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“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.

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

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

by Jun 2nd, 20121 Comment

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…

REVIEW: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet at the Joyce

REVIEW: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet at the Joyce

by May 26th, 2012No Comments

Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance held court with a captive, hometown audience last week, like an impossibly hip and worldly friend that fascinates with tales from abroad.

For the past year and a half, Cedar Lake has been performing everywhere but the Big Apple, taking up with Europe’s presenters as often as its trendsetting choreographers, both established and emerging. In the first phase of the two-part program currently running at The Joyce, the company introduced New York to two recent works of foreign birth — Hofesh Schechter’s “Violet Kid” and Crystal Pite’s “Grace Engine” — and reprised “Annonciation,” a 1995 work by Angelin Preljocaj.

Tense, convulsive and apocalyptic in feel, “Violet Kid” and “Grace Engine” — both created in the last year — are clearly works of an uncertain present. Boundaries blur between group and individual, victim and aggressor, order and chaos. Gender is largely irrelevant, as reflected in both choreography and costuming (street clothes in the Schechter, drab suits in the Pite, stockinged feet in both). And while “Violet Kid” resembles an Occupy Wall Street protest and “Grace Engine,” a corporate prison, both resound equally with confusion and despair.

From an artistic perspective, however, both pieces paint a promising picture — of the company itself, and of contemporary dance in general.

PREVIEW: Gallim Dance at the Joyce Theater

PREVIEW: Gallim Dance at the Joyce Theater

by May 22nd, 2012No Comments

Two weeks ago, Gallim Dance opened the doors to its new home in Brooklyn at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew. In addition, the lucky attendees were offered a sneak peak at Andrea Miller’s new work Sit, Kneel, Stand to be premiered at the Joyce Theater June 8th-10th. It was an overwhelming experience, not only to see such exclusive sights, but also to witness the growth that Gallim Dance has undergone.

Gallim has gained its reputation by utilizing Ms. Miller’s extremely physical movement vocabulary coupled with raw emotional construction to expose deep and visceral themes. However, the choreography has never really strayed from its firm roots in the genre of “Dance”, staying true to more traditional choreographic tools.

Cedar Lake Finally Dances in New York

Cedar Lake Finally Dances in New York

by May 14th, 2012No Comments

For a year and a half, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has performed almost everywhere but New York City. But from May 15-27 they are back at the Joyce Theater with two programs. They’ll feature six pieces by six different choreographers, five NYC premieres, and one world premiere.

Ana-Maria Lucaciu, one of Cedar Lake’s sixteen dancers says, “Finally we can show the city what we have been working on.”

Program A shows “Violet Kid” by London-based Hofesh Schecter, “Annonciation” by French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, and “Grace Engine” by Canadian Crystal Pite. “[Violet Kid] has a lot of sustained aggression. It is under this constant boiling lid and is never allowed to come out.” Lucaciu says. Schecter works with images of being scolded as a child and the feeling of repressed anger, and the dancers, who are on stage for the duration, must use restraint and power simultaneously in their movement.

REVIEW: Introdans at the Joyce Theater

REVIEW: Introdans at the Joyce Theater

Ballet has always held itself in a different genre, treasuring technique and choreographic innovation within that aesthetically clean framework. Prestigious visionaries like George Balanchine and Jiří Kylián found their own unique ways of transforming the classical to the contemporary, historically breaking new ground and allowing a next generation of creativity to progress and discover new ways to enrapture audiences. One of the national dance companies of the Netherlands, Introdans was met with high expectations for their US debut at the Joyce Theater. Ballet desperately needs new flag-bearers. The result this week was disappointing in its transparency.

Roel Voorintholt, artistic director of Introdans, opened with Heavenly, featuring divinity-themed revivals from three different choreographers. The first work, Fünf Gedichte (five poems), was choreographed by Nils Christe and premiered in 1996.

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