Dance News

School Buzz: Free Money For Summer Study

Free Money For Summer Study

This summer, don’t let money keep you from dancing at your dream intensive. The Dance Council of North Texas is offering a total of more than $22,000 in summer-study scholarships for dancers ages 13 and up.

The committee will give at least 27 scholarships to dancers who specialize in ballet, modern, tap, Indian dance or musical theater. Scholarships consist of cash grants of $500 to $1,000, or tuition waivers (one valued at $4,000!) for specified programs. Dancers everywhere are invited to apply.

Applications are due on February 9, so don’t delay! You’ll need a letter of recommendation from a dance teacher, a headshot, a full-body dance shot, a video of you dancing and a copy of your recent report card (to show off your good grades!). For details, visit thedancecouncil.org. —Ashley Rivers

Looking for more dance cash? This month you can begin submitting your applications for the 2010 Harlequin Annual Dance Scholarship program. Past winners have taken home as much as $5,000! Visit harlequinfloors.com for details.

Hofstra Dance Celebrates 25 Years

Hofstra University recently invited four professional dancers, all alumni of its dance program, to perform at and create works for a concert celebrating the program’s 25th anniversary. At the November show, the dancers hit the stage with their own companies and choreographed for current Hofstra dance students.

Returning alumni were:

  • Dina Denis (class of 2002), artistic director and president of Dance Into Light
  • Larry Keigwin (class of 1994), artistic director of Keigwin + Company [featured in “Hot in Modern Dance,” p. 52]
  • Salvatore LaRussa (class of 2000), artistic director and choreographer of Salvatore LaRussa Dance Theatre
  • Makeda Thomas (class of 1999), dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Makeda Thomas/Roots & Wings Movement!

Keigwin tells DS he’s happy to have had the chance to work with his alma mater’s pupils. “I remember how impressed I was by visiting artists [when I was a student], and I can only hope I’m making a similarly positive impression,” he says.

Dance became a major at Hofstra, located in Hempstead, NY, in 1984. While the program initially focused on modern dance, it has since evolved to incorporate ballet, jazz and choreography into the mix. In terms of students, the program has grown exponentially since its inception—it started with only four students but today features 75 dance majors and 78 dance minors.  —Colleen Bohen

Luca Veggetti Works With Purchase Dance Corps

Dancers at SUNY Purchase College will have the opportunity to embrace Japanese culture when they perform Luca Veggetti’s Xenakis and Japan on February 28. Veggetti’s work is set to “Oresteia,” by the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, and uses principles of Greek and Japanese Noh theater (a combination of acrobatics, dancing and singing). “I was lucky enough to see troupes of Japanese Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku theater [when I was] traveling though Europe at a young age,” Veggetti says. “That led to a great curiosity about Japanese culture.”

Lara Mummert, a senior, has been working with the world-renowned choreographer since October 2009. “Veggetti’s choreography is like being in another world,” she says. “It looks like the dancers are just floating through space, almost as if there’s no struggle.”

Veggetti has choreographed for the Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and many others.  —Brianne Carlon

Photo by Jayme Thornton

Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.

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Leap! National Dance Competition offers dancers of all skill levels an opportunity to showcase their talents in an event where the focus is on fun and competing is just a bonus!

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Dancer to Dancer

Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!

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Dancer to Dancer
The School at Jacob's Pillow's contemporary program auditions (photo by Karli Cadel, courtesy Jacob's Pillow)

Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.

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When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.

In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.

The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."

Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.

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Leah Morrison in Trisha Brown's If You Couldn't See Me, in which the soloist never faces the audience (photo by Julia Cervantes, courtesy Trisha Brown Dance Company)

Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.

She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.

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Blankenbuehler (far left) with the rest of the "Hamilton" creative team scontent-iad3-1.cdninstagram.com

So book your tickets to Tulsa already, people!

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Your Body
Amanda LaCount showing off her skills (screenshot via YouTube)

There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.

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Watch This
Angela Sterling, courtesy PNB

Mark your calendars, bunheads! On Monday, January 29th, at 2:45 PM (EST)/11:45 AM (PST), Pacific Northwest Ballet will be streaming a live rehearsal of Act II of Kent Stowell's Swan Lake.

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Watch This
Tavaris Jones dancing with the Cleveland Cavaliers' Scream Team hip-hop crew

We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)

So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.

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