Dance News

Choreographer Lindsay Nelko Talks Awakening

Lindsay Nelko
(photo by Kristen Sawatzky)

At last year's Capezio A.C.E. (Award for Choreographic Excellence) Awards in NYC, Lindsay Nelko tied for third place, winning $3,000 to produce her own show in conjunction with Capezio and Break the Floor Productions. Next week, we'll see the fruits of that partnership: Nelko will present the world premiere of her evening-length work, Awakening, at Ailey's Citigroup Theater on August 6 and 7.

Nelko, who has choreographed for "The X Factor" and "So You Think You Can Dance," has made some top-notch connections over the course of her career, so it's unsurprising that the cast of Awakening is pretty spectacular. Of the 24 dancers, eight are appearing courtesy of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, four are current or former members of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and others have performed with San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet and the Bad Boys of Dance. It's a seriously out-of-this-world roster.

Dance Spirit caught up with Nelko to learn more about Awakening.

How would you describe the show?

Awakening is loosely based on my life, and on the moments of realization—or awakening—in certain feelings or events. There are 18 small narratives woven together that depict those feelings, including sadness, anxiety, joy, friendship and young love. There's also the theme of awakening in terms of sleep. The show moves between reality, the dream state and hypnagogia, which is the state between wakefulness and sleep.

(L to R) Mark Caserta and Casey McIntyre appearing courtesy of Complexions Contemporary Ballet in Lindsay Nelko's Awakening
(photo by Matthew Murphy)

That seems pretty deep.

It is! I've been inspired by my life's journey. I feel like artistic work frequently stems from our selves. It’s been like therapy to have my own show. I've been able to dive deeper, bring those experiences to life through incredible dancers and share it all with a wider audience.

Um, wow.
Jeffrey Sousa and Ashley Fitzgerald in Awakening
(photo by Matthew Murphy)

How has Awakening evolved over time?

Well, the process really started in May 2013, when I created and workshopped Awakening for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. (Then I presented an excerpt at the A.C.E. Awards.) At that time, however, not all of the pieces were finalized, and I've since added a few more to the work. And while my first cast was amazing, I've been blessed to have an incredibly diverse cast this time around. There will be 18 classical and contemporary ballet dancers, in addition to modern, jazz and musical theater dancers. It's going to be an interesting mix, but also a truer representation of my work.

Can't wait for August 6? Watch a clip of Awakening from last year's ACE Awards below, and click here for more information.

Win It
Photos by Erin Baiano

It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.

Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

All of 18-year-old Kaylin Maggard's dreams—from scoring the title of National Senior Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals to winning the 2017 Dance Spirit Cover Model Search—are coming true. And to anyone who knows the gorgeous contemporary dancer, that's no surprise.

From the moment the Dance Spirit staff met Kaylin, it was obvious her humility and talent would take her far. Not only did she go full-out during the photo shoot and class at Broadway Dance Center, but she was always cheering on, laughing with, and supporting her fellow CMS contestants Haley Hartsfield and Michelle Quiner. During the voting period, the social media world was abuzz with praise for her work ethic, positive attitude, and generosity.

Since her CMS trip to NYC, Kaylin's moved from her hometown of Columbia, MO, to the Big Apple for her freshman year at Juilliard, and is busy getting acquainted with the city. As for the future? She's taking it one opportunity at a time, but something tells us we'll be seeing this contemporary queen reach new heights every year.

Keep reading... Show less
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas in the Season 25 premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" (Eric McCandless/ABC)

It's fall! The leaves are changing, everything everywhere is pumpkin-spice flavored—and "Dancing with the Stars" is back on the air. For the 25th time. Season TWENTY-FIVE, y'all: Here we go.

Keep reading... Show less
The Top 4 in Travis Wall and Christopher Scott's group routine (Adam Rose/FOX)

Koine. Kiki. Lex. Taylor. Welcome to the fight to the finale!

On last night's show—the last one before the last one—the Top 4 performed roughly one million times, including an opening number, a group routine, a solo, an All Star duet (a favorite from earlier in the season), and a routine paired with a fellow contestant. And best of all: No one went home! (Yet.) Here's a rundown of all the good stuff.

Keep reading... Show less
Watch This
Gabe De Guzman and Kaycee Rice at their January 2016 cover shoot (photo by Joe Toreno)

If you're deep in the Monday Blues, we've got just the thing for you: a Kaycee Rice Instagram takeover, with lots of special guests.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News

Fourteen-year-old Kennadi Boese is a teenage dance superhero. For one thing, she's successfully living a double life. One day, she's studying dance and going to school in Colorado like a normal teenager; the next, she's booking major L.A. gigs like the Kids' Choice Sports Awards. It's not just Kennadi's schedule that's super-powered: Her turns are effortless and endless, and she's crazy-versatile (flamenco, anyone?).

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

Considering a dance degree to build on your competition experiences? DS caught up with comp-circuit stars who chose higher ed to learn the advantages of transitioning from comp kid to college kid.

Keep reading... Show less
Trending-posts

Last month, we gave you a sneak peek into the world of PRETTYMUCH, the boy band that's been called the next One Direction—in no small part thanks to their killer dance moves.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Want to Be on Our Cover?

covermodelsearch-image

Video

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored