By Isabelle Vail
5 November 2018
New York University is known for both its commitment to the arts and its development of stars in film, to art, to dance.
The university’s Center for Ballet and the Arts is lesser-known and in its nascent stages, despite having won support from major funders like the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Its purpose? To study ballet and related arts, bringing together artists and scholars to develop groundbreaking and long-needed research to the field.
This center is the first of its kind at a major research university, advancing both the arts of ballet dancing and technique and dance as an area of academia. CBA is led by a team of five, four of its members being women, and its fellows appear to be a female majority.
With support from the Toulmin Foundation, CBA was able to launch the Virginia B. Toulmin Fellowship for Women Leaders in Dance. The fellowship, according to CBA’s website, is “designed for women creators (e.g. choreographers, composers) that promotes broader gender equity in the field of dance. The program provides fellows with a stipend, access to studio and office space, an apartment in some cases and time away from daily life to focus on their specified project – a ballet, a score or other work of their imagining related in some way to ballet.”
The center also supports an Artistic Partnership Initiative, through which the center and professional dance companies team up to inspire the creation of new choreography. This initiative comes in the form of a residency, during which fellows selected by company artistic directors develop new work at the center for multiple weeks. Gemma Bond, Shannon Glover, Julie Cunningham, and Wubkje Kuindersma are the four last residency recipients, all female, and all well-respected in the community.
With high-profile names like Lauren Lovette and Allegra Kent on its list of fellows, CBA is moving towards becoming a household name in the business and development of dance – if it is not already there.