Concert at the Ailey Citigroup Theater: A Magical Night!

August 26th was a magical night!  My new works, “Cheap Seats” and “Slate,” were only completed just a week or so before the concert. Thanks to Maria Schneider for her music lessons, score, and permission to use her phenomenal music!  Somehow, it all came together, as things usually do, and the dancers did a bang up job!  Another big thank you to Megan Slayter for flying in from Michigan to do my lighting design. She made the pieces come to life!

As I stood in the back watching the night unfold, I felt a sense of joy: not only were we able to pull the gig off in two months, but I was able to reunite old friends in the cast. I even had an old friend, Sarah Levine, stage manager extraordinaire, join me to work her magic in the wings.  As I hugged the sweaty dancers afterward in the dressing room, I was almost knocked over by the enormous amount of energy being exuded in the room. A cast of six incredibly talented dancers, all with amazing gifts, were together once again with me to ignite a powerful match that blew me away! Job well done, my friends! Thank you so much!

Visit this link to see more pictures from the concert!

For more information, please visit www.adamscompanydance.com!

Summer Season at the Joan Weill Center for Dance at Ailey Citigroup Theater

This summer, Adams Company Dance presents, “An Evening of Sharing: A Year Gone By,” at the Joan Weill Center for Dance at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, on August 26th, in NYC. This mixed bill of media and dance will cover what the company has been up to for the past year. I’m excited to premiere, “Except at Night: The Making of a Dance,” a documentary based on making a ten-minute piece in three hours using eight dancers.

I also will be honoring world-renowned jazz composer, and two-time Grammy award winner, and good friend, Maria Schneider, by premiering two new pieces, using music off her cd, Sky Blue. These two pieces are in the making as we speak. Living up to the standard of Maria Schneider is impossible… instead I can only hope that by joining in the company of her music, a blessed augmentation will take place! Thanks Maria, for your permission!

Rounding out the program will be four other works, including a cameo dance piece, “Undisclosed Recipients: A Tribute to MLK, Jr.” This piece is based on a project I am pursuing revolving around a university dance scholarship, and a charity for the MLK Memorial Foundation, on the forefront of being built in D.C. I’ll be announcing more on this in the coming weeks.

As for the rest of the program, you’ll see slides of NY’s Cathryn Lundgren and CT’s Fay Li, and media quickies that will touch you and make you chuckle. I am happy to renew the energy from this past year’s run of some of my favorite dances, including, At Ease, Ruby, and I Will Show You an Ocean.

All the dancers I am working with are top-notch, and boast credits from the Graham Company, to Ailey, to Mark Morris, Mark Dendy, Broadway, etc… I am very lucky to have them in my rotating stable right now. Dancers come and go, but this group is definitely to watch!

Hope to see you all there!

cimg2158Please visit Adams Company Dance website at www.adamscompanydance.com

Two Soloists Kick it Up

Yale University Children’s Hospital invited Adams Company Dance to be on a bill entitled, “An Evening of Remembrance,”  this past May. What better way to commemorate children who have passed away, than with a program designed for the families to share memories and enjoy performances of dance, art and music, all in honor of their loved ones. I pulled Ruby out of my rep to set on Ryan Schmidt.

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I needed a not too funny/not too somber piece for this “Puff’s with Aloe” event, so Ruby it was. Ryan ate though the dance material as if she were ravenous. My aesthetic and her gumby-like flexibility gave this teary-eyed audience just the right prescription for hope and healing. For extra inspiration,  I told Ryan to dedicate her performance to her late mother, who had passed within the year. It was an evening of remembrance, no doubt, and lots of love was in the air at Yale.

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Spring started out hot with a new solo I choreographed on one of my seasoned dancers, Annie Church.

Annie asked me to set a Latin piece on a bill of various ballroom numbers that were performed in Greenwich, CT in a venue (a coffee house) produced by veteran

ballroom dancer, Wayne Hempstead. This was a tall and unique order, as the stage was small, curtailing the sumptuous use of space, for which I am typically a glutton. So, with only a two-hour time span to create this piece, I went into a zone, and pulled from my latin-jazz closet an outfit that fit Annie like a glove. Included in this fiery dance, entitled, Baile Caliente, were seasonings of mambo, samba, a little Jack Cole, and Luigi. Annie sauntered in and the audience went nuts. With the heat she generated, I almost forgot she was on a small stage! P.S. This picture was staged on an altar of a church… did you catch Annie’s last name?

Please visit Adams Company Dance website!

YouTube: “I Will Show You An Ocean”

James Pierce and Julie Fiorenza performed my duet, “I Will Show You An Ocean,” last month which you can now see on YouTube. They did a great job, along with videographer Ben Moss, despite my absence. Due to unforseen circumstances, I didn’t make it, and guess who had the costumes? I-95 was black ice the night before the event, and my husband and I fell victim to a multi-vehicle car accident. We’re ok, thank God, but away went our car. The dancers pulled off the gig anyway, and used what items they had in their drawers to dance in. I think they danced in their drawers, actually!

With only a three rehearsals to learn it, not my preference, but I took what I could get, they pulled it off… not what I would have preferred, but I had to snag James before he was off to Graham again, and Julie before she was off with Mark Morris again. The two had danced together before in Ailey II, so they were very comfortable with one another. They also had worked with me before, so I guess they trusted I could pull it off, too.

With the spiritual undertones of the piece, I am sure there is a paradox somewhere with all of this. I am still working on the details of that, but until then… I’ll enjoy the splash they made.

Please visit the  Adams Company Dance site!

I Will Show You an Ocean Peforming Again This Month

img_3533I choreographed a piece in 2007   called, “I Will Show You an Ocean.”  It was inspired by a cell phone conversation where I heard a guy say, “you’ve never seen an ocean? I’ll show you an ocean.”  I thought that was rather unusual, but the magnitude of that statement hit me, and inspired to to create a dance.  “I’ll show you what’s bigger out there,” was what I really heard.  The possibilities are limitless in life, if we take the steps to see them.  Some innocent person didn’t have a clue and needed to be shown.  Isn’t that what we all are here to do?  To teach and guide others? So, out came a duet with music by Muriel Anderson.

I set it on Julie Fiorenza and Darwin Black originally, but this month I will do another residency at Greenwich Academy where Julie will join with James Pierce, from the Martha Graham company,  and also a dancer who was in my documentary.

i-will-show-you-an-ocean-07-031I might add that Julie has been gigging with Mark Morris for his latest opera and in May  she will do his Romeo and Juliet. This past summer I set “I Will Show You An Ocean” on the Movement Source Dance Company in Phoenix and thus far, it has been very well received.

I went to book my rehearsals for this at New Dance Group, only to be met with the news that their doors are closing February 15th!! What???????? A stalwart of the dance community in New York where many of our pioneers graced the hallways, and it’s closing? Through the many years of having a space grant, I was saddened to lose this long time association. A sign of the times, I guess. Julie and I will loiter there this Tuesday and say our goodbyes, as I give her one last Jin Shin Jyutsu session on their couch. Shhhh… they never knew I did this, but after rehearsals, it was always easier to stay and give treatments to my dancers,  rather than go back to my office at 103rd.

So, as this month rolls in, I will relinquish my space grant and carry on with my second best studio, Ripley Grier. I am happy to note that Ben Moss, my videograpgher, will be on hand to capture this lovely duo on the 20th, when the students at Greenwich Academy will  see them perform this live.  I’m looking forward to this new wave making a splash!

Please visit Adams Company Dance!

A TEACHER WORTH KNOWING

maralyn-miles-2Maralyn Miles is on my top 10 list of all-time favorite teachers. Ballet classes have been my bread and butter to keep my body in shape, and I am happy that, for fifteen years, this radiant woman has been there for me. Her barre is thorough and challenging, and her center is carefully choreographed to keep you focused and moving, with full attention to detail. From our early days at New Dance Group in NYC, to Scarsdale, NY to Greenwich, CT, Maralyn taught me so much. Her reputation endures, as seen by the many students that continue to flock to her classes. Thanks for all you have done for me, Maralyn!

You can find her in Greenwich on Mondays & Thursdays
at 10:10 AM, and Sats at 1 PM, at the Greenwich Arts Center (203.862.6750).

(Back to Adams Company Dance site)

Dance Photographer Extraordinaire!!

dorky8I found Cathryn in the locker room of New Dance Group this past October.  You never know who you’ll meet while changing out of your dance clothes.  I was lucky, to say the least.  Cathryn shot two rehearsals  of a new piece I recently choreographed, “At Ease.” She came in with very little knowledge of what I was up to, and shot like she had seen the piece and knew it inside and out.  As she balanced herself up on chairs and wove herself in between all the action, she astonished me with the CD she presented.  This was a pictoral storytelling of a dance like I had never seen, from just a few short hours of work. Wow!

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How did she catch this???? Ryan Schmidt is upside down and smiling, nonetheless! Cathryn saw potential in every moment and when you take a look at her shots, you’ll see what I mean. Check this out!

Read on to see all that she has been up to in her career.  And, BTW, isn’t she a beautiful woman? Someone should snatch her up for Vogue!

Cathryn’s Bio:

Cathryn Lynne is a freelance photographer based in New York City. Originally from California, Cathryn grew up as a dancer and Musical Theatre performer. She began photographing her friends and fellow artists while still in High school. After moving to NYC in 2001, she decided to pursue photography professionally. With performing being her first love, she specializes in shooting actors, dancers, singers, musicians as well as all types of live performance and events. Her studio is located in midtown Manhattan, close to the International Center in Photography, where she continues to study. Always believing that no matter how hard you work in life, there must always be a sense of playfulness and joy in everything that you do. Cathryn hopes she can make being part of a photographic experience for everyone she shoots rewarding and fun. Photography Rocks!!! From headshots to heavy metal… all performers welcome.

Impressive Studio

Yesterday I taught an advanced level modern technique class at Connecticut College, and was impressed by the enormous studio they have, which also converts into a showcase theater. The views out the window were that of pine trees… how rare!!! Richard Schenk, the accompanist there, had been working for 27 years at his craft as a dance accompanist, and kicked-up his musical chops on the accordian, piano, guitar, tambourine, and drums.  He said he also plays the cello and other instruments… what doesn’t he play? Wow, what a talent!!

I always love to work with fine musicians, as dancers really need the support of good music.  What happened to all the male dancers? There was only one in the class, the rest were young women.  All seemed to work up a nice sweat and I had fun pulling out some rep from the archives. One of the students can boast that her mother was a dancer from Dance Theater of Harlem, who made quite a name for herself. Her name is Gayle McKinney Griffith.  I met her when I saw their Spring concert and she was cheering on her daughter. How nice to pass down the gift from one generation to the next.

Modern dance is alive and well and living in the annals of Connecticut College!

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A few dancers after class Group hug Shall we waltz?
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A nice duo    

Maria Schneider Inspires

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10:  Maria Schneider onstage during the 50th annual Grammy awards pre-telecast show held at the Staples Center on February 10, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

My dear friend, Maria Schneider, has all that it takes to inspire anyone who takes the time to listen to her music. Maria is a two-time Grammy award winning composer and has her own orchestra based in NYC. She has been commissioned by numerous artists, orchestras, universities, and festivals. Her latest commission was with Dawn Upshaw and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. This entered Maria into a whole other category after this commission… I intimated to her about how she could write for a Broadway musical. Someone out there better grab her quick, before she gets too busy!!

Over the years, Maria was gracious to hand me copies of CDs, and of course, I didn’t refuse. After attending her concerts and listening to her CDs, I was convinced that Maria was in a class of her own, and was, bar none, the only composer out there making music this original. Her style crosses genres and she gets her inspiration to write her thematic pieces from places she has lived and visited, as well as poetry, and relationships.  She is a deep thinker and very complex with her compositions.  I’ve said to her that she brings her themes home, like a train gently rolling into a station… she arrives without jerking or disturbing the senses, but places her theme in a genuine place of meaning and revisits it in a manner that makes you yearn for more. Her latest album, Sky Blue, rocked my world.  I fell in love with each piece, but particularly, Cerulean Skies… I call it an opus. Am I partial because I get to hear first hand where she has traveled and what inspired her to write?  Yes, maybe, but anyone who listens to her music, I am sure will attest to the fact that they are either moved to tears, or inspired to have a good day, or even, as with me, inspired to create something artistic, where there once was a blank space. I am at home with her music, that’s for sure.

Sky Blue, the song, also an amazing tune, was written in remembrance of our friend Kate Sullivan, who passed away a few years ago after her battle with cancer. The feeling of this music carries you into the sky and takes you to places that only Kate probably knows.  The story that Maria told of the sky being so blue after her passing, was so vivid and will forever be imprinted in my mind. Not a cloud was in the sky.

So folks, don’t miss this tour de force at the Jazz Standard Thanksgiving week.  You’ll find me there, maybe even sneaking in a second set, like I did last year…. shhhhhhhhh!

cimg2137All her CDs are worth getting, but you MUST visit her site, too, and hear her sound bites, teachings, and learn all about Artist Share. Inspiration comes from a variety of sources, but on a regular basis, I get mine from popping one of Maria’s CDs into my CD player. There’s no place like home!!

Please visit Adams Company Dance on the web!

Let’s Talk Dance!

Here’s the latest: Adams Company Dance is performing this weekend in the CT Meets NY DanceFest at Dance New Amsterdam; 280 Broadway (Enter on Chambers Street). I’m premiering a new piece, entitled “At Ease,” a comedically absurd work loosely based on the idea of our country’s dumbing down. This quartet is danced by four (4) fabulous dancers: Julie Fiorenza, Milan Misko, Ryan Schmidt and Sarah Wiechman. Music is by Muriel Anderson, Moreno Trio, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Arnie Roth.

In the creation of this piece, I was thinking of a quote for the program notes, so I came up with one of my own: “Lazily we loll, curious beneath our non-chalance…” You can sense what this might conjure.

I love Muriel Anderson’s work… she’s a phenomenal muscian. I’ve used one of her pieces, “Waiting For Matthew,” in a duet I choreographed last year, called “I Will Show You An Ocean.” Check out her website, folks…

cimg1958Adams Company Dance was invited to to do a one-day residency at Greenwich Academy, in Greenwich, CT, this week.  They have a state-of-the-art theater and a dance program for their students.  Wow!  What a nice place!  The dancers performed, “At Ease,” and  “Undisclosed Recipients,” a solo tribute to MLK, Jr., danced by Annie Church.  After the performance, I led 40 students in a workshop based on trust

cimg1955exercises and partnering. It was cool to see the kids try new things like falling backward, and counterbalancing their weight.  We also formed a gauntlet and had one dancer at a time pass through while lying on their back. Fun stuff! My dancers did a great job with the whole day. Afterward, they had a few beers at Thataway Cafe and jumped on the train back to NYC.

cimg1929Last week ACD performed in the CT Meets NY Dance Fest in Norwalk, CT, at the Crystal Theater. For their premiere, they did a really nice job. As they were the last piece, they waited backstage for long hours after the tech, where Don, my husband, and Annie Church, gave Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions to the dancers in the concert.  My task was to clean the stage from the slippery lotion that got on the floor from someone’s feet! Ok, it was on my hands and knees, but my sister showed up and helped out, which made it all the nicer!

Please see BernierDance.org and look for Adams Company Dance on Friday, October 24th at 8p!

Another notable dance tidbit… I am making a documentary!  On a hot day this past June, I gathered together eight dancers to work for 3 hours on video documentary called, Except at Night…” : The Making of a Dance. I had previously worked with five of the dancers, but three were new. I was lucky to have had world-class dancers, all of whom were dedicated to the process and who went along with my wacky sensibility. Who in their right mind would set a task to create a ten minute

cimg1367piece in three hours?  I work better under pressure and quite frankly, I was ready for a challenge. So, with all schedules a “go, ” we communed for three hours with an amazing videographer & artist, Ben Moss, at the helm as our documentarian. We had worked together, so I felt comfortable and knew we were in good hands.  Husband, Don, was my line assistant, and the Greenwich Academy theater was where we staged the event.  On June 26th, eight dancers got off the train in Greenwich from NYC, and away we went on this unknown journey.  I say, unknown, because I had no real “choreography,” per se, that was ready to go; only a few phrases, the music, and a few ideas. It worked… all three hours were used up and I did it!  I finished the piece and Ben interviewed the dancers at dinner and some in NYC at a later date.  My goal was to document my process as I choreograph and I think we got some great footage. Ben showed me the rough cut and with a few edits, I think we’ll be ready to go soon.  I’ll be posting the announcement of the finished piece in the near future!

cimg1721In other news, I had a great time in Phoenix… just got back a few weeks ago after being commissioned to set a piece on The Movement Source Dance Company. This was my third time with that company, and I really loved the new dancers. The

cimg1725director had me workin’ it, as I also taught a handful of master classes for her dance students at St. Xavier Prep School. It was a long day that day… up at 6a and

out of the studio at 10p, after teaching a master class to the company and then having a 2-hour rehearsal! I missed my connection on the way out in Atlanta, so I lost a day working with the company, but… WHEW!!… managed to set the work in three days… and, on a positive note, I got a brand new T-shirt from staying overnight in Atlanta… also got to see my dear friends from my graduate days at U of A in Tucson.

This past June I was a guest artist at the Tony Calucci’s Dance Extension in Columbus, OH.  My dear friend and colleague, Tony Calucci, runs a class operation.  He owns two studios in Columbus and has his finger on the pulse of the arts in the city.  I taught for a week, all ages, and then set two pieces on the company.  I had two dancers learn, “Undisclosed Recipients, “ and then I set a new piece on eleven dancers called, “Back Life.” I used a really nice piece from the sountrack of Peaceful Warrior. I must say, Tony has a good group of students… very well trained and disciplined. We had a blast at night going to gay bars and even went to the Columbus Gay Mens Chorus one night. That was a trip I’ll never forget.  Columbus is a happening town!

undisclosedrecipients_ace1Annie Church premiered “Undisclosed Recipients,” at the West Coast Swing/Hustle/Salsa Fest in Stamford, CT  this past May. I had first danced the piece at my church on Laity Sunday, 2008, but it was in rough form, as there really was no room to dance on the altar. My husband, Don, had heard this song, written by John Legend with narration by MLK, Jr., on TV, during Black History Month.  I loved it and wanted to dance to it. I mapped it out, but set it formally on Annie at this wild event at the Hilton for West Coast Swing and Hustle.  It was a huge event and modern dance was the centerpiece of the evening.  Weird, but they wanted the dancers at the event to get a taste of other styles of dance.  It was a hit!

Before that event, Annie had me as a guest artist at the Tappan Zee Dance Studio where I set a piece on the studio company, entitled, “Main Drag. “ The piece was jazzy, and fun, and the girls did a fantastic job!  They were the highlight of their end of year recital, where they performed for an audience of 300 people in Tarrytown, NY.

Wow, I’m talking up a storm!  A couple weeks before my final rehearsal with Tappan Zee Dance Studio, I had returned from an artist-in-residency gig at Western Kentucky University.  I loved the students there!  They were attentive and hard-working, but I didn’t really like Bowling Green!! I was there for 8 weeks during a really crappy weather season.  I stayed with two Chinese women who were also guest teachers at the U, and they made me homemade Chinese food and taught me words and phrases like, “Ni Hao Ma?” I also taught them some English, so we had a nice time trading our cultures and laughing over stupid things like, keeping the shades level, as per the landlord’s request.  He was a bit anal!  The dancers learned a new piece, entitled, “3 Doors.” I had quite a task making that piece, as it was in 4 sections, but all-in-all, they did a bang-up job.  I had to leave before they performed it, so they sent me the tape just recently.  I was pleasantly surprised. It looked pretty good, but I think the stage was a bit too small for the twelve of them. The costumes turned out better than I thought, which, was very cool.

Oh, and BTW… I’d like to thank two of my dancers, Meredith Fages & Robert Halley, for their beautiful image seen in the photo at the top of my blog page… this photo was taken, by Jack Hartin, at a gig we did at the “Dance Under The Stars” Choreography Festival in California in 2006.

I think I’m done now!  This was a full summer and start of the Fall.  I’m thinking of a new piece called, “Bento Box.” I’ll start on it sometime when the mood strikes me. After the last few weeks, I think I’ll just be hanging for a spell…

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