Saturday, August 1, 2009

National Choreographers Initiative

I'm not a dance maven.

I've seen live performances by a number of well-known companies over the years (like New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Erick Hawkins, Toronto Dance Theatre).

I've attended some performances at Jacob's Pillow, the summer dance magnet in the Berkshires.

I even spent the better part of a day with Pilobolus founder Robby Barnett as he rehearsed that company's first-ever piece with spoken words--he actually invited me to select a section I liked best as the excerpt they would perform at the Connecticut Arts Awards event I was producing. attention span for dance is limited and my "vocabulary" in dance is non-existent.

So, it was with not a little dread that I accepted my friend Sophie's invitation to attend the showcase by National Choreographers Initiative at the Irvine Barclay Theatre last weekend.

NCI selects 4 choreographers from around the country, provides them with professional dancers for 3 weeks, and then showcases their works-in-progress at the end of that period.

Predictably, the two pieces that held my attention (first and last of the program) were set to appealing music and were less abstract than the other two. Nevertheless, even the other two works were interesting to see--even when my mind began to wander.

As a champion of new works in the theatre, I applaud NCI artistic director/founder Molly Lynch for her dedication to this process in the world of dance.

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