Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Contemporary Ballet Workshop

Take a Contemporary Ballet Workshop with Cherylyn Lavagnino, Chair of NYU's Dance Department!

May 31, 2010 - Jun 4, 2010; Mon - Fri
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

The class will incorporate a ballet barre to prepare the dancer for the full range of movement and dynamic variation of the choreography. Company members will participate each day, lending their experience and knowledge of the chreography.

This workshop is for female ballet dancers and it is strongly suggested that you bring pointe shoes.
The repertory of Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance is performed primarily on pointe, with the intention of pushing the idiom.

Don’t miss Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance's Symphony Space Season May 6 – 8 2010 at 8PM.
Visit the Symphony Space Website to find out more information about the performance and purchase tickets!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Amanda Wells @ Peridance!

Amanda Wells teaches a week of Modern Technique at Peridance in MAY!

May 31, 2010 - Jun 4, 2010; Mon - Fri
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Amanda Wells trained at the San Fransisco Ballet School and attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Upon graduation, she began dancing with the Stephen Petronio Company and has since toured and taught extensively throughout US, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Her class is geared toward working, expanding and refining each dancer's technique and unique approach to dance. Her combinations include elements of ballet, yoga and Klein, and strongly emphasize proper alignment, stability and efficiency. Amanda ends class with phrase work, which often focus on the articulation of feet and legs, the sequencing of the spine, gestural movement of the arms and occasional floor work.

*Catch Amanda this week at the Joyce Theater in performance with Stephen Petronio Company!*

Nai-Ni Chen Modern Dance Workshop!

Nai-Ni Chen Modern Technique and Repertory

May 24, 2010 - May 28, 2010; Mon - Fri
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Winning critical acclaim worldwide, Nai-Ni Chen has received a Choreographer’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Her work has also been commissioned by the Joyce Theater Foundation, the Lincoln Center Institute, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dancing in the Streets, and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. She has taught master classes at colleges and universities throughout the United States and at dance festivals in Russia, Poland, Taiwan, and China.

Nai-Ni Chen will lead the modern technique/repertory workshop with the emphasis on her unique technique and movement style. With the influence of Chinese Martial Art and Calligraphy, her modern movements are full of strength and grace and deeply connected with the flow of energy. Excerpts of dances from her signature works such as "Incense", "Mirage" will be taught during this workshop.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Interview with Brian Carey Chung!

Brian Carey Chung (Artistic Director of Collective Body/DANCELAB and Peridance faculty member) answers questions about his class, his choreography, and his upcoming workshop at Peridance!

Workshop Dates & Times:
Apr 26, 2010 - Apr 30, 2010; Mon - Fri

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Tuesday/Thursday: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

1. You teach Contemporary Ballet at Peridance Monday through Friday, how do you define contemporary ballet technique?

Contemporary ballet technique is an investigation of ballet given what we now know about the sciences, the body, the progression of other art forms, and the interests, desires, and inclinations of peoples living in our time. I learned the other day that in quantum mechanics scientists have discovered that all living things undulate. If we think on that for a few seconds, we come to an additional conclusion that inanimate things also undulate—like light, the tides, and earthquakes, for example...How fascinating to know that as humans our spines also undulate. What would it be like to discover and explore this within a ballet context? How would undulating in ballet class change the movement quality of the spine? Would it facilitate greater ease and enhance rhythm, thus affecting music? Could it bring into purview the aesthetic order of things? I bring that sort of thinking and activity to the classroom.

Remember also, that classical ballet was, in its time, contemporary. It is important to push our art form, as the painters, composers and poets have always done. Otherwise, we are doomed to recapitulation. That by itself is stagnation of the art form.

2. What do you think is the benefit of taking a contemporary ballet class instead of a classical ballet or modern class?

It is beneficial for anyone interested in the profession to explore all forms of dance. Remember the goal is to communicate. The better you are at communicating (meaning the mastery of language), the better you are at reaching the person(s) you are attempting to persuade. Any mastery of nuance in a language is good. I am of course assuming that Dance with a capital "D" is one language with certain dialects. For example, if a particular dancer has any real desire to create new art within the ballet context, the dancer should take a ballet class from someone doing something new with the technique. The old rules/ideas still apply, but there are new ones as well. For instance, I come from the school of thought that there is no right or wrong in art, just beautiful and ugly. Both are necessary. In ballet, there seems to be a lot of talk still about right and wrong. Perhaps it would be more to the point to say that certain things work scientifically and here is why. The earth was thought to be flat once, but in fact, it is spherical. Science evolves, so should our dance.... Further, there are instances where "right" (or one's understanding of right) can be refuted. For example, the idea that one must breathe as though one were in a corset. For the modern mover who must use her torso in its full range and beyond, restriction to a corset is not always preferable. It is more important that the dancer know that corset breathing is one possibility. He should know it well; however, it is important for the dancer to understand that corset breathing is not the only possibility/image. There are other ways to breathe. Take for example the methods that the yogis have developed…The new ballet artist must find the best method of breathing (the way any good actor does) that works for a given artistic creation, which must be palatable to our current sensibilities with regard to movement.

3. You have worked with some of the most renowned choreographers in contemporary ballet (Alonzo King, Karole Armitage, Dwight Rhoden/Desmond Richardson). How have those choreographers influenced your approach to choreography?

I owe much to all the choreographers you have mentioned. As a dancer, they helped to shape who I have become. I do owe perhaps the greatest debt to Alonzo King. I was already a thinker and doer, even as a young child living in Jamaica, but he really opened my eyes to dance. He gave me the permission to think outside the box as a dancer, keeping art making at the forefront of my activities and decisions. I started very late. I was nineteen when I took my first ballet class. At twenty-five, I was in his company. He put a lot of faith in me when others did not. He saw something they did not, and for that, I will always be grateful. Dwight, Desmond, and Karole became interested in me after I was fully formed. In fact, I was thirty-seven when I first danced with Complexions and Armitage.

Regarding choreography, a dancer learns a little about choreography just by being near the master. However, there is still much to be said for inherent gifts, aptitudes, and proclivities. I was only six months into dancing when I created my first choreographic piece. A horrid little number, but still the need to say something on my own terms was there. I am in the business of creating, because I have a desire to reach out of my own selfish existence and hold you.

4. You have a BS in Accounting and a MFA in Creative Writing. Do you think it is important for dancers and choreographers to be well educated and explore different areas of study outside of dance?

Education is the gymnasium of the mind. A dancer's professional life is short, and a smart dancer prepares for this. We cannot all be directors, teachers, and choreographers. Most choreographers seek well-rounded individuals for their companies. Dance is difficult in that people are so impressed by the physical. They greatly admire the body. However, what good is awe without a deep understanding of the mysteries? The true artist always brings us closer to the existential, to the angst and joys of being, the bittersweet closeness of annihilation that reminds us how lucky we are to be alive. The artist helps us to remember the truths of the great themes: elevating the physical to the spiritual. This is where a telepathic communion might begin between artist and viewer. The artist, who is responsible for the communication involved, must have a rich inner-life, and study brings riches to those who arduously search in the dark the mines of the great thinkers.

The mind is the driver, not the body. A strong mind makes a strong dancer, thus a powerful human being.

5. How have your academic endeavors changed you as a performer or as a choreographer?

We are changed by simply working hard at everything we do, by actively investigating and introspecting, being conscientious, and not taking time and art for granted. I have always been someone interested in ideas, perspectives, cause and effect.... I am always reading, writing, and creating. I love to share what I discover with others.... My academic endeavors have put bread on the table when I was in between dance work. Therefore, if for that reason alone, they have saved me on several occasions. For instance, now that I am a choreographer and poet, I have no board of directors, no government funding, and no wealthy donors that will fund an ensemble of dancers year-round. I work for a media firm and I teach seven ballet classes per week at Peridance and DNA and private Gyrotonic sessions. In addition, I am a bartender a couple of nights a week. I try to get dancers in the studio once or twice a week so that my choreographic muscles can stay in shape. When I get home about nine or ten at night, I sometimes write or edit a poem. Administrative duties for the company and my personal life are time consuming. I have no time to do anything else. My life is completely given over to making art. I lost my last partner due to this. Nothing truly meaningful and lasting can come without pain and sacrifice. The Greeks teach us this, and along with them, the Zoroastrian warrior-kings, Egyptians, Chinese, Christians, samurai poets, the great sculptors, musicians...I believe it was Pushkin who said of the poet/artist, "thou art a king, and kings must live alone."I feel that to be truly an artist, there is a thread of loneliness that pervades one’s life. Sad, but true, and one simply has to accept and move on, or choose another path. Either way suffering is involved. Why not do the thing that you secretly love the most?

6. This is your first week-long workshop at Peridance. After five days of working with you, what qualities or knowledge do you hope the students gain from the experience?

I hope to help the dancers to find ways/access methods to help themselves. That can come in as many forms as there are dancers. The dancer will be challenged to move beyond physical and mental limitations--to leap out of fear and into a place of genuine courage, motivated by a prepossessed, or newly discovered, purpose and love. I hope that the dancers will discover a new thing or two about their own dancing/commitment/level of execution, because I will ask these of them in the choreographed movements and building of phrases. They will be accessing formal movement in informal ways and informal movement in formal ways, and so quality will increase with practice, especially after five days. I can say to a dancer, for instance, to dance like you are on fire, but the dancer must then know what fire is. His imagination must be so acute, alive, and willing in the qualities of fire, that the cliché becomes transformed into something profoundly not cliché, akin to fire. You can lead a horse to water....In the end, if I quench a few thirsts, I will have been of some use.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The DASH Technique with Gregory Dolbashian

Join New York-based choreographer Gregory Dolbashian at Peridance & learn The DASH technique and company repertory!

May 17, 2010 - May 21, 2010; Mon - Fri
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

This workshop focuses on the movement and theatrical techniques of The DASH. Class begins with a charged, yet practical warm-up, and heavily guided improvisation examinations. As the workshop progresses, dancers are provided with the opportunity to to learn The DASH's company repertory.

Greg states that through this workshop, The DASH "will give you[the participant] a look into how we build and grow, with the hopes that you will be stimulated and challenged and in the end know more, not just about us, but about your own work and your own capabilities. The ultimate goal is to continue to expand and reach for our ever-evolving physical and theatrical limitlessness."

Check out this clip of Gregory's piece Paper Crane Gang

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Workshop/Audition with Mare Nostrum Elements

Movement Theater Workshop
Two Days ONLY!

May 2, 2010 & May 9, 2010
Sunday 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Mare Nostrum Elements is looking for eclectic and dynamic performers to participate in The Wave Within! Movement Theater training promotional video.

American actor/director Kevin Albert (Boston Conservatory graduate) and Italian dancer/actor Nicola Iervasi (former Martha Graham Ensemble member) developed The Wave Within! Movement Theater training in 2001. They utilized their diversified backgrounds to create this program as a response to the difficulties students often experience when taking acting and dance classes separately.

The Wave Within! is a unique blend of concepts including body conditioning, contemporary dance, physical theater, mime, contact improvisation and custom-crafted experiments. The non-technique-based approach, with Kevin and Nicola’s gentle guidance, makes the training truly experimental and interdisciplinary. They guide each participant step by step through exploration of the movement, editing, self directing, relation to space, interaction with others and performance.

For more information about Mare Nostrum visit their website!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

MAY Pilobolus Workshop

May 17, 2010 - May 21, 2010; Mon - Fri
Technique: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Composition: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Pilobolus, the arts organism, germinated in the fertile soil of a Dartmouth College dance class in 1971, emerging as a collaborative choreographic process with a nontraditional but powerful new set of skills with which to make dances. Today Pilobolus is a major American dance company of international influence. Its longevity testifies to its position as an artistic collective of remarkable fruitfulness.

The company has received honors such as the Berlin Critic’s Prize, the Brandeis Award, the New England Theatre Conference Prize, a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in cultural programming, the 2000 Samuel H. Scripps ADF Award for lifetime achievement in choreography, and in 2006 Artistic Directors Barnett, Tracy and Wolken received the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Endowment Fellowship from Dartmouth College.

Nejla Yatkin's Mosaic Dance Technique

Nejla Yatkin is BACK! This MAY, join Nejla for a week of Mosaic Dance Technique!
May 10, 2010 - May 14, 2010; Mon - Fri
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

According to Nejla Yatkin: "Mosaic class begins with a thorough warm-up focused on strengthening, lengthening, and preparing the body for an investigation of movement possibilities. With a weighted approach, we explore exercises that redirect momentum in and out of the floor and up into the air. This cultivates a sense of ease that allows for an alert dancer, conscious of the body's architecture in off-balance, explosive, and suspended three-dimensional situations."

During the workshop week Nejla will be looking to select male and female dancers for her fall season in NYC, DC and Chicago!

Partner Essentials with Josie M Coyoc

Want to learn how to be a more supportive and receptive dance partner? Take Josie M Coyoc's PARTNER Essentials Workshop!

Apr 26, 2010 - Apr 30, 2010;
Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

The beginner level partnering class/workshop will develop greater trust and strength in the dancer’s ability to partner by learning the best ways to lift and be lifted. Focus will be on anatomical intelligence, proprioception and spatial awareness while moving through the air and on the floor. Confidence and creativity will be built through the guided and experimental portion of the class.

*Please bring a yoga mat to class. Please wear legging or shorts and close fitting clothes under your warm-ups. Knee pads , and extra clothes for padding are recommended.*

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


JASON PARSONS joins the Peridance faculty!

Contemporary Jazz
Intermediate Level

Wednesday 7-8:30pm

*Starting April 21st

Jason Parsons has been an inspired artist since he grew up in Rochester NY. Landing in NYC, Jason has trained with some of the best master teachers and choreographers. He has performed with companies such as River North Dance Company, Mia Michaels R.A.W, Dinyos Dance Company (Japan) and the POZ Dance Theater (South Korea). His Industrial credits include Sony, BMW, DaeWoo and General Motors. He has danced with Recording Artist Diana King, SWV and Celine Dion and his television credits include Fame L.A, Star Search and The Essence Awards.

Jason has created work for Rasta Thomas's Bad Boys of Dance, Odyssey, HoustonMet and the Evolution Dance Company. Internationally his work has been performed at the Gwang Ju Biennale Festival (South Korea), Baudelaire (Japan), Artedanza (Italy), Nokia Awards (Czech Rep.), Minjockchoom Cultural Festival (South Korea), Puglia Danza (Italy) and the Seoul Contemporary Jazz Dance Festival (South Korea). In February 2008, Jason initially formed his own company called Jason Parsons Company. His company has performed in New York City at the Joyce Soho, Dixon Place, Manhattan Movement and Art Center, Alvin Ailey and for APAP at Carnegie Hall.