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The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance

This Week at CalArts

Winter Dance Concert Opens This Week at CalArts

The Winter Dance Concert opens this week, and students are busy running every aspect of the production in tandem with our wonderful technical faculty. It is a wonderful time here at CalArts. Everyone is engrossed in polishing their papers, programs, and performances. I am really looking forward to the Opening Night Reception on Thursday (Dec 6) where we will all be able to come together after the performance and celebrate as a community. Our show at REDCAT opens next week and will be an exciting event to attend. - Kate Fox

Growing Arms and Legs

 by Gregory Dorado 

Mr. Chip Conrad of Bodytribe fitness in Sacramento has taught me a lot of things: How best to construct incendiary devices using a few simple kitchen related ingredients, when the right season for harvesting the homely rutabaga is as well as very specific and intimate details on the finer points of animal husbandry. None of which I actually wanted to know. But he did, however, turn me on to one of the most important and all pervasive lifestyle ideas that to this very day still holds a lot of stock in the way I make decisions regarding my body and even more than that my very approach to almost every activity, whether physical or cerebral. It can be summed up in one word: Intensity.

  Intensity is a thing we are designed for, we are animals evolved through eons of running after prey or running from becoming prey. These short burst of intense physical or emotional energy, along side quality rest and intake, condition us, body, mind and soul, to become a readily efficient machine who can function holistically. “Well rounded”.

  Why all this waxing about intensity? Well let’s talk about Barcelona Summer Dance for a moment. But first a short bit of background on me. It is not until very recently that I had started identifying as a dancer. Before that I was an actor who could move a little and even when I somehow found my way into a dance company  for three seasons with no formal training I would still only consider myself a guest that the real dancers were graciously allowing into their space. Certainly making it into the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts solidified, in my mind, a very large step towards becoming and identifying as a professional dancer. After a year there and a huge amount of improvement from my very humble beginnings as a dancer who started at the ripe old age of 20, I make it here to Barcelona.

  To sum it up Barcelona Summer Dance is four weeks of classes from 10am-5pm in muggy Mediterranean heat with no AC in a small studio with 30+/- people. Another way of putting this is Barcelona Summer Dance = Sweat. Rivers of it, I literally have to bring a plastic bag with me to keep the 4 outfits I go through a day from ruining my backpack. When you can ring out your clothes enough to fill up trash bags with your own sweaty run off you know you have reached…. wait for it…. intensity.

   This kind of intensity is driving and exciting, exhausting and life altering. I have seen changes in my body in the last week alone that I hadn’t realized were a possibility for me in the last 6 years of working. My approach to class, a constant point of contention for me, has even morphed. I feel like I am finally starting to click with my body and with fellow movers. Our teachers are brutal in the most loving and supportive ways and even though we, the travel mates, may not be able to agree on which classes we prefer we can all agree that the work has been most transformative.

  Some are discovering a new passion, a passion they never knew they had or are maybe deciding that this life isn’t for them. None of these choices better or worse than another but truly everyone is going though a transformation here. It seems that Barcelona is becoming a chrysalis of sorts for all of us. This apartment, the crossroads to the next part of our individual journeys. 

  Suffice it to say this leg of the journey, the barcelona transition we will call it, has only just begun but the changes are already sweeping, jostling and permanent. The ceaseless wheel of change and the catalyst of intensity is hard at work here in Barcelona. I am scared, exhausted, anxious and pummeled but most of all… I am grateful. Grateful for Chips advice, grateful for the small slice of home that are the amazing people I am traveling with and the people at home who support me every day with loving words and good energy. But today, I am grateful that I am finally allowing myself the opportunity for growth and expansion. I am finally not shirking the opportunities or the responsibilities and truly living bravely for myself. Barcelona has been good to me and for me. Barcelona, like all things is love. I am loved.

CalArts' Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance presents: The NEXT Dance Company

CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance presents The Next Dance Company, Artistic Director Stephan Koplowitz. The Next Dance Company draws together the school’s most accomplished performers, choreographers ~ all members of the 2011 graduating class. The program includes world premieres by Herb Alpert Award recipients Susan Rethorst (2010), and Stephan Koplowitz (2004), new choreography by MFAs, Rachel Boyajian and Natalie Metzger, and original work by BFA4s from The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance.

CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance Theater Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 8 P.M. Friday, May 6, 2011 at 8 P.M. $10 General Admission and $2 CalArts Community For more information and reservations, visit www.calarts.edu/calendar 

Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) Friday, May 13, 2011 at 8:30 P.M. Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 8:30 P.M. $15 General Admission, $12 Students with a valid I.D., and $8 CalArts Community For reservations visit www.redcat.org or call 213.237.2800

 

Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming School of Dance Events:

Last Dance Concert, Wednesday-Thursday, May 18-19, 7pm

 Visit www.calarts.edu/calendar for reservations.

CalArts' Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance presents: Spring Dance Concert

CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance presents its annual Spring Dance Concert  featuring auditioned new works by BFA I, II, and III students Gregory Dorado, Jamie Pea, Bianca Mendoza, Lindsey Lollie, Jordan Saenz, Amanda McNussen, and Ariana Daub. The program will also include new works by faculty members, Laurence Blake and Stephanie Nugent.

CalArts' Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance Spring Dance Concert

Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 8:00pm

Friday, April 22, 2011 - 8:00pm

Saturday, April 23, 2011 - 8:00pm

For reservations, visit www.calarts.edu/calendar

 

Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming School of Dance Events:

 NEXT Dance Concert, Thursday-Friday, May 5-6, 8pm.

 NEXT Dance Concert at REDCAT, Friday-Saturday, May 13-14, 8:30pm. For reservations, visit: www.redcat.org/event

Last Dance Concert, Wednesday-Thursday, May 18-19, 7pm

All performances take place in the Sharon Disney Lund Theater unless otherwise noted.

 Visit www.calarts.edu/calendar for reservations.

'Liminal', Rachel Boyajian MFA II Thesis Concert by Cherise Richards

As part of its MFA 2 thesis concert season, the CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance presents Rachel Boyajian’s new evening length work, Linimal. A study in the workings of the human psyche, Liminal takes the audience on a journey into the layers of the self, and culminates in a vision of consciousness at its most raw. Arranged into a suite of four pieces and featuring an original score by Louis Lopez, this emerging artist explores movement vocabulary drawing from both contemporary dance and mime to create a world illustrated through clever and innovative choreography.  

Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Rachel has studied at the Ailey School in New York City and has a B.F.A. from Wichita State University. A well-rounded performer and choreographer, she has created works for three previous American College Dance Festivals as well as the Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, the Contemporary Music Festival, the DanceIS Festival, the University of Arkansas and Wichita State University.

In her latest work she takes her attention to the idiosyncratic distinctions of the human body and works to expose unconventional beauty in movement.  Ms. Boyajian brings wit, clarity and originality to the stage giving us a glimpse into humanity through the eyes of dance in Liminal.

Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming School of Dance Events:

 Spring Dance Concert, Thursday-Saturday, April 21-23, 8pm.

 NEXT Dance Concert, Thursday-Friday, May 5-6, 8pm.

 NEXT Dance Concert at REDCAT, Friday-Saturday, May 13-14, 8:30pm. For reservations, visit: www.redcat.org/event

Last Dance Concert, Wednesday-Thursday, May 18-19, 7pm

All performances take place in the Sharon Disney Lund Theater unless otherwise noted.

Visit www.calarts.edu/calendar for reservations.

Natalie Metzger's Sacrament by Cherise Richards

CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance presents:

Sacrament by Natalie Metzger

March 9-11 at 8pm Sharon Disney Lund Dance Theater

Sacrament is a dance theatre performance experience that examines cult mentality, the evolution of god, and the human attraction to destruction. Award-winning choreographer and media artist, Natalie Metzger, punctuates her MFA candidacy with this evening length work. 

In Sacrament, the audience is guided by performers, into the space, where Metzger, along with scenic designer Alex Gaines and lighting designer Ellie Rabinowitz, have created a powerful and dynamic landscape of decay which focuses on a glowing, pseudo-organic, egg sac, deity that hangs in the center, floating above the performers. The dancers explore sensual and violent movements to engage in a ritualistic worship. The performance is intensified by composer, Robert Allaire’s original electronic score which is filtered through organic sound sources. Sacrament, is an evening of engaging theatre that is sure to pull you in, the question is, once you are in, will it let you out?

To learn more about Natalie Metzger and her work, please visit www.metzart.org.

To learn more about Robert Allaire and his work, please visit www.allairemusic.com.

Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming School of Dance Events:

Luminal, MFA II Thesis Concert, Rachel Boyajian, Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19, 8pm. 

 Spring Dance Concert, Thursday-Saturday, April 21-23, 8pm.

NEXT Dance Concert, Thursday-Friday, May 5-6, 8pm.

NEXT Dance Concert at REDCAT, Friday-Saturday, May 13-14, 8:30pm. For reservations, visit: www.redcat.org/event

Last Dance Concert, Wednesday-Thursday, May 18-19, 7pm

All performances take place in the Sharon Disney Lund Theater unless otherwise noted.

Visit www.calarts.edu/calendar for reservations.

TOTEM: A Native American Tradition Meets Dance by Cherise Richards

With a long standing career as a professional dancer, Lisa D. Long comes from a history of performance- bringing to her choreography a love of momentum and athleticism. Her latest creation comes in the form of TOTEM her MFA2 Thesis Concert that is an exploration of movement and of nature. TOTEM, premiering Thursday March 3, draws its inspiration from Native American animal totem cards and delves into a world of symbology and contemplation. With an all female cast eliciting undercurrents of sensuality and the live accompaniment of pianist Richard Valitutto, TOTEM offers a vision of the animal in us all.

The show runs from March 3-5 at 8pm in the Sharon Disney Lund Dance Theater. A reception will be held on opening night outside the theater following the performance. Tickets are free. Reservations can be made at www.calarts.edu/calendar, scroll to TOTEM.

Be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming School of Dance Events:

Sacrament MFA II Thesis Concert, Natalie Metzger, Wednesday-Friday, March 9-11, 8pm.

Luminal, MFA II Thesis Concert, Rachel Boyajian, Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19, 8pm.

Spring Dance Concert, Thursday-Saturday, April 21-23, 8pm.

NEXT Dance Concert, Thursday-Friday, May 5-6, 8pm.

NEXT Dance Concert at REDCAT, Friday-Saturday, May 13-14, 8:30pm.
For reservations, visit: www.redcat.org/event

Last Dance Concert, Wednesday-Thursday, May 18-19, 7pm

All performances take place in the Sharon Disney Lund Theater unless otherwise noted.
Visit www.calarts.edu/calendar for reservations.

A203 by Princess Romero

CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance is fortunate have new studio. Originally the space was a large room with cubicles used as artists’ studios. Now, A203 is a completely different space.

New sprung Marley floors, mirrors along the front wall, acoustic panels, a sound system, a television available for watching dance on film (which is useful for our Partnering class), and gorgeous new ballet barres have been put in. By the end of this week it will be fully transformed into our new dance studio!

As a BFA-4 dance student, I am entirely grateful for a new dance studio. For years there has been talk about a new space from the faculty and staff, as well as the students. With our new dance studio, CalArts School of Dance now has six incredible spaces to create in. Some will be for classes, auditions, and performances, and two that are used only as rehearsal space and/or for our composition classes. This new studio has allowed the dance school to add a fourth level to our contemporary classes. The extra dance studio is extremely useful because there are always tons of rehearsals going on for all of our individual Dance Concerts.

On a personal level, I know that my class and I are extremely excited about the new studio. Since our start at CalArts, we have loved everything offered here. Somehow we knew that our class would really push for change and progress.

We continuously discussed creating a new studio and a fourth level. Of course we are not entirely responsible for the opening of the new studio but I’m sure we’d like to think that by the faculty listening to our voice - our desires and needs, that we helped create this moment along with the many other people who have been involved in the process.

The first day I took class in the new studio was literally one of the most exciting days for me. A203 is such a huge open space. At the time there were no mirrors, which personally I love because it made the space seem endless.

Finally and most importantly I would love to give thanks to all the people who have made this incredible gift possible. I’m sure I can speak for all the students when I share a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our dean, Stephan Kopolowitz, for making this fantasy a reality. And thank you for all the people from CalArts administration to every member of the dance school, and, last but not least, the amazing facilities team who really seemed to hold our dream in mind and made this entire project a labor of love.

This Week at CalArts: Student Choice/MFA I Dance Concert, Master Class w/Vincent Mantsoe and Injury Prevention with Kaz Allen by Princess Romero

Sixteen pieces auditioned for Student Choice last week, and the CalArts students of the dance school voted half of those pieces into the program, which I’ll say is pretty good. At the end of this week ten choreographers will have their work performed in CalArts’ Sharon Disney Lund Theater with lights, costumes, some with set design and others with props. Two out of that ten are MFA1’s who are automatically placed in the program.

One of the quickest concerts here, each day of the week has a different agenda, in a progressive manor. Monday, we set lighting cues. The choreographer sits down with David Kroth, our technical director, while he overseas our Stage Manager, Amanda McNussen, as she is taking notes. The Stage Manager must know everything because they “call the show”, meaning they are in charge of how smoothly the show runs. Everything includes lights, props, where the dancers begin each piece, if lights and music begin together or not, etc. While our Stage Manager is taking notes they are also delivering the lighting cues to the person working on the light board. They can then plug the lighting cues into the light board. Amanda is also in charge of letting the soundboard person know what they need to know about music cues.

Tuesday is the first tech rehearsal. This is our first chance to see all of the magic at once. Usually there are several problems but that is part of the process. We have one more night to get it right for the show, which is Wednesday, the final dress rehearsal. This is also the night photographs taken of the pieces being performed, which is awesome because later we can use these photos for things such as a Resume, applications for Summer Intensives, building our own Websites, basically anytime there is a dance photo of ourselves or of our work required, CalArts dance students are at an advantage because every concert is photographed.

Thursday, February 10th is the first show and Friday, February 11th is the second and last show of Student Choice! Then we celebrate with a great night at Hip Hop Fest which is planned with the help of one our fellow dance students, Jordon Waters. We haven’t finished the week, yet so we will see what we have in stored for ourselves. I’m thrilled to be performing this week and to have my work performed! It’s all very exciting!

Also this week, Vincent Mantsoe and his dancers perform at REDCAT. The show, better known as, ASSOCIATION NOA/VINCENT MANTSOE: SAN premieres this Wednesday, February 9th and will continue throughout the week until February 13th. Rhythm, physicality, history of dances from his family, street dance, other popular movements and spirituality within the music, the movement and the dancers. These are qualities typical to a performance from Vincent Mantsoe. His work has been referred to as “Afro Fusion” dances.

Recently the Khol-San people of South Africa have inspired Mantsoe. Mantsoe chose five dancers from five different cultures to perform a piece based on the history of these people from South Africa. Although Mantsoe has chosen dancers from different cultures somehow they are all linked in one-way or the other.

The Khol-San people of South Africa have a history of being forced from their land and terribly brutalized. Through Mantsoe’s choreography and through his dancers they communicate the variety of emotions whether it is happiness or hopelessness with the melodies of their body in present day. Not only does he utilize the dancers to make the connection between the past and present but he also uses a score by an Iranian vocalist and Sufi music master Shahram with 12th-century poetry from Rumi, San. The New York Times regarding Vincent Mantsoe and his company: “A direct expression of spiritual connection to something greater than the physical self.“

On Friday, February 11, Vincent Mantsoe teaches a Afro-Fusion Master Class to our Level 2 contemporary students. That same day, Kaz Allen offers a workshop on Injury Prevention to our BFA I students. Opportunities abound here. It’s almost hard to keep up!

This Week at CalArts: Grupo Corpo, Herb Alpert Award Recipient: Susan Rethorst, and Student Choice/MFA I Dance Concert Auditions

This Friday, January 28, 2011, forty CalArts students will be making a trip to The Music Center to witness Brazil’s Grupo Corpo perform a new and exciting piece entitled ÍMÃ. I am thrilled to be seeing them perform because of their use of musicality, playful yet athletic movement, and the personalities shown through the choreography by the dancers.

Also this week, two out of thirteen dancers in the 2011 Next Dance Company have the honor of working with Herb Alpert Award recipient, Susan Rethorst. Susan Rethorst has also been the recipient ofgenerous awards and honors including those from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, as well as the New York Dance and Performance Award for Choreography. Rethorst has also been commissioned to set a new dance work at CalArts School of Dance in the spring of 2011. BFA4s Katharine Morales and Lauren Frias will work directly with Rethorst to create an original work that will be performed at CalArts and at REDCAT in May 2011.

Student Choice! I may be biased, and a tad bit selfish, however this is one of my favorite dance concerts of the School year. Student Choice is a concert “of the students”. What I mean by this is…. this concert is choreographed by the students, auditioned by the students, chosen by the students, and performed by students. The best part is, as a whole the dance students have the opportunity to choose the pieces we feel are best to represent the dance school. The process is like this…

Next week, on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 anyone who has created a piece for the Student Choice Concert has prepared something to show to the dance school in Showings. Some pieces will be finished and others will still be in the process of completion. Of course after auditions choreographers will have time to finish, refine and polish their work, but for the auditions what is presented should how a clear path of growth.

The reason why this is one of my favorite concerts is because we, CalArts dance students, are able to vote on the pieces we want to be presented. It is all about the dancers of CalArts and our voice as growing artist. This is the time when we are allowed to really “play”, and from time and time again there are pieces presented that are really out of the comfort zone of the CalArts aesthetic in dance.

Last year I choreographed a Pointe piece with three dancers and this year there is a Tap piece being auditioned by Staci Hughes. These techniques are normally not performed at a typical CalArts School of Dance performance (even though pointe work is offered). When we get an opportunity to have TOTAL artistic freedom, students usually present varied work. Personally I am extremely excited about the Student Choice Concert this year because I have just returned from a semester exchange in London. This is the first concert of the Spring Semester. I am auditioning a solo, performed by Jay Jackson, which was choreographed in London last semester. I am also dancing in three other pieces by my peers. It seems like a lot however my excitement for being back, at what I would call “home”, has pushed me to dance, Dance, DANCE. Oh, and choreograph too! This should be a really great concert!

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