Thursday, December 27, 2012

Interview with OCDP's Michele Oliva and Francesca Dario

In this interview with Oliva Contemporary Dance Project’s Michele Oliva and Francesca Dario, you can read Michele’s answers as Francesca’s thoughts, Francesca’s words as Michele’s sentiments. The two dancers and co-founders of OCDP have found a cadence of speech that jumps from one person to the next while never losing the flow of a sentence. Together for 10 years, since meeting and falling in love while dancing for an Italian version of ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ the pair buoy one another emotionally and artistically. There is a care evident between them that starts with translating for one another (throughout this interview, throughout their hectic and almost always English-language interactions) and ends in the dance studio, when they dance a phrase together to show the class how their movement should be done. Always, the class is stunned into wondering smiles, wondering how they can physically do what Michele and Francesca do (and with Francesca’s Complexions-influenced leg extensions and Michele’s super-fast isolations, students might not be able to do what they do). But the movement is transcended by the synchronicity and meshing of the two dancers, whose relationship extends beyond the verbal, beyond the mental, and becomes a blending of bodies, a deep understanding that only the two share.

Both from Italy, Michele and Francesca are passionate artists eager to bring their teaching practice and company OCDP, founded in 2004, to audiences' attention here in New York. Michele started dancing on the streets of Italy as a break-dancer; he was initially on a path to a career in soccer, and later had a successful stint as a DJ clubs. Francesca was classically trained from the age of 6. And yet. A fusion. Their newest work, @MozArt, will be performed in the APAP Conference at Peridance Capezio Center January 12 and 13. You can see the two weekly, when they teach their highly technical contemporary movement at Peridance.
The founders of OCDP sat down with me right before the holidays to talk about their upcoming APAP debut, their company, why they dance.
Peridance Capezio Center: How do you describe yourself?
Michele Oliva: As a dancer, dynamic, expressive with a lot of energy and a hard worker. As a choreographer, I try to experience, to grow. To give space to my dreams and work with my sensation, with the music and my heart.
Francesca Dario: I work hard everyday. I push my body and my mind 100%. I’m not lazy. I love this art and I have all of my life to it, but for me the important thing is that dance must make me feel happy and alive. It is not only a good technique or gymnastics. It is love, passion, art. This is how I feel like a dancer.
P.C.C. Describe your signature move
M.O. My movement is a fusion of technique and dynamics. I love to experience something different every day, and give space to my fantasies. I let the music give me a boost and start to create in space.
F.D. My movement is just my feelings. I grew up with a strong discipline and technique, and when I dance I try to push myself with all of these elements. But one of the most important things is what I feel. Not doing just steps to feel the freedom inside of me when I dance or when I create. 
Peridance Capezio Center: The 3 songs at the top of your playlist
Uoon I by Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto
Vector Lovers by Piano Dust
Apparat by Silizium 
November Skies by Tomas Barfod
Cello -Suite 6 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Laura by Bat for Lashes  
P.C.C. Your company was founded 2004?
F.D. Yes, we started in Italy in 2004 under the name ‘Pantarie’, but it was just for small projects. Now, we are using the new name, Oliva Contemporary Dance Project.
P.C.C. What do you expect APAP to do for OCDP?
M.O. Show my work. I want the people to see my work.
P.C.C. Have they seen this new piece, @MozArt, before?
F.D. No. It’s a new piece for APAP, and it is co-choreographed.
P.C.C. What’s your choreographic process like?
F.D. Sometimes when we have a lot of work to do, we talk before, “O.K. you do this, I do this,” we say.  But sometimes, like for APAP, I prefer that he starts and then we work together.
M.O. When I choreograph, I listen to the music before. I have the fantasy of the dance in my mind.
P.C.C. You wrote on your website that you ‘merge music and dreams’…
M.O. Yes, and once I see it in my mind, then I ask the dancer (to do it.)
P.C.C. And Francesca can do it all, so anything you dream of is possible...
M.O. It’s true, it’s true. She is my inspiration.
P.C.C. How did you two meet?
F.D. We met ten years ago, on a TV show in Italy like ‘So You Think You Can Dance.” I was a student and he was an assistant choreographer. And then…
M.O. Then love.
P.C.C. Did you start working together artistically right away?
F.D. Yes. From then on, we stay always together.
P.C.C. How has your relationship changed?
F.D. I was always a student. Now, I am almost 50 percent when we work together.
M.O. She worked hard, because in the beginning, it was really hard for her.
F.D. In the beginning, I was a ballet dancer, with a total different style (than Michele). 10 years ago Michele’s work was very hard for me. It felt very fast. The musicality was beautiful. For one month after every class I was crying. But if I love something, I can’t stop.
P.C.C. Where is ‘home’ for you?
M.O. Home is Italy. Home is New York.
F.D. Home is where my love is, and where I can dance, but I miss Italy sometimes.
P.C.C. What is something that you hope to do someday?
M.O. I hope that one day I can do a season at the Joyce Theatre with my company, Oliva Contemporary Dance Project. And I hope that my company grows to be able to work 100%, eight hours each day and with shows around the world!
F.D. I hope that I have the chance to work with great choreographers. I hope that our company grows. I hope that we can work with what we have—passion and respect for this beautiful art. 
This interview has been slightly modified (with consent) for continuity and clarity.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Countdown to APAP Begins!

18 days 13ish hours and who knows how many minutes! APAP is on the way!

You absolutely can't miss our line up, to be performed at the Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance
January 12 & 13, 2013

Watch a preview of the performance here

Pas de Xia | Xia Hua
ACB Dance | Alison Cook Beatty
Bennyroyce Dance Productions | Bennyroyce Royon
Buglisi Dance Theatre | Jacqulyn Buglisi
Kellie Hodges & Dancers | Kellie Hodges
BARE Dance Company | Mike Esperanza
The TOC Project | Lara Tinari
Derek Mitchell Dance | Derek Mitchell
Mystic Ballet | Goran Subotic
Whim W'Him | Olivier Wevers
Peridance Contemporary Dance Company | Igal Perry
R.E.D. | Rhapsody James
Houston Metropolitan Dance Company | Marlana Doyle
Xhale Dance Company | Michael Susten
Nicholas Andre Dance | Nick Ross
Nai Ni Chen Dance Company | Nai Ni Chen
Korhan Basaran and Artists | Korhan Basaran
Mystic Ballet | Goran Subotic
Oliva Contemporary Dance Project | Michele Oliva
NatalieInMotion | Natalie Deryn Johnson
Artists in Motion | Shameka Blake

Spread out over two days and 4 performances, these artists are 'can't miss'! 

For information on how to purchase tickets, and how to make the most of your APAP experience (an event that upends New York for a full weekend) go to our website.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Interview with Yesid Lopez, PCDC Company Member

Here is an interview with Yesid Lopez, who proves to be quite the wordsmith. Read his beautiful thoughts about dancing, get to know the ballet/ salsa/ Tai Chi/ hip hop dancer/ choreographer.

And if you don't know what to get Yesid for Christmas this year, this might help (hint: the words "chocolate" and "pound cake" appear more than once in this interview).

Photo by Danielle Rutherford


Yesid Lopez is originally from Colombia where he began his dance training in ballet. He received a scholarship from The School at Jacob´s Pillow in the jazz program in 2004 and 2006. Yesid has performed in Colombia, UK, Cuba, USA as a dancer and choreographer in latin, jazz and contemporary ballet styles and South Korea as a choreographer-featured dancer with Hanwha Resort in Sokcho City. In 2006, Yesid moved to New York where he received a full scholarship from STEPS on Broadway and was selected to be a member of the Steps Repertory Ensemble 2006-2008. As a choreographer Yesid has performed in different venues in the New York City Area and has received reviews in publications like Attitude The Dancers' Magazine, Ballet-Dance Magazine, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Dance Spirit. He has danced with Ballet Hispanico, works as a Ballroom Instructor and choreographer at Dance Times Square and DeMa Dance Company as a Co-Artistic Director and resident choreographer. This is Yesid first season with Peridance Contemporary Dance Company.

Peridance Capezio Center A list of your favorite things (as many things as you can think of!)
Yesid Lopez Dance, mixed martial arts, movies, video games, gadgets, editing, choreographing, hugging, writing (wrote a book to someone very special), music, eating (especially chocolate chip pound cake), traveling... Dreaming

P.C.C. What is your first memory of performing?
Y.L. I was running across an Elementary School patio wearing a mask and a cape. I think I was 6 years old.

P.C.C. What is your favorite snack?
Y.L. Chocolate chip pound cake

P.C.C. What song is 'most played' on your ipod?
Y.L. The 4 seasons of Vivaldi I Allegro Non Molto (Winter).

P.C.C. Where do you go/what do you do in New York when you have a day off?

Y.L. I usually don't have a lot of time off. I am always doing some work. If I get some time off during the week, I would go for a walk to Central Park in the fall or eat some Colombian food in Queens. Maybe Rockaway Park Beach or a Latin concert at Jones Beach in the summer.

P.C.C. Do you have any favorite quotes/ words that you live by?
Y.L. "The brave one is not the one who doesn't have fear but the one who knows how to confront it"

P.C.C. What is your favorite thing about Peridance Contemporary Dance Company?
Y.L. Its soul. Full of the senses of all those relentless explorers of the unknown but sublime. Full of the beauty of limbs and sweat climbing through notes and unforgettable sounds with many hearts in one beat...

P.C.C. Do you have any experiences of the Nutcracker that you'd like to share?
Y.L. My first Nutcracker as a choreographer. With the Hostos Symphony Orchestra on stage at the Hostos Community Center in the Bronx, 2007. You can watch some of the dances at

P.C.C. What's your favorite Nutcracker moment?
Y.L. The Waltz of the Flowers. It takes me back to one of the most beautiful moments in my life.

And on that vague and alluring note, this interview will end. But see Yesid and the company perform in our upcoming PCDC season! This March! More details on our website.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Your choreography on a NY Stage! Apply today!

Apply to the Student Showcase!

Presented at the Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance, the bi-yearly Faculty and Student Showcases demonstrate the artistry and talent of Peridance Capezio Center's faculty and students, within a vast array of choreographic styles. From Ballet and Contemporary movement to African, Salsa and Hip-Hop! These performances are a major highlight at Peridance, known for their exciting, diverse, and high-caliber quality.

Submissions deadline for the February Showcases is December 15th.

Peridance Student Showcase
Sunday, February 10th, 2013 at 6:00pm

Visit our website for more information

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Did you read Dance Informa this month?

Check out Dance Informa's recently published article, the first publication to highlight Peridance Capezio Center's 30th anniversary in 2013!

We can't wait to share all of our 30th anniversary celebration news with you. Until then, read this article by dancer/performer/writer/biomechanist Leigh Schanfein.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dance in Madrid - Baila en Madrid

For our spanish speaking dancers!
Centenares de bailarines de más de una veintena de nacionalidades se congregarán esta Navidad en Madrid con motivo del taller World Dance Movement Spain, una iniciativa que pretende conectar distintas culturas a través de la danza y conceder ayudas para la formación artística.
Este evento, que tiene como antecede un taller similar en la ciudad italiana de Puglia, ha comenzado hoy en el Conservatorio Superior de Danza María de Ávila de Madrid las audiciones para conceder a 10 bailarines españoles una ayuda económica para la matrícula del taller.
Del 29 de diciembre al 6 de enero, la programación de World Dance Movement Spain contará con talleres impartidos por coreógrafos de "prestigio internacional" que, una vez finalizado el evento, otorgarán becas a los mejores bailarines del evento.
La cuantía de estas ayudas asciende a 70.000 dólares (unos 54.000 euros) y están destinadas a la formación artística en escuelas como "Complexions Contemporary Ballet" "Peridance Capezio Center" o el "Broadway Dance Center", ubicadas en Nueva York.

¡y mas!

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