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Women in Motion Salon (NYC)

By Events

Women in Motion Salon
#29: Summer Salon in West Village

August 26, 2023 @4-6pm
Doors 4pm | Dancing 4:30pm
Tickets: $10-$25 HERE

Come and join us for drinks, snacks and performances by these complex, skilled & talented makers as they re-imagine how a home becomes a dance space.

Adrienne Wagner
Jansen & Holm
Shana Crawford & Leah Carrell
The Moving Architects
Ellery Jernigan

Movers & Shapers: Mark Morris

By Podcast

PODCAST 161: Mark Morris

Release Date: 7.31.23


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Around the World with Mark Morris

Episode 161: Show Notes

From the age of seven, Mark Morris was enamored with dance. Immersing himself in everything from flamenco to Israeli folk to ballet to modern, Mark has lived, trained, and worked in many different parts of the world. In this episode, Mark takes us on a journey from the audition that signaled the start of his career to the Mark Morris Dance Company’s first show in 1980 to his years in Brussels, where he did his “grandest work.” We also take a look at the work that Mark devotes his time to these days, which involves choreographing “dances of the future” that are only intended to be seen by the public after his death.  His life has been eventful, to say the least, and this episode will give you a taste of the passion and flair that epitomize Mark Morris!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Where Mark’s love for dance originated.
  • Different dance forms that he has been drawn to during his life.
  • How his life changed when he was just 11 years old.
  • Mark’s experience training and working overseas.
  • Why he moved to New York and the various companies he danced for while there.
  • The driving force for the founding of the Mark Morris Dance Group.
  • Mark Morris Dance Group’s first show and how the company evolved from there.
  • Some of Mark’s career highlights.
  • Where he did his grandest work.
  • The contradictory attitudes that he dealt with during his time in Brussels.
  • How the Mark Morris Dance Center came to be.
  • Where Mark finds inspiration to continue to choreograph.
  • Insight into his “dance of the future” concept.
  • The profound role that music plays in his life.

“I like excellence and I like surprise. I’m very interested in work that engages me and that’s not necessarily what everybody else agrees with.” — Mark Morris

MARK MORRIS, praised as “the most successful and influential choreographer alive, and indisputably the most musical” (New York Times), was born on August 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with the companies of Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in 1980 and has since created over 150 works for the company. From 1988 to 1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Morris is also an acclaimed ballet choreographer, with twenty-two works commissioned by ballet companies worldwide.

Noted for his musicality, Morris has been described as “undeviating in his devotion to music” (The New Yorker). He began conducting performances for MMDG in 2006 and has since conducted at Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center, and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). In 2013, he served as Music Director for the Ojai Music Festival. Morris also works extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, among others.

He was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991 and has received eleven honorary doctorates to date. He has taught at the University of Washington, Princeton University, and Tanglewood Music Center.

He is the subject of a biography, Mark Morris, by Joan Acocella (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and Marlowe & Company published a volume of photographs and critical essays entitled Mark Morris’ L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: A Celebration. Mark Morris: Musician-Choreographer, by musicologist Stephanie Jordan, was released in 2015. Morris’s memoir, Out Loud, co-written with Wesley Stace, was published in paperback by Penguin Press in October 2021.

A Doris Duke Artist, Morris is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and has served as an Advisory Board Member for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity, the International Society for the Performing Arts’ Distinguished Artist Award, the Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Gift of Music Award, and the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award. In 2015, Morris was inducted into the Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Morris opened the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, New York, in 2001 to provide a home for his company, subsidized rental space for local artists, community education programs for children and seniors, and a school offering dance classes to students of all ages and levels of experience with and without disabilities.


Mark Morris Dance Group


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

José Greco

Verla Flowers

Chamber Dance Company

Joffrey Ballet

The Juilliard School

Eliot Feld

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Laura Dean

Hannah Kahn

New Jersey State Council of the Arts

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Harvey Lichtenstein

Arlene Croce

Nixon in China

John Adams

Alice Goodman

Peter Sellars

The Death of Klinghoffer

Béjart Ballet Lausanne

Gerard Mortier

La Monnaie / De Munt

George Balanchine

Annie Leibovitz

Sam Black

Trisha Brown Dance Company

Stephen Petronio

Nancy Umanoff

Future Library



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

Movers & Shapers: Melissa M. Young

By Podcast

PODCAST 160: Melissa M. Young

Release Date: 7.3.23


    • Apple Music: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

    • Stitcher: Subscribe and Listen HERE

    • Spotify: Follow and Listen HERE

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Take Up Your Space with Confidence with Artistic Director Melissa M. Young

Episode 160: Show Notes.

Often, as dancers, we have a choice to take up space with confidence or feel defeated and hold back. Our guest on today’s episode is one that continuously chose to take up space and inspired others to follow their intuitions, pursue what they love, and embrace their curiosity. This is an inspiring interview with the Artistic Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT), Melissa M. Young. Our conversation with Melissa is incredibly touching as she talks about why she loved the exploration of dance and remembers certain key impressions that impacted her greatly throughout the years. She tells us why she always chose to dance to the beat of her own drum and why she pursues uncovering herself in the most authentic ways before sharing about her time spent in New York City and how she ultimately ended up dancing at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She’s an amazing individual with a passion for dance and holds the responsibility of being an artistic director with such fervor. Tune in now to hear about the pure joy derived from Melissa’s life in dance. Enjoy.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Melissa talks excitedly about who she is and where her love for dance ignited from.
  • Why she loved the exploration aspect of dance.
  • She talks about the impact of The Stack-Up by Talley Beatty (Alvin Ailey) on her life’s journey.
  • Melissa remembers taking a class from Donald McKayle and the impression it left on her.
  • Why Melissa never put a timeline on her career and allowed the journey to flow.
  • The pull to New York and the blossoming opportunities to do as they were doing at Ailey.
  • She shares thoughts on her firm belief in doing what you see for yourself.
  • Navigating the shoulds, the coulds, and the woulds, and why she chooses to dance to the beat of her own drum.
  • What you see is what you get: uncovering herself in the most authentic way.
  • How the culture shock of moving to New York City made her feel more alive.
  • We hear about her time spent in New York at The Ailey School.
  • How she came upon the DBDT audition notice and took a chance.
  • How her journey at DBDT has allowed her to discover herself.
  • What it was like to move to Dallas: another culture shift.
  • She shares information regarding the current dance and art scene in Dallas.
  • The DBDT and her journey with the company.
  • Her thoughts on the culture, dynamic, and community at DBDT (as a dancer and as staff).
  • How she transitioned from being a dancer to a staff member after 10 years of performing.
  • Looking back at her career, she reflects on some challenges she’s faced and overcame.
  • How she approaches being the artistic director at DBDT (and any role she’s ever filled).
  • Things that are sparking excitement in Melissa for the future.
  • Why she looks for great human beings first when looking at prospective dancers.

“What I love about dance is I look at it like professional problem-solving. The choreography is the problem and the equation of how you get there working with everyone else, that’s how you get to the “answer”.” — Melissa M. Young

Melissa M. Young is a Honduran American raised in Santa Ana, California. She attended Orange Coast College with a focus in Business Administration. She is a graduate of The Ailey School—The Official School of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. During her Fellowship studies, she was one of five students selected to train as an exchange student at Amsterdam University of the Arts in the Netherlands.

Melissa is celebrating her twenty-ninth season with Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT). Young started her career at DBDT as a dancer for eleven years, then moved up the ranks as Rehearsal Director, Academy Director, Associate Artistic Director, Interim Artistic Director, and was appointed as Artistic Director in September 2018. Her most notable performances include The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, and for the U.S. Ambassadors to Ireland and Zimbabwe. She has restaged and rehearsed the diverse repertoire of DBDT, which spans over 100 ballets. She was an Assistant to the Choreographers, Hope Clarke for The Dallas Opera’s Porgy and Bess and Christopher L. Huggins for Dallas Theater Center’s production of The Wiz. Melissa is most proud of thoughtfully leading DBDT through the pandemic by using the many restrictions as a guide to push the boundaries of her imagination into a creative reality.

Teaching master classes both nationally and internationally, Melissa specializes in the Dance Technique of Lester Horton. She was the primary Horton Technique Instructor for the Dallas Black Dance Theatre company dancers from 1998-2017. As an Adjunct Instructor, she has taught at Southern Methodist University, Texas Woman’s University, and Abilene Christian University. Over the years, she has led several movement workshops for Leadership North Texas and Leadership Dallas.

Melissa is a graduate of the Leadership Arts Institute, Class of 2022, a program of Business Council for the Arts in Dallas County. She is a member of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Inc. Melissa has served as an advisory panelist for arts organizations that include the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, Texas Commission on the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and is a former board member for the Dance Council of North Texas.

Melissa was presented with The Dancer’s Award in 2000 for her artistic excellence and dedication to Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She was chosen as one of “The Talented Tenth” by The Dallas Weekly in 2010, for being a Young and Emerging Leader. In 2014, she received an Award of Recognition from the South Dallas Dance Festival for her service to dance and in 2016, the Natalie Skelton Award for Artistic Excellence. In 2017, Melissa received the Shining Star Award from the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance for her significant contributions to dance in Texas and beyond. During the 57th Annual South Central District Conference of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. in 2019, Melissa was honored with the “We Speak Your Name” Career Achievement Award.

MSP 159: Susan Klein

By Podcast No Comments

PODCAST 159: Susan Klein

Release Date: 6.19.23


    • Apple Music: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

    • Stitcher: Subscribe and Listen HERE

    • Spotify: Follow and Listen HERE

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Creating a Technique that Honors the Individual with Susan Klein

Episode 159: Show Notes

Today’s guest Susan Klein is a true luminary, having shaped the modern dance landscape with her groundbreaking theories as creator of the renowned Klein Technique. In this episode, we explore her transformative journey as a movement pioneer, uncovering her dance background, the hurdles she overcame following a series of debilitating knee injuries, and her return to the world of movement. We discover how her experience ignited her passion for understanding the body and teaching others about movement, and how this ultimately led to the development of the Klein Technique. Susan recounts the pivotal moment she realized the limitations of imitation-based teaching and explains why she believes in nurturing individuality within dance. She opens up about her quest to safeguard her unique contributions, and why she decided to concede, despite her concern about the potential harm of her work being taught incorrectly. Join us as Susan shares her unique journey to quietly becoming one of the most valuable and influential players in the modern dance field.

Key Points From This Episode:

    • Introducing Susan Klein, an “unsung hero of modern dance” and creator of Klein Technique.
    • Susan’s dance background and training.
    • Why she believes teaching through imitation to be ineffective.
    • Her influences and how they shaped her journey.
    • The series of knee injuries that temporarily derailed her dancing career and her return to dance, post-injury.
    • How Susan’s experience ultimately led to the development of the Klein Technique.
    • The importance of individuality in dance and Susan’s continued fascination with movement and teaching.
    • Susan mentions notable dancers she taught.
    • What drew people to her work in the modern dance field.
    • The various methods she attempted to protect her work from being copied.
    • Why she finds the widespread adoption of her work both gratifying and concerning.
    • Her journey of developing a technique class based on Laban’s principles.
    • Challenges she’s faced in her dancing career and the various career paths she’s explored.
    • Susan teases her plan to share her knowledge in book form.

“When I work with people, that’s always exciting because their potential and what’s going on in their lives or in their body is infinitely interesting.” — Susan Klein

Susan Klein is founder and director of the Susan Klein School of Movement and Dance.  She has been developing Klein Technique™ since 1972, teaching dancers to use their bodies correctly thus decreasing their possibility of injury and increasing their capacity and longevity as dancers. Her work has been most influenced by Barbara Vedder, D.C., Irmgard Bartenieff, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Fritz Smith, M.D., and J.R. Worsley, D.Ac. Susan started dancing at 5 years old and by 19 years old was seriously injured. Klein Technique™ is a result of her personal journey to get well, and serves as a way for people to work through individual injuries, to understand the workings of their bodies, and to heal themselves. Susan has a private practice as a Movement Therapist, Certified Zero Balancer, Senior Zero Balancing Teacher, and Traditional Acupuncturist, L. Ac., M.Ac., B. Ac. (UK), Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM).

Connect: KleinTechnique

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


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

Movers & Shapers: Hope Mohr

By Podcast

PODCAST 158: Hope Mohr

Release Date: 6.5.23


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Activism, Dance, and Co-Leadership with Hope Mohr

Episode 158: Show Notes.

Dance, movement, performance, and art-making can play many roles in one’s life. And how they are expressed can change shape over the course of a career. Our guest today, Hope Mohr, has woven together a life of art and activism as a choreographer, curator, and advocate. She has had a fascinating career journey, dedicating herself to both dance and activism and finding new and innovative ways to integrate the two. We talk with Hope about the inexorable pull that dance has exerted on her throughout her life and how her feminist awakening in college inspired her activism. She tells us about the leave of absence she took from studying law (on more than one occasion) to pursue unmissable dance opportunities with legends like Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown, and shares how she finally completed her law degree before founding a presenting platform called The Bridge Project. Hope goes on to describe the project’s transition to co-ownership, changing their name to Bridge Live Arts, why she chose to leave after 15 years, and what it’s been like returning to work as an independent artist after so many collaborative projects. Our conversation today covers urgent and meaningful topics, from dismantling existing power structures and redistributing power within dance to returning to yourself and learning how to listen to your inner voice as an artist. To learn more about Hope’s fascinating journey and bigger questions about dance and power, be sure to tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Hope’s upbringing in San Francisco and her early love of dance and ballet.
  • An overview of the dance projects, companies, and training that Hope has been a part of.
  • The leave of absence that Hope took from law school to pursue dance opportunities (on more than one occasion).
  • Hope’s dedication to dance and activism throughout her career.
  • Learn about The Bridge Project, a presenting platform Hope started in 2010.
  • How the project transitioned to a model of co-leadership and was renamed Bridge Live Arts.
  • Hope’s decision to take the bar exam (and pass it) just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Why Hope has continually found herself returning to dance throughout her life.
  • Her feminist awakening and how it led to her activism and work as a lawyer.
  • Reflections on the cycles of burnout Hope has experienced and what keeps her going.
  • How Hope moved back to the Bay area and started her own studio.
  • The focus of Hope’s work as a choreographer: motherhood and navigating the world as someone who identifies as female.
  • An overview of the curation and collaborative work Hope has done for Bridge Live Arts.
  • What informed Hope’s decision to move away from Bridge Live Arts; tending to herself as an artist and making space for a more equitable distribution of power.
  • Locating these changes in the bigger, national conversation around a redistribution of power, race, equity, and co-leadership in dance.
  • The need for grants and other means of support to fund a transition to co-leadership.
  • Hope’s return to being an independent artist and her latest new work.
  • The most significant challenges Hope has faced in her career, along with her biggest highlights.

“I think I’ve always had a very hungry mind and a real passion for social justice work. So that has been a throughline. But dancing has always been my first love. So yeah, it’s been a real calling for me. It still is.” — Hope Mohr

Hope Mohr (she/her) is an artist and advocate.

As a choreographer, Mohr makes work that “conveys emotional and socio-political contents that ride just underneath the surface of a rigorous vocabulary.” (Dance View Times). Her performance work has been presented by Movement Research at Judson Church (NYC), 18th Street Arts Center (LA), Highways Performance Space (LA), Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art (Sonoma), Moody Center for the Arts (Houston), and in the Bay Area at SFMOMA, ODC Theater, Counterpulse, ICA San Francisco, 836M Gallery, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

As a dancer, Mohr trained at S.F. Ballet School and on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios in New York City. She performed in the companies of dance pioneers Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown. While dancing in New York, Mohr also freelanced with Liz Gerring, Douglas Dunn, Trajal Herrell, and Pat Catterson.

In 2007, she founded Hope Mohr Dance (HMD). In 2010, she founded HMD’s presenting program, The Bridge Project. In 2020, she co-stewarded the organization’s transition to a model of distributed leadership. In 2022, the organization changed its name to Bridge Live Arts and its mission to creating and supporting equity-driven live art that centers artists as agents of change. In 2023, Hope transitioned out of Co-Directorship and into Affiliated Artist status with Bridge Live Arts. She now works as an independent artist fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas.

Hope teaches contemporary dance technique, creative movement, movement for actors, and cross-disciplinary practice that puts dance in dialogue with visual art. She has taught at PARTS (Brussels), the Trisha Brown Studio (NYC), 18th Street Arts Center (LA), and in the Bay Area at Stanford University, American Conservatory Theater, Shawl-Anderson, ODC, and the Lines Ballet/Dominican B.F.A. program.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Hope Mohr

The Bridge Project

Bridge Live Arts

Shifting Cultural Power: Case Studies and Questions in Performance

San Francisco Ballet

Merce Cunningham Trust

Lucinda Childs

Liz Gerring Dance Company

Pat Catterson

Douglas Dunn + Dancers

Movement Law

Trisha Brown

Trisha Brown Dance Company

Margaret Jenkins Dance Company

Cherie Hill on Instagram

Karla Quintero on Twitter

Rebecca Fitton on Instagram

Anne Carson


extreme lyric I

Bacchae Before

Leaving the Atocha Station

Horizon Stanzas

Have We Come a Long Way Baby?

Locus Poem

Bay Area Artists In Conversation with Merce Cunningham at 100

What does it mean to have a radical body?

Dancing Around Race: Interrogating Whiteness in Dance

Community Engagement Residency



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

DanceBARN Festival (MN)

By Events

DanceBARN Festival

July 17-23, 2023
Battle Lake, MN
more info:

The DanceBARN Festival is an annual event that brings professional dancers, choreographers, and dance educators together for one week of dancing, creating, relaxing, and performing in the heart of the lakes. TMA Artistic Director Erin Carlisle Norton will be a choreographer in this year’s festival.

MSP 157: Rosalynde LeBlanc

By Podcast

PODCAST 157: Rosalynde LeBlanc

Release Date: 5.21.23

Rosalynde LeBlanc, Co-Director/Producer, Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters. Photo Credit: Eric Politzer


    • Apple Music: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

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Building a Dancer with Rosalynde LeBlanc

Episode 157: Show Notes.

Rosalynde LeBlanc built her career dancing for some of the biggest names in dance. Today, she is Professor and Chair of Dance at Loyola Marymount University. Social justice awareness has always underpinned her work as a choreographer, which is why she creates pieces that are related to the world and not the mirror. During today’s conversation, she shares her perspective on what it truly means to build a dancer beyond just the physical. Tune in to hear the highlights of her incredible journey as the daughter of an accomplished dancer with Paul Taylor, applying to college early and completing her high school diploma alongside her studies, and her time dancing with Bill T. Jones that skyrocketed her career. She shares the story of being invited to dance with Baryshnikov, before burning out just three years later. Rosalynde offers her insights on doing the necessary inner work to succeed as a dancer before telling listeners all about her transition into the world of education. Tune in today to hear all this and more!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Rosalynde LeBlanc’s first experiences with dance and when she really fell in love with it.
  • Her mom’s hands-off approach to managing her relationship with dance.
  • Why she declined an invitation to dance with Paul Taylor.
  • Her memory of Alvin Ailey’s death and the first World AIDS Day in 1989.
  • Applying to college early and completing her high school diploma alongside her studies.
  • Her experience at Purchase and the social change that occurred while she was there.
  • The Bill T. Jones workshop she attended summer of ’92.
  • Apprenticing for Bill T. Jones.
  • The duet she performed with Bill T. Jones which launched her career.
  • Her father’s work in cinema and the relationships she formed with Black Hollywood.
  • What it was like to dance for Bill T. Jones at the age of 19.
  • Her experience of being in the work and touring with Still/Here.
  • The fraught process of leaving Bill T. Jones.
  • Being invited to dance with Baryshnikov.
  • The mind-body connection and how it relates to becoming dancer.
  • Burning out at White Oak Dance Project after three years.
  • Her transition into education.
  • The sanctuary of the studio.
  • What she loves most about performing.
  • The piece she is working on at the moment; Tomboy.
  • The less talked about shadow of success.

“The other 50% of being a dancer is your psychological state of being and that shapes your body as much as all the other technique classes. So you have to deal with that.” — Rosalynde LeBlanc

Rosalynde LeBlanc danced with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (1993 – 1999), and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project (1999 – 2002). She has also worked onscreen with film directors Burt Barr, John Turturro, Gretchen Bender and Matthew Rolston. She can be seen in the short film, Roz, the PBS Specials, Still/Here, Free to Dance, Dancing in the Light, A Good Man and in the feature film, Romance and Cigarettes. LeBlanc is a leading figure in the legacy and pedagogy of Bill T. Jones. She re-stages his work around the country and runs the Jones/Zane Educational Partnership at Loyola Marymount University, where she is an associate professor in the dance department. In 2020, her work in dance research and pedagogy was recognized with an honorary induction into the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu.

Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters  is now streaming for free as part of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange. Audiences can visit,, Black Public Media’s YouTube Channel, and WORLD’s YouTube channel.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Rosalynde LeBlanc on LinkedIn
Loyola Marymount University
Paul Taylor Dance Company
Bill T. Jones
Mikhail Baryshnikov 
White Oak Dance Project

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

Movers & Shapers: Remembering Agnes De Mille with Elizabeth Ferrell and Jenna Rae Herrera

By Podcast

PODCAST 156: Remembering Agnes De Mille with Elizabeth Ferrell and Jenna Rae Herrera

Beth Ferrell in Rodeo

Release Date: 5.8.23


    • Apple Music: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

    • Stitcher: Subscribe and Listen HERE

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Remembering Agnes De Mille with Elizabeth Ferrell and Jenna Rae Herrera

Episode 156: Show Notes.

Today’s episode is a special one, where we look back and remember world-renowned dancer, choreographer, writer, lecturer, and director, Agnes De Mille. Agnes had a successful, yet tempestuous, career that spanned almost 70 years through the world of 20th-century American theater and ballet. We take a look at her through the eyes of Elizabeth Ferrell, formerly a member of the American Ballet Theater, and Jenna Rae Herrera, a principal artist with Ballet West. We hear their recollections of working with De Mille in the studio and performing her work, and we listen to their insights about how the course of American dance was forever changed by her. Stay tuned for a lively conversation about Agnes De Mille and her long-lasting impact; creating strong-willed American female roles. Enjoy!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Beth shares a short (but detailed) biography of Agnes De Mille; Agnes in a nutshell.
  • More about Beth, her background, and how she became part of De Mille’s work.
  • Beth tells listeners about De Mille’s personality (both in the studio and on stage).
  • Jenna talks about her background in dance and career at Ballet West.
  • Jenna tells us about learning her role in Rodeo and how it helped her grow as an artist.
  • The process of learning the Rodeo material (and hearing the narrative from Agnes herself).
  • Jenna shares her experience learning work that was made decades ago (and translating it to her body and the company).
  • We hear Beth’s experience doing De Mille’s work, both the physical experience and the learning process.
  • Jenna and Beth reminisce about their time performing The Cow Girl in the Rodeo
  • Why Rodeo was set on ballet companies (as opposed to other genres of dance).
  • Their thoughts on why De Mille’s work has become timeless and why it’s still being performed today.

“She was really ahead of her time, there’s still a real push to nurture and push female choreographers and women’s voices [today] — and here she is in the 1940s choosing her own music, dancers, costumes, set designs, and was calling the shots.” — Elizabeth Ferrell

Elizabeth Ferrell was born in St. Louis, Missouri and began her early training with Alexandra Zaharias.  At age 14, she was awarded a Ford Foundation Scholarship to study at the School of American Ballet and upon graduation was chosen by Peter Martins to receive the Danish American National Cultures Exchange scholarship to study with the Royal Danish Ballet.  In 1985, Elizabeth was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to become a member of American Ballet Theatre where she danced from 1985 to 1998.  During that time she appeared in much of the classical and contemporary repertory and worked with such esteemed choreographers as Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Anthony Tudor, Lar Lubovitch, Glen Tetley, Mark Morris, Ben Stevenson, Natalia Makarova, Kevin McKenzie, Clark Tippet, Ronald Hynd, Twyla Tharp and Agnes de Mille.  She has also performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, New York City Opera, Alessandra Ferri’s “Stars of the American Ballet”, Papermill Playhouse, Muny Opera, Goodspeed Opera, and most recently Hong Kong Ballet.  She can be seen in five “Dance in America” broadcasts for PBS and appeared in Herbert Ross‘ movie “Dancers” and Frederick Wiseman’s documentary “Ballet.”  Elizabeth took part in the inaugural teacher training program of ABT’s National Training Curriculum and is now an ABT certified instructor.  She has taught at such institutions as Ballet Hispanico in New York, Danceworks in London, and the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, as well as guest taught at ballet schools in the U.S., London and Hong Kong.  She is currently on the faculty of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.

In addition, Beth has danced the following roles in Agnes de Mille works:

DeMille workshop- 1998: Allegro, A Rose For Miss Emily

With American Ballet Theatre: The Informer– 1988 original cast- was in corps and the female lead- The Girl, Rodeo– 1989 ABT revival- was an Eastern Friend and the Cowgirl, 3 Virgins and a Devil– 1993 ABT revival- The Fanatical One, The Other– 1992- the corps, Fall River Legend– the corps

Musical Theater- Brigadoon– 1996 revival NY City Opera- Jean Maclaren

Jenna Rae Herrera in Rodeo (photo Beau Pearson)

Jenna Rae Herrera is from Ontario, California.  She joined Ballet West II in 2007 and the main company in 2010.  Jenna was promoted to Demi-Soloist in 2015, to Soloist in 2016, to First Soloist in 2020, and to Principal in 2021.  She trained under Cynthia Young, Laurence Blake, and Randall Graham.  Jenna’s favorite leading roles she’s danced with Ballet West include Balanchine’s Rubies, Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Olga in Cranko’s Onegin, and Juliet in Smuin’s Romeo + Juliet.  Jenna is also on faculty with the Ballet West Academy and has taught at the Ballet West Academy Summer Intensive, as well as at the Brigham Young University Advanced Ballet Intensive.  She is currently enrolled at the University of Utah with the hopes of obtaining a bachelor’s in the Fine Arts.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Jenna Rae Herrera

Jenna Rae Herrera on Instagram

Elizabeth Ferrell

Elizabeth Ferrell on Instagram

Agnes De Mille

Agnes De Mille Books

Dance to the Piper

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

Paradigm Gallery + Studio (Philadelphia)

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Pop-Up Performance: The Moving Architects at Paradigm Gallery + Studio

June 17, 2023 @ 3pm
Paradigm Gallery + Studio
12 N. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Free Event
More on Paradigm HERE

Experience The Moving Architects up close and personal for a pop-up performance at Paradigm Gallery + Studio!

Paradigm Gallery + Studio® was established in 2010 by co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston. The gallery exhibits meaningful, process-intense contemporary artwork from around the world. Paradigm Gallery is globally recognized and known as a tastemaker within the greater Philadelphia arts community. As the gallery grows, it maintains its original mission to keep art accessible, and continues to be a champion of small businesses and emerging and mid-career artists.

Pentacle Presents: Dance in Philadelphia (Performance Garage)

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Pentacle Presents: Dance in Philadelphia at the Performance Garage

June 16-17, 2023 @ 7pm
Performance Garage
1515 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Tickets: $15-$20 HERE

New York City based dance advocacy organization Pentacle will bring the work of five female-led companies to Philadelphia’s renowned home for dance, the Performance Garage. For two nights, modern and contemporary dance from both coasts convene to tell a diverse array of stories: Go on a journey to mythical lands, confront barriers and isolation in poetic duets, and be enthralled by aerial spectacle of light, movement, and projection. Experience the dimensions of the human condition in thought-provoking and expertly crafted dance works by Ariel Rivka Dance, Freespace Dance, MILKLEAF, The Moving Architects, and Sonia Plumb Dance Company. These companies are part of Pentacle’s Administrative Support Program, which provides direct administrative services and performance opportunities for artists.