Monday, January 2, 2012

Meet the Company: Part 3

The identity of Peridance Contemporary Dance Company is shaped by original choreography, versatile dancers of diverse backgrounds, classical and contemporary accompaniment, and collaborations with live musicians. While upholding the elegance and articulation of classical ballet, Igal has structured the Company to explore and experiment with innovative movement and design. The Company, featuring 8 highly versatile dancers, has been rehearsing at Peridance Capezio Center for a few months now, in preparation for its upcoming debut performances.

Today's Featured dancer is Lauren Jaeger. Stayed tuned to learn about all of the dancers!


Please tell us where you are from and something unique about your hometown!
I am from Poughquag, NY (near Poughkeepsie). My high school had over 4,000 students and has grown since.

What was one of your most memorable onstage or backstage moments?
After Jacquelyn Buglisi set Requiem on some of us at Marymount [Manhattan College] my freshman year, a couple of us were asked to perform the piece with the company at its benefit performance at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. I was thrilled! …It was the first time I was really exposed to such an extent to Jacquelyn Buglisi's and her dancers' beautiful artistry. I was honored… But [as] if that wasn't enough, Mikhail Baryshnikov was at our performance, watching ME perform! And, Desmond Richardson was a guest artist at the event. I was too embarrassed to ask Mr. Baryshnikov for his autograph but, since Desmond Richardson was backstage with us, I somehow worked up the courage to ask him. I will never forget his response, "Of course! Moments like these are like an ‘A+’ for dancers. You realize it really is attainable!"

How did you get into dance?
When I was 4, my mom asked if I wanted to dance and I said "ok." My first class took place the same day that we moved into our new house and the movers mistakenly packed the sneakers I was supposed to wear that day. The teacher told my mom I wasn't allowed to wear my ballet shoes outside. So my feet wouldn't touch the ground, my mom carried me from the car to the studio!

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not dancing?
I love science, especially astronomy and physics. So, I read a lot of science fiction. I also love to play Twister and ultimate Frisbee, and boogie boarding at the beach.

What are your go-to foods/drinks to get through a tough day of rehearsals and classes?
Water! Bananas, cereal bars, nuts, tea, and sometimes a sandwich.

Did your family play a strong role in guiding and supporting your career?
Yes. My mom always took jobs at the studio where I was enrolled, so that my sister and I could take as many classes as we wanted. Our brother was constantly dragged to our classes and performances. My grandmother never missed a performance until she passed away. I always think of her right before a performance.

What advice would you give to pre-professionals who are about to enter the professional world or to young dancers deciding if they want to make dance their future?
You need to REALLY want it. It's not easy; the work is hard and the financial compensation is not always equal to the amount of work you put in. I have six jobs right now: three company (dancing/performing) jobs and three teaching jobs. Juggling everything to make rent is challenging. However, if dancing is what you are passionate about and what you really want to do, than it's worth all the hard work and more. We are lucky that we get to do what we love for a living. Very few people can say that.

Who has been your most influential teacher or choreographer thus far? Please tell us a little about why!
Gina Chiavelli (my first ballet teacher) stressed the importance of focus and work ethic. She would always insist on … adhering to a strict dress code and complete attention in class. To this day, I still have a bun and wear tights and a leotard in every ballet class.

Around the age of 16, I had started thinking of alternate careers and college majors, but James Robey helped remind me that dance was something I was truly passionate about, not just an after-school activity.

While majoring in Dance at Marymount Manhattan College, there were periods when I would become so focused on perfecting an aspect of my technique that I would forget to dance and begin doubting myself. Luckily, Jean Emile, one of my ballet teachers, was there to remind me that technique, while important, wasn't everything. Jacquelyn Buglisi, Denise Vale, and Terese Capucilli have pushed me further than I thought possible. There's always more to give. Dance, for me, is not superficial. In Ms. Buglisi's work I am constantly challenged to make every moment truthful and real.

Adjusting to life after college can take a bit of time. Finding dance classes in which I felt comfortable and challenged, and that I could afford, took a while. I found exactly what I was looking for at Peridance Capezio Center. Igal Perry is a fantastic teacher and director who not only pushes you further, but also creates an atmosphere in which every student is encouraged to improve his own technique and experiment with new movement.

What are one or two things you must have in your dance bag?
A full water bottle.

Is there a place in the city you would recommend as a must see or must do (restaurant, cafĂ©, park, gallery…)?
Ice skating in Central Park!!

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