the social purpose of laughter and the paradox of choice to Jamie’s rediscovery of the joy of dancing. We learned how Jamie incorporates humor into his choreography, works with adult non-dancers in his Shakedown Dance Collective and pursues the ultimate Bradjelina Life. He even provided valuable marketing advice for dancemakers! To learn more, visit our guests page and jamiebenson.com.
We made it to episode 10 and what a year it has been! In this episode, we talk to dancer/choreographer/sound designer/DJ Jeremy Nedd about dancing in New York City for dance luminary Kyle Abraham and his experience in Europe as a dancer, choreographer and sound designer. We chatted and wondered about dance snobbery, audience engagement, and intellectual and conceptual dance traditions. Our favorite quote from Jeremy: “Ballet is a feeling.” We could not agree more. Jeremy Nedd studied at SUNY Purchase and danced in New York City before relocating to Europe to dance with the Dresden SemperOper and the Basel Ballett. He has had the opportunity to perform works by Forsythe, Kylian, Thoss, Ekman and others.
Brock Labrenz of An Films is a New York-based director who harnesses his extensive background in performance to create deliberate and sensual audio-visual experiences. His creative endeavors find him somewhere between the exactitude of modern cinema and the ephemeral transition of the body through space.
In this episode, Brock shared his experiences training as a dancer at Juilliard and dancing for William Forsythe–in particular, Forsythe’s creative process. We learned what it was like investigating Forsythe’s concept of choreographic objects in Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time and how audiences engaged with this work. Brock also revealed how his interests in dance and film developed over time and how both mediums support his current work.
We had an intriguing discussion about the role of the choreographer in developing audience values and the importance in creating a conversation with the audience around a concept or process. We also discussed how work conditions in the US and Europe have varying effects on the creative process and performance experience.
In our eighth episode, we discuss dance and technology with Dr. Kate Sicchio—a choreographer, media artist and performer whose pioneering work explores the interface between choreography and technology. Kate talks about how she initially became interested in investigating real-time video systems and the use of space in choreography, and her experience devising inventive ways for technology and choreography to interact in performance. We also discover Kate’s great interest in developing code to hack choreography and exploring various ways to hack the body–an innovative concept you can learn more about in this episode and by visiting www.hackingthebody.wordpress.com.
Ask La Cour Rasmussen is a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, a native of Denmark and a creative explorer in his own right. We were thrilled to have the chance to speak with Ask about his time with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Bournonville technique for which Denmark is known and his lifestyle as a professional ballet dancer at some of the world’s premiere companies. In the process we learn that Ask is not only a workout enthusiast to put any gym-goer to shame but, like, totally not a bun head. Who knew? Learn more about Ask, Balanchine, NYCB and bun heads – all in this episode!
In our fourth episode of Pod de Deux podcast, we have a friendly chat with William Cannon, a professional contemporary dancer. He talks about his recent transition to freelance work in NYC, emerging trends in contemporary ballet, recent projects with The Metropolitan Opera and Twyla Tharp, and fond experiences working with contemporary choreographers like Christian Spuck, Cayetano Soto, and Nicolo Fonte. We also shared views on dance reviewers, dance on television, and interesting work being presented in NYC.
We speak to Ben Richards in our third episode of Pod de Deux Podcast. Ben is a freelance video artist, dancer and choreographer who lives in New York City and spent three years in Montreal. We initially met Ben at Jacob’s Pillow dance festival, where he has worked on the video team for the last five summers. In addition to freelance video work in NYC–now Ben’s primary focus–he is the videographer and live stream manager for the New York Public Library’s Live from the NYPL initiative.
We sat down with Ben early in the new year to discuss how he got into various dance-related endeavors, life at Jacob’s Pillow, and how the camera can bring life to dance.
In our second episode of Pod de Deux podcast, we talk to Naomi Luppescu–a dance costume designer and founder of NaLu Designs. She talks about her career in NYC, her approach to meeting the functional and aesthetic needs of the choreography, where she draws inspiration, and current trends. Her costumes can be seen in Ailey II’s New York Season at the Joyce Theater (from March 17th through the 22nd) in two pieces by choreographers Kate Skarpetowska and Manuel Vignoulle. Read more about Naomi on our Guests page.
In our first episode of Pod de Deux podcast, we talk to Traci Finch–a classically trained freelance dancer in New York City. She talks about her career, whether college prepares young dancers for the realities of dancing professionally, sewing pointe shoes on the subway, and the Nutcracker. Read more about her on our Guests page. We are beyond excited to present our first podcast episode! More episodes will be posted bi-weekly.
We are excited to unveil our new podcast series, Pod De Deux. Join us as we explore current issues and trends in the dance community through frank and relaxed conversations with dance-makers. Guests will include dancers, choreographers, administrators, and anyone else with a firm connection to the dance world. This is not a strictly interview-style show. We seek to understand our guests’ experiences through an honest back-and-forth that will ultimately be more thought-provoking and spirited than a simple Q&A. Our first episode will be posted soon!