Monday, December 20, 2010

An Interview with Peridance's Dorit Koppel


Photo by Jaci Berkopec


Taking Technique

Ballet technique classes are a huge part of any dancer’s training, but taking them day after day can be highly repetitive. How is it that dancers, beginner through professional, go back to class day after day and year after year without getting discouraged? While this commitment to training depends on the individual dancer’s diligence, an excellent teacher can be what takes a class from repetitive to enjoyable. I talked to one of Peridance Capezio Center’s own ballet teachers, Dorit Koppel, to see how she makes each class a new experience.
This is what she had to say:

Every class I teach is like a precious jewel or a kaleidoscope of movement that I switch and turn. What is most important to me when giving a class is that my students do not leave my class the same person they were when they entered. They should have something to take with them: a new step, a correction, an image, a new way of approaching their practice. A dance class should be an hour and a half of great experiences. Otherwise, it becomes tedious and tedious you cannot survive. I use imagery extensively to bring the outside world into the dance studio, using visually palpable examples. I believe it makes for a more creative and colorful class and one to which all students can relate.

Photo by Jaci Berkopec

In my classes a great deal of emphasis is placed on the movement of the upper body. These little nuances of the head and arms, are difficult to pick up, but they make a dancer. You have to learn how to use the upper body at the barre so that in the center it becomes second nature. Therefore, I encourage my students to dance the barre rather than execute the exercises.

Ballet can be quite restrictive, there are all these things that we are told not to do; it can begin to feel very confining. It is important to learn to move with freedom, in order to fully explore your body and space. A technique class is only class, not an audition, and in my view it should be treated as a laboratory, a place for experimentation. No matter the level of the student, I still want them to dance the class. This is how you build, little by little, day by day.

Photo by Jaci Berkopec

The classes I teach are open classes, not a closed program. I enjoy the variety of students and the energy they bring. It is much more interesting and colorful, because you get people from all walks of life and ability levels. I always have several class plans up my sleeve, just in case because I do not know who will be in the class.

Ballet naturally demands precision and thus tension, so I always try and relax the class because you cannot approach it with stress and fear. I bring humor into the class, to keep everything in perspective. If you do not enjoy the dancing, then don’t do it. It is not merely exercise; it is an art form. I tell my students, if you want to get in shape, go to the gym, not a ballet class. Dance requires a giving of oneself to something; it is greater than you. It can be a humbling experience, but it is okay to be humbled by it because it is such a high art form.

Dorit Teaches at Peridance Tuesdays & Thursdays Slow Intermediate 5:30-7:00pm.
Click here to see her schedule on the website.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Advice

Take a look at Peridance instructor, Lauren Tepper's excellent article, What Don't You Want for Christmas? on how to have a more satisfying holiday season.








WHAT DON'T YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2010 AT 09:32PM

It’s called ‘Santosha,’ translated as contentment or gratitude. I’m exploring Santosha as a new paradigm for my life. One way I practice is by first noticing a desire when it arises. Then rather than giving in to the desire immediately, I sit still for five minutes or more and consciously practice contentment. I direct my awareness to the simple act of breathing that sustains my life, and pay attention to the pleasurable sensations in my body as I simply sit doing nothing in particular. (Patrick McDonnell wrote a great children’s book called The Gift of Nothing depicting this idea with a charming story and illustrations, fun for adults too!)

If you want to read more about this simple and life-changing practice, I’m reprinting below an excerpt from a series I wrote for www.yogacitynyc.com on Santosha, which is one of five yogic ‘Niyamas,’ or observances. I wish you contentment and freedom from wanting this holiday season.

Santosha, or freedom from wanting

Of all the niyamas, to me santosha is the one that just feels good. Sutra 2.42 tells us that “from contentment, the highest happiness is gained.” Cultivating gratitude, practicing contentment… I picture myself like a cat curled up on a sunny windowsill, just lapping up all the sweetness of this juicy life.

But what about when life doesn’t paint this idyllic picture? From serious conditions like illness or violence to minor annoyances like delayed subways and bad hair days, I am challenged to practice gratitude even when things are not going ‘my way.’

To help remind me that santosha is meant to be a continual practice of unconditional gratitude, I posted a little reminder above my desk: Until you can make friends with the present moment, you’re not really living. Seated breathing practices and simple mindfulness exercises have helped me tremendously to embrace santosha, and not just when things are going ‘well.’ Everyday annoyances like missing a train by the skin of my teeth become an opportunity for practice: can I slow my breathing down and practice contentment, even in this mucky tunnel?

In Edwin Bryant’s commentary on the Sutras, he explains that santosha is about finding the greatest happiness “from the cessation of desire.” When I let go of my designs and surrender to what is, my life shifts into the present moment. My computer crashes; the four hours I spend trying to get back online could be full of irritation and impatience for results, or I could choose a more sattvic (harmonious) approach to the situation. Each press of my finger on the keyboard could be a reminder that here I am, alive in this miraculous and mysterious existence. When I practice santosha, joy arises from within, completely independently of my external situation, which is always changing.

Santosha doesn’t mean I don’t work to change what feels unacceptable. My life partner will hear about it when he leaves tomato sauce stains on the countertops. I still work to protest war and violence. Contentment doesn’t mean just sitting back and lackadaisically watching the world go by. But armed with this gentle yet vital practice, I am able to approach each day with more compassion, more relaxation, and thankfulness just for the opportunity to be here and experience it all – the pleasurable events as well as the drudgery. It’s all an opportunity to grow, and to let go of the idea that I can control or put any conditions on reality.

Check out Lauren's blog at http://www.breathtakingspace.com/transformations

Lauren teaches yoga at Peridance Align/Flow Yoga: Sundays 10:00-11:30am.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Faculty News

Korhan Basaran, Peridance Contemporary teacher has a piece premiering December 15th “The Second Elegy: Fall of a Swan” will be performed by Shay Bares & Korhan Basaran at the Cunningham Studio. Korhan will also be performing as Drosselmeyer in Igal Perry’s original Nutcracker.

Marijke Eliasberg is currently teaching and choreographing in the Netherlands. She is choreographing a new commissioned piece on the 2nd year teacher department of the Theaterschool/Amsterdam School of Dance and teaching Master Classes at Codarts Rotterdam and Studio K'dans in The Hague! She will be back at Peridance Saturday, Dec. 18th 3pm and has a new class starting Tuesday, Dec. 21st 11:30-1pm!


Peridance teachers, Dana Foglia, La Jon Dantzler, and Joanna Numata are participating in the creation of “cy.clo.thy.mi.a.” a new dance show by The United Project. The performances are Dec. 12th and 16th at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center. For more information www.manhattanmovement.com/calendar or 646.385.8493.



Anabella Lenzu is celebrating her 20th anniversary of teaching and the 5th anniversary of her company Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama throughout 2011! She feels that she has come very far in realizing her dream to form a company that has a unique dance language. She also has an upcoming show, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) 2011 Conference at New York City Center, January 9th 2011.


Wes Veldink has been away teaching in Italy and Finland. While away he shot a dance short film in the south of Italy that will be submitted to dance on film festivals this coming year. He also choreographed Gwyneth Paltrow, Leighton Meester and Garrett Hedlund for the feature film "Country Strong" which has a limited release Dec. 22nd and wide release Jan. 7th.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Peridance Capezio Center's Certificate Program


The Certificate Program


Peridance Capezio Center has a new training program this fall. The Certificate Program is a two-year intensive dance training program for students ages 17-28. It offers students wonderful opportunities including working closely with great instructors and choreographers, bi-yearly performances, and one-on-one mentoring. Students can choose between two unique tracks depending on their professional goals: Ballet/Modern/Contemporary or Commercial/Musical Theater/Jazz.


Program Coordinator Liza Kovacs describes the Certificate Program:


It was with great excitement that Peridance launched the Certificate Program this past August. We were delighted to welcome 16 students from all over the world to join the Peridance family and become the first graduating class of this program.


Since the start of the 2010 Fall semester our CP students have had a wide range of rich and diverse experiences. They have just ended their second weeklong workshop with Helen Pickett, leading them in an exploration of Forsythe-based improvisation technique. It is great to see their progress and deeper understanding of the work since the first workshop. Students who previously approached improvisation with trepidation have shed their inhibitions; students who are particularly interested in choreography are learning a great deal from these enriching experiences and adding to their repertoire of creative choreographic strategies.


Besides the technique classes that are the mainstay of any dancer’s training, the Certificate Program students have benefited from the guest seminar speakers. Anatomist/biochemist Rebecca Dietzel, co-author of A Dancer's Guide to Healthy Eating, gave our students the basics on when and what to eat to maximize physical and mental performance. We hope that she will return to continue sharing her vast knowledge on this hot topic.


We also had the privilege of establishing a relationship with Lakey Wolff, agent extraordinaire, from the talent agency Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty (CESD); she came to speak about how to best create contacts and build networks and she will return to continue the conversation and help set-up mock auditions.


In the Certificate Program we take time to analyze each dancers’ individual movement patterns, habits, and technique through the use of video: classes were filmed and our students viewed these with the outside eye of and feedback from an expert teacher. This allowed for important exchange on the specifics of dance performance and resulted on improved performance in the studio.


Certificate Students from both the Commercial and the Ballet/Contemporary Track have combined classes such as Improvisation and Composition. They will present works for the Student Showcase next February and we are excited to host their efforts and give them an opportunity to perform and choreograph. In the last month, they have been part of the creative choreographic process in the creation of Igal Perry's Nutcracker, which they will be performing next month.


The Peridance Certificate Program students were also given an exclusive tour of the Library of Performing Arts, learning how to best research dance-specific videos, books, and to look up information. It is very important to us that our students know that such an incredible resource is available to them, to enrich their knowledge of their art form.


The Peridance Certificate Program distinguishes itself through the recognition of students as individuals, each with unique needs, goals, and abilities. Their personalized training is a reflection of this diversity, all the while maintaining and upholding fundamental qualities that are required for a career in dance: discipline, intelligence, dedication, and passion for movement.


-Liza Kovacs,

Certificate Program Coordinator


Who better to consult on the success of the program so far than the students themselves? I interviewed a few of them, asking why they chose Peridance and how they feel it is going so far. This is what they had to say:


“When I read the description, the program sounded like everything I wanted in a training program. When I came it was everything I wanted and more.” –Cara


“I like how our teachers interact with us, they know us by name and they actually give individual corrections.” –Jessica


“We train with the same teacher for a semester, so we get to know them and they get to know us, which allows us to really trace our progress.” –Ayako


“I really like that we can go to Liza and talk to her about anything, even if its not dance related. It makes being in a program away from home a lot easier. Also, the atmosphere is great; when you feel good about where you are, you can dance ten times better!” –Jessica


To register for the Program, visit our website.


Spring 2011 Semester: January 31st - June 24th

(20 weeks of study + 1 week vacation)

Application deadline: November 31st!!


Fall 2011 Semester: August 29th - January 27th

(20 weeks of study + 2 weeks vacation during the Holiday Season)

Application deadline: August 1st


Watch the Certificate Program Students!




Monday, November 15, 2010

Winter 2011 Showcases

Two Up-Coming Showcases at Peridance!

Peridance Faculty Showcase, Winter 2011:
Saturday, February 5th, 8:30pm
Sunday, February 6th, 3:00pm

Peridance Student Showcase, Winter 2011:
Sunday, Febrary 6th, 7:30pm

Take a look at Peridance's last showcase in the links that follow!

Faculty Showcase Highlights from Peridance Capezio Center on Vimeo.


Video features works by: Max Stone, Korhan Basaran, Dana Foglia, Tony Mayes, , Ben Nathan, Julie Bour, Diego Funes, Saba, Joanna Numata, Cecilia Marta, Baila Society, Nelida Tirado, Baba Richard Gonzales, Igal Perry

New Cafe at Peridance!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Baila Society

Check out Baila Society's brand new video!

For information about Baila Society's Classes at Peridance visit our website.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Contemporary Workshop

Nacho Duato Workshop with Africa Guzman

Juan Ignacio Duato Barcia, also known as Nacho Duato, is an acclaimed Spanish dancer and choreographer. He began his dance career with the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm and has received multiple awards in recognition of his achievements as a dancer and choreographer. In 1990, he was invited to become the Artistic Director of Compañía Nacional de Danza by the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música of the Spanish Ministry of Culture. In July of 2010, he left the Compañía Nacional de Danza after twenty years. This January, he will become the Artistic Director of Russia’s Mikhailovsky Ballet.


This move represents an exciting step for both Mr. Duato and Russian ballet. He will be the first foreigner to direct a Russian ballet company in over a century, the last was France’s Marius Petipa. For Mr. Duato, it will be his first time leading a large classical repertory company. Russian ballet is not known for its malleability and has had a history of ignoring modern dance influences like Mr. Duato’s, in favor of preserving tradition. Vladimir Kekhman, the businessman who took over as Mikahailovsky’s general director in 2007, feels that a strong contemporary influence is exactly what the company and Russian ballet needs.

Peridance’s Nacho Duato Workshop will be taught by Africa Guzman, another Spanish native. Ms. Guzman trained at the “Escuela de Ballet y Danza Española Africa Guzmán” and at the “Escuela del Ballet Nacional de España.” She became a member of Compañía Nacional de Danza in 1988, two years before Duato became the director. She has received many awards for her achievements as a dancer, has also danced with Netherland Das Theater, and has worked with many of the world’s highly acclaimed choreographers. For 20 years, she has been involved in Nacho’s choreographic and creative process. This workshop is an excellent opportunity to both take from a very accomplished dancer and to learn the style and repertory of one of today’s most celebrated dancer/choreographers and possibly the new face of Russian Ballet.


Preregistration for the Workshop is encouraged. Click here to register.


To learn more about Mr. Duato’s move to the Mikhailovsky Ballet read the New York Times article.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Faculty News

Upcoming Performances:

Belly Dance teacher, Andrea Beeman will perform at FIT Diversity Expo Week’s International Dance & Music Festival. The performance will take place November 3, 2010 from 6:00-8:00pm at Fashion Institute of Technology, Haft Auditorium Building C, 27th St between 7th & 8th Avenues.

Theater Dance teacher, James Kinney will both perform and have choreography in Rockers on Broadway Dancer Party, which benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway Dreams Foundation, Broadway in South Africa and The Bendheim Performing Arts Center Scholarship Fund. The show is 8:00pm, November 8th at BB King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W 42nd St. For tickets or more information go to www.bbkingblues.com.

Contemporary teacher, Derek Mitchell has a piece appearing in "Carnival- the Choreographers Ball” at Hiro on November 9th. For more information go to www.thechoreographerscarnical.com.

Korhan Basaran, Peridance Contemporary teacher, will be performing in Corporelles at The Festival Monde Arabe in Montreal on October 31st. He is also organizing the Mark Lamb Dance Salon Series for November 13th. The show will take place at the Metro Baptist Church, 410 W 40th St.


Recent Performances:

James Kinney’s choreography was seen in Thespians at The Florida State Thespians annual theatre festival on October 16th.

Andrea Beeman performed as her Belly Dance persona, Andrea Anwar the Enchantress of Bioluminosity at the Sullivan Room on October 21st.

In the Works:

Contemporary teacher, Derek Mitchell is choreographing for Season 3 of “So You Think You Can Dance” in the Ukraine. He is also choreographing the Calvin Klein fall sportswear industrial at Lord and Taylor's in association with O-The Oprah magazine.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Limón Workshop-Water Study

Ray Cook and current and recent Limón Company members, Katie Diamond and Ryoko Kudo are teaching a tech & rep workshop October 11-15 here at Peridance Capezio Center.

Repertory will be taught from Doris Humphrey’s early work, Water Study. Humphrey was among the 2nd generation of modern dance pioneers – Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham were among her contemporaries. Trained at the Denishawn school, Humphrey and fellow dancer Charles Weidman moved to New York in 1928 and founded their own movement technique, Humphrey-Weidman, which focuses on the theory and action of fall and recovery.

Water Study is a dance without music – the only sounds the audience hears are the dancer’s feet and breath. The piece evokes images and moods of the sea, ranging from calm to tumultuous. Because the success of the piece depends on synchronization and rhythm, it requires great subtlety on the part of its dancers.

*

Ray Cook, who is originally from Australia, came to New York to study Labanotation, a standardized system for analyzing and recording human movement. He was the first full-time notator of works by Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham, Jeff Duncan, Anna Sokolow, Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Michael Fokine, Dan Wagner, José Limón, Gerald Arpino, Lester Horton, Norman Walker and Lin Hwai-Min. He has restaged sixteen works by Humphrey alone.

Learning repertory from Water Study under Cook is an excellent experience for any dancer – his re-staging will explore not just the technical steps, but also the imagery, motivation, and characterization given to the dancers by the original choreographer.


Select participants from this workshop will be invited to perform on December 5th at 7pm at Peridance.


Workshop:

Oct 11, 2010 - Oct 15, 2010; Mon - Fri

Technique: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Repertory: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM


For more information and to pre-register for the workshop visit the website.


Take a look at Water Study!

Contest for Free 5-class card!

Peridance Capezio Center and ForTalent.com are hosting a contest!

Want to win a 5-class pass for dance classes at Peridance Capezio Center? Find the answer to “Who can take the Gaga movement classes?” on our website and email your answer to peridance@fortalent.com by 11:59pm Oct. 15th!

ForTalent.com is an up and coming networking site for artist. Check out their website to connect with other artists!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One of the World’s Oldest Dance Styles

Peridance is excited to add Belly Dance with Andrea Beeman to the Fall Schedule!

Most people have heard of belly dance and even have a mental image of a girl scantily clad and enveloped in beads... but what really is belly dance?


The ancient art of belly dance can trace its roots to the dance & music arts which began to develop over 4,000 years ago in North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Asia. These diverse areas share a rich tradition of music and dance which were performed to celebrate harvests, weddings, circumcisions and seasonal changes, and to honor special guests and to mark significant civic occasions. There are different theories about how the dance spread from region to region, but many now believe that when the Roma from India migrated west through Afghanistan and Persia, characteristics of their dance mingled with the traditions of the indigenous communities where they eventually settled. Another theory traces the dance's development to religious rituals, which were performed in ancient, matriarchal societies.


The movements of modern Belly Dance draw from North African, Arabic, Persian, Greek, Balkan,Turkish, Roma & Indian folkloric traditions. Some therapeutic and ritualistic qualities of the dance are still practiced today in Morocco, Egypt, Algeria & Tunisia. Belly Dance was first seen in America in 1876, but did not draw public attention until 1893 when it was presented at the Chicago World's Fair, where it caused quite a stir. Fully clothed dancers from Tunisia, Eqypt and Turkey scandalized the Victorian crowds with their exposed ankles, "convolutions" and "suggestive" movements, resulting in a stigma the dance has only now begun to shed.


In the 1920s, in Cairo, Algiers and Beirut, the Cabaret style of Belly Dance began to develop. The Egyptian film industry began to flourish at this time, featuring many dancers in its films. Hollywood exerted a strong influence on the costumes of this time and rhinestones, glass beads and sequins covered bras and hip belts, replacing the figure-hugging baladi dresses that previously covered dancers from head to foot. Thus, Hollywood's fantasy of the Orient played a large role in creating the current Western image of Belly Dance.













Baladi dress (left)

Hollywood inspired costume (right)


Belly Dance has crossed many borders and spawned many hybrid forms over the centuries. For instance, in U.S. Tribal Style, Belly Dance combines with North African Dance, Flamenco, and Classical Indian influences to create a unique style. In any form, Belly Dance remains a dance of self-expression, capable of conveying a range of emotions, and empowering dancers—women and men, young and old--as they experience the joyous exuberance inherent in one of the oldest dance forms in the world.


At Peridance…

Andrea Beeman's Belly Dance classes focus mainly on a classic Arabic technique, which in the last 40 years has been most influenced by the modern Egyptian style. To this strong foundation of Arabic isolations and body movements, Andrea adds Turkish, North African, Roma, Indian & Persian Gulf stylings, as well as some contemporary fusion combinations. Developing musicality & understanding the Middle Eastern rhythms which inspire the movements is an integral part of mastering this diverse and mesmerizing dance art form, so as dancers develop, Andrea also teaches the art of playing finger cymbals or zills.


Belly Dance comes from very old traditions of dance, do people need to wear anything in particular for class?

To better feel and see the movements of the hips, a hip scarf can be worn around the hips in class. A hip scarf can be a simple, triangular fringed shawl or a more elaborate fabric covered with coins, beads or sequins. Belly Dance is best done bare foot, so the dancer can feel the connection between the earth, feet and hips. Comfortable dance workout clothes complete the ensemble.


Why is it important to have a live drummer for class?

The unique rhythms played by the darbukah or dumbek--the goblet shaped drum heard in Middle Eastern music--are the heartbeat of the dance, directing the feeling & tempo of the movements. Having a live drummer in class helps students better understand the rhythms themselves as well as their intrinsic relationship to the movements. During live performances of Middle Eastern dance & music, the rapport between the drummer and dancer is very important; giving students the opportunity to experience this relationship in class helps prepare them for performances with live music. Every student may not aspire to perform, but a live drummer makes the class experience itself more exhilarating.


Andrea, why did you choose Belly Dance?

In 1988, I studied Japanese Butoh dance with Yokio Waguri of Nakajima. He compared my instinctual movement during improvisation to that of Salome, so I decided to try a Belly Dance class to see what he meant. I immediately became fascinated by Belly Dance: the sensuous serpentine movements & the incredible music inspired the self-expression I had been searching for in other dance art forms. Before I knew it, I was taking several Belly Dance classes each week, performing with different companies in New York, & eventually, teaching & sharing my passion for the dance with others. I don't think I chose Belly Dance, I think it chose me.

See Andrea in performance:





Andrea Beeman teaches at Peridance:

Thursday 8:30-9:45 and Sunday 5:30-6:45

For more information on her classes visit our website.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nutcracker Audition!

The Nutcracker
Contemporary Workshop and Performance
Choreographed and Created by Igal Perry











NOT YOUR TYPICAL NUTCRACKER…

Join world-renowned choreographer Igal Perry as he creates an all-new contemporary Nutcracker experience. This new tradition at Peridance Capezio Center will push the boundaries of the holiday favorite you know and love. Snowflakes and sugarplums and a grand pas de duex will capture your heart as they have since childhood. But that’s not all—glimpses of hip-hop and modern dance through the falling snowflakes and waltzing flowers will delight and excite your senses. Open to students of all ages, this fully costumed, professionally lit extravaganza will be set to excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s original score as well as new music selected by Mr. Perry to enhance this exciting new take on the classic ballet. Debuting in Peridance’s state-of-the-art, in-house Salvatore Capezio Theater, this Nutcracker production will bring dreams to life and be a holiday event to remember! The performance will showcase young dancers from PeriChild’s accelerated Core ballet program and adults who have auditioned for the opportunity to dance in a professional setting.

Audition for Advanced Adult Dancers:

Thursday, September 16th 1:00-2:30pm
at Peridance Capezio Center

We are casting the roles of Party Scene, Snow Flakes, Waltz of the Flowers, and others.

Rehearsals: Monday 1:00-2:30pm starting October 10th
Friday 11:30am-2:30pm starting September 20th

Dress Rehearsal: Sunday, December 12th time TBA

Performances: Saturday, December 18th 8:30pm followed by reception
Sunday, December 19th 2:00pm & 7:30pm

Workshop fees include all rehearsals and performances.
Adults-$200 PCC International Students-$50 + 10 classes

For more information visit our website

Monday, September 13, 2010

Teacher Feature





An Interview with Peridance's Tap Teacher, Tony Mayes





“ If you own a pair of tap shoes, you’re in…”

-Gregory Hines


Tony Mayes teaches tap dance at Peridance . Originally trained as an actor, he began to study tap after moving to New York City and quickly became immersed in the field. He is a man of many talents and has since worked as a technician, an actor, stage manager, writer, teacher, director, tap dancer, and a producer. I wanted to know more about our accomplished tap teacher's inspirations and how he made the switch to tap. Here are his responses. -Kaarin Holmquist


Originally you were studying as an actor; how did you become interested in tap?


I was at Steps on Broadway and I saw Lynn Schwab teaching tap class. While I’d seen tap before, danced a little in shows, I’d never seen rhythm tap like this and I was instantly drawn to it. Before that my focus had always been on acting. I was working as an actor and doing pretty well, but once I started taking tap, I knew that was what I wanted to spend my time on. It sort of took over – ask anyone. Watching a young company perform at Variety Arts downtown (now long gone) was also a big influence, because for the first time I saw people my age doing rhythm tap, which made it more accessible. During that show I leaned over to my date and told her ‘that’s what I’m going to do’. Later that year I started working for the American Tap Dance Foundation and never looked back.


What do you look for in a dancer?


Well, I look at a lot of shows from two sides – performance and production. Of course a dancer has to be able to do the choreography and the style that piece requires; however, I tend to look for a good presence. Technique and quality footwork are of the utmost importance, but without personality you will run the risk of losing the audience’s interest, and then what is the point of performing?


Where does your inspiration come from now?


I draw a lot of inspiration from everything really. Performances such as Tony Waag’s Tap City, the New York City Tap Festival, Tap City on Tour, Sound Check, a Tap Dance Concert Series and Jason Samuels Smith’s A.C.G.I. (among many, many more) have just blown me away! I’ve had the rare opportunity to watch and work with performers from all over the world. I love video clips and archived material – I spend a lot of that time letting those things soak in. I hear rhythm and songs all the time from all over the city. Playgrounds, parks, buses, stairways; I love to listen to rhythms and translate them into tap. One of my favorite moments was walking up 9th Ave in Midtown and hearing what I thought had to be tap dancing coming from a store front – it sounded just like someone swinging! When I looked in, it was a huge mixing bowl, mixing dough for the bakery next door – “ba-doom, ba-doom, ba daddaa, daddaa” – as the dough was moving up and down the mixing forks it changed tone, rhythm and was just out of control. I recorded a clip and my friends still don’t believe that it was a huge industrial mixer….


What is unique about working at Peridance?


Tap is relatively new at Peridance and it is a great place to be building a program from the ground up because there is so much support from Peri. I know and have worked with most all the tap teachers that work there. It’s a great community and the tap dancers are very supportive. The tap program at Peridance is growing and is definitely going to keep growing because we, as teachers, have the ability to create a program for what our students need and want.


What would you say your teaching style is?


That’s a difficult one to answer. What I think makes me ‘me as a teacher’ is that I started dancing tap later in life, after college. Many dancers have danced most of their lives so they do not necessarily remember learning that first step, or better yet, they don’t remember what it ‘felt like’ to learn that first step. I do remember what it is like to go through that process. I teach a lot of mature students and I understand what they are struggling with intellectually, emotionally and physically. For anyone to put himself in a position where they are starting something from the beginning can be daunting. I think it is very important to adapt to the students; I do not have one style of teaching for everyone – whatever works.

To be a tap dancer you have to be a musician as well. Tap is different from other forms of dance in that way. Sometimes you are just the dancer. YET, sometimes you are making your own tunes at the same time. When you wear a pair of tap shoes, EVERY SOUND COUNTS.

I learn as much from my students as I hope they learn from me. In the classroom I tell my students, “if you can walk you can tap dance” (Charles “Honi” Coles said that). I believe it too. I say it often and it puts my students at ease when they hear it. It might take a long time if you are working full time and can only take a class or two a week, but anyone can do it. I have seen people go from never dancing before to having a comprehensive understanding of tap. Watching that transition is great.


What are you working on now?

This fall I will be teaching full time at Peridance and PeriChild. I just had a performance on September 11th with group called “The Secret City” (www.thesecretcity.org) and “The Manhattan Wonderwalk” (www.themanhattanwonderwalk.com) I’m also working with Jason Samuels-Smith at Fall for Dance at City Center on October 6th and 7th. Ben Nathan (another adult tap teacher at Peri) and I are collaborating on some new work. I have a couple of films that I’m working on this year, but those are pretty long- term projects.

Watch the video of Tony's class!

Tony teaches at Peridance: Monday 6:00-7:00pm (Intro), 7:00-8:15 (Beginner), and 8:15-9:30 (Advanced Beginner) and Tuesday 7:00-8:15pm (Slow Intermediate)



Friday, September 10, 2010

Horton Technique with Milton Myers

After a Busy Summer Milton Myers Returns to Teach at Peridance!














Horton Technique
Advanced-Intermediate
Wednesday 2:30-4:00pm

Milton Myers has been away for the summer at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and setting choreography, but this Wednesday he begins teaching his Horton modern class again.

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to learn from the celebrated teacher, choreographer, and performer. Mr. Myers was a performer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and was a performer, founding member, and artistic director of the Joyce Trisler Danscompany. He has been a teacher, choreographer, and Artist-In-Residence at many of the world's most celebrated companies, schools, and universities including serving as the head of the modern dance department at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival for the past twenty four years. He has been asked to choreograph for many renowned companies which has earned him extensive recognition and funding.

Mr. Myers teaches Horton technique, a technique developed by Lester Horton in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. The movement is based on Native American dances and anatomical studies in combination with other movements. A key element of the technique is that it is meant to correct and improve dancers physical limitations.

For more information on Horton technique check out the overview in Dance Spirt Magazine.

For more information about Milton Myers' classes please visit the Peridance website.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Gaga Workshop with Ohad Naharin!

Gaga Movement Language Creator Ohad Naharin is coming to Peridance!

Come take advantage of this exciting opportunity.








Tuesday, Thursday, September 28th, 30th, 11:30am
Friday, October 1st, 2:30pm

Peridance Students: $20 for single class
Non-Peridance Students: $25 for single class

**Students may use their gaga class-card by adding the $5 difference.

**New Students taking any of Ohad Naharin's Master Classes will be able to purchase their first 5 Class-Card at a reduced rate of $70 (instead of $75)


Space is limited, students are encouraged to pre-register online. Click here to register.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Faculty News

Wondering what some of your favorite Peridance teachers have been doing over the summer months? Whether they were putting on a show, receiving awards, or preparing for an upcoming show they have been busy.

Awards/Appointments:

While away in Honolulu, Hawaii this summer Ballet instructor, Greg Zane received a Hawaii Theatre Excellence "Po'okela" Award for directing and choreographing “The Sound of Music” at Diamond Head Theatre.













Rachel List, Peridance ballet teacher was recently appointed Director of the Dance Program at Hofstra University. Congratulations Rachel!













Recognitions:

Sekou Williams choreographed a video for Fall Out Boy(Dance Dance/went #1 in the country) and it was chosen for a dance program that the CMT network will be airing sometime in the future and he will receive full screen credit.













Boogie Box was featured on the Dr. Oz Show! Watch the clip on Dr. Oz’s website: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/boogie-burn-calories Check out Boogie Box classes at Peridance with Katie Schultz.













Check out these upcoming performances for a chance to see our faculty’s work outside the class!


Up-coming Performances:

Contemporary ballet teacher, Brian Carey Chung's company, COLLECTIVE BODY|DANCELAB is having a benefit performance Saturday, September 11 at 7:30pm, studio 4A. The show is to benefit the company's 2nd season which will take place at Baryshnikov Arts Center, November 12 and 13. Tickets for the September 11th show are on sale for $45.











Barre a terre teacher Anabella Lenzu's company, Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama has a new show coming up. "The Grass is Always Greener..." premieres October 14-16th at teh Merce Cunningham Studio. The show is a collaborative dance-theater piece that explores themes of immigration, roots, and memory, eith photographic projections created by Todd Carroll. For more information go to http://www.AnabellaLenzu.com













Shelby Kaufman tap teacher at Peridance will be presenting a work at an upcoming choreography showcase, Band of Gypsies. The Performance will take place Monday, August 30th and Tuesday, August 31st at 8:00pm, St. Luke's Theatre on 46th btwn 8th and 9th. For more information visit www.bandofgypsies.net