MOVERS & SHAPERS: A DANCE PODCAST

The personal stories, experiences, and ideas from those who shape the dance field.

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Movers & Shapers: Alessandra Corona

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PODCAST 150: Alessandra Corona


Release Date: 2.6.23

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A Legacy of Dance with Alessandra Corona

Today’s episode is sure to inspire you! Joining us in conversation today, we have a joyful spirit, Alessandra Corona. Tuning in, you’ll hear about her time as a principal dancer for Ballet Hispánico, overcoming a language barrier, and falling in love with modern dance. Alessandra shares how Ann Reinking was a revolutionary influence on her, and invited her to join the international Fosse tour. Alessandra’s life took an unexpected twist when she started her own dance company, Alessandra Corona Performing Works; hear the story of what motivated her to take the plunge, how her dancers made it possible, and so much more during this motivational episode. Thanks for listening!

“Fosse was something I never expected would happen in my career. All I wanted to be was a concert dancer, that’s it! In the modern company I was obsessed with contemporary work and modern work, but I was not thinking about Broadway!”

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The story of how Alessandra first became interested in dance.
  • Going to Rome alone to pursue her dream after attempting to study to be a dance teacher.
  • Why modern dance is her number one favorite way to perform.
  • Auditioning for Ballet Hispánico.
  • Moving to New York, learning English, and how dance saved Alessandra.
  • Why Ballet Hispánico was so challenging and why she loved it.
  • The influence that Ann Reinking had on Alessandra and joining the international Fosse Tour.
  • What motivated Alessandra to start a company.
  • Dancing at the age of 60 and the many different ways you can be on stage.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Alessandra Corona

Alessandra Corona Performing Works on Instagram

Alessandra Corona Performing Works on Facebook

Ballet Hispanico

Ann Reinking

BIO: Alessandra Corona is from Cagliari Italy (Sardinia) and was trained in ballet at the national Ballet Academy in Rome.She toured internationally for 5 years as a principal dancer with Renato Greco Dance Company at prestigious theaters such as Brooklyn Academy of music in New York.  After moving to New York, Alessandra was a principal dancer with Ballet Hispanico for 15 years, originating roles in ballets by renowned European and American choreographers.  Ann Reinking selected Alessandra as a principal dancer for 2 years in the international tour company of the musical “Fosse” which was performed in Europe and Asia, including 7 weeks of touring performances in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka (Japan). She has performed as a guest artist at various international dance festivals, including “Notte di Stelle” at the historical Amphitheatre in Cagliari (Italy), Villa Pamphili summer festival in Rome, Seattle international dance festival, Jacob’s Pillow festival, kick-off festival at the Lincoln Center Theater, City Center “Encore” season with the production of the Richard Rogers musical “No Strings”.  In 2012 Ms. Corona founded “Alessandra Corona Performing Works LTD” where she directs and performs in her own productions.

 

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

Movers & Shapers: Dante Puleio and Michelle Preston

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PODCAST 149: Dante Puleio and Michelle Preston 

Release Date: 1.23.23

TO DOWNLOAD PODCAST OR LISTEN:

    • Apple Music: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

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Sustaining the Legacy of the Limón Dance Company with Dante Puleio and Michelle Preston

The Limón Dance Company is approaching its 75th anniversary and in today’s episode, we are joined by its Artistic Director, Dante Puleio, and Executive Director, Michelle Preston. Dante and Michelle’s passion for their work is palpable and over the next few years they plan to inject new energy into Limón while also preserving the company’s rich heritage. Tune in today to hear how dance changed the lives of these two guests, the journeys that led them to their current positions at Limón, and how, through marrying their different skill sets, they hope to enhance and empower the legacy of this institution. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Dante shares an overview of his journey to becoming a professional dancer.
  • Factors that make the Limón technique unique.
  • How dancing (and moving to London) changed Dante’s life. 
  • How Dante became part of the Limón Dance Company.
  • Some of Dante’s favorite side hustles. 
  • The topic of Dante’s master’s thesis. 
  • The new role that Dante took on in 2020. 
  • Dante shares the biggest challenges and biggest joys of his dancing career.
  • Michelle’s introduction to dancing.
  • The realization that Michelle came to after four years of intensive artistic study.
  • Why Michelle moved to New York, and her feelings about this decision.
  • Michelle’s first job out of Brooklyn College, and the jobs she held subsequently. 
  • Dante’s approach to fulfilling his role as Artistic Director of the Limón Dance Company. 
  • What Michelle’s position as Executive Director of the Limón Dance Company entails. 
  • How Michelle and Dante work together to realize the vision of the Limón Dance Company.
  • Exciting plans for the Limón Dance Company in 2023.
  • How Michelle wants to see the non-profit space evolve.
  • The vision behind Dante’s 7-year artistic plan. 

“I wasn’t really taking good care of myself emotionally or physically and when I started dancing, that’s when I woke up and started to find that I had a purpose.” — Dante Puleio

“In many ways, if you look at the legacy companies, I think that [the Limón Dance Company] showed dance companies how to move past that original founder in a smart, stable way. Sometimes I think that this organization doesn’t get enough credit for that.” — Michelle Preston 

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Limón Dance Company

Limón Dance on Instagram

Dante Puleio Website

Dante Puleio on Instagram

Michelle Preston on LinkedIn

BIO

Dante Puleio, A widely respected former member of the Limón Dance Company for more than a decade, Puleio was appointed the sixth Artistic Director in the Company’s 75-year history, a position that originated with Doris Humphrey. Puleio, a Medici Scholar, began professional dance training in London, UK at the Laban Centre and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, UK. He graduated with a BFA from University of the Arts in Philadelphia and an MFA from University of California, Irvine. Puleio had a diverse performing career as a soloist and principal with the Limón Dance Company, touring the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He worked with choreographic leaders in the field such as Donald McKayle and Murray Louis and has performed and restaged masterpieces created by the founders of modern dance. His career also spanned national and international tours of Broadway shows, film and television. He was featured in the “The Who’s Tommy”,  LifetimeTV’s “Your Mama Don’t Dance” and most recently in Noah Baumbach’s award winning “White Noise” on Netflix. Before moving into leadership with the Limón Dance Company, Puleio held professorship positions at a variety of prestigious research-one universities throughout the United States. As Director his research focuses on contextualizing mid 20th century dance for the contemporary artist and audience. He is committed to implementing his research by celebrating José Limón’s historical legacy and reimagining his intention and vision to reflect the rapidly shifting 21st century landscape.

BIO

Michelle Preston began her career in arts administration at the Columbus Symphony Orchestra before coming to New York City where she has worked with Urban Bush Women, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and the School of American Ballet. She began at SITI Company in 2012 as the Deputy Director and served as Executive Director from 2014-2022.  While at SITI, Michelle produced 9 world premieres, 17 domestic and international tours, and 5 New York City seasons. She also led the multi-year strategic planning process that resulted in the SITI Legacy Plan, a comprehensive set of activities meant to celebrate the accomplishments and preserve the legacy of the ensemble before the organized and intentional sunset at the end of 2022.

She holds an M.F.A. in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College and a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University. Michelle spent six years as an adjunct faculty member for the Brooklyn College Performing Arts Management MFA program teaching fundraising and 18-months serving as the Interim Program Head.  Additionally, she has guest lectured at Bard College, Columbia University, Columbia University Teachers College, Marymount Manhattan, NYU, Playwrights Horizons Theater School, and St. Lawrence University. She has also served as a panelist for the Brooklyn Arts Council Regrant Program, the TCG Global Connections Grant, the ART/NY Nancy Quinn Fund, and the NAMT Innovation & Exploration Fund.

 

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

MSP 148: Davalois Fearon

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PODCAST 148: Davalois Fearon

Release Date: 1.9.23


TO DOWNLOAD PODCAST OR LISTEN:

    • Apple Music: Subscribe, Listen, Rate Us HERE

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Stepping Out into the World with Davalois Fearon

Today we bring you a beautiful and inspiring conversation with Davalois Fearon, whose work as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer brings together her family history, early years in Jamaica, and a dedication to moving the art form and community forward. Davalois takes us through some of the most important moments of her journey and how these influenced her evolving approach to her craft. We also get to hear about her current work in choreography, her commitment to grassroots building, and why her performances include such a strong theme of reciprocity with the audience. Listeners can expect to come away with some fascinating insight into her process of connecting the different parts of her life and experience into a unified artistic voice, so make sure to join us for this great episode, with the one and only Davalois Fearon!

 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Davalois’ early years in Jamaica and initial attraction to dance and performance. 
  • Moving to the Bronx and the playground training that started Davalois’ learning. 
  • Ballet, gymnastics, and attending art school.  
  • The culture of involvement and participation in the African diaspora. 
  • Davalois reflects on her experiences in high school and working to fund her dance ambitions.
  • The dreams that Davalois had coming out of high school and her thoughts on work and college.  
  • Joining a company, touring, parties, and the excitement of the early years. 
  • Davalois’ internship at Pentacle and the entrepreneurial lessons she learned. 
  • New choreography projects and pushing against limiting beliefs and fears.  
  • The period of research that enabled Davalois to truly realize her artistic identity.  
  • Why the grassroots approach that Davalois employed served her so well in the long run.
  • The inclusion of the audience; Davalois explains her philosophy around performance.  
  • Davalois’ current projects and a look at her upcoming performances.   

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Davalois Fearon

Davalois Fearon on Twitter

Davalois on Vimeo

Davalois on YouTube

Purchase College

Pentacle

Stephen Petronio Company

Dance We Do

Black Dance Stories

Free to Dance

 

BIO: Critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, and scholar Davalois Fearon is a 2017 Bessie Award for her performance in “the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds” ensemble. Her dancing, praised by colleagues as “unapologetic” and by critics as “electrifying,” was honed over 12 years with the Stephen Petronio Company (2005–2017), where she was an audience favorite for her bold performances. Born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, Fearon’s choreography is said to embody a “tenacious virtuosity” that is now reflected in her work as founder and director of Davalois Fearon Dance (DFD). Established in 2016, DFD pushes artistic and social boundaries to highlight injustice and inequality and spark vital conversations about change. Fearon’s work has been presented nationally and internationally, including at New York City venues such as the Joyce Theatre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New Victory Theater. Among many others, she has completed commissions for the Bronx Museum of the Arts and Princeton University. Her abundant honors and awards include two-time DanceNYC’s Dance Advancement Fund Award and grants from the MAP Fund, Jerome Foundation, and the Howard Gilman Foundation. Her company has enjoyed continuous support from the Bronx Council of the Arts. Fearon has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and The New Yorker, in poet Ntozake Shange’s book, Dance We Do: A Poet Explores Black Dance, and in the 2019 documentary film, If the Dancer Dances. Fearon holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a BFA from the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. Fearon holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a BFA from the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance.

 

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

MSP 147: Annie Rigney

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PODCAST 147: Annie Rigney

Release Date: 12.26.22


TO DOWNLOAD PODCAST OR LISTEN:

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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:

ilanlev.org

annierigney.squarespace.com

Annie Rigney on Instagram

Conservatory of Dance | Purchase College

Gaga

Martha Graham Dance Company

Batsheva Dance Company

Bobbi Jene Smith

Ilan Lev

Moshe Feldenkrais

 

BIO

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


TO DOWNLOAD PODCAST OR LISTEN:

    • 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.

CONNECT:

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.

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