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MOVE|NYC| Helped This Dancer Matriculate to Juilliard

Waverly Fredericks. Photo by Rachel Papo

Waverly Fredericks was on the verge of quitting dance when Chanel DaSilva invited the LaGuardia Performing Arts High School freshman to audition for the inaugural cohort of Young Professionals. Standing 6-foot-2, he'd been told that he looked too awkward and was "too big" to be a dancer. "I didn't like having long limbs that stretched from here to there," Fredericks says. "So I stood in the back, too scared to dance full-out."


Everything changed when DaSilva and MOVE|NYC| co-director Nigel Campbell sat down with Fredericks and asked what was going on. "They really understood how my mind was keeping me from dancing," Fredericks says. "They helped me be clearer with my words and my body." That clarity, plus four years as a Young Professional, gave Fredericks the confidence and technical polish to audition for The Juilliard School, where he has just finished his first year. Now, his goal is to tour the world with a company like Nederlands Dans Theater or Batsheva, and maybe one day run MOVE|NYC| himself. "I have this vision in my head of creating this huge dance establishment where dancers can come, create and hone in on their magic," he says. "That's what Chanel and Nigel taught me to do."


Join Career Transition For Dancers, a program of The Actors Fund and Dance Business Weekly for a lively discussion with dance artists Chanel DaSilva and Nigel Campbell, co-founders of MOVE|NYC|, about what it takes to develop the mind-set of a business owner—and why that perspective is useful for any dancer who sets out to create and manage a successful career, whether it's performing, teaching or managing. It takes place Saturday, April 25, 1–3 pm EST, and you can sign up here.

Music
Mary Malleney, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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For Parents

Darrell Grand Moultrie teaches at a past Jacob's Pillow summer intensive. Photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow

In the past 10 months, we've grown accustomed to helping our dancers navigate virtual school, classes and performances. And while brighter, more in-person days may be around the corner—or at least on the horizon—parents may be facing yet another hurdle to help our dancers through: virtual summer-intensive auditions.

In 2020, we learned that there are some unique advantages of virtual summer programs: the lack of travel (and therefore the reduced cost) and the increased access to classes led by top artists and teachers among them. And while summer 2021 may end up looking more familiar with in-person intensives, audition season will likely remain remote and over Zoom.

Of course, summer 2021 may not be back to in-person, and that uncertainty can be a hard pill to swallow. Here, Kate Linsley, a mom and academy principal of Nashville Ballet, as well as "J.R." Glover, The Dan & Carole Burack Director of The School at Jacob's Pillow, share their advice for this complicated process.

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Teachers Trending

From left: Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives; Courtesy Ballethnic

It is the urgency of going in a week or two before opening night that Lydia Abarca Mitchell loves most about coaching. But in her role as Ballethnic Dance Company's rehearsal director, she's not just getting the troupe ready for the stage. Abarca Mitchell—no relation to Arthur Mitchell—was Mitchell's first prima ballerina when he founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook; through her coaching, Abarca Mitchell works to pass her mentor's legacy to the next generation.

"She has the same sensibility" as Arthur Mitchell, says Ballethnic co-artistic director Nena Gilreath. "She's very direct, all about the mission and the excellence, but very caring."

Ballethnic is based in East Point, a suburban city bordering Atlanta. In a metropolitan area with a history of racism and where funding is hard-won, it is crucial for the Black-led ballet company to present polished, professional productions. "Ms. Lydia" provides the "hard last eye" before the curtain opens in front of an audience.

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