Big Grant = Big Ideas

The dance program at Middlebury College in Vermont has been awarded a $310,000 Mellon grant—one of the largest ever given to an arts program at Middlebury—in order to bring interdisciplinary art projects to fruition. Movement Matters, the program funded by the grant, will consist of three phases over several years: First, Middlebury’s dance program will seek out both on-campus professors and off-campus emerging dance artists who are interested in collaborating to create interdisciplinary work. “We want to be an incubator for emerging artists to combine their creative process with a scholarly foundation,” says dance program chair Christal Brown. “Think of Urban Bush Women and the community engagement work they do within an academic structure. We’re trying to do that, but for an artist who isn’t at that stature yet.”

Middlebury will select three choreographers to begin to develop their projects on campus. One of those three artists will be chosen as the Mellon Interdisciplinary Choreographer for a two-year residency with the dance program, complete with a production budget to fully realize his or her project. Such a lengthy application process is necessary, says Brown: “We’re not trying to find the best artist, but the artist we feel we can build the most reciprocal relationship with.” She heralds this project as perfect for the school’s nonconservatory environment—the focus will be on the creative process and creating dance within a context. “Interdisciplinary art-making and the core of what liberal arts education is about are very similar, in that you pull pieces together from various places to make a whole statement,” says Brown. “Once you understand the essence of how things work together, our knowledge bases become tools for change.”

Photo by Brett Simison

Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less
The author with Maurice Hines. Photo by Anthony R. Phillips, courtesy Hopkins

In March, prior to sheltering in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and I traveled from New York City to Miami to screen our award-winning documentary, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, at the Miami Film Festival.

Our star, Tony Award–nominated dancer and choreographer Maurice Hines joined us in Miami for the festival—stepping and repeating on the opening night red carpet, sharing anecdotes from his illustrious seven-decade career with local tap students, and holding court at a cocktail mixer with lively female fans.

Keep reading... Show less
Haruko Photography, courtesy ABT

Gabe Stone Shayer may be American Ballet Theatre's newest soloist, but he never dreamed he'd be dancing with the company at all. Though he grew up in Philadelphia, his sights were always set on international ventures—especially The Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

Even in his early training, he was learning from Russian educators: Alexander Boitsov at Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, and Alexei and Natalia Cherov, from the Koresh School of Dance. At age 13, he transferred to The Rock School for Dance Education, where he danced until his acceptance to The Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 14. At 16, Shayer returned to spend his summer in the States and attended ABT's summer intensive—fully intent on going back to Bolshoi to continue his training in the fall. Four weeks in, he was offered a studio-company contract. "I was so surprised," Shayer says. "Having come of age in Russia, I was very Eurocentric. Of course ABT was on my radar, I just never imagined it was for me."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.