Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet first exploded onto the NYC dance scene less than 10 years ago and gained a reputation for bringing coveted European choreographers to US audiences. Now, the company is everywhere. Benoit-Swan Pouffer credits his success to Judith Jamison, who he worked under during his time with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
"Judith embodied what dancers expect as an artistic director. There was always a goal in her mind, and while everyone has self-doubt once in a while, she never let it show. If you believe in yourself and your message, people will follow and encourage you along the way. She showed us that passion is truly contagious.
I had to set goals for Cedar Lake, and I wouldn't have achieved them without people believing in my mission. Now that we've accomplished my first set of goals for the company, I decided it was time to open the doors to a training program--something I wanted to do once the company had made a name for itself. I wanted to see what my dancers have learned during the past six years with me and how they could share that with these students who are talented and are clearly the next generation of dance."
Photo by François Rousseau, courtesy of Glen Wielgus