What would be the best activity to accompany a dance intensive and motivate the participants? Exactly, watching dance performances by choreographers and dancers we will encounter in the course of the workshop. While we were still adapting to Kevin Wynn and things like commuting in New York, Steps took us to see two different performances after class.
On Wednesday, June 18th, we saw the collaborative evening of choreographers Elisa Monte, Jennifer Muller, and Jacqulyn Buglisi at New York Live Arts. This was a nice opportunity to show my fellow dancers that I do not always wear sports bras, have hair soaking-wet from sweat, and smudged make-up all over my face. I also nailed all seven names of my dear colleagues: Sara, Paige, Bria, Julien, Rachel, Aya and Marina. Yes! All together we made our way to Chelsea which was already quite exciting: Taking the ice cold and crowded subway, figuring out if we are walking east or west on 19th Street, and trying to not leave anyone behind. At New York Live Arts, Cassie Bednall, the Director of Student Programs at Steps, handed us our tickets to the performance with some time to spare before the curtain was supposed to lift. “So one of the best things to do in the New York summer heat is grabbing some frozen yoghurt”, recommended Julien, who has been living in New York for almost a year now. Satisfied with frozen yoghurt in our bellies we got to enjoy the five pieces with our organizational mastermind Cassie.
Afterwards we talked about our own favorite pieces, exchanged impressions, and discussed our interpretations of the choreography. It was a great way to spend time together outside of the studio and get inspired by such highly-trained dancers. More importantly, it was a preview as to what it would be like working with Elisa Monte herself in the “Performance Skills” workshop in our Summer Intensive. (Read more about that later in my upcoming Blog entries.)
Later that same week we went to see “Celebrate Dance” at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. So we grabbed our bags filled with dirty dance clothes, put on a pretty dress or pants, and did our hair – a night out. This time we almost felt like real New Yorkers getting there perfectly on time. The evening was mainly performed by the dancers of the Steps Repertory Ensemble with choreography by William Forsythe, Bradley Shelver, Francesca Harper, and again Elisa Monte. Additionally, we had the pleasure to see three dancers from Complexions Contemporary Ballet perform and a solo choreographed by Sidra Bell. In our last week of the Summer Intensive we will also get the chance to meet and work with Sidra Bell ourselves.
It was a totally new experience for me to see dancers perform on stage I just took class with at Steps on Broadway. The ensemble members did an amazing job and looked fierce in every piece, no matter the style. Another event in our schedule will also be a Q&A with them on how to survive as a dancer in New York City. The whole show was highly diversified and really got us up on our toes, literally, to work as hard as possible in the next three weeks.
Freelance Writer, Summer Study Student