modern dance

I DID IT AND I ANALYZED IT LATER: Gabri Christa

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In this second week of COVID quarantine in New York City, Michael and Clara had the privilege of connecting with multi-disciplinary art maker Gabri Christa over Zoom. Gabri is a dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, scholar and all-around artist with a rich history and intriguing body of work. She told us about the cross-roads culture she experienced growing up in the Dutch Caribbean island nation of Curaçao, where she took yoga with adults and absorbed cultural dance forms before encountering modern dance when she attended university in the Netherlands. Hearing Gabri’s story of choreographing and performing at a young age on the island was an inspiring reminder that the urge to create comes not from formal training but from a well of creativity within. Most recently, Gabri has been touring her multi-media project, Magdalena, which took shape in response to her mother’s dementia, and hosting/curating the second Moving Body-Moving Image festival of dance films at Barnard. The festival theme this year is aging. It will take place completely online on April 4th from 12-6pm – we hope you’ll tune in! https://www.movingbodymovingimage.com/festival

You can see the film Gabri made with Kyle Abraham, QUARANTINE, on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/42853661

Multi-disciplinary and wide-ranging in form, Gabri Christa’s art-making spans film, choreography, performance, curation, writing, and more. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College and a member of Mayor de Blasio’s Cultural Advisory Commission. Gabri has danced and choreographed with companies such as Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, DanzAbierta and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Awards include the Guggenheim for Choreography, and five Jerome Foundation grants. Her choreographies have been presented nationally, internationally and locally at Central Park Summer Stage, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Symphony Space, PS122 and for five seasons at Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts). 

ALL DANCE HAS A MESSAGE: Sean Dorsey

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Jessica and Michael had a fun, energized and important conversation with Sean Dorsey, the U.S.’ first acclaimed transgender modern dance choreographer. Sean’s newest work, BOYS IN TROUBLE, unpacks masculinity with unflinching honesty from unapologetically trans and queer perspectives – and Sean likewise spoke openly about how his work incorporates and expresses unique perspectives on gender, as well as social justice. In fact, Sean shared the idea that all dance, as an inherently expressive art, is a form of social messaging for which the choreographer is responsible. He also shared some ways in which his commitment to the queer community and principles of openness impacts all aspects of his work even beyond the stage – for example using his tech rider to ensure that the spaces where his company performs include non-binary restrooms and the option of non-binary dressing rooms. It was particularly refreshing and motivating to hear details about the “terrified beginner’s welcome” workshops Sean hosts for all people of all body types, gender identities and movement levels across the country, as well as how his team’s background in activism allows them to consistently sell out shows to audiences that include many non-dancers. Let’s learn from Sean’s approach to help more people experience dance!

Sean Dorsey is an award-winning San Francisco-based choreographer, dancer and writer. Recognized as the United States’ first acclaimed transgender modern dance choreographer, he has toured his work to 30 US cities. Dorsey has been awarded five Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and the Goldie Award for Performance. He has been named in Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch and named “San Francisco’s Best Dance Company” (SF Weekly). Most recently, Dorsey was awarded a Dance/USA Artist Fellowship. Dorsey has been awarded major support by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Dance/USA, and many more sources, as well as a variety of commissions from sources including American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Queer Cultural Center in San Francisco, 7 Stages in Atlanta, and more.

Dorsey’s works are powerful explorations of human experience. They are highly physical, accessible, rooted in story, and danced with precision, guts and deep humanity. His newest work is BOYS IN TROUBLE, is a powerful evening of dances that unpack masculinity with unflinching honesty – from unapologetically trans and queer perspectives.

I MAKE AN EFFORT TO GUIDE AN EXPERIENCE: Andrea Miller

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In this interview with Andrea Miller, recorded at the Brooklyn home of GALLIM Dance, we dig deep into Andrea’s unique choreographic process and discuss her current residency at the Met Breuer. Andrea describes the way in which she and her dancers develop a distinct movement language for each new piece, and she shares a fascinating example of a piece for which they drew inspiration from prehistoric, non-human movement. We also touch on the historical-cultural significance of Andrea’s 2017-18 residency at the Met as a sign of dance being recognized as an art form in its own right. Finally, Andrea speaks to the experience and personal importance of building a family without interrupting her dance career. Andrea will premiere a new durational work at the Met Breuer this month, May 22–27, 2018. If you’re in New York, don’t miss it! (more…)

REACH FARTHER: Fran Kirmser

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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…)

STRUGGLE MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL: Miki Orihara

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Jessica and Clara finally reunited in the studio for this interview with Miki Orihara, Choreographer and former Graham dancer. We speculated on the differences between modern dance and ballet, and Miki shared her thoughts on how Graham’s technique sticks with the dancer as well as her own efforts to both honor and diverge from that technique. She also shared fascinating stories about entering the dance world after coming to America from Japan and her initial attraction to the theater. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did. (more…)

NOW IT’S A COLLABORATION: Prince Credell

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We were lucky to catch Prince Credell of Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) at City Center during a busy day of rehearsal for the compay’s appearance at Fall for Dance. (NDT will be back for a full engagement in November! Get tickets!) Prince talked to us about his experience working with the exciting range of contemporary choreographers who come through NDT, learning to dance as a character, and some of his proudest moments as a teacher of dance. Speaking with Prince was an absolute pleasure, and we can’t recommend more highly seeing him perform with one of the most impressive and innovative dance companies of today at City Center Nov 16th-19th. (more…)

INTO SUNLIGHT: Ron Honsa, Nan Penman & Robin Becker

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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…)