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December 2022

MSP 147: Annie Rigney

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PODCAST 147: Annie Rigney

Release Date: 12.26.22


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Dancing Across Continents, Finding Your Body, and Discovering the Ilan Lev Method With Annie Rigney

Who you are as an artist is undoubtedly influenced by the teachers you encounter along the way. Similarly, being exposed to different artistic practices can have a significant impact on your development. Today’s guest, Annie Rigney, started dancing at the tender age of three and hasn’t looked back since. She spent her childhood and teenage years rigorously honing her craft as a ballet dancer and even founded a local dance company with her friend, where she had her first experience as a choreographer. It was only after Annie arrived at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance that she became aware of the liberation that lay in other dance forms and approaches to movement. In our conversation, Annie recounts how she was first introduced to new techniques (like Graham and Gaga), the teachers that took the time to work with her one on one, and how these experiences gave her the tools to begin to move beyond the limitations of ballet. We hear about her time in Israel, her discovery of the Ilan Lev method, and why becoming an Ilan Lev practitioner was one of the best decisions she ever made. Annie then moves on to describe her return to New York, the culture shock she experienced after four years abroad, and how the American approach to dance and movement differs from those of Israelis. We wrap things up by discussing Annie’s recent return to choreography after a ten-year hiatus, why she felt she had needed to wait before returning to it, and what her plans are for the future. Annie’s love for dance is evident throughout this conversation, and the knowledge she has accumulated is nuanced, profound, and thought-provoking. Be sure to tune in to hear all this along with her wonderful insights on a range of fascinating topics, from healing through dance to the art of repetition! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Get to know today’s guest, Annie Rigney, and how she first fell in love with dance.
  • Annie’s love of music and her dedication to ballet throughout her childhood and teens.
  • The dance company Annie and her friend started as teens.
  • How running a dance company introduced Annie to choreography.
  • Annie’s time at SUNY Purchase and how she was introduced to modern dance.
  • The rigor, discipline, pain, and emotional abuse that characterized Annie’s early dance training.
  • How new dance techniques and teachers helped Annie rediscover her body.
  • The show by Batsheva that changed Annie’s plans to focus on choreography after college.
  • The Gaga dance course that Annie took with Bobbi Jene Smith and how it altered her trajectory.
  • Annie’s move to Israel and the time she spent training in Tel Aviv.
  • The support and love Annie has always felt from her parents.
  • An overview of the Ilan Lev method and how it transformed Annie’s mobility and movement.
  • How Annie became an Ilan Lev practitioner and how her understanding has grown over the past 12 years.
  • Why the Ilan Lev method is all about efficiency and effortlessness.
  • How conflict can stimulate art and healing practices.
  • Annie’s experience playing Lady Macbeth for three years in Sleep No More
  • What this taught her about repetition and performance.
  • The pressure Annie felt to create excellent choreography after her ten-year hiatus.
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic gave her the freedom to experiment with choreography.
  • What Annie is working on right now and how she has been influenced by surrealism and theatricality.
  • The community that Annie has been able to build around the Ilan Lev method in New York.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Annie Rigney on Instagram

Conservatory of Dance | Purchase College


Martha Graham Dance Company

Batsheva Dance Company

Bobbi Jene Smith

Ilan Lev

Moshe Feldenkrais



Annie Rigney is a New York based dancer, choreographer, Gaga teacher and Ilan Lev therapist. She is an Alumnus of the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase. Annie danced with the Batsheva Ensemble under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin. She toured internationally with Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company and was a cast member of Punchdrunk’s immersive theater production, Sleep No More, from 2015-2019.  She has freelanced with LeeSaar the Company, Zoe Schofield, and Gallim Dance. Annie is a certified Gaga teacher and teaches regularly at Gibney Dance Center, Mark Morris Dance Center, and is an adjunct professor at University of the Arts and SUNY Purchase. She is the director of the Ilan Lev Method Training program in New York and treats dancers for injuries and functional limitations. Annie was a guest choreographer for the Fall Concert at SUNY Purchase 2021 and her work has been presented by Batsheva Studios in Tel Aviv, at the Joyce Soho, Arts on Site, at Greenspace DanceNow(NYC), the Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the University of the Arts. Her choreographic work, “Galithea” was recently featured as a part of the 92nd Street Y’s Future Dance Festival and was presented at The Joyce by the Martha Graham Dance Company. Annie is currently working on a new commision for the Martha Graham Dance Company for the company’s 2023 Season. Additionally, her evening-length work entitled, “…she was becoming untethered.” will be presented by the 92nd Street Y in March of 2023. Annie is a recipient of the Moving Women Residency from Gallim Dance, a CUNY Grant recipient, and a current choreographic fellow for Robert Battle’s New Directions Choreographic Fellowship program at the Alvin Ailey School.


Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton

Movers & Shapers: Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow, Mara Driscoll, and César Abreu

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PODCAST 146: Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow, Mara Driscoll, and César Abreu

Release Date: 12.12.22


    • Apple Music: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

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ABOUT Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow

Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow is a professional dancer, teacher and producer in New York City. She received her B.A in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College where she now serves on the Dance Advisory Board as the Nominating Chair. She is a former company member with Ballet Hispanico of New York.  This is Elizabeth’s ninth season dancing with The Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Productions at the Metropolitan Opera include Bluebeard’s Castle, Eugene Onegin, Turandot, Le Nozze De Figaro, Meistersinger, Werther, Die Zauberflöte, Parsifal, Manon, La Traviata, Aida, The Magic Flute and Tannhäuser. The last five of which have been transmitted live in HD to over 70 countries across the globe.  Elizabeth is a co-producer of the salon series Art Bath NYC. Art Bath is part art party part immersive concert, featuring world renowned artists in the historic Blue Building on East 46th St.  Elizabeth toured internationally with “Angelina Ballerina, The Musical", danced at Walt Disney World, and is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artist Union.  Elizabeth teaches dance throughout the United States and is on faculty with the 92nd Street Y and the Joffery Ballet Trainee Program in NYC. She has also taught ballet and musical theatre for Regional Dance America, Mile Square Theatre, Marymount Girls School, the Passport to learning project in New Jersey, the National Choreography Intensive and private lessons in Manhattan, Metro-Atlanta, and virtually.

ABOUT Mara Driscoll

Mara Driscoll is a creative producer, arts administrator, choreographer, and professional dancer. She is the Program and Advancement Lead at the International Society for the Performing Arts, a network of 500 leading arts professionals from 60 countries. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, she founded and produced Boulder Arts Outdoors, a multi-disciplinary performance festival in Boulder, Colorado.  In 2022, she co-founded Art Bath and has since presented major names in music, dance, opera, and visual art at Art Bath’s intimate, immersive salons in midtown Manhattan. As a dancer, Mara has worked with FJK Dance, Richmond Ballet, Armitage Gone! Dance, and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, where she has danced for six consecutive seasons. Her choreography has been presented at The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, New York Theatre Workshop, New Chamber Ballet, and the Center at West Park.

ABOUT César Abreu

César Abreu, a native of Puerto Rico and former member of the Grammy-nominated international band sensation, Menudo, holds a BFA in dance education from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and an MFA in dance from New York University (Full Tuition Scholarship).  Capitalizing on a 16-year career as a dancer for The Metropolitan Opera, Abreu has also danced for The Santa Fe Opera and the Philadelphia-based Koresh Dance Company, among others, as well as for national Broadway show tours.  Having taught master classes, both nationally and internationally, César continues to choreograph and dance, but has built on his considerable professional performance experience, expanding his reach to produce, direct, and administer live performance, film and video.


For more information or to reserve tickets, please visit ArtBathNYC

Art and Community with Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow, Mara Driscoll, and César Abreu

Episode 146: Show Notes

Performers are always looking for creative outlets and creative communities. In this episode, we hear from three incredible people, Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow, Mara Driscoll, and César Abreu, who have come together to form an exciting new project with a shared vision for performance. Art Bath is an immersive performance salon series that fosters community, exploration, and exchange within the community. Our guests share how they met while dancing at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and why they decided to join forces to create Art Bath. We start by learning about each of their journeys to becoming the performers they are today, what they enjoy most about dance, and the unique way in which they have come together.  Learn about the power of the Art Bath platform, how art can help people connect and understand one another, and how they found the formula that works. We also find out how the various ways they support the salon, the challenges of building a solid support base, the ultimate goal of Art Bath, and what the future holds for this exciting creative production. Tune in to hear more about the power of art and community with today’s inspirational guests, Elizabeth Yilmaz-Dobrow, Mara Driscoll, and César Abreu!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • How each of our guests first became interested in dance.
  • Find out what forms of dance our guests first practiced.
  • What they pursued after graduating from high school.
  • Hear how their experiences shaped them into becoming artists.
  • The experience of performing on stage at the Met.
  • Mara’s unconventional path to becoming a professional dancer.
  • The sense of community amongst the dancers at the Met.
  • Learn about Cesar’s background as a child actor.
  • Why Cesar is passionate about performing and dancing.
  • The people that were advocates for Cesar to pursue dance.
  • How our guests first met and decided to start Art Bath.
  • The performance that ignited the development of Art Bath.
  • How they were able to find a location for their idea.
  • Discover the inspiration for the name of the studio.
  • Mara explains the concept and vision behind Art Bath.
  • The artists who perform at Art Bath.
  • How art can encourage open dialogue and conversation.
  • Learn how they fundraise and support the project.
  • Elizabeth outlines the type of audience who attend Art Bath shows.
  • How Art Bath creates a sense of community for performers.
  • What to expect from Art Bath and our guests in the future.