Carly Checks in from Skidmore

Hello dancers!

I'm Carly and I'm writing to you from Skidmore College in upstate New York, where I've been working with the Martha Graham Dance Company during their one-month residency here. I'm doing a work-study, which means I spend my days not only in class, but also helping the company and the administration. I'm taking this experience for credit, which means my days are packed from sunrise to post-sunset with classes and work. I'll be a junior at Skidmore in September, but I won't actually be here in the fall because I'll be studying abroad at the University of Oxford. I'm a dance performance and choreography major with a double major in psychology and a double minor in women's studies and honors forum (I dare you to try saying that in one breath and from memory!).

I had the amazing opportunity to work with the company for a week before the students got here. I started every day with company class, and I learned more Graham technique in that week than all previous years combined. I worked on my photography skills by taking pictures of rehearsals of Clytemnestra (I'll be talking much more about this piece later) and Night Journey. I also helped put together the original Isamu Noguchi sets, which was totally outrageous. I had seen those set pieces in videos I watched in my dance classes, but to actually hold them in person was unreal.

We begin each day with technique class, which is usually taught by Denise Vale or Peter Sparling. Peter teaches composition, and then we either work with the company members on the name-calling section of Clytemnestra or with Janet Eilber, artistic director, on Panorama. We're re-staging Panorama and will be performing it at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on June 13th with other dances performed by the company. Then we take a dance media workshop taught by Jaki Levy, in which we're making videos, taking pictures, and learning about blogging as it relates to dance. After homework and dinner, we have rehearsal and then drag our tired bodies back to the dorms to shower and pass out.

I have to run because tonight we're going to a dance photography exhibit opening at the National Museum of Dance. In my next blog, I'll tell you all about the work we're doing with Clytemnestra and Panorama. If you can't stand the anticipation, feel free to explore until then. Be well!

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search