Dance Data Project® (DDP) is proud to present Global Conversations, an ongoing online series of bite-size interviews featuring some of the most notable leaders in ballet and the arts today. The series offers a holistic examination of the current state and potential future of classically derived dance as both an art form and a business. View each episode below (from most recent to oldest) and learn more about each Round at the bottom of the page!
Behind The Stage
Behind the Stage Episode 11:
In the final interview of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage, which also marks the 50th episode Global Conversations since DDP started the program in Spring 2020, DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema interviews Lighting Designer Jennifer Tipton.
Jennifer Tipton (Lighting Designer) is well known for her lighting for theater, opera and dance. Her recent work in theater includes To Kill a Mockingbird for Broadway and Beckett’s First Love for Zoom. Her recent work in opera includes Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel with libretto by Lynne Nottage based on her play by the same name at the Lincoln Center Mitzi Newhouse Theater, which will open when the pandemic allows, and her recent work in dance includes Twyla Tharp’s A Gathering of Ghosts for American Ballet Theater. She teaches lighting at the Yale School of Drama. Among many awards she has received the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 2001, the Jerome Robbins Prize in 2003 and in 2008 she was awarded the USA “Gracie” Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship.
To learn more about Jennifer, visit her MacArthur profile here.
Behind the Stage Episode 10:
In the penultimate interview of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage, DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interview Filmmaker Lindsay Gauthier.
Lindsay Gauthier is a San Francisco based filmmaker and educator. She began her creative work as both a dancer, choreographer, and photographer before shifting to filmmaking. Her films have screened nationally and internationally, including in New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. She is the Creative Director at Rapt Productions in San Francisco where she directs, produces, films, and edits dance films and short form documentaries, as well as leads a team of performance documentation videographers. From 2013 to 2018, Gauthier was the Creative Producer of the San Francisco Dance Film Festival’s Co-Laboratory project in which she guided and facilitated professional filmmakers and professional dance choreographers through the process of creating short dance films in a compressed time frame. Recently she was selected as a recipient of a Creative Work Fund Grant and SF Dance Film Festival’s Co-Laboratory program to create a narrative dance film titled, “Wild,” in collaboration with the dance theater company Fog Beast and the non profit community conservation organization LandPaths. The film will focus on narrative storytelling merged with dance and movement to explore humans as animals and our relationship to nature and our planet. During the course of the pandemic, Gauthier has found great pleasure in supporting local university and high school dance programs by providing dance filmmaking workshops to students who have had to abruptly shift and adapt their live performance dance work to video and film. Whether it be through teaching, producing, directing, or advising, Gauthier is passionate about progressing the field of dance film through her own creative work as well as through her support of other artists’ development.
Behind the Stage Episode 9:
Bess Kargman & Talia Koylass
Episode 9 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interviewing Filmmakers Bess Kargman and Talia Koylass.
Bess Kargman is a PGA Award Winning, two-time Emmy Award nominated director. Her first film, the award-winning FIRST POSITION, is being adapted into a Broadway musical. Her follow up, COACH, for ESPN Films, was executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg. Most recently, Kargman directed & executive produced the PGA Award-winning, Sports Emmy nominated docuseries DEFYING GRAVITY: The Untold Story of Women’s Gymnastics for YouTube Originals. She also directs commercials & branded content for major companies, including ESPN’s “Sneaker Center,” “Strictly Ballet” for Teen Vogue, & a documentary on Major League Soccer. She has produced segments for NPR (Marketplace) & NBC Olympics during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She represents the U.S as an American Film Showcase Fellow (sponsored by the U.S. Department of State) & has been recognized by SHOOT Magazine as a “Director To Watch.” Kargman has also been named to DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40” list of independent filmmakers. She holds degrees from Amherst College & Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Talia Koylass is a DC-based director and producer. She’s the founder of Motion/Pictures Dance Project, a production company dedicated to the creation of dance-based content & has shown films at festivals around the country. Koylass has been awarded commissions, residencies, & grants for her work & worked with companies such as Cineflix Productions, Food Network, Big Beach, New City, Vam Studio, Full Spectrum Features, Dance Films Association & other Chicago & New York based production companies on short films, feature films, television series & music videos. Koylass recently was commissioned to work with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago & Loyola University Chicago & is currently pursuing her MFA in Film at Howard University. As a dance filmmaker, Talia strives to create work in which the two languages of dance & film integrate to tell compelling narratives.
To learn more about Talia, follow her on Instagram (@talzgrace) and follow her company Motion Pictures Dance (@motionpicturesdance) and visit their website. You can watch the film she references in this interview The Good Christian at this link.
Behind the Stage Episode 8:
Sharon Huizinga & Kelly Palmer
Episode 8 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Research Lead Michayla Kelly interviewing Lighting Designer and University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music Assistant Professor Sharon Huizinga and National Ballet of Canada Resident Scenic Artist Kelly Palmer.
Sharon Huizinga has been a lighting designer, programmer and educator for over 20 years, living and working around the world and in many different areas of the industry. Ms. Huizinga just relocated to Cincinnati after living in Amsterdam for the last four years where she was up to various things, including working for the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, serving as Field Project Coordinator for Northern Europe for ETC, lecturing at the Academy voor Theatre en Dance Amsterdam, and designing lighting, projection, and scenery for multiple European/Russian tours with Deva Premal & Miten.
There were also American and Canadian chapters that included lighting design for theatre and dance, some Olympics and Paralympics, some NYC and Broadway, some Detroit Auto show, one tiny house build, and being Lighting Director for the Home States Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Huizinga’s touring credits include Designs for Diana Krall, Jesse Cook, Lighting Direction for Norah Jones, Ballet British Columbia, more technical things for Cirque Du Soleil, some production management, some years as a booking agent covering US/Can/Mexico and enough experience on the promoter’s side to know that those guys work really hard. She is currently head of the MFA lighting program at University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM).
Kelly Palmer graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1998 with a degree in Fine Arts. She first began her career as a scenic artist in the Film industry and soon recognised her love for theatrical scenic arts after apprenticing for the National Ballet of Canada during their production of James Kudelka’s Swan Lake in 1999. Before officially settling in as the Resident Scenic Artist in 2013, Kelly worked with many theatrical companies notably Opera Atelier, Soulpepper Theater and The Canadian Opera Company.
When not at her day job Kelly enjoys spending time painting and showing her personal work. Kelly has exhibited in galleries and museums in Canada, in particular The Katherine Mulherin Gallery, Pari Nadimi Gallery and The Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art as well as the Albright-Knox Gallery in the United States. Kelly’s work is not only in private collections but also in public and corporate collections including the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canada Council Art Bank.
Behind the Stage Episode 7:
Episode 7 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interviewing Fight Choreographer & Stage Manager Jo Chalhoub.
Jo Chalhoub (They/She) is a proud Lebanese-American, Queer, Milwaukee, WI native that has lived and worked in the Madison, WI area since 2010 and will be based in Chicago beginning this August. They hold a minor in Theatre Arts from UW-Milwaukee and has worked on over 70 productions with Wisconsin community and professional companies, UW-Madison, and The Overture Center as a stage manager, fight choreographer, and performer and prides themselves on being able to work in many different theatrical environments, from traditional theaters to found spaces to outdoor venues. Jo has held several leadership positions across the Midwest arts community as well, including being the Deputy of Forward Theater’s Advisory Company, Company Manager of Music Theatre of Madison, current Company Stage Manager of the newly founded Medina Theater Collective, and a new member of Stage Managers of Color-Chicago leadership team.
Behind the Stage Episode 6:
Fiona Findlater & Laura Oliver
Episode 6 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interviewing English National Ballet’s Stage Manager Fiona Findlater and Building Operations Manager Laura Oliver.
Fiona Findlater is the Stage Manager at English National Ballet. Originally from Scotland, Fiona spent much of her childhood growing up in the USA. She trained in Technical and Production Arts at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before embarking on a freelance stage management career. Fiona has worked in opera, theatre, events and has toured extensively. She joined ENB in 2017 and has enjoyed working on the company’s varied repertoire and touring to various venues in the UK and internationally. Highlights with ENB include: William Forsythe’s Playlist 1,2 in Mexico City, Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella at the Royal Albert Hall, and getting to do Akram Khan’s Giselle on the new stage at the Bolshoi.
Laura Oliver is Building Operations Manager for English National Ballet, looking after the day-to-day running of the company’s busy East London home, with 7 rehearsal studios, a large technical theatre space with flytower, office, medical suite inc. gym and pool, education spaces and a public foyer space. As well as housing the company’s staff and dancers, the building also [in normal times] plays host to a huge variety of activities from engagement work with local communities of all ages, to events and hires by other creative companies and public dance classes. Laura grew up in Kent and although initially came to London to study an English Literature BA, after dropping out in her second year she began working with a range of small performing arts companies, including the Space Arts Centre and at the Shunt Vaults. Laura then began assisting on various different pop-up bar projects on the south bank for the National Theatre, gaining valuable experience that then led to roles in the NT’s Building Operations and then Major Projects teams, including working on their large-scale NTFuture capital project. Moving to join English National Ballet in 2018, Laura worked for two years as a Project Manager on their capital project to move to their new home, working on the building’s fit-out and overseeing the company’s move across. In 2020 Laura then became Building Operations Manager, working on the complex planning and logistics involved in getting the company back to rehearsal and performance, following the UK Covid-19 lockdown.
Behind the Stage Episode 5:
Jacqueline Reid & Kristin Colvin Young
Episode 5 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interviewing New York City Ballet Stage Manager Jacqueline Reid and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Production Stage Manager Kristin Colvin Young.
Jacqueline Reid is the Stage Manager for New York City Ballet. Summer of 2021 finds Ms. Reid as Production Manager at the Trollwood Performing Arts School in Moorhead, Minnesota. Her recent work includes production and stage managing The Nutcracker at Wethersfield for Ballet Collective. She has also done lighting design for Retro Productions’ off-Broadway performances of The Runner Stumbles and has served as Lighting Director for Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana and Technical Director for American Repertory Ballet. Reid has served as Production Stage Manager for Brian Brooks Moving Company, Big City-Joyce Theater and on tour, and Run Don’t Run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In Los Angeles, Reid was Resident Lighting Assistant for the Los Angeles Opera and Resident Lighting Designer for The Actor’s Gang.
Kristin Colvin Young is Production Stage Manager of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and is celebrating her 21st season with the Company. She has also stage managed for Parsons Dance Company (1997-2000), DanceAfrica at BAM, and was a founding member of Battleworks Dance Company in 2002. Starting her career at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 1997, Ms. Young had the pleasure of working with companies such as Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group, STREB, and Stockholm / 59˚. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in Dance and Sociology, Ms. Young frequently lectures at colleges and universities encouraging the next generation of stage managers. Learn more about Kristin’s work at https://www.alvinailey.org/.
Behind the Stage Episode 4:
Bregje van Balen & Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Episode 4 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interviewing Costume Designer and Former Netherlands Dans Theatre Dancer Bregje van Balen and Lighting & Projection Designer and Puppetry Artist Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew.
Bregje van Balen trained at the Nationale Ballet Academie in Amsterdam and danced with Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT) I and II for 18 years. In 1995, she created her first costumes for the annual NDT Workshop and small dance projects. After retiring as a dancer, she trained as a designer at Baruch Mode Academie. She has worked with several companies including Netherlands Dance Theatre I and II, the Norwegian National Ballet, Gothenburg Ballet, Malmö Stadsteater, Hamburg Ballet, Introdans, Gyori Ballet, South Bohemian Dancetheater, Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, the Icelandic Dancetheatre, Pushkin Theater Moscow, Staatstheater Mainz, Gartnerplatztheater, Aalto Theater and Nationaltheater Mannheim. She has worked with many choreographers, including Patrick Delcroix, Jerome Meyer and Isabelle Chaffaud, Cora Bos Kroese, Chirpaz and Cere, Jorma Elo, Medhi Walerski. Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Kaloyan Boyadjiev, Alexander Ekman, Johan Inger, Atilla Egerhazi, Lukas Timulak and Jo Strømgren.
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew is an award-winning designer for theater, opera, dance, musical, music performances, installation and immersive experiences. As a designer she aims to create a visual environment that is organically integrated into the landscape and language of the production. Her works have been seen across US cities and internationally at Havana (Cuba), Prague (Czech Republic), Lima (Peru), Edinburgh (Scotland), Tokyo (Japan), Graz (Austria), Shanghai (China), Paris (France), and Bloemfontein (South Africa). In addition to lighting, Jeanette is projection designer with extensive experience designing for new works and original adaptations. Recent: In the Wake with Josh Hecht, Top Girls, Relevance (Lortel nomination) and Informed Consent with Liesl Tommy, Aya Ogawa’s Ludic Proxy (Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund), Erik Ehn’s Clover, Company XIV’s Snow White, The Civilians’ Paris Commune and In the Footprint, Matthew Paul Olmos’ So Go the Ghosts of Mexico Part One, Elizabeth Swados and Cecilia Rubino’s From the Fire (winner of the 2011 MTM: UK Musical Theatre Awards for Best New Production), and NPR’s WATER +/- with Kenny Leon. Lastly, Jeanette is also a generative artist in devising interdisciplinary productions through contemporary puppetry aesthetics and technique. NY Times described her recent project with Target Margin, Act 4 of The Iceman Cometh as “consistently inventive”. Her immersive production, Are They Edible? premiered at La MaMa to sold-out houses and it was called “bold” and “inventive”. And Here We Are, a shadow puppet opera with composer Matthew Welch was premiere at National Sawdust in 2018. Jeanette is the Assistant Arts Professor and Head of Lighting Design Training with NYU’s Department of Drama Production & Design Studio (P&D). Member of Woodshed Collective and Caborca. Member of USA29. Recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program.
Behind the Stage Episode 3:
Nicole Pearce & Nicole Walters
Episode 3 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interviewing Lighting Designer Nicole Pearce and Atlanta Ballet Stage Manager Nicole Walters.
Nicole Pearce is a lighting designer and multidisciplinary artist living in Queens, NY. Her lighting, often described as “magical,” “striking,” and “an aesthetic pleasure,” has been seen across the United States, Europe, Siberia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and Cuba. The New York Times has stated, “The glow of Nicole Pearce’s lighting on center stage creates a feeling of magic, as if the dancers are circling an unseen grail.” Her work with noted companies includes Minnesota Opera, Opera Montreal, LA Opera, The Juilliard School, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Hartford Stage, The Play Company, Playwrights Realm, The Asia Society, The Mint Theater Company, The National Ballet of Japan, Mark Morris Dance Group, Dance Heginbotham, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Malpaso, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and American Ballet Theatre.
Nicole A. Walters attended Florida School of the Arts with a concentration in Acting. After her training, she decided to change professions and attended University of Miami with a concentration in Stage Management. After studying at University of Miami, she moved to New York and stage managed for Between the Line Production, Inc. and Red Door Theater. She worked her way up at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from a Stage Management Intern to Ailey School Production Manager, and then as Assistant Stage Manager for nine years. In January of 2020 she moved to Atlanta, where she is now the Stage Manager for Atlanta Ballet.
Follow Nicole Pearce on Instagram (@nicolepearceart).
Behind the Stage Episode 2:
Caryn Wells & Eleanor Wolfe
Episode 2 of Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage brings us DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema and Communications Manager Ellen FitzGerald interviewing Theatrical Milliner Caryn Wells and Director of the Costume Department at Miami City Ballet Eleanor Wolfe.
Caryn Wells is a theatrical milliner that specializes in crowns and tiaras, designing primarily for dancers for more than 20 years. Her business grew as a natural extension of her work repairing and creating headpieces during her 18 year tenure as a Wardrobe Mistress for American Ballet Theatre, and now encompasses building productions for major ballet companies across the country. In addition to large scale work, Caryn also designs and creates individual pieces for both Professional and Pre-professional dancers around the globe. Her work has been seen on Broadway and in national tours, multiple print and television ad campaigns, and has been featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine numerous times. Her headpieces are known for being extremely light and well balanced, with outstanding attention to detail.
Midwestern born and raised, with Florida for coming of age, Eleanor Wolfe had lived half of her life in New York State, both NYC and rural environs, before returning to Florida in 2018 to work as Director of Costumes at Miami City Ballet. Wolfe worked at Barbara Matera Ltd from 1991-2007 and then held a college teaching career with the Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz from 2007- 2018. In NYC, she was privileged to work with ABT, NYCB and SFB among other great companies large and small. Never a dancer but always an admirer of the art, she is thrilled to be making strictly dancewear these days on beautiful Miami Beach.
Behind the Stage Episode 1:
To kick off Global Conversations Round 5: Behind the Stage, DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema interviews Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of The Orpheum Theatre Group in Memphis, TN, Dacquiri Baptiste.
Dacquiri Baptiste is passionate about using the arts to create access to the world because that is what it did for her. Currently Dacquiri is the Vice President & COO for the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN. She assumed this role June of 2019. Dacquiri is responsible for managing all operational aspects of the theater and aligning them with growth and expansion.
Prior to joining the Orpheum, she worked at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 19 years. She worked in various roles with the company starting off as the Merchandise Manager in 2000, continuing on to become the Company Manager for 10 years and then finally assuming the role of Director of Production in 2014. Dacquiri began her career at Ailey as a student in 1997 when she moved from Los Angeles, CA to follow the path of becoming a professional dancer. As Dacquiri’s professional dance training was coming to a close in 2000 she was offered an opportunity to work with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and though it wasn’t a performance opportunity, Dacquiri took the job. She felt it was the best way to develop more extensive knowledge in the performing arts. She had no idea that making that decision would change her life forever.
Dacquiri has a wonderful supportive partner, Daven, who is constantly pushing her to reach higher. They share two beautiful children, Denver age 6 and Duke age 3. She credits her mother for never making her feel limited and for always encouraging her to put 100% into whatever she feels passionate about.
Dance was the vehicle that allowed Dacquiri to see the world and expand her mind. She wants to take all she has learned and share her experiences with younger artists who don’t realize that tapping into creativity in the mind is their passport to the world.
Dacquiri challenges herself to learn something new every day and always strives to be encouraging.
Learn more about The Orpheum Theatre Memphis here.
Behind the Stage Introduction
DDP Partners with Auditorium Theatre for Global Conversations Round 5
An introduction to Round 5 of “Global Conversations” with Dance Data Project®’s Elizabeth “Liza” Yntema and Auditorium Theatre’s Rich Regan. “Global Conversations: Behind the Stage” starts June 28 and runs through July 9 here.
From the Ground Up
From the Ground Up Episode 10:
We welcomed a very special guest for the final Round 4 episode of #GlobalConversationsDDP: Kellee Edusei, the new Executive Director of Dance/USA!
Kellee Edusei became the Executive Director of Dance/USA in 2021. She joined Dance/USA in the fall of 2008 as the organization’s Office Manager and Board Liaison and was promoted to Director of Member Services in the spring of 2009, maintaining her work as Board Liaison until 2019. During her time at Dance/USA, Edusei designed and implemented the Membership Fellowship giving an early career arts administrator an opportunity to hone their skills; the “Special Membership Package,” a recruitment campaign that surpassed goal and engaged the entire Dance/USA Board and team in the process; and a new revenue stream by maximizing Dance/USA’s monthly Bulletin. She was part of the initial program design of Dance/USA’s Dance Business Bootcamp, a program for dance artists working with budgets of $200,000 and below.
She has served as a grants panelist for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (MD), Alternate Roots (GA), and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (IL). Edusei currently serves on the Advisory Council for Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA) and is an alumna of artEquity’s 2020 BIPOC Leadership Circle and of American Express’ 2014 Leadership Academy. She is a current participant of the New Strategies Forum at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, supported by American Express.
From the Ground Up Episode 9:
We can’t believe we’re already sharing the penultimate episode of Round 4 of Global Conversations! Today, Trey McIntyre is Liza’s guest.
We can’t believe we’re already sharing the penultimate episode of Round 4 of Global Conversations! Today, Trey McIntyre is Liza’s guest. Born in Wichita, Kansas, Trey McIntyre studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts for two years and, in 1987, came to the Houston Ballet Academy. In the spring of 1989, McIntyre was named Choreographic Apprentice to Houston Ballet, a position created especially for him by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Ben Stevenson. He joined Houston Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 1990. McIntyre created his first work for the company, Skeleton Clock (1990) at the age of 20. He has since created five other works for Houston Ballet: Curupira (1993), Touched (1994), Second Before the Ground (1996) (which was later performed by the company at the Kennedy Center and at Sadler’s Wells Theatre), Bound (2000), and a full-length Peter Pan (2002). His work for the company has received kudos from audiences and critics alike. In 1995, he was named Choreographic Associate for Houston Ballet. In 1994, McIntyre was the youngest choreographer selected internationally to participate in New York City Ballet’s prestigious “Diamond Project,” designed to foster the creation of new dance works. In May of that year, he traveled to New York City for the world premiere of his ballet Steel and Rain. Other companies he has created works for are Stuttgart Ballet, Moscow Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet de Santiago (Chile), Ballet Florida, Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Pacfica, Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Oakland Ballet, Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet and Corpus Christi Ballet. McIntyre has created four works for Oregon Ballet Theatre, where he served as resident choreographer for the 1998-1999 season. McIntyre has also received many grants and awards, including two choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Choo-San-Goh Award for Choreography. In 2020, McIntyre developed FLTPK (flatpack), an online subscription service that gives viewers access to one-of-a-kind, original dance works by some of the greatest dance makers on the planet.
Learn more about Trey McIntyre & Trey McIntyre Projects here.
From the Ground Up Episode 8:
In Episode 8, Liza is joined by Susan McGreevy-Nichols, who leads the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) as Executive Director.
Susan recently moved back east to become the new NDEO Executive Director after living in Santa Monica, CA for the past 10 years. While in CA, Susan worked as an independent National Arts Education Consultant. Her consulting work included coaching districts in Los Angeles County as part of the Arts for All initiative and in Northern California in Alameda County as a part of that county’s initiative Revitalizing Classrooms Through Arts Learning: Strategic Plan. Susan also was a part time lecturer at Loyola Marymount University and California State University Dominguez Hills. As a teacher at Roger Williams Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island from 1974-2002, Susan found and developed that institution’s nationally renowned middle school dance program. The program treated dance as a core subject and emphasized the creating, performing and responding processes as they link to the arts and other disciplines. She is the developer of a cutting edge reading comprehension strategy that uses text as inspiration for original choreography created by children. This literacy-based methodology combines the creative process with reading instruction. In 1995, Susan was honored as the National Dance Teacher of the Year. Susan McGreevy-Nichols is the co-author of five books: Building Dances (1995), Building More Dances (2001), Experiencing Dance (2004), Dance about Anything (2006) and Exploring Dance Forms and Styles (2010). She/Her/Hers.
Learn more about Susan and NDEO here.
From the Ground Up Episode 7:
Lisa Richards Toney
The incredible President and CEO of Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Lisa Richards Toney, joins Liza for a lively conversation in Episode 7. Hear about Richards Toney’s background in dance, what’s coming up for APAP, and much more!
Lisa Richards Toney is the President and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. Ms. Richards Toney brings more than 20 years of experience leading a range of small and large arts and humanities organizations, managing change, and building stability. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Abramson Scholarship Foundation. In this role, she increased funding and steered the foundation through a period of change management in programming, finance, development, and governance. She also improved the scholar experience by curating innovative professional development opportunities in financial literacy, professional visioning, and mental health awareness and utilized professional networks to build exposure for scholars pursuing careers in the arts. As Deputy Director and later Interim Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the diverse resident artists and arts organizations of the District of Columbia. Her additional leadership experience includes Director, Writers and Schools at the Pen/Faulkner Foundation and as Director, Literature to Life at The American Place Theatre, where she presented performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Library of Congress. She also served as the first Executive Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
Ms. Richards Toney currently serves as the Strategic Planning Chair of the Mosaic Theatre Company of DC, Co-Chair of the Jack and Jill DC Chapter Jumoke Black History Festival, and a booking and producing consultant for cellist Okorie “OkCello” Johnson. In addition to consulting work for the Reel to Reel Filmmaker’s Project for the Prince George’s County Arts Council, she also supported Moving Forward Dance Company/Dana Tai Soon Burgess with tour management strategic planning. Ms. Richards Toney was awarded a Vilar Institute for Arts Management Fellowship with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the management structure of Black British dance companies in the United Kingdom. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in drama and English from Spelman College and a master of arts degree in educational theater from New York University.
From the Ground Up Episode 6:
We’re kicking off week 2 of Global Conversations Round 4 with the Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater, Emily Molnar, who describes herself as working in “the human potential business.”
Emily Molnar is one of Canada’s most acclaimed dance artists. She graduated from the National Ballet School of Canada, and danced with the National Ballet of Canada, Ballet BC and the Frankfurt Ballet under the direction of William Forsythe. She has choreographed various works as a choreographer. From 2009 until August 2020, Molnar has been the Artistic Director of Ballet BC in Vancouver, Canada and in 2014, Molnar also took on the role of Artistic Director of Dance at the cultural education institute Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada. In 2016, Molnar was named a Member of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest civilian awards.
From the Ground Up Episode 5:
Christy Bolingbroke, Artistic/Executive Director of NCCAkron is our guest for the final episode of week 1 of From the Ground Up, which covers supporting artists and balancing the artistic and administrative sides of leadership.
As the Founding Executive/Artistic Director for the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron (NCCAkron), Christy Bolingbroke is responsible for setting the curatorial vision and sustainable business model to foster research and development in dance. Previously, she served as the Deputy Director for Advancement at ODC in San Francisco, overseeing curation and performance programming as well as marketing and development organization-wide. A key aspect of her position included managing a unique three-year artist-in-residence program for dance artists; guiding and advising them in all aspects of creative development and administration. Prior to ODC, she was the Director of Marketing at the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Bolingbroke earned a B.A. in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles; an M.A. in Performance Curation from Wesleyan University; and is a graduate of the Arts Management Fellowship program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is a former Board President of the Dance Resource Center of Greater Los Angeles; a founding member of Emerging Leaders for New York Arts; a retired board member of California Presenters; and a consulting advisor for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Innovation Management initiative. Bolingbroke curated the 2020 American Dance Platform at The Joyce Theater; and in 2017, DANCE Magazine named her among the national list of most influential people in dance today.
From the Ground Up Episode 4:
Alexei Kremnev & Maddy Falconer
Episode 4 features Alexei Kremnev, President of A&A Ballet, and his former student and choreographer Maddy Falconer, who won the Outstanding Choreographer prize at YAGP while still a teenager.
As the founding Artistic Director of The Joffrey Academy of Dance and the Joffrey Studio Company (2009-2016), Alexei Kremnev brought a reputation to the Academy as one of the most innovative and fast-growing dance organizations worldwide. The Joffrey Academy was the third organization where Mr. Kremnev stimulated substantial financial and artistic success as an Artistic Director. Previously, he was the Artistic Director of the Evansville Dance Theatre and Southold Dance Theatre, respectively, between 2003-2009.
He began his career in Moscow at the world famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy (Degree of Ballet Artist), the Russian Academy of Theatrical Art (GITIS), and the Moscow State Academy of Choreography (Degree in Pedagogy and Choreography). Either as a Principal Artist, Choreographer or Teacher, he has worked internationally with the Moscow Festival Ballet (Russian National Ballet), England’s Northern Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, BalletMet, Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi, Russian and European Stars of the Ballet. Mr. Kremnev received superlative reviews in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Dance Magazine for the leading roles he danced. He is the Laureate of the Leonide Massine Award, the Nureyev International, and Lifar International Ballet Competition. Among the legendary teachers Mr. Kremnev studied with, there are two who influenced his teaching philosophy the most: Eleonora Vlasova was a great ballerina and a laureate of the Paris Academy of Dance Award for her achievements in ballet, and German Pribilov, who studied with the great Alexander Pushkin, a teacher of Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Mr. Kremnev has been featured on PBS Holiday Specials Love is Here to Stay and A Family Thanksgiving. He has been praised for his extraordinary ability to work with a young generation of dancers, as well as for his original, creative choreography. Mr. Kremnev’s choreography was presented at the legendary Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 2004-2006, Lincoln Center in New York in 2015, and the Opernhaus Zurich in 2016 and 2017. He received the Outstanding Choreographer Award at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) in 2006, 2007, 2009, and the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2017 and 2018. His works have been successfully performed in collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater and the Cleveland Orchestra.
In 2001, Mr. Kremnev was recognized as one of the Most Influential People in the Arts in Cincinnati and was elected to the Advisory Board on Eastern Europe for Illinois under Senator Mark Kirk in 2011. Under his leadership, the Southold Dance Theatre was named Outstanding School at YAGP in 2008, the Joffrey Academy of Dance claimed the same title at YAGP every year they participated in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, and the A&A BALLET in 2019 and 2020. Mr. Kremnev’s artistic vision was essential in the creation and success of the Gala of the International Ballet Stars in Cincinnati, Children’s Ballet Theatre Series, and Winning Works: Choreographers of Color at the Joffrey Ballet. During his time as Artistic Director of the Joffrey Academy of Dance and the Joffrey Studio Company, Mr. Kremnev created sixteen new works at the Joffrey. In 2013, Mr. Kremnev received the Achievement Award in Culture from the Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI), and the Business Leaders Award from the American Councils for International Education and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the United States Department of State in 2017.
His thorough knowledge of the most current teaching methods and styles has produced many dancers who have been accepted into some of the most prestigious companies and elite dance institutions in the world, including the Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Staatsoper Berlin, Dresden Semperoper, Norwegian National Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Polish National Ballet, Estonian National Ballet, New Zealand Royal Ballet, Czech National Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Houston Ballet, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Bejart Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Met, Kansas City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Sarasota Ballet, Ballet San Jose, Tokyo City Ballet, Ballet du Capitole, Tulsa Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dortmund Ballet, Complexions, Royal Ballet School, USC Kaufman School of Dance and many others.
Madison Falconer grew up dancing in her hometown Traverse City, Michigan before moving to Chicago in 2016 to train at A&A Ballet Conservatory under the direction of Alexei Kremnev. In 2018, Falconer joined the Hubbard Street Scholarship Program at Lou Conte Dance Studio founded by Claire Bataille. From the age of 13, Falconer began to gain recognition at regional and national competitions for her choreographic works. Notably, Falconer received a New York City Dance Alliance “Critics Choice Award” for her work on Company Dance Traverse, “Crazy” and was recognized as “Outstanding Choreographer” at YAGP Semi-finals for her A&A Ballet ensemble, “Convoluted Echoes” where she became the youngest choreographer to receive this honor. She graduated summa cum laude from High School (’18) at age 16 and took a gap year to train, choreograph and research social projects nationally and globally that use dance for youth empowerment. In 2019, Falconer made her professional dance debut with Alice Klock and Florian Lochner’s Co-Creative Choreographic Company, FLOCK. She was accepted with an artistic scholarship into the BFA Dance program at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance in LA where she is currently studying and based as she continues to work creatively, choreographing and teaching nationally.
From the Ground Up Episode 3:
The guest of Episode 3 is Nikki Estes, who serves as the Presenting & Touring Director of South Arts, an organization dedicated to unlocking the South’s potential through empowering artists, organizations, and communities, and increasing access to arts and culture in the region.
Nikki Estes, Presenting & Touring Director at South Arts, has worked in the Atlanta nonprofit arts community for 25 years. She joined South Arts in May 2003 and manages several grant programs which award close to $600,000 annually to approximately 100 presenters within a nine-state region. She also manages special initiatives that support the presenting and touring dance field – Momentum (a network of five Southern dance companies) and the Dance Touring Initiative (a network of 25 Southern dance presenters). Prior to her work at South Arts, Nikki was the Grants Supervisor at the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA). While at the OCA, Nikki also assisted with the management of the youth arts program and music festivals. Nikki has participated as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Georgia Council for the Arts, Kentucky Arts Council, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Mississippi Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Commission, Fulton County Arts Council, and Woodruff Arts Center. In July 2020, Nikki joined the Board of Trustees for Dance/USA, a national service organization for professional dance. Nikki has also served on the Board of Directors for Atlanta Celebrates Photography and Advisory Board for the Atlanta Foundation Center. Nikki holds a BA for Arts Administration and MPA for Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University.
From the Ground Up Episode 2:
Garrett Anderson, Nicole Haskins, & Eva Stone
Global Conversations continues with a discussion with Ballet Idaho Artistic Director Garrett Anderson and Trainee Program Manager and freelance choreographer Nicole Haskins along with choreographer Eva Stone, who founded CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work!
Garrett Anderson began his training in Walnut Creek, California, under the direction of Richard Cammack and Zola Dishong at the Contra Costa Ballet Centre. He continued to study on scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School, and then in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s professional division.
In 2001, Garrett joined San Francisco Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet and in 2005 was promoted to soloist. During his time there he danced works by George Balanchine, Helgi Tomasson, Yuri Possokov, Christopher Wheldon, Jerome Robbins and Mark Morris. After seven years in the company, he left to join the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Antwerp, Belgium, as a first soloist, under the direction of Kathryn Bennets. There he toured extensively throughout Europe and the world, dancing works by renowned choreographers including William Forsythe and Marcia Haydée. In January of 2011, he returned to the United States to dance with Trey McIntyre Project for their touring season, before joining Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. During his five seasons with Hubbard Street he danced the work of Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, Alejandro Cerrudo, Nacho Duato, among others.
In 2016, Garrett became Chair of the Dance Department at New Mexico School for the Arts, where he created curriculum, taught, choreographed, and staged existing works including pieces by Alejandro Cerrudo and Penny Saunders. He has since performed three seasons with SFDanceworks, for which he was named one of the year’s outstanding male performers by Dance Europe. Garrett has also been a guest artist with Ballet Chicago, Civic Ballet of Chicago, Chicago Repertory Ballet and Boise’s LED. Garrett was the recipient of an American Ballet Theatre national dance scholarship and holds a B.A. from St. Mary’s College of California.
Born and raised in Venice Beach, California, Nicole Haskins began her ballet training at the age of three at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica under the direction of Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire. It was during her 15 years there that Nicole’s enthusiasm for choreography emerged. Nicole went on to dance professionally with Sacramento Ballet, Washington Ballet, and Smuin Contemporary American Ballet in San Francisco where she is currently in her fifth season. While dancing professionally, Nicole has been commissioned to choreograph for Sacramento Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Dayton Ballet, and Oregon Ballet Theater, as well as many ballet schools across the country. Her choreography has been presented at the Los Angeles Dance Invitational, the McCallum Theater’s Dancing Under The Stars Choreographic Competition, as well as numerous Regional Dance America Festivals. In 2017 she was one of the winners of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Choreography XX competition, in 2010 she participated in the New York Choreographic Institute affiliated with the New York City Ballet, in 2011 received the Institute’s Fellowship Grant, and in 2017 she received the Institute’s Commission Initiative for her upcoming premiere with Richmond Ballet.
In 2019, Nicole held the position of Resident Choreographer of Mid-Columbia Ballet in Richland, WA. Nicole joined the team of Ballet Idaho as Trainee Program Manager in 2020.
Eva L. Stone received a BFA in Performance and Choreography from Arizona State University. After completing a Master of Arts degree in Choreography and Choreological Studies from Trinity Laban in London, England, she formed The Stone Dance Collective, a modern dance company. Eva relocated to Seattle in 1995, re-established her company, and began an extensive teaching and lecturing career throughout the Puget Sound. She is currently on faculty at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and Spectrum Dance Theater, in addition to working as a guest instructor and commissioned choreographer with dance festivals and companies around the US.
Eva’s approach to choreography evolved from learning the art form in reverse, choreography before technique, and is unique with its intent based in humor and authentic human connection and experience. She has created works inspired by love, imposter syndrome, the periodic table, a reimagining of Eve, contronyms, and the art of making bad decisions, to name only a few.
In November of 2019, Eva was commissioned to create a main stage work for Pacific Northwest Ballet. F O I L premiered in PNB’s rep Locally Sourced and received outstanding critical acclaim. Eva’s work has been presented at On the Boards, Men in Dance, Bumbershoot, and has been commissioned by the Seattle International Dance Festival. She has created work for Spectrum Dance Theater, Seattle Dance Project, Bellingham Repertory Dance, South Bay Ballet, Mid-Columbia Ballet, Ballet Theatre (BYU), Marin Ballet, and Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Eva was commissioned by Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Art Museum to choreograph for Sculptured Dance, a site-specific dance event at Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park that was attended by 4000+ viewers. Her work has premiered in New York, London, Geneva, Montreal, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Her other projects include assisting Donald Byrd for the Seattle Opera production of Aida and choreographing over 25 award-winning musical theatre productions.
In 2018, Eva initiated the nationally recognized choreography program New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance designed specifically for female students at Pacific Northwest Ballet School.
Since 2008, Eva has been the producer and curator of CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, an annual contemporary dance festival held in Bellevue, Washington. This highly anticipated event brings the best of local, national, and international contemporary dance companies and artists together for a unique series of performances, lectures, and master classes.
From the Ground Up Episode 1:
Ashley Bouder & Allison DeBona
We are pleased to kick off Global Conversations DDP Round 4 with a roundtable discussion featuring Allison DeBona and Ashley Bouder, who have successfully navigated the ballet world as acclaimed professional ballerinas, female founders, and mothers.
Ashley Bouder was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and began her ballet training at the age of six at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet with Marcia Dale Weary. After attending the 1999 Summer Program at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, she was invited by SAB to continue her training during the Winter Session. Ms. Bouder was named an apprentice with New York City Ballet in June 2000 and became a member of the corps de ballet that October. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, Ms. Bouder was promoted to principal dancer.
Ms. Bouder has danced in ballet galas around the world and guest starred in companies including the Paris Opera Ballet, Rome Opera Ballet, and the Mariinsky Ballet. She has been awarde Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise at the School of American Ballet as a student. As a professional her awards include the Janice Levin Honoree from the New York City Ballet, the Miss Expressivity for 2011 and the Miss Virtuosity for 2013 from the Dance Open Gala, and a 2014 Benois de la Danse nomination.
Beginning her teacher training in her teens at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB), Ms. Bouder has taught at the summer programs of the School of American Ballet (SAB), Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive (SSDI), Manhattan Youth Ballet (MYB), Carolina Ballet School, and the CPYB. She continues to be a frequent guest teacher at Ballet Academy East, MYB, and SAB, while guest teaching and holding master classes around the country, including the Boston Ballet School and Princeton University.
As a choreographer, using the arts collaborative she founded, The Ashley Bouder Project as an outlet for her work, Ms. Bouder hopes to promote other female choreographers, while also setting an example for women to be more forward and prominent in the creation and directorial sides of the arts world. Her previous work has been presented at the School of American Ballet Choreographic Workshop, the New York City Ballet in the Dancer’s Choice Program, the Ashley Bouder Project at New York’s Peter Norton Symphony Space, and at Bryant Park Presents.
Learn more about The Ashley Bouder Project here. Learn more about Ashley Bouder’s career with NYCB here. Follow Ashley (@ashleybouder) and The Ashley Bouder Project (@theashleybouderproject) on Instagram. Check out Ashley’s book, “Welcome to Ballet School,” here.
Allison DeBona is the Owner and Artistic Director of artÉmotion. She is also a First Soloist with Ballet West and has been with the company since 2007. She was a featured cast member on seasons 1 & 2 of the CW Docu-series Breaking Pointe. She has been featured in issues of Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Track Magazine. She shared the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine, February 2018, with Rex Tilton. She was also the model for the Fall/Winter 2013 and August 2015 Grishko Pointe shoe ad featured in Pointe Magazine. In August 2016 was featured in an eight page editorial for Vogue Italia. Additional accolades include producing the ‘I Am Your Friend’ Benefit Dance Performance alongside Rex Tilton, June 2015, to benefit the non-profit organization Fahodie for Friends. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Ballet from Indiana University, Bloomington, where she trained under former New York City ballet acclaimed Principal Ballerina, Violette Verdy. Additional training includes American Ballet Theatre’s New York Summer Intensive and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate program. She grew up under the artistic direction of Jean Gedeon at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet and Debbie Parou at the former Parou Ballet Company.
The View From 30,000 Feet
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 10:
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes of Dance/NYC
For the final episode of Global Conversations: The View From 30,000 Feet, we are honored to host Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director of Dance/NYC. Join Alejandra and Liza for this 40-minute episode that covers everything from studies on the industry to the impacts of the pandemic on dance, DEI, and more.
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes is an immigrant activist, artist, producer, and educator. With more than 10 years of production and stage management experience in theatre and dance, she has toured nationally and internationally with Zaccho Dance Theatre, Bandaloop, Dancing in The Streets, The Foundry Theatre, and Columbia University School of the Arts, among others. As a teaching artist, Ms. Duque Cifuentes taught children and adults of all ages how to express themselves through theatre and movement practice in over 100 New York City public schools and through community theatre programs. In 2011 she founded Theatre That Transcends, which taught local, underserved communities how to express themselves and address community issues through the art of theatre. As an activist, she plays an integral part in advancing a more equitable arts and cultural ecology by working on measures to increase access, justice, equity, and inclusion within dance for disabled artists, immigrant artists, and artists of color in the five boroughs of New York City. Ms. Duque Cifuentes is a member of the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, Women of Color in the Arts, the Children Museum of Manhattan’s Dance Portal Advisory Board, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa’s Curatorial Advisory Team at Gibney, and she is an advisor for the Latinx Artists Retreat, an annual convening for Latinx cultural producers across all artistic disciplines and fields. She was born in Medellín, Colombia, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from Columbia University School of General Studies.
Check out the organization’s Coronavirus Dance Impact Survey here. (If you haven’t taken the survey, today is the last day to do so, and we highly recommend taking part!)
The Small-Budget Dance Makers report is available to read here.
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 9:
Cultivating Better Tomorrows’ Erica Lynette Edwards
This summer, we were fortunate to work with diversity consultant and strategist Erica Lynette Edwards on an Instagram campaign, #CommitToChangeInBallet. Erica brought five impact points to the table, designed to create real, organizational change rooted in DEI. Erica has since joined the DDP Advisory Board, and we are so lucky she is now bringing her expertise to Global Conversations!
Meet Erica face-to-face in this conversation with Liza and hear her thoughts on the tangible steps companies can take to make ballet more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.
Erica Lynette Edwards is an accomplished consultant and public speaker who champions change to advance the art of dance. With diversity, equity, and inclusion as the core foundation of her work, she transforms visions into reality. After a rewarding 15-year career as a ballerina at The Joffrey Ballet and five years as the Director of Community Engagement, she founded Cultivating Better Tomorrows. Through this consulting company Erica reshapes the dynamics of dance communities to produce environments where all artists can thrive. Highly skilled in delivering consistent success and effective change, she is passionate about facilitating results driven conversations and workshops focused on reflection and knowledge building. Her visionary leadership has earned her many honors and opportunities, including speaking on national panels, giving a TEDx talk, and being selected as a member of Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40.”
See the rest of DDP’s Advisory Board here.
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 8:
Author & MarieClaire.Com Contributing Editor Chloe Angyal
Today’s interview is another roundtable discussion featuring DDP’s Liza Yntema and Isabelle Vail with author and MarieClaire.com Contributing Editor Chloe Angyal. Hear about Chloe’s upcoming book, “Turning Pointe,” and her thoughts on gender equity in ballet, structural reform, and more!
Chloe Angyal is a journalist who writes about gender, sex, and power and how they shape the lives of women and girls. She is a Contributing Editor at MarieClaire.com. She’s written about politics and popular culture for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Jezebel, Cosmopolitan and many other outlets, and about ballet for New York Magazine and Marie Claire. She is the author of the forthcoming book TURNING POINTE: How a New Generation of Dancers Is Saving Ballet From Itself (Bold Type Books, spring 2021).
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 7:
Dance Researcher & Arts Leader Melanie Doerner
In pandemic times, the very survival of companies is on the line, especially companies outside of the ten largest. Melanie Doerner is an arts leader who has also happened to conduct comprehensive research on regional companies to determine the factors that make them successful and survivable into the future. Learn about this essential research and more in Episode 7.
Melanie Doerner is a proven arts leader and fundraiser with 19 years of nonprofit management experience, and has raised over $10M for the arts. Melanie began her career in arts administration in 2001 with the José Limón Dance Company. She is currently the Director of Development for North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh, previously working for Carolina Ballet and Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose. She is a founding board member of sjDANCEco. Melanie holds a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School and formerly practiced as a corporate attorney in her native Canada. Her husband Michael Doerner is a ballet dancer, having performed with the National Ballet of Canada under Reid Anderson and James Kudelka, Alberta Ballet under Mikko Nissinen, and Ballet San Jose under Dennis Nahat.
Access Melanie’s research, “Study of the Business Habits and Practices of Regional Ballet Companies in the US and Canada” here.
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 6:
Makeda Easter of the LA Times
In Episode 6, Liza chats with Makeda Easter, who just won an Online Journalism Award for her “Rise of the Dancefluencer” piece for the LA Times (where she is a staff writer). We were so lucky to get this vibrant and thoughtful journalist’s viewpoints on the dance industry right now, activism-driven journalism, and more!
Makeda Easter writes about the intersection of art and identity for the Los Angeles Times. She got her start in journalism while working full-time as a science writer for a supercomputing center at the University of Texas. (University employees could enroll in one free class a semester — she chose the journalism intro course). Makeda received her bachelor’s degree in science, technology and international affairs at Georgetown University. When not writing, she can be found in a dance studio taking class or in rehearsal for an upcoming show.
Read Makeda’s dance influencer piece here. See the video from the LA Times about the development of the story here. Since we filmed this interview, Makeda’s dance influencer piece has won the Online Journalism Award for its category. Read all about it here.
Read some of Makeda’s other work here.
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 5:
Medill School of Journalism Dean Charles Whitaker
The final episode of week 1 of #GlobalConversationsDDP Round 3 is here. Today’s guest is Dean Charles Whitaker, of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. Join Charles and Liza as they discuss the arts beat, how to revive arts journalism and criticism, and the gaps that exist in coverage today.
Charles Whitaker is dean and professor at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. Before joining the Medill faculty in 1993, Whitaker was a senior editor at Ebony magazine, where he covered a wide range of cultural, social and political issues and events on four continents. Whitaker began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter at the Miami Herald, where he covered education in Dade County and municipal government in Palm Beach County. From the Herald, he went to the Louisville (Ky.) Times, where he worked as a deputy feature editor and enterprise feature and arts writer. He has received commendations for his work from a number of journalism societies, including the National Association of Black Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists and National Education Writers Association. Whitaker is the co-author of “Magazine Writing,” a textbook that examines the magazine industry and deconstructs the art of feature writing for consumer and business-to-business publications. He also is the author of four statistical analyses of the hiring of women and minorities in the magazine industry and has served as an adviser on diversity issues for the Magazine Publishers of America. He was the co-director of Project Masthead, a program designed to encourage students of color to consider careers in magazines on both the editorial and business side of the industry, and he is one of the co-curators of the Ida B. Wells Award, presented by both Medill and the National Association of Black Journalists to individuals who are working to increase newsroom diversity and improve the coverage of communities of color. Whitaker has contributed articles to the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, Jet Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Saturday Evening Post, Chicago Parent magazine, and Folio, the magazine of the magazine industry. In addition, he is an editorial consultant to CATALYST magazine, a publication dedicated to coverage of the Chicago Public Schools, and served as president of the editorial board of the Chicago Reporter, an acclaimed investigative publication that covers issues of race and class. Whitaker has served as a judge for the National Magazine Awards and the International Regional Magazine Awards Association. He currently serves on the board of directors of the American Society of Magazine Editors.
Learn more about Dean Whitaker here.
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 4:
Dr. Zannie Voss of SMU DataArts
In Episode 4, Liza discusses the relatively-new concept of data in the arts with Dr. Zannie Voss, one of the leaders in arts management research and Director of the National Center for Arts Research at SMU DataArts.
Zannie Giraud Voss Ph.D., (Aix-Marseille III Graduate School of Management – IAE, France) is Director of the National Center for Arts Research as well as Chair and Professor of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship in the Meadows School of the Arts and the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Prior to joining the SMU faculty, she was a professor in the Department of Theater Studies and an adjunct professor in management in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, where she also served as producing director of Theater Previews at Duke, a professional theater company dedicated to the development and co-production of new works. Dr. Voss has worked as consultant on projects for the Irvine Foundation, Theatre Development Fund and Theatre Communications Group, co-authoring TCG’s Theatre Facts since 1998. She has published articles examining the strategic factors that influence organizational performance in nonprofit professional theaters in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Services Marketing, American Theatre, ArtsReach, and International Journal of Arts Management, for which she served as an associate editor. She served as managing director of PlayMakers Repertory Company; associate manager of the Alley Theatre; assistant director of audience development at the Mark Taper Forum; and as a site visitor and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Marketing Science Foundation, the American Marketing Association and the Sheth Foundation. She is a member of the International Association of Arts and Cultural Management (AIMAC), the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Big Thought, and the Board of Directors of the Cultural Data Project. She serves as Vice Chair of Programs on the Board of Trustees of TACA and is co-author of the book Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play, published by Theatre Development Fund.
Read Dr. Voss’ latest studies at the links below.
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 3:
WBUR The ARTERY’s Sharon Basco
You may remember Sharon Basco from her coverage of ballet’s glass ceiling for Here & Now. “No one ever said it would be easy, or happen quickly, but the glass ceiling has been cracked. Now, there are other crucial gender issues to be addressed.” Sharon shares some little-known, gender-related ballet history in this short and sweet conversation.
Sharon Basco is a journalist, critic, and public radio producer. She started her journalism career in newspapers, first working as an intern for the #investigativejournalist Jack Anderson and then writing at the now-defunct Washington Star. Sharon moved to Boston to be associate editor for news at a weekly called The Boston Phoenix/Boston After Dark. For five years, Sharon worked at the university publisher, The #MITPress, acquiring science books for the general public. Initially, she transitioned into public radio as an arts reporter for WBUR. Her first piece was a review of The Nutcracker. She joined Monitor Radio in the spring of 1991 to produce and host #WeekendEdition. For six years, Sharon served as an editor for TomPaine.com, a political website, which featured a group-written New York Times op-ed once a week on progressive politics, centering on voting rights. An accomplished writer, Sharon’s pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Washingtonian Magazine, Boston Magazine, The Nation, The Chicago Sun-Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as numerous local publications. She has also contributed to a number of books, including On Bush, Greed, and God’s Ministers: John Kenneth Galbraith and Cambridge Voices. Her radio experience includes independent production for National Public Radio. Currently, Sharon is a Contributor for WBUR Boston’s The ARTery.
Sharon’s full quote from Instagram: “Alvin Ailey made me a dance critic. To be precise, it was a singular moment in the second act of Ailey’s signature work Revelations that galvanized me…We had the worst seats in the house, spread across the last row of a large auditorium. No matter. Ailey’s big bold movements, appealing patterns, and charismatic dancers reached just fine into the back row. I sat up straight, enthralled with the absorbing stories his dances told.”
Listen to Sharon’s coverage of gender equity in ballet for WBUR’s Here & Now here.
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 2:
Theresa Ruth Howard of MoBBallet
Episode 2 is an engaging, thought-provoking, and reflective 20-minute conversation. Join Liza and Theresa Ruth Howard as they address structural change, practices to move forward equitably, & the challenges of tackling an industry that has resisted change for too long.
Theresa Ruth Howard is a former member of the @DanceTheaterofHarlem, and Armitage Gone! Dance. She has worked extensively with choreographer #DonaldByrd, and has been a guest artist with @complexions_ballet. She has been a member of the Ballet Faculty at the Ailey School, for over 17 years and has taught and choreographed internationally in conservatories, universities, festivals, and intensives. As a journalist she has contributed to the Source and Pointe, Expressions (Italy), and Tanz (Germany) Magazines, and is a contributing writer for #DanceMagazine. She is the founder and curator of #MoBBallet.org (Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet) which was recently granted by the Knight Foundation. In addition to MoBB’s online initiative to curate the stories of Black Ballet artists internationally, it presents panels, workshops and gatherings dedicated to building bridges of understanding and education between communities and cultures in dance and beyond. Theresa Howard works as a Diversity Strategist and consultant assisting arts organizations better understand, design and implement DEI programs and initiatives. Presently she serves as a member of the Design and Facilitation Team of The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet, a three-year partnership program to support the advancement of racial equity in professional ballet companies. The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet brings together a cohort of artistic and executive leaders from 21 large budget, professional ballet organizations for in-person meetings and coaching, with the purpose of increasing the presence of blacks in ballet in all areas of the industry.
Full Quote (from Instagram): “The gatekeepers of ballet perceive the form as a photograph, fixed and immutable. In reality, from its inception, ballet has been radical, has pushed boundaries, and was reflective of the times in the stories it told. Over time we have seen the technique, tools, aesthetics evolve. Ballet is naturally adaptable, elastic, and has expanded to incorporate the advancements of the times. The lack of diversity today is a byproduct of its gatekeepers and not the form itself. The fastest and easiest way to diversify ballet is to take ballet out of its picture frame and let it be itself.”
Follow Theresa on Instagram (@mybodymyimage).
The View From 30,000 Feet Episode 1:
Dance Media’s Jennifer Stahl & Margaret Fuhrer
Round 3 of Global Conversations is here! Episode 1 features a roundtable-style discussion between DDP’s Founder and President Liza Yntema, Director of Research Isabelle Vail, and our guests from Dance Media, Jennifer Stahl and Margaret Fuhrer.
Jennifer Stahl is Dance Magazine‘s editor in chief and Dance Media’s content director. A former senior editor of Pointe, she has also written for The Atlantic, Runner’s World and other publications. She holds a BFA in dance and journalism from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she danced work by such choreographers as Karole Armitage and David Dorfman. As a dancer, she’s performed for California’s Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Israeli choreographer Gali Hod and Cirque du Soleil’s 25th-anniversary celebration. She has also served as a judge for Youth America Grand Prix, the Capezio A.C.E. Awards, on the panel of the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation and as an adjudicator for the American College Dance Association. She has spoken at such events as the Women in Dance Leadership Conference, and has been honored for her work championing diversity in dance by A.I.M.
Margaret Fuhrer is an arts writer and editor based in New York, NY. She’s currently editor in chief and producer of The Dance Edit newsletter and podcast, and previously worked on Dance Spirit magazine for nearly 12 years, six as editor in chief. Her book, American Dance: The Complete Illustrated History, came out in 2014. Margaret has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree in journalism from New York University. She studied dance for 18 years and has dabbled in choreography.
Navigating Challenging Times
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 10:
BalletX co-founder, artistic and executive director Christine Cox is running a company, commissioning more works than ever (and more than anyone we can think of!), raising kids, and showing us all how it’s done right in the midst of a global pandemic and economic crisis. Today’s episode of Global Conversations takes us into her world— join DDP Founder and President Liza Yntema as she hears about leadership from one of the industry’s most innovative minds!
Christine danced with BalletMet, American Repertory Ballet, and guested with Ballet Hispanico before joining Pennsylvania Ballet as a full-time company member from 1993 to 2006. In 2005, she and Matthew Neenan co-founded BalletX. Under her leadership as Artistic Director and Executive Director, BalletX has produced 84 world premieres to more than 100,000 dance patrons across some of the country’s most prestigious stages. In addition, Christine has worked to connect her community to ballet through pre-show conversations and the Dance eXchange education program, partnering with elementary schools in Philly. She’s also given a TEDx Talk about innovation in contemporary ballet. On top of it all, she is mother to two boys. Thanks for joining us, Christine!
Follow Christine on Instagram (@christineccox)!
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 9:
Our next guest is a former principal dancer – turned artistic director at the Norwegian National Ballet. Ingrid Lorentzen was one of our earliest participants in the series, sharing stories of plans to take ballet outdoors in May, when the U.S. was still on total lockdown. Enjoy one of our most cheerful conversations with the perspective of one of ballet’s brightest directors!
By now one of Norway’s most beloved ballerinas, Ingrid Lorentzen did not start her pre-professional ballet training until the age of 16, but quickly advanced once she began. She studied #ballet at the Norwegian National Academy of Ballet in Oslo, at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm, and in New York and Paris. She spent years as a freelance artist and auditioned for the Norwegian National Ballet four times before being hired in 1997. Three years later, she was promoted to soloist, the highest position in the company.
Ingrid became the director of the National Ballet in 2012, and by her own admission, the first year involved quite a learning curb ( more about that in the interview!). Since then, she has taken the company far and was named Director of the Year by Dance Europe in 2015. That same year, she launched the Norwegian National Ballet 2, which nurtures and secures young talents under the auspices of the Oslo Opera House. Most recently, Ingrid and her team have succeeded in bringing the National Ballet outdoors and into the community—with social distancing measures and the health of the community ensured—you can see this in video below (Video courtesy of the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet):
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 8:
It’s difficult to imagine American ballet without our next #GlobalConversationsDDP guest. Susan Jaffe is one of the nation’s most celebrated ballerinas, who, joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre as artistic director in July, fulfilling her lifelong dream of leading a ballet company. Hear about her plans in Pittsburgh, the philosophy she teaches of “riding the wave,” and how several years of serving as a dean of dance at UNCSA prepared her for her new job as an artistic director.
Susan Jaffe, named “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina” by the New York Times, joined American Ballet Theatre’s second company at the tender age of 16. Just two years later, at age 18, she was promoted to the role of principal at ABT. A frequent partner of Mikhail Baryshnikov and star in her own right, she remained at ABT for 22 years. Upon her retirement at age 40, Susan turned to teaching and lecturing; she even published a book, “Becoming a Ballerina” and started a ballet school. In 2010, Susan became a Ballet Master of ABT. Two years later, she took over as dean of dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a position she continued to hold until this summer, when she assumed her new role at PBT. Susan also holds an honorary doctorate from Texas Christian University and runs a workshop, the Susan Jaffe Series, to teach the development of a positive mindset and the effect of intention.
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 7:
Our next episode dives deep into the leadership of an outstanding regional company, The Tallahassee Ballet, with its artistic director, Tyrone Brooks. Tyrone chats with Liza about lessons learned from ballet legend Arthur Mitchell during Tyrone’s time as a principal with Dance Theatre of Harlem, the program he created to invite his community in, and the steps he is taking to support and empower women choreographers down in Florida.
Tyrone Brooks has been the Artistic Director of The Tallahassee Ballet since the company’s 2013-2014 season. Prior to this, he was as a principal dancer for Dance Theatre of Harlem for 18 years, during which time he performed a number of acclaimed works by the company, toured extensively, and appeared in several of the DTH’s television features broadcasted around the US.
For over 25 years, Tyrone served full-time on the Ballet Faculty at DTH and as Associate Director of the DTH community outreach program, Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble. In 2004, he joined the Virginia School of the Arts as Director of Community Dance. While in Virginia, Tyrone earned a certificate in Advanced Business Administration and was subsequently appointed to the role of Executive Director of the Virginia School of the Arts. Today, further south in Florida, he is an active member of the local arts community, serving on the Florida State University Friends of Dance Board of Directors. Most recently, Tyrone was inducted into the Museum of Blacks in Ballet, curated by Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet.
Follow Tyrone on Instagram (@tyronecbrooks)!
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 6:
We were so excited to link up with Bridget Breiner, artistic director and chief choreographer of Staatsballett Karlsruhe in Germany, back in May, amidst Shelter-in-Place orders and our first discussions with ballet leaders during the pandemic. Bridget has seen many sides of the industry as a principal dancer-turned choreographer-turned director. Episode 6 is a neat, thoughtful discussion with someone who has truly taken her career global!
Bridget is an American-born dancer and choreographer who received her early dance training at Ballet Met in Columbus, Ohio. In 1991, at age 17, Bridget moved to Munich, Germany, to further her dance studies. She joined Stuttgart Ballet in 1996 and soon became one of the company’s most celebrated and accomplished dancers, being promoted to Principal after 5 years. In 2008, Bridget was named artist-in-residence at Stuttgart Ballet. From there, she accepted the role of artistic director of ballet at the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen. In 2019, Breiner became the director of Staatsballett Karlsruhe. Her award-winning, innovative works blend ballet and opera, European and American sensibilities, and both a classical and contemporary dance vocabulary.
Learn more about Bridget Breiner and Staatsballett Karlsruhe/Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe here or follow the Staatsballett on Instagram (@staatsballettka), Twitter (@staatstheaterka) and Facebook.
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 5:
DDP Founder and President Liza Yntema sits down virtually with Jennifer Archibald —acclaimed choreographer, dancer, director, lecturer, founder, and more. Her most recent endeavor, Essential Dance Artists, which she began to support other artists and remain creative during the pandemic, has her working with dancers as far as South Africa and Australia and has produced 40 solos and counting…
About Jennifer Archibald: Jennifer Archibald is a graduate of the Ailey School Certificate Program and the Maggie Flanigan Acting Conservatory. She draws on a variety of techniques, experiences, and styles in her choreographic work, which has been staged by such leading companies as Atlanta Ballet, Ailey II, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Kansas City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, and more. Jennifer has worked commercially with Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and MAC Cosmetics. She was recently appointed the first female Resident Choreographer in Cincinnati Ballet’s 40-year history (you can check out our interview with Victoria Morgan from round 1 to hear more on that!). Jennifer’s teaching and lecturing work has brought her to many prestigious institutions including Columbia/Barnard College, Yale School of Drama, Ailey/Fordham, and Princeton University. On top of all this, Jennifer is the founder and artistic director of Arch Dance Company and Program Director of ArchCore40, a summer intensive that is now in its eighth year of engagement.
Learn more about Essential Dance Artists here.
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 4:
Our next guest is Patricia Barker, Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The ballet community has taken a keen interest in her extraordinary leadership. She notably programmed a season made up entirely of women choreographers, but her advocacy does not stop there…
Patricia Barker is a dancer, educator, and currently serves as Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Her early ballet training took place at Boston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. At age 17, she joined Pacific Northwest Ballet where she quickly rose to the rank of principal. Patricia’s storied career at PNB lasted 27 years (!!!), during which time she performed a variety of classical and contemporary works to great acclaim.
After her retirement from the stage, she went on to fill the role of Artistic Director for Grand Rapids Ballet. While there, she curated a compelling and dynamic repertoire ranging from full-length classical ballets to neoclassical masterworks. In 2011, while still in Grand Rapids, Patricia conceived of the contemporary dance series MOVEMEDIA. The goal of the series, in part, was to prominently feature works by female choreographers. In 2017, Patricia assumed the position of Artistic Director at Royal New Zealand Ballet, making her the second woman to do so in the company’s history.
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 3:
Episode 3 of Navigating Challenging Times takes us to another West Coast leader, Melissa Barak! Melissa chats with Liza about successfully starting and running her own company (as Liza put it, “Are you crazy?!”), the LA dance scene, and where to find the *good* work out there (hint: you can find it anywhere).
Melissa Barak is an award-winning dancer and choreographer, and she is the founder and artistic director of Barak Ballet, an LA-based contemporary ballet company. She trained at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica for 8 years and at the School of American Ballet before joining New York City Ballet, where she danced from 1998-2007. While with the company, she was invited to participate in the inaugural NY Choreographic Institute. Following critical acclaim for her piece, “Telemann Overture Suite,” she was invited to choreograph for the company’s main stage at age 22, making her the youngest choreographer in NYCB history to be commissioned an original work at the time.
Since then, she has created new works for Sacramento Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, and her own company. Melissa was a 2016 Virginia B. Toulmin Fellow at the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts and has been awarded the Mae L. Wien and Choo San Goh Awards for Outstanding Choreographic Promise and a Top 25 to Watch by Dance Magazine.
Learn more about Melissa Barak here or follow her on Instagram (@melissabarak).
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 2:
The DDP team had a wonderful time getting to know San Francisco Ballet’s Executive Director, Kelly Tweeddale, for Episode 2. Her conversation with Liza covers everything from the initial lockdown in SF, to her years of experience as an arts administrator, and the important lesson she learned in her 40s.
Kelly Tweeddale is the current Executive Director of San Francisco Ballet. Her career in the arts has seen her lead not just in ballet, but in symphony and opera, too. Previously serving the Seattle Opera and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, her work has long emphasized advocating for women in leadership, equity, diversity, and community outreach (including the use of technology!). She was recognized in 2019 by the Metro Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Awards and in 2011 as a Puget Sound Business Journal Women of Influence awardee. In her spare time, Tweeddale enjoys practicing yoga and distance running (more on that in the video).
Navigating Challenging Times Episode 1:
We are honored to introduce the second round of #Global ConversationsDDP — Navigating Difficult Times with an interview with Tamara Rojo, ballet legend, QUEEN of fouettes (among other things) with the highest arches in the ‘biz, and artistic director and lead principal of the acclaimed English National Ballet.
Tamara Rojo has been Artistic Director and Lead Principal Dancer of the English National Ballet since 2012. Her training and career began in Madrid with Victor Ullate. After winning a Gold Medal at the Paris International Dance Competition and a unanimous awarding of a Special Jury Award in 1996, she was invited to join Scottish Ballet. The next year, Tamara joined English National Ballet, where she would dance as a principal before being invited to join the Royal Ballet in 2000. Tamara earned her master’s degree of Theatrical Arts and a Bachelor of Dance Graduate with Honours from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid. Among her many awards are Spain’s three highest honors and a CBE. Her international career as a guest artist has taken her to many of the world’s most prestigious companies and theaters, and her leadership at ENB has overseen the opening of a new space for the company, countless performances at Royal Albert Hall, major tours, and all-female programs of mixed repertory ballets (She Said and She Persisted) to great international acclaim.
Follow Tamara Rojo on Instagram (@TamaraRojo) and Twitter (@TamaraRojo1) or visit her personal website.
The Creative Process
The Creative Process Episode 9:
As DDP’s Global Conversations turns from the creative process and women choreographers to the visionaries leading companies through crisis, we present our final installment in the first series, The Creative Process. In our final episode of part 1, Liza chats with her friend Victoria Morgan.
Victoria has managed to choreograph countless works while serving as one of the US’ longest-standing women artistic directors (25 years in 2021-2022!!!) and for a time as CEO, too. Victoria weighs in on what it takes to be an effective leader, both artistically and administratively, in this episode that bridges the creative process with leading well through any circumstances.
Victoria Morgan has been a leader of Cincinnati Ballet as the Artistic Director and CEO (formerly) since 1997 where she has led the company to tremendous growth and success. She has created numerous ballets, both one-act and evening length and maintains a high standard for her dancers in whom she values a strong work ethic. Prior to joining the Cincinnati Ballet, Morgan was resident choreographer for the San Francisco Opera and a principal dancer for San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West in Salt Lake City, which is where she got her start. Morgan graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Utah. Today, she is committed to highlighting female choreographers and continuing to lead her company through unprecedented times.
Learn more about Victoria and Cincinnati Ballet here: https://cballet.org/
Follow Cincinnati Ballet on social media: Instagram (@cincinnatiballet), Twitter (@cincyballet), Facebook (Cincinnati Ballet)
The Creative Process Episode 8:
The 8th installment of Global Conversations – The Creative Process takes us inside a positive and insightful discussion with Mariana Oliveira, who was one of our early *early* supporters on social media! Mariana and Liza talk women, ballet, resources, and more.
Mariana Oliveria is a dancer and choreographer whose mother first introduced her to ballet at age four in her native São Paulo, Brazil. She went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and was a trainee dancer at the National Dance Company of Wales. At age nineteen, Oliveira was invited to perform with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. In 2009, she founded The Union Project Dance Company, a contemporary dance company. Mariana has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts Fellowship and the Kansas City University Choreographic Fellowship. In addition, she has taught at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Brazil, which is the only Bolshoi School outside of Russia for dancers of the Youth Company. Mariana uses choreography to communicate with the world, and so far, it seems that the dance world loves that approach – companies and organizations that have commissioned her work include Joffrey Ballet (Winning Works), New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, Carolina Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Madison Ballet, National Choreographers Initiative, Ballet Arkansas, American Midwest Ballet, Chicago Repertory Ballet, and more.
See an excerpt from Mariana Oliveira’s “Blue Jay Eyes” here.
The Creative Process Episode 7:
Stefanie Batten Bland
“Create the world that you yourself want to be in.” – Stefanie Batten Bland | Our 7th Global Conversations episode is an insightful discussion with SBB herself, who hails from SoHo (before it was written in capital letters) and successfully worked abroad before returning to the States to much acclaim.
Jerome Robbins awardee Stefanie Batten Bland is an interdisciplinary global artist who interrogates contemporary and historical culture, which situates her work at the intersection of dance-theatre and installation. A 2019 fellow for New York University’s Center for the Ballet Arts, Stefanie was also named in 2019 a choreographer for American Ballet Theatre’s inaugural Women’s Movement Initiative (DDP’s Founder, Liza Yntema, was an initial Principal Sponsor of this movement and continues to support its development).
Stefanie created her Company SBB in Paris in 2008 and established it in New York City in 2011, when she was in residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center. She began her current residence at University Settlement in 2017.
Regularly produced by LaMama Experimental Theater, she premiered her latest work “Look Who’s Coming To Dinner” at LaMama in fall 2019 for FIAF’s Crossing the Line Festival. More recently she created a virtual global performance for EU Day and a physical performance installation related to climate change, both for the United Nations. Known for her unique visual and movement aesthetic, she served as movement director for “Eve’s Song” at the Public Theater (Forbes 2018 Best Theatre List) and also directs dance cinema films and is commissioned by global fashion and lifestyle companies including Louis Vuitton, VanCleef & Arpels and Hermes. Recent commissions include: American Center for Art & Culture France, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Ailey II, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Gina Gibney Dance, The Juilliard School, Singapore Frontier Danceland and Spoleto Festival Italy. Featured in The New York Times, Dance Europe, Brooklyn Rail, Marie Claire, TV 5 Monde and Dance Teacher Magazine among others, she will celebrate Company SBB’s 10th U.S. anniversary in the 2021-2022 season with historic and new works. She received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College and lives in SoHo with her family.
Learn more about the American Ballet Theatre Women’s Movement (of which Liza is a proud sponsor)
The Creative Process Episode 6:
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Our next episode of Global Conversations features Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, a leading choreographer and outspoken advocate for her peers. Annabelle is a Colombian-Belgian dancer and choreographer whose work travels across genres, from jazz to contemporary ballet.
She trained at the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp, Belgium before a twelve-year career with a variety of European dance companies including Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, where she was a soloist for seven years. In 2003, she decided to focus solely on choreography. Since then, she has choreographed works for 64 dance companies around the world and has earned many awards and distinctions, including the Jacob’s Pillow Choreography Award, “Best Premiere of 2018” by Dance Europe Magazine, and a spot on the “Best of Dance 2017” list by Dance Magazine. Her artistry extends beyond dance, having created original works in theater, opera, and musical theater. The influence of these various artistic realms can be seen in many of her evening-length works, such as “A Streetcar Named Desire,” in which her choreography focuses heavily on emotion and narrative.
Learn more about Annabelle on her website: http://www.
Watch Annabelle’s Virtual Q&A with English National Ballet Artistic Director Tamara Rojo, in which the pair discuss Broken Wings, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
You can read DDP’s 2018 interview with Annabelle on our blog, here: https://www.
The Creative Process Episode 5:
For the 5th installment of Global Conversations, DDP had the privilege of speaking to Boston Ballet principal dancer and up-and-coming choreographer Lia Cirio!
Lia Cirio is a principal dancer with Boston Ballet. Hailing from Springfield, Pennsylvania, Lia’s training took place at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Boston Ballet II (which she joined at age 16 in 2004). That same year, Lia was the company’s Princess Grace Award nominee. From 2008-2009, she toured with the Trey McIntyre Project. Lia has held the role of principal dancer at Boston Ballet since 2010, and has made quite the name for herself. She has been described as one of the most accomplished actress-dancers in the Boston Ballet company with her tremendous stage presence. Most recently, Lia’s has added choreographer to her resume, having taken part in Boston Ballet’s ChoreograpHER initiative since its inception. Check out @byliacirio on Instagram to learn more about Lia’s recent endeavors as a choreographer!
Read more about Lia here: https://www.bostonballet.org/Home/Global/Profiles/Artists/Principal-Dancers/Lia-Cirio.aspx. Read more about Cirio Collective here: http://www.ciriocollective.com/
Follow Lia on Instagram (@msliac and @byliacirio) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Lia-Cirio-188913054985/). Follow Boston Ballet on Twitter (@BostonBallet), Instagram (@BostonBallet), and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bostonballet/).
Read more about Boston Ballet’s ChoreograpHER initiative here: https://www.bostonballet.org/Home/Support/choreograpHER-initiative
The Creative Process Episode 4:
Amy Hall Garner
In Episode 3 of our virtual series, Liza speaks to another remarkable woman, Amy Hall Garner. From Alabama, to Juilliard, to creating for ballet, theatre, and beyond, Hall Garner is becoming a noteworthy choreographic voice!
Amy Hall Garner is a native of Huntsville, Alabama, and a graduate of The Juilliard School. Her work has been praised internationally and commissioned by Ailey II, ABT Studio Company, Collage Dance Collective, The Juilliard School, The Ailey School, Barnard College, The University of the Arts, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Point Park University, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She personally coached Grammy Award winner Beyoncé, providing additional choreography for The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Theatrical choreography credits include: The Color Purple (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and Invisible Thread, associate choreographer (Second Stage Theater). In 2018, she was selected to participate in Alvin Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab supported by the Ford Foundation. Garner was one of the first recipients of the Joffrey Ballet’s Choreography of Color Award (now titled Winning Works). Amy Hall Garner is an adjunct professor at New York University’s New Studio on Broadway at Tisch School of the Arts.
Follow Amy on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/amyhallgarner/?hl=en
The Creative Process Episode 3:
We are overjoyed to share the third episode, featuring powerhouse Claudia Schreier, who was recently appointed as Atlanta Ballet’s Resident Choreographer.
Claudia Schreier is a New York native who has choreographed for dance, opera and film across the U.S. and internationally. She began choreographing at a young age and has since received numerous awards for her choreography of over 30 ballets and her activism in dance, including the 2018 Princess Grace Award for Choreography, 2018 Dance/NYC Dance Advancement Fund supported by the Ford Foundation, Toulmin Fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, NEFA National Dance Project Award, Lotos Prize, and Suzanne Farrell Dance Prize. Claudia also served as Ballet Master and Production Assistant for the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors tribute to dance icon Carmen de Lavallade. She has been commissioned by Dance Theatre of Harlem, Juilliard Opera, Vail Dance Festival, ABT Studio Company, and New York Choreographic Institute. Her work is the subject of two documentaries, most recently PBS’s Dancing on the Shoulders of Giants. These are just a few of her many achievements! Claudia Schreier is currently the Choreographer in Residence for the Atlanta Ballet. Her first work for the company, First Impulse, was named a Standout Performance of 2019 by Pointe Magazine.
Visit Claudia’s website here: https://www.claudiaschreier.com/. Follow Claudia on Instagram (@claudiaschreier) and Twitter (@cfschreier).
Visit Atlanta Ballet’s website here: https://www.atlantaballet.com/. Follow Atlanta Ballet on Instagram (@atlantaballet), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AtlantaBallet), & Twitter (@atlantaballet).
The Creative Process Episode 2:
The second episode of our GlobalConversations series features our friend and early supporter of DDP, choreographer Helen Pickett.
Helen Pickett is a San Diego native whose artistic achievements range from dancing, acting, teaching and coaching, to writing and choreography. Helen has created award-winning contemporary ballet choreography for companies all over the United States and Europe. She describes her choreographic process as a collaboration with all of the artists involved, asking them to bring their personal research and experience to their roles. Born to actor parents, Helen’s life has always featured the arts. She studied ballet under William Forsythe at Ballet Frankfurt for eleven years; she made her choreographic debut in 2005 with the Boston Ballet; and in 2006, The New York Choreographic Institute awarded her a Fellowship Initiative Grant. Helen earned a Masters of Fine Arts in 2011 from Hollins University, and in 2016, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for her contribution to the arts. From 2012-2017, she held the position of Resident #Choreographer for the Atlanta Ballet.
Helen is represented by Kristopher McDowell of KMP Artists. Visit her website here: https://helenpickett.com/. Follow Helen on Instagram (@helenpickettchoreographer) and check out her Creative Vitality Jam Sessions, an series of intimate conversations (@creativevitalityjamsessions on Instagram) that airs live on YouTube weekly: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCsHxDAnb3Y3wYjaLTTqeh_A
Learn more about Boston Ballet’s ChoreograpHER, an initiative Helen and Liza discuss in the video (and of which Liza is a Lead Sponsor), here: https://www.bostonballet.org/Home/Support/choreograpHER-initiative. Follow Boston Ballet on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bostonballet), Instagram (@BostonBallet), and Twitter (@BostonBallet).
The Creative Process Episode 1:
Our first interview in the series is with Cathy Marston, an award-winning English choreographer (and artistic director) whose 25-year career features work that is heavily inspired by literature and uses narration to explore emotion in dance.
The Royal Ballet and San Francisco Ballet are streaming Marston’s work for free Friday – 29th May. The Royal Ballet will stream her most recent ballet, The Cellist, which was originally filmed for cinema, for two weeks. San Francisco Ballet will put her 2018 work, Snowblind, online for 1 week. The Royal Opera House / Royal Ballet will stream The Cellist from 19.00 BST on the 29th May until the 11th June 2020, on: San Francisco Ballet will stream Snowblind from 14.30 PDT (GMT-7) on the 29th May – 5th June 2020 on: Visit Cathy’s website here.
Her love of literature comes from her parents, who were both English teachers, and can be seen in her works that have been inspired by authors, such as Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Charlotte Brontë. Cathy’s work marries the classical and contemporary, like when she formed a collaboration between dance, singing, and beatboxing. After her school years in Cambridge, Cathy attended the Royal Ballet Upper School from 2002-2007. After serving as Associate Artist at the Royal Opera House, she directed Bern Ballet in Switzerland until 2013 and was named a Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow from 2013-2014. Cathy runs her own charitable company, The Cathy Marston Project, which launched in 2006 and helps support her work.
The Royal Ballet and San Francisco Ballet are streaming Marston’s work for free Friday – 29th May. The Royal Ballet will stream her most recent ballet, The Cellist, which was originally filmed for cinema, for two weeks. San Francisco Ballet will put her 2018 work, Snowblind, online for 1 week.
The Royal Opera House / Royal Ballet will stream The Cellist from 19.00 BST on the 29th May until the 11th June 2020, on:
San Francisco Ballet will stream Snowblind from 14.30 PDT (GMT-7) on the 29th May – 5th June 2020 on:
Visit Cathy’s website here.
ABOUT Rounds 1-4
ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Round 1, The Creative Process, focuses on some of our favorite women choreographers, both emerging and well-established, to highlight their triumphs, struggles, inspiration, and next steps in the midst of a global pandemic and uncertain time for artists and makers.
ABOUT NAVIGATING CHALLENGING TIMES
Round 2, Navigating Challenging Times, brings the industry’s brightest minds right to your home. Sit down (virtually) with artistic & executive directors to understand the successful strategies taking shape as these leaders navigate an unprecedented crisis.
ABOUT THE VIEW FROM 30,000 FEET
Round 3, The View From 30,000 Feet, is DDP’s way of “zooming out” to evaluate the practices & structural reform that will make ballet a more equitable, diverse, & inclusive art form. With 11 influential & impactful guests working in & around dance, three roundtable-style interviews, and a host of pressing topics, Round 3 is a must-see.
ABOUT FROM THE GROUND UP
Round 4, From the Ground Up, features a roster of 14 guests in 10 interviews with DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema. From the Ground Up reimagines ballet as a more equitable, sustainable, and interesting art form at every level by examining and deconstructing its curriculum, marketing, perception, and more.
ABOUT BEHIND THE STAGE
Round 5, Behind the Stage, highlights those professionals who work behind the scenes and out of sight, creating artistic magic in every production, while coping with disasters on a regular basis. This Round features 11 conversations with a roster of renowned women in their respective fields, from stage managers and lighting designers to fight choreographers and filmmakers.
In addition, for the first time, DDP presents Global Conversations in partnership with the Auditorium Theatre. The Auditorium’s commitment to lifting up diverse voices in the arts has been sustained over its 130-year history, celebrating performances by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispánico, and Ballet Folklórico de México, among others. a roster of 14 guests in 10 interviews with DDP Founder & President Liza Yntema.
DDP would like to thank our friends at the Auditorium Theater for providing footage of this historic landmark in our Global Conversations introduction. Learn more about the Auditorium here.