Fresh. Unprocessed. Dance.

“Exit Stage Right:” Ciara Pressler’s Career Guidebook for Performers

“Exit Stage Right:” Ciara Pressler’s Career Guidebook for Performers

Jan 31st, 2013

How many career advice books are there in publication? You could spend hours in the Personal Development section learning about the health and growth of your personal financial portfolio, how to hone your interview skills, tips on networking in “the field,” not to mention ways to innovate in your office.

But how many are there on those of us who don’t have an office? How many manuals have been written about getting home at 2 AM from a bar shift and auditioning the next morning at 9 AM and how to make the coffee strong enough to stomach it? How about the roller coaster of successful performance tours and the confusion when tours end? Or advice for musicians who have worked tirelessly to build a band through the nights, but still sit at a service desk in the day? We performers are strange creatures who have a hard time squeezing our carefully quirky lifestyle into the paradigm of 9 to 5. This is old news. We are used to thumbing through career books to find the one chapter that might truly apply. The one about time management.

Ciara Pressler just put something new on the shelves, and it’s for us.

Looking Back: A Dance Icon Video Tour

Looking Back: A Dance Icon Video Tour

Sep 24th, 2012

Dance like any language is alive and morphing. We continue to add ideas and flair; to create new dialects altogether. Even so, we seem to embody many nuances of those who came first.

Here are three iconic dancers and one choreographer who have set the stage for much of what you see today. The links below will show each of their distinctive influences, threading from one era into the next. So when you find yourself in that blissful place, trying on a dance that fits just so, perhaps you’ll think of those who sewed the seams.

Hanging on to NYC Dance Space: Dance New Amsterdam’s Lease

Hanging on to NYC Dance Space: Dance New Amsterdam’s Lease

Jun 2nd, 2012

Dancers struggle to make their New York rents.

They also struggle to make their $18.00 fee for dance class, and often skip class because they can’t afford it.

These two conditions combined to create quite the conundrum for Dance New Amsterdam, one dance studio in Manhattan committed to keeping prices low for dancers, but accumulating massive rent debt because of it. If, as suggested by local government, dance studios take a “more entrepreneurial” approach then what follows are higher class prices, lower teacher payments, higher studio costs, higher ticket prices and ultimately loss of the original goal: to train and nurture artists. For sustainability, a studio requires a combination of revenue from the services they offer and strong fiscal support from the community. Even an organization that seems to be thriving may be in danger of losing its home…

FILM PREVIEW: First Position

FILM PREVIEW: First Position

May 3rd, 2012

Outsiders of the dance world often marvel at the discipline, commitment and sheer tenacity of those trying to be professionals in the business.

Dancers however, never think twice about what it takes to make it. Raised on the mantra “no pain, no gain,” they often thrive under high pressure and high expectations. To them, all this effort is common sense. If you really want it, you are singularly-focused on the pursuit of a career in dance. If you lack the passion, you quit early. It is simple.

Pontus Lidberg’s Labyrinth Within at Baryshnikov Arts Center

Pontus Lidberg’s Labyrinth Within at Baryshnikov Arts Center

Mar 5th, 2012

Swedish choreographer and dancer Pontus Lindberg’s Labyrinth Within is a series of pas de deux on film that explores the lines between reality and perception. The majority of the 28 minute film, with a score created by David Lang (and recorded in 2009 by The Symphony Orchestra of Sweden’s Norrlands Operan) takes place in Giovanni Bucchieri and Wendy Whelan’s apartment. The two main characters are in the later years of a now stale marriage.

REVIEW: Fall for Dance Festival 2012 at New York City Center: Program 2

REVIEW: Fall for Dance Festival 2012 at New York City Center: Program 2

by Oct 1st, 2012No Comments

It was a night for classics at New York City Center’s Program 2 of Fall For Dance Festival. The spectrum of work illuminated the deep historical tradition of codified technique and striking discipline. Juilliard’s senior dance class shared the work of Pam Tanowitz, a blend of classical and modern technique. Set beside Martha Graham’s “Chronicle” from 1936, Twyla Tharp’s 1983 “Sinatra Suite” performed by American Ballet Theater and a 2010 Peter Quanz ballet by The Hong Kong Ballet, the program seemed to illustrate the journey of dance and the subtle specificity of its many vocabularies.

REVIEW: Fall for Dance Festival 2012 at New York City Center: Program 1

REVIEW: Fall for Dance Festival 2012 at New York City Center: Program 1

by Sep 29th, 2012No Comments

He stuck out like a sore thumb outside of New York City Center. An unkempt outfit consisting of a black and grey plaid shirt and long cargo pants matched his crazy demeanor, the gap in his teeth, and giant grey hair. It was only after a few moments of analysis that I realized that he was begging me for an extra ticket to the Fall for Dance Festival’s opening night. The demand has never been higher for the popular series, now in its ninth year. Expanded to 12 evenings, Fall for Dance provides a unique glimpse into the world of dance today. A program of unbiased diversity offers glimpses into the current state of ballet, modern, tap, flamenco, contemporary, hip-hop and everything else under the sun (under the fluorescent dance studio lights?). I took my seat in the beautiful theater and admired the eclectic program when I saw our desperate grey-haired friend sitting two rows in front of me. He made it.

REVIEW: Jonah Bokaer’s ECLIPSE at BAM

REVIEW: Jonah Bokaer’s ECLIPSE at BAM

by Sep 25th, 20121 Comment

The heat having finally broken, New Yorkers are back in town, getting down to business and starting a new season. New York Fashion Week has already offered us a peak at next spring, Apple is breaking records again with the release of the new iPhone, and the Presidential election has taken off in a sprint to November.

It’s this cultural landscape, amidst so much forecasting and anticipation that New York choreographer Jonah Bokaer and noted English light sculptor Anthony McCall opened the BAM Next Wave Festival’s 30th season with an evening length work called Eclipse September 5-9 in the brand new (and still smelling of just laid carpet) BAM Fisher. Eclipse isn’t a speculative look into a crystal ball, however. McCall and Bokaer tell us something about present, and naturally our future, by looking straight back.

Looking Back: A Dance Icon Video Tour

Looking Back: A Dance Icon Video Tour

by Sep 24th, 2012No Comments

Dance like any language is alive and morphing. We continue to add ideas and flair; to create new dialects altogether. Even so, we seem to embody many nuances of those who came first.

Here are three iconic dancers and one choreographer who have set the stage for much of what you see today. The links below will show each of their distinctive influences, threading from one era into the next. So when you find yourself in that blissful place, trying on a dance that fits just so, perhaps you’ll think of those who sewed the seams.

Dance Is Not Forever, and He’ll Prove it

Dance Is Not Forever, and He’ll Prove it

by Aug 2nd, 2012No Comments

One year ago, visual artist Daniel Arsham proposed a set design for choreographer Jonah Bokaer’s new work CURTAIN: “The stage design will be composed of a non-Newtonian substance that I have developed over the last year,” Arsham wrote. “It is a material that has properties of both a solid and of a liquid. It defies the laws of Newtonian physics. This material will be used to construct architectural forms of various scales that will transform into an amorphous form. Structures will dissolve as the dance is occurring.”

Without hesitation, Jonah Bokaer started a dance.

Running tonight through Sunday at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires, CURTAIN is the real deal of cross-disciplinary exchange. Without a hierarchy determining which element would be created first, the piece emerged from the simultaneous evolution of images, music, and movement. The result is a non-narrative exploration of the transitory nature of dance. On every level, it reminds us that dance happens once and is gone forever.

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