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MSP 157: Rosalynde LeBlanc

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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


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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

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

Beth Ferrell in Rodeo

Release Date: 5.8.23


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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

Movers & Shapers: Remembering Jennifer Muller

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PODCAST No.155 – Remembering Jennifer Muller (1944-2023)

Release Date: 4.24.23

Original Release Date: 9.5.19


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JENNIFER MULLER (JMTW Artistic Director and Founder) has been an influence in the dance world for over 50 years, is known for her visionary approach and innovations in dance/theater, multi-discipline productions incorporating the spoken word, live and commissioned music, media, artist-inspired decor and unusual production elements. Muller has created over 118 pieces, including seven full evening productions, collaborating with such artists as Keith Haring, Keith Jarrett, Yoko Ono and Jeff Croiter. Muller is recognized as a “seminal influence on dance/theater.” Her prolific career has led to recent honors: Fortaleza’s 2010 Trophy of Cultural Responsibility and a 2011 American Masterpieces: Artistic Genius Grant, UCSB conference and exhibit and the publication Transformation & Continuance: Jennifer Muller and the Reshaping of American Modern Dance, 1959 to Present. An internationally renowned teacher and mentor of creative talent, Muller has developed a personalized technique informed by Eastern philosophy. TanzPlan Berlin chose Muller Polarity Technique as one of seven unique contemporary dance techniques for its publication/ DVD Tanztechnik 2010. Creating and re-staging pieces for 26 international repertory companies in nine countries, her commissions include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Tanz-Forum Köln, Lyon Opera Ballet, Bat Dor, Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Ballet Contemporaneo, Nederlands Dans Theater, NDT3 and Introdans in The Netherlands. An award-winning choreographer, Muller’s choreography for theater/opera productions include The Public Theater, 2nd Stage Theater, NY Stage & Film, and the New York City Opera. In 2011, she choreographed the new musical The Spiral Show in China. Muller is currently re-staging her 2015 piece Miserere Nobis on both Introdans in The Netherlands and UC/Santa Barbara, both to be premiered in early 2020. Her most recent work The Theory of Color, which premiered at New York Live Arts this past June, received overwhelming acclaim: “a dynamic, riveting work.” 

Above all, dance has been Ms. Muller’s passion and creative voice since she was a child. Creating pieces since age seven, she danced professionally at age 15 with the Pearl Lang Dance Company followed by nine years as Principal Dancer with the José Limon Company [while graduating from the Juilliard School] and seven years as Associate Artistic Director of the Louis Falco Dance Company. Now, as a result of years of productive creativity, her work has been seen on stage and television in 45 countries.

Movers & Shapers: Miguel Gutierrez

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PODCAST 154: Miguel Gutierrez

Release Date: 4.10.23


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Fierce, Fragile, Empathetic, Political, and Poetic Art with Miguel Gutierrez

Episode 154: Show Notes.

Our guest today, Miguel Gutierrez, is irrevocably passionate about making works of art and creates empathetic and irreverent spaces outside of traditional discourse.   Our conversation starts with Miguel sharing about his upbringing as the child of two immigrants, how he came to love the arts and dancing, and what he wanted to be when he grew up. He tells us about his time at Brown, Queer Activism, working with Paula Hunter, and later going full circle back to Brown. He also talks about his epic time in California in the 90s, what it was like to work with Joe Goode and John Jasperse, and what sparked his shift back to New York and making his own work. This is a jam-packed episode so stay tuned for this candid, introspective, and inspiring interview.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Miguel gives us a short introduction of who he is and where he is from.
  • How Miguel came to love dancing.
  • What he wanted to be when he grew up.
  • What happened when he showed up for school at Brown.
  • He shares about his time doing Queer activism.
  • He tells us about his time dancing with Paula Hunter.
  • What compelled him to go back to Brown and finish his degree.
  • He shares his Californian experience in the 90s.
  • What sparked the shift back to New York (and why Europe didn’t work out).
  • What it was like working with John Jasperse.
  • Miguel tells us about his own choreography journey.
  • The kinds of day jobs Miguel has had to support himself over the years.
  • His experience of when things started to take off, his work, and what life looked like.
  • Why he hates when propriety supplants honesty and when professionalism is used to maintain the status quo.
  • Projects he is working on now and what life looks like.

“When you are younger, as a dancer, you think that if you aren’t dancing professionally by the age of nothing, you’re never going to make it. It’s like this BS idea of what dance is, and it’s fed to you from when you are little.” — Miguel Gutierrez 

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Miguel Gutierrez

Miguel Gutierrez on Instagram

Miguel Gutierrez on Vimeo

Miguel Gutierrez on Soundcloud

Joe Goode Performance Group

Trisha Brown Dance Company

John Jasperse

New York Live Arts

NYU Skirball Center

Danspace Project

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

Movers & Shapers: Margaret Beals

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PODCAST 153: Margaret Beals

Release Date: 3.27.23


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The Art of Improvisation with Margaret Beals

For today’s guest, dancing without inhibitions is what has fed her soul for more than 8 decades.  Joining us on Movers & Shapers: A Dance Podcast is the incredible dance improvisation innovator Margaret Beals to tell us all about her years of dancing and her new documentary, Dancing Without Steps. Tuning in, you’ll hear all about our guest’s privileged upbringing, her longing to be free, dancing in her home and the streets of New York City, and why she always stood out as a dancer. She walks us through her early adulthood, dance classes, club and cabaret days, and teaching before explaining how she dealt with being so different. With an amazing ability to perform improvised solo concerts that combined dance, text, music, and humor, she tells us how she realized she was so unlike others in her generation. Finally, Margaret shares her experience of creating her film with us. So to hear all about improvisation and to be inspired to embrace your authentic self, tune in now!

Key Points From This Episode:

·       Margaret tells us about her upbringing and how she started dancing.

·       How she knew her lifestyle was different and why she wanted to be free.

·       Her experience of dancing in her front hall, moving to New York, and dancing in the streets.

·       She tells us her opinion of the definition of ‘talent’ and why she always stood out.

·       What Margaret wanted to do when she was in her 20s and her time doing cabarets and clubs.

·       Margaret tells us about how she got started with teaching.

·       She shares the secret to moving and talking at the same time.

·       How she navigated the challenge of feeling like she doesn’t belong.

·       Getting the rights to Sylvia Plath’s works and performing poetry in an original play.

·       How Margaret shares her methodologies with dancers.

·       Margaret shares what she is working on in her field now.

·       How her movie, Dancing Without Steps, became a reality.

·       The importance of accepting your unapologetically unique self.

“I don’t think I danced to please. I danced the way I danced and hoped everybody would see it.” — Margaret Beals


Margaret Beals, an American dancer, choreographer and theatrical performer, was self-taught during her early years. She later studied choreography with Louis Horst and Lucas Hoving, modern dance with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, and Paul Sanasardo; African-Caribbean dance with Syvilla Fort and ten years of ballet with Maggie Black. She developed an individual approach to dance through improvisation and later added the use of her speaking voice, developing a technique of performing poetry by speaking and moving simultaneously. This skill was used in her dramatic presentations of the works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sylvia Plath and Carl Sandburg.

In the 60’s, she continued her exploration of dance improvisation, performing at cabarets and nightclubs in New York and Chicago. She worked with the jazz musicians Collin Walcott, Badal Roy, Sam Rivers and Stan Strickland, among many others. Her continued passion for improvisation led her to form her own company, Impulses – three musicians, singer, dancer and lighting designer. Between 1969 and 1976 the group created fully improvised evenings in the style of jazz sets.

During the 70’s, Ms. Beals appeared with the modern dance companies of Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow, Jean Erdman, Lucas Hoving and Valerie Bettis. She is acclaimed for her interpretation of Ms. Bettis’ classic dance solo, The Desperate Heart (1974). As a solo artist, she performed her own work, Margaret Beals in Concert, appearing at Jacob’s Pillow; the NY Dance Umbrella; the Delacorte Theatre; The Place, London; the International Festival de Danse, Paris; and the Het Theatre Festival, Holland, among other national and international venues.

Her full-length works include Stings (1976), based on the Ariel poems of Sylvia Plath; 39 Margarets(1980), a revue directed by Broadway’s Donald Saddler; The Teak Room, stories from a dancer’s life (1982), written and performed by the artist and directed by Tony Tanner; and Improvisations to Chopin (1985) with pianist Thomas Hrynkiv. In the 90’s, she created 4 Images (1993) an evening of poetry, music and dance, with flautist Judith Pearce, directed by Tony Tanner; and Pathways(1997), written and performed by Ms. Beals and directed by Obie award-winning playwright Lee Nagrin.

Recently, Ms. Beals presented Films and Stories, a series of evenings in which she shared films from her extensive career interspersed with stories about the creation of the works and her collaboration with other performing artists involved.“The films are a remarkable record of a remarkable career.” – Jean Tait, May 2016



Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


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

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