Tap Class at Steps!

by Nicole Harris
I will be subbing two classes at Steps on Broadway!

Tuesday, January 26th
Intermediate Tap 10:00am-11:30am
Beginning Tap 11:30am-1:00pm

Steps on Broadway
(2121 Broadway at 74th St, NYC)

Come check it out!


Stories from the Somerville-Tiznit Sister Cities (part 5)

by karen Krolak

Part of a continuing series on Karen and Jason's trip to Morocco with 28 other people from Somerville...including Mayor Joseph Curtatone.

It is strange to remember that a month ago we were waiting for a bus at the Casablanca airport. Uff, I had such ambitious plans for writing about my trip. Between all the holidays and getting prepped for the Cool New York Dance Festival, however, I have fallen a bit behind.

Our camera's lens froze up almost as soon as we arrived so Jason and I had to rely on our phones for snapshots. These photos remind me of the formality, or perhaps ceremonious tone, of our activities. Somehow I had not expected to be

greeted by the Governor at the Agadir airport. He lead us to a private lounge area where we were served refreshing mint tea before being whisked off to dinner.

The following morning we attended a ceremony at the Culture Center and listened to several presentations about Tiznit and Somerville. I wish I had been able to get a shot of the beautiful billboard-sized banner that hung over the stage.

Our delegation reminded me of a mass of cotton candy as more and more people swept into our group. After every activity, new faces joined us on the bus and

swarms of reporters and photographers followed Mayor Curtatone and the rest of us as we toured sites.

Between the jetlag and the non-stop introductions, I was quickly overwhelmed with names. As my daners can attest, names are not my strong suit. At one point I met two gregarious students named Rachid and Redouan. Poor Redouan was so frustrated evry time he bumped into me after that. He would always ask if I remembered meeting him at the Culture Center and I would say, "Yes, your name is...is...not Rachid."

to be continued...

To comply with recent legislation regarding blogging, I should mention that my trip was sponsored by University of the Middle East project, The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in concert with Sister Cities International, the City of Somerville, the City of Tiznit and the Moroccan American Cultural Center. My G1 was a birthday present from a dear friend and loyal Monkeyhouse supporter at Google. Readers should know that my experiences would not be typical for anyone else.

Congratulations Claudia!

by Nicole Harris

I just wanted to say a quick congratulations to Claudia Rahardjanoto who was listed as one of Dance Magazines 25 to Watch for 2010. I was lucky enough to perform with Claudia in Lynn Schwab's Cross Fibres at TAP CITY this summer. I am looking forward to watching her take the world by storm.

Congratulations Claudia!

(psst... There's going to be an interview with Claudia coming soon! Watch out!)


American Tap Dance Center

by Nicole Harris

As 2010 is starting on it's way I have started dedicating more of my time to being in the studio. Be it building new pieces (like the one Karen and I are premiering here in New York in early February!), practicing technique or improvising with friends and fellow dancers I am determined to take advantage of the studio space that is available to me.

Luckily, on January 4th the American Tap Dance Center (154 Christopher St) opened its doors. The new home of the American Tap Dance Foundation not only holds its offices but two beautiful new studios. In addition to a variety of tap classes visitors are likely to encounter any number of New York's tap community practicing, teaching, rehearsing or just sitting around catching up as they pass between studios.

The fabulous new facility creates more (much needed) studio space in the city but more importantly it gives the community a chance to participate first hand in all of the amazing things the American Tap Dance Foundation does for the art of tap dance. Keep an eye out because I know Tony, Hjordis, Susan and Courtney have big plans for the space they now call home and you don't want to miss out!

p.s. Want to know more about ATDF? Watch out for an upcoming interview with Artistic/Executive Director Tony Waag! In the meantime, check out their website!

Catch Kelli Edwards at Soaking WET

by Karen Krolak

Two years ago, David Parker mentored the Emerging Artist Concert at Green Street Studios and invited me to attend opening night with him. Over drinks at Rialto before the show, he raved about the trio that Kelli Edwards had developed during the project. Having seen Kelli's comedic choreography in Actor Shakespeare Project's Love's Labours Lost previously, I was somewhat surprised by David's descriptions of a more delicate and ethereal dance creation.

Her piece, This is What We're Doing Now, was an elegant exploration of weight sharing. Even when the dancers were not physically touching, it felt as though they were calmly attempting to maintain a precarious balance. Johan de Beshe and Irene Lutts melted effortlessly into Kelli's intricate physical vocabulary and share her introspective performing style. Their articulate limbs whispered nuances to match Schubert's muted tones.

This is What We're Doing Now is being remounted this weekend as part of Soaking WET, curated by David Parker, at the West End Theater in New York. If you have the chance, I highly recommend that you snag some tickets to see it.

Soaking WET
January 21-24, 2010
Christopher Caines, Kelli Edwards, Marta Miller & Aislinn MacMaster, Tiffany Mills, Kristi Spessard (Thursday-Saturday @ 7:00, Sunday @ 3:00) and Katherine Longstreth: Solo & Duets (Thursday-Sunday @ 8:30, Sunday @ 5:00).
Note: Tiffany Mills 1/21-22 only, Kristi Spessard 1/23-34 only
Special Performances: Amber Sloan: Sunken (Saturday @ 6:00, Sunday @ 1:00)
Tickets: $15/general, $10/artists.


Congrats to Three Friends in Chicago

by Karen Krolak

While on Facebook today, I ran across an announcement from Northwestern's Dance Department. Apparently, Time Out Chicago named pieces by Peter Carpenter, Julia Rhoads, and Molly Shanahan in their Best Dance Moments of the Decade list. Given how often these artists have inspired me, I am thrilled to see their work being recognized.

Sadly, I was not able to see any of the shows on the list. However, I might catch Julia's APAP showcase in New York this weekend and I will be working with her on a project I am curating for the Muliticultural Arts Center in Cambridge, MA in April. (More details coming soon.)

By the way, if you missed it, Peter shared insights about his creative process with Connect 2 Choreography back in October. Keep your fingers crossed and I will see if I can snag some time with Julia and Molly for a few upcoming posts.

Ok, now I must throw some clothes in a suitcase, pop by the Movement at the Mills program (featuring Mariah Steele, Screech to a Stop, and Michael Jahoda’s White Box Project), and catch a bus down to NYC.


Getting to Know Sarah Friswell

by Nicole Harris

The second stop on my adventure around the country this fall was Tampa, FL where I visited with friend and former student Sarah Friswell. Sarah is now a junior at the University of Tampa where she is a sociology major and an applied dance and dance theatre minor. While I was visiting Sarah had just started working on her first piece of choreography which was performed at UT's Fall Dance Happening in October.

We have interviewed a lot of choreographers from a wide range of backgrounds. I thought it would be nice to interview someone who is just starting out on her choreographic adventures.

You can check out a video of Sarah's choreographic debut here!

NH: Who are some of you
r favorite choreographers?/Who would you interview if you had the chance?
If I had the chance I would interview Savion Glover. I suppose it's a little cliche but when I was little I had Sesame Street where Savion tapped and I had my babysitter (and future tap teacher) Nicole Harris. These two were probably my biggest influences in the tap field if I'm going to be completely honest.

NH: Now that you're dancing in college do you have any advice for dancers trying to find their path after high school?
If they love to dance, they should make a way to let that happen. I'm lucky to have a pretty good program at my school that gives me a lot of opportunities but I try to dance as much as I can whenever I can. Even if that means dancing for a project in Visual Literacy or searching for guest artists teaching master classes in the area. If you love it, do whatever it takes to keep doing it. And use your resources, you don't have to do it alone. One person will be able to connect you to a million more who can also help.

NH: This fall you choreographed a piece for Fall Dance Happening at school. Can you tell me a little about it?
SF: The piece was to the song Turn Me On by Norah Jones. It was a combination of lyrical style and rhythmic tap where each dancer was showcased separately and then danced together in their own styles but performed similar looking moves. The whole idea in using the separate dance styles was to add to the idea of people all having different emotions and different ways of showing their emotions. These dancers were feeling something and they needed a way to express themselves in a unique way, that was my idea behind it but you can take from it what you will.

NH: How did you feel it turned out compared to your original idea?
I was very happy with the piece overall. I really only saw it as a duo so it worked out that only one of the dancers I cast was able to participate, so she and I danced it together.

NH: The piece involved both lyrical and tap. What was it like trying to combine the two styles?
For the parts that were separate it wasn't difficult at all. The hard part was trying to make my tap steps resemble the lyrical steps I had set on my dancer. It was much easier to go from lyrical to tap. I played around a lot on how to make my steps travel as much and I just made sure our steps were similar but definitely not exactly the same.

NH: What did you feel your biggest challenges in choreographing this piece were?
SF: The challenges were those days that you just really had no ideas. I felt bad when I didn't feel like I had enough good ideas to move on. I didn't want my dancer to get bored with my piece but when it was one of those days, we just really perfected what we already had to make the piece the best it could be.

NH: Are there things you think you will do differently for the next piece you build?
I think working with one dancer was a great way to start my career as a choreographer and now I feel that I could create a larger piece next time. I have a lot of different ideas so I guess I just have to be flexible.


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