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American Dance Institute Supports Expansion of CityDance into Rockville…

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — American Dance Institute announced today that, beginning in September 2015, it will support the expansion of the CityDance School & Conservatory, headquartered at the Music Center at Strathmore, into studio space at ADI’s Rockville facility. The arrangement will optimize use of ADI’s 20,000 square foot space, housing ADI’s performance programs as well as a satellite location for CityDance’s thriving Montgomery County-based dance school and pre-professional training program. “CityDance is extremely excited about the opportunities to realize so many of our plans for growth that this additional space will allow. And we are very thankful to ADI for its support. We look forward to continuing with our mission to establish the greater Washington, DC area as a center for excellence in dance training, performance and community-based arts education,” said Alexandra Nowakowski, Executive Director of CityDance.

Led by Artistic Director Lorraine Spiegler, MA graduate of American University and former faculty member and Director of Education and Outreach for The Washington Ballet, CityDance School & Conservatory offers superlative pre-professional training steeped in classical tradition and complimented by contemporary techniques to equip students with the tools they need to thrive in today’s professional dance world. “CityDance’s focus on preparing well-rounded dancers is perfectly in line with the philosophy of ADI’s dance education programs,” said ADI Executive Director, Adrienne Willis.

In September, ADI will begin a national scholarship program to provide funds to promising young dance students to study at the schools of their choice. “We are thoughtfully and very intentionally refocusing ADI’s education programs to provide a substantial amount of financial assistance each year to nurture young dance talent across the country,” said Willis. ADI School, founded by Michael and Pamela Bjerknes and led for the past five years by former Washington Ballet principal dancers Erin and Runqiao Du, will close at the end of the summer after fifteen years of providing high-quality dance instruction in a supportive environment to DC-area students. Willis added, “The ADI Future Artists Scholarship Fund is being designed to add another exciting dimension to our mission-driven programs and to have broad reach and lasting impact on the future of the dance field. At the same time, by supporting CityDance to open a satellite program in our space we are furthering ADI’s mission of advancing artistic excellence, remaining dedicated to the students we have nurtured in our Rockville home and ensuring that Montgomery County continues to be a vibrant center for dance education.” Details of the scholarship program will be released this summer.

ADI will also continue to present its popular performance programs in Rockville, which provide technical residencies for professional contemporary dance choreographers and bring some of the most respected contemporary artists to the DC area for critically acclaimed performances and world premieres.

About CityDance
Founded in 1996, CityDance produces and presents professional dance at venues across the DC metropolitan area; trains young dancers for professional careers; and provides free dance education programs for thousands of students each year.
CityDance OnStage brings highly acclaimed national and international companies to the region’s most prestigious performance venues; supports and nurtures emerging choreographers to create and perform original work; and provides an unparalleled opportunity for CityDance students to work and perform with professional artists.
CityDance School & Conservatory provides over 600 students each week with high level dance training including the CityDance Conservatory, an intensive pre-professional training program that prepares young dancers for professional careers.
CityDance’s Community Programs, including DREAM and ReachDC, are offered at over 25 community-based sites across the DC-metro region providing free performances to over 5,000 students each year; in-school and after-school programs to 500 students every week; and camps to over 400 students every summer.

About ADI
American Dance Institute (ADI) is a dance presenter and residency site in Rockville, Maryland committed to the mission of advancing artistic excellence through education, performance and a strong commitment to the development of new works. Founded in 1999 as a dance school, in 2010 the organization embarked on an ambitious strategic planning initiative to reimagine how ADI could better utilize its resources to fill gaps in established support structures in the American contemporary dance field and expand the scope of contemporary performance offered in the Washington, DC area. The endeavor resulted in the development of a Performance Series, a nationally recognized late-stage residency program – ADI Incubator – and a substantial new commissioning initiative – The Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography. ADI’s evolution continues in 2015 with a reaffirmation of the organization’s commitment to supporting the development of young artists through implementation of The ADI Future Artists Scholarship Program and an expansion of the Incubator, adding ADI/NYC, a new component to support artists’ work in New York City.

SOURCE: American Dance Institute

Training

Is Annabelle Lopez Ochoa the Busiest Female Ballet Choreographer…

I grew up dancing, and for a while in college, I was a gym rat. I finally realized… I’m going to create a little more balance in my life and make exercise something that I enjoy doing. So I went back to dance when I started doing more musical theatre, and I’ve just found that it’s the best thing that works for my body.Christine Lakin

Review

Review: For Pennsylvania Ballet, Transitions Onstage

All dance companies are, inevitably, in perpetual transition, but that’s unusually pronounced just now at Pennsylvania Ballet, which opened a program of 21st-century choreography on Tuesday night at the Joyce Theater. Since Angel Corella became the company’s artistic director in 2014, large numbers of dancers have come and gone.

Some of those dancing in New York this week have arrived since Mr. Corella joined the company, while others are in their final season. Read more “Review: For Pennsylvania Ballet, Transitions Onstage”

News

American Dance Institute Launches Scholarship Initiative to Promote Racial…

Diversity is a hot-button topic in today’s dance world. It’s often linked to conversations about the rise of Misty Copeland, and there have been many notable outreach efforts, such as Charlotte Ballet’s partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre’s Project Plié, The Washington Ballet’s recently launched program called Let’s Dance Together and the work done by the International Association of Blacks in Dance. Now, the American Dance Institute has launched its Future Artists Initiative, a scholarship program to fund training for racially diverse dancers. In a press release from ADI, the organization’s executive director Adrienne Willis said, “We feel ADI’s Future Artists Initiative will make a great impact on the future of the art form, ensuring the stages of tomorrow reflect the rich diversity of American talent.”

After conducting extensive research with the help of Dance/USA and IABD, the organizations selected 40 pre-professional schools that may nominate up 10 students for financial assistance. In order to be eligible for funding this fall, schools have until April 15 to nominate their students, whose parent/guardian must complete an application by May 15. Perhaps what’s most unique about this program is its ongoing nature: As long as recipients continue their pre-professional training, they will continue to receive up to $5,000 annually until they turn 18. The money is intended not only to supplement dance training, but also assist with other associated costs (transportation, housing, shoes, clothing, etc.).

On the surface, this may sound like an attempt to use money to solve a problem, but the Future Artists Initiative seems to be digging deeper. Early in the process, they reached out to over 600 dance schools across the country to determine why talented students aren’t always able to continue their training. Over 60 schools reported the high costs of tuition, supplies and transportation as the most prohibitive factors in keeping low-income families from quality dance education.

ADI’s research also linked ballet’s lack of diversity to an absence of role models that students can identify with. In “Diversity Is the New Black” in our January issue, writer Theresa Ruth Howard pointed to the very same issue, along with other changes that need to happen to eradicate ballet’s diversity problem.

For more information about the Future Artists Initiative, including ADI’s research, click here.

 

Source: Dance Magazine.

News

Dance/USA Hosts Audience Engagement Webinar

Looking for advice on how to build and maintain an engaged audience for your dance company? Join Dance/USA for its live webinar series, where you can share ideas with a variety of artists and presenters on everything from building community to including disabled audiences. The biweekly series began on February 10, with talks on site-specific work, establishing a following and cultivating new dance fans, and will continue with its next session on March 23.

 

To attend the free webinar, pre-register here and tune in at 2pm EST. After a short presentation on each subject, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, share ideas and brainstorm with other artists, activists, educators and presenters. The upcoming topics promise to be stimulating: March 23’s webinar will be a conversation on navigating histories in audience engagement; April 6’s will discuss engaging audiences with disabilities, with insight from Millersville University on their partnership with AXIS Dance Company; April 20’s will be on maintaining audiences year after year, with Jacob’s Pillow and others. Later discussions in May will tackle building audiences locally and engaging youth through dance.

Whether you’re directly a small company or dancing in a big one, it sounds like this series has valuable information and inspiration for everyone.

Source: Dance Magazine

The Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation is raising the roof…

The Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation is raising the roof: it held a ceremonial “roof-breaking” performance on Tuesday to mark the beginning of a $25 million construction project that will add three more stories of studios, classrooms and offices to its Manhattan home.

The expansion of the building, the Joan Weill Center for Dance, which opened in 2005, is being designed by Iu & Bibliowicz Architects. One of the partners, Natan Bibliowicz, is the son-in-law of Mrs. Weill, a major Ailey supporter who stepped down as chairwoman of its board in 2014. Cultural institutions supported by the Weill family’s philanthropy, including Carnegie Hall, have hired the firm for big projects in the past, sometimes prompting questions about potential conflicts of interest.

The extension will build the stories to the shorter midblock portion of the building, at 55th Street and Ninth Avenue, so that it matches the six-story corner in height. It will add 10,000 square feet space to the bustling center, and a new glass facade with an undulating pattern inspired by “Revelations,” Alvin Ailey’s signature dance. It is scheduled to open next fall, and will be called the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation Education Wing.

photodune-14869529-the-group-of-modern-ballet-dancers-l-2

The project will be paid for in part by a capital appropriation of $4 million from the city, Ailey officials said. The rest is coming from private donors: The foundation announced that it had raised $48 million of the $50 million it is seeking as part of a campaign that was inaugurated by Mrs. Weill’s husband, Sanford I. Weill, the financier and philanthropist, to honor her work at Ailey.

Bennett Rink, the executive director of the Ailey foundation, said Mrs. Weill had recused herself from the process of selecting the architects, and that the firm was chosen because it had designed the building. “They designed the original building, and given that the building itself has been such a huge success, it seemed to make the most sense to go back to them,” Mr. Rink said.

The building is used by the Ailey School, which will be able to grow after the expansion; the Ailey Extension, which offers after-work and weekend dance classes to the general public; and for rehearsals by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and its second company of young dancers, Ailey II.

Robert Battle, the artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, said that he was encouraged that the foundation had essentially outgrown its new home after a decade.

“So often you get the question, how to you feel about the state of dance, or how do you feel about the future audience of dance?” he said in a telephone interview from London, where the company was performing. “But then look at the Extension program, and see how quickly it grew — thousands of people coming to take classes at the end of their work day.”

 

Source: NY Times