Mothers have had robust careers in dance for decades. However, support systems have rarely been woven into the foundation of dance organizations. Thankfully, Dance Data Project® has observed a growing call for lactation room availability, family leave, childcare provided during rehearsals/performances, and even residency programs for families, in order to transform organizational norms and improve sustainability for working mothers in the cultural sector.
In our upcoming interview series, Moving Forces: Motherhood in Dance, DDP will be in conversation with working mothers in varying roles in the dance field to discuss their personal experiences, work-life balance, and recommendations to create an increasingly inclusive dance ecosystem.
Interview with Taryn Kaschock Russell, Director of the 92NY Harkness Dance Center
Taryn Kaschock Russell was named the Director of the 92NY Harkness Dance Center in September of 2019. As the Dance Center Director, Kaschock Russell oversees all aspects of dance at 92NY, working to provide overarching vision, partnership, and support for the School of Dance and the Dance Education Laboratory while also leading all curatorial performance opportunities, workshops, and artist residencies. Under her curation and directorship in the fall of 2021, the Harkness Mainstage Series was launched, bringing a year-long dance series to the Kaufmann Concert Hall stage–where Alvin Ailey premiered Revelations in 1960–for the first time in over 50 years. Before revitalizing 92NY’s in-person dance platforms, in the spring of 2021 Kaschock Russell created a mid-pandemic online opportunity, connecting emerging choreographers with established industry leaders and company directors: The Future Dance Festival introduced the work of 21 choreographers to directors from Ballet Hispanico, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, RUBBERBAND, AIM by Kyle Abraham and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Beyond the virtual festival, an additional opportunity to partner with the Martha Graham Dance Company in a co-presentation for 9 of the choreographers arose as part of Graham’s Joyce 2021 Fall Engagement.
Prior to holding this position, Kaschock Russell served on the Artistic leadership team of the Juilliard Dance Division for three years: as Associate Director in the 2016-17 and 2018-19 academic years, and as the Acting Artistic Director in 2017-18. Between 2013 and 2019, Kaschock Russell served both as faculty at the Juilliard School and as a lecturer at the Conservatory of Dance, SUNY Purchase. Over the past two decades, this passionate educator has been a company guest instructor for Abraham in Motion, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet BC, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, while teaching frequently for both the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Gibney Company during their New York seasons. Kaschock Russell serves on the Artistic Advisory Council for MOVE[NYC] and on the Advisory Council for the newly formed The Misty Copeland Foundation, two organizations whose visions and missions she passionately supports as they align to provide greater access and opportunity to young artists further diversifying the dance field. Having been diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis at the age of 11, Kaschock Russell also serves on the Advisory Board for Back to Healing, an organization whose strives to positive empower and provide community for individuals living with scoliosis.
Interview with Cara Hagan, Mover, Shaker, and Difference Maker
Cara Hagan is a mover, maker, writer, curator, champion of just communities, and a dreamer. She believes in the power of art to upend the laws of time and physics, a necessary occurrence in pursuit of liberation. In her work, no object or outcome is sacred; but the ritual to get there is. Hagan’s adventures take place as live performance, on screen, as installation, on the page, and in collaboration with others in a multitude of contexts.
In recent years, Hagan and her work have traveled to such gatherings as the Performática Festival in Cholula, Mexico, the Conference on Geopoetics in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Loikka Dance Film Festival in Helsinki, Finland, the Taos Poetry Festival in Taos, New Mexico, and to the Dance on Camera Festival in New York City. Extended residencies have taken place at Thirak India in Jaipur, India, Playa Summer Lake in the dynamic outback of Oregon, Roehampton University in London, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of North Carolina, School of the Arts.
Cara is grateful to have received financial support from various organizations and institutions to continue her work. Recent support has included the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron where she was named the inaugural Community Commissioning Residency Artist for the 2020/2021 season. Past support has come from the Dance Films Association, the Filmed in NC Fund, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Forsyth County Arts Council, the Appalachian State University Research Council, the Watauga County Arts Council, and Betty’s Daughter Arts.
Since becoming a parent and navigating a global pandemic, Hagan’s work takes place a bit closer to home these days. She is working on a new book titled, Ritual Activism. She had the pleasure of being one of the first artists to be in residence since the pandemic at Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, NC in June and July of 2021 where her interdisciplinary project, Essential Parts: A Guide to Moving through Crisis and Unbridled Joy is installed until 2022.
Hagan is editor and contributor to the anthology Practicing Yoga as Resistance: Voices of Color in Search of Freedom, published in 2021 by Routledge. Hagan is author of the book Screendance from Film to Festival: Celebration and Curatorial practice, published in 2022 by McFarland. Cara Joined the faculty of The New School in 2022 and works as Associate Professor and Program Director for the MFA in Contemporary Theatre Performance.
Interview with Lauren Post, Dancer with American Ballet Theatre
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Lauren Post began her dance training at the age of 3. After moving to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, she continued her training under Henry Danton. In 2002, she left home to study, on full scholarship, at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. During her three years there, she danced leading roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, and La Bayadère.
Post attended summer programs at Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, and also studied with ballet teacher Magdalena Maury. She was a 2006 National YoungArts Foundation Winner in Dance. After graduating early, Post danced with Ballet Internationale and Atlanta Ballet.
She became an apprentice with American Ballet Theatre in January 2008 and joined the corps de ballet in June 2008. Her repertory includes an Odalisque in Le Corsaire, the third girl in Fancy Free, Zulma in Giselle, one of the Nutcracker’s Sisters in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, the Ranch Owner’s Daughter in Rodeo, Rosaline’s Friend in Romeo and Juliet, Italian Princess in Swan Lake, Persephone in Sylvia, and a featured role in Raymonda Divertissements. Post created the Silver Fairy in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty and a featured role in Songs of Bukovina.