The most wonderful time of the year is here, but for those of us in the dance department at The Juilliard School, it is not simply the holiday cheer that has us inspired. For us (the dancers), December revolves around one thing: New Dances. New Dances is an annual performance that showcases new commissioned works, created by four established choreographers. This year's lineup is exceptional and unique with Helen Simoneau choreographing on the first year students, Aszure Barton on the second year class, Zvi Gotheiner on the third year dancers and Kyle Abraham on the graduating class of 2016!
To further spark your interest in our show, I'll let you in on some of the inside scoop of rehearsing with the very talented and respected Kyle Abraham. From the kick off of our rehearsals on October 13th, the process with Kyle has been a whirlwind. I speak for the entire class of 2016, when I say that his genuine enthusiasm and energy has been contagious. His excitement has rubbed off on our class and grown stronger throughout the experience. Kyle is quick and efficient at generating and setting choreography while also giving individual dancers the freedom to construct solos, duets and occasionally group sections. He is brilliant at finding seamless and creative ways to connect all of these snippets of choreography which also helped to unify our class with meaning and purpose. For me, it has been exciting and intriguing to play with contrasting ideas throughout the piece such as humaneness and unearthliness, physicality and intricacy, and playfulness and seriousness.
Because of Kyle’s rapid and exciting pace of choreography, we were eager to get onto the stage for tech rehearsal this week. The transition from studio to stage is always a bit of a challenge with the bright lights and immense space, but those are some of the things that a productive four hour rehearsal allowed us to attack. As I was backstage watching my classmates perform, I felt incredibly proud, nostalgic and genuinely grateful for the chance to share the stage with such amazing dancers and friends. It is incredible to reflect back to New Dances our first year, when I barely knew these young, talented artists whom I now consider my second family. I can confidently say that I saw each and every dancer’s individuality shine throughout the piece and it was a pleasure to work with a choreographer who encouraged that process to unfold.
With the performances coming up December 11-15, it would be a privilege to see you there! If it isn't incentive enough to come to see the four new pieces, we will also be selling our class calendar (which is a stunning portrayal of our class if I do say so myself) and there will be a silent auction held with a plethora of wonderful items on which you can bid! Do you still have holiday presents to purchase? This is the perfect opportunity to find a unique gift while also supporting the senior class. The proceeds will help us to finance our fabulous Senior Production, which will be held in the spring of 2016.
The senior class wishes you the best of holidays and we hope to see you at the show!
Written by: Kellie Drobnick