Dance News
Misty Copeland opened the 2018 Dance Magazine Awards. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

What does it mean to be human? Well, many things. But if you were at the Dance Magazine Awards last week, you could argue that to be human is to dance. Speeches about the powerful humanity of our art form were backed up with performances by incredible dancers hailing from everywhere from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to Miami City Ballet.

Misty Copeland started off the celebration. A self-professed "Dance Magazine connoisseur from the age of 13," she not only spoke about how excited she was to be in a room full of dancers, but also—having just come from Dance Theatre of Harlem's memorial for Arthur Mitchell—what she saw as their duty: "We all in this room hold a responsibility to use this art for good," she said. "Dance unifies, so let's get to work."

That sentiment was repeated throughout the night.

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New York City Ballet will perform Ulysses Dove's Red Angels as part of Fall For Dance's 2013 free shows in Central Park.

Summer is winding down in the Big Apple, but there’s still time to enjoy the great out-of-doors before digging the boots and parkas out of storage. The hugely popular Fall for Dance Festival, for example, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with free performances in Central Park. Audiences have two chances—September 16 and 17 (rain date September 18)—to catch a special program featuring New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and STREB Extreme Action Company. FFD’s main performances begin at New York City Center September 25.

The Public Theater is hosting the outdoor shows at Delacorte Theater, home to the infamously tricky-to-score-tickets for Shakespeare in the Park. The drill is the same as for the Bard: Line up the morning of the shows either in person or online at shakespeareinthepark.org for tickets to be distributed at noon. If attempts to see Love’s Labour’s Lost last month are any indication, camping out may be your best bet. Good luck, and don’t forget your lawn chair!

Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of Helene Davis Public Relations

Crossing Cultural Lines

Ronald K. Brown blends modern and African dance so smoothly that it’s sometimes hard to pick out each form within his movement. The Brooklyn native has been leading his troupe Evidence for 28 years and creating new works for companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Philadanco. Most recently, he traveled to Cuba to workshop with local companies. He’ll return to set a piece on the group MalPaso, which will then travel to New York to perform the new work alongside their own rep.

Blending dance styles: When you’re using a traditional dance form in choreography, you have to look at the reason to use it. It has to serve the story. But that goes with Western dance, too. Movement should always have an intention; it can’t just be layered on top. An arabesque can say, “I love you” as well as “I hate you.” It’s how you do it that speaks.

Getting stuck while choreographing: I used to say “Eh, I’ll work through it tomorrow,” but I’ve learned that you have to force yourself to get up and fix it. If something’s not working, don’t get attached to it. Push through it. Once you put it on the dancers, it’s not yours anymore, and you have to let go of the ego side. It’s theirs to play with.

On working with dancers outside his company: I’m looking for dancers who don’t necessarily look like mine, but look good doing the material together. As for individuals, I don’t have time to pick at people’s idiosyncrasies. Who can maintain the integrity of the work but still have a conversation with me about what’s happening within it? I want someone who can be vulnerable enough to admit that they’re not sure if they’re doing something correctly.

Dance is a universal language: When I teach, I don’t talk much. I’m always moving with the dancers and have them follow along, so they can really discover the rhythm and feeling of a set of steps. When we were in Cuba, the dancers there followed me like a hawk. They were so open to going wherever I was taking them. DT

Training and career: wanted to be a journalist and didn’t begin studying dance seriously until after high school with Graham teacher Mary Anthony

Career: founded Evidence, A Dance Company in 1985; has set work on companies internationally;

choreographed the revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Choreography: uses hip hop, modern and African dance

to tell stories deeply rooted in spirit

Photo by Julieta Cervantes, courtesy of Evidence

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