2018 ETD/NCG Rehearsal Visit: Melanie Ramos by Andrew Tran

Last weekend I attend Melanie’s rehearsal at the SUNY Purchase studios. I traveled to White Plains, NY to see this young choreographer work with her dancers and give feedback on her progress so far.

Melanie’s piece is contemporary ballet and features three men and two women on pointe. She entered the room with clear and precise directions for her dancers. She knew exactly what she wanted to get done and worked straight through. Respectful of her dancer’s bodies and their time, Melanie did an amazing job of being as productive as possible while respecting their time.

One element she and I discussed throughout the rehearsal was the use of transitional movement. We worked on creating movements that would smoothly transition between sections of strictly ballet versus more pedestrian-inspired material. She took notes and began working on creating these moments. Another challenge for Melanie was working was the inconsistent tempo of the score she choose. Steve Reich is famous for his offbeat and uneven tempos. The more she worked with the piece, the more challenging it became to regulate the counts. My advice to her was to forget the counts and try to find musical landmarks. Sometimes trying to be too precise can stifle creativity and make the piece feel heavy and predictable.

I cannot wait to see her piece on October 13th (at the Martha Graham Studio Theater, at 7PM and 8:30PM). Do not forget to reserve your tickets to see it as well!


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ETD/NCG Rehearsal Visit: Kanon Sapp by Eryc Taylor

This year, I added a new feature to the ETD/NCG process; One on One Dance Business Management Consultation. I sat down with each choreographer to discuss the business aspect of the beginning a dance company and running a non-profit. Each choreographer was extremely receptive to their meeting and almost immediately began implementing my advice. From social media to website design, each of the ETD/NCG Emerging Choreographers are setting themselves up for success. In addition to the business consultation, I also visited each Recipient’s rehearsals and provided feedback on their pieces. Up first was Ms. Sapp.!

My first impression of Kanon was that she is an extremely methodical choreographer. Upon entering the room she had the entire rehearsal planned down to the minute. Preparing choreography beforehand, she did not waste time. Her process is organized, but also receptive of whatever the dancers or observers throw her way. She takes feedback gracefully and continues to have an open dialogue throughout creation.

Kanon’s work is titled V E I L and features three strong female movers. They weave in and out of the space seamlessly. Through intense gesture work, her story unfolds before us.

Check out the video below to see her progress so far and follow Kanon on IG @kanonlikeboom and @loosekanondance. Also, do not forget to reserve your tickets for the ETD/NCG Studio Showing on Saturday October 13, 2018. There will be two showings; 7PM and 8:30PM.


2018 ETD/NCG Rehearsal Visit: Jordan Ryder by Andrew Tran

Rounding out my rehearsal visits for the 2018 ETD/NCG, I traveled to the Martha Graham Studios (where the 2018 Studio Showing will take place) to see what Jordan Ryder has been creating. Working with six dancers and an original composition, her piece is a force.

Almost frenetic, Jordan choreographs from a very deep and genuine place. She creates movement in an instant then chisels away at each section until she feels comfortable with its form. Working with an original composition has proven challenging for her as the music is not what she normal works with. Jordan is stepping outside of her comfort zone with this piece and she is handling it with ease.

After viewing the work so far, I had a few suggestions. Jordan and her dancers were like sponges - they took in everything I said and tried their best to articulate it within the framework of the piece. I was very impressed with their maturity and gratitude for being a part of this process. I was reminded in this rehearsal why I do this every year - I love helping young choreographers, and dancers, find their voice.

Jordan has officially launched her website for her dance company, RyderDance. Follow her for updates beyond this experience. Also, check out her work at the 2018 ETDNCG Studio Showing at the Martha Graham Studio Theater on October 13, 2018 at 7PM and 8:30PM.

2018 ETD/NCG Spotlight: Jordan Ryder by Andrew Tran

We would like to introduce you to another one of our 2018 ETD New Choreographer Grant Recipients, Ms. Jordan Ryder. She just recently graduated from NYU and bursting onto the professional dance scene! Here is a little more about her and her dance background.

Come see Jordan, and our other two recipient’s new work at our ETD/NCG Studio Showing at the Martha Graham Studio Theater (55 Bethune Street, 11th Floor) on Saturday October 13th, 2018, with showings at 7pm and 8:30pm.





1) How long have you been dancing? What college did you attend?

I started dancing at the age of three! However, I would say my more serious training began at age fourteen. For college, I attended New York University, Tisch School of the Arts where I graduated in 2018 with a BFA in Dance and a double minor in Sociology and the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology.

2) When did you start creating work and what was the name of your first work? (feel free to elaborate)

Aside from dancing around in my basement growing up, my first formal choreographic endeavor was sophomore year of high school. My high school’s dance company obligated us students to submit a piece proposal for our winter concert. I was so intimidated by the idea of creating work that I submitted an improvisation based piece in hopes it would be rejected. To my surprise (and slight horror), it was accepted. However, as I moved through the creation process, I found I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot about commanding a room. The experience also opened my eyes to how vast the world of choreography could be. Seeing the work performed on stage filled me with so much pride and happiness that as soon as the curtain closed, I was eager to choreograph again. I haven’t been able to stop since!

3) Which choreographers inspire you the most and/or what is your favorite piece of choreography?

I love the work of Adam Barruch, Aszure Barton, and Crystal Pite. Each of them are great at infusing their artistic language into thrillingly physical, virtuosic, and technical movement. The interplay between narrative and raw movement fascinates me, and I believe all three of them combine the two in innovative ways.

4) What made you fall in love with choreography? Can you think of any specific moment in your life that made you realize you loved choreographing?

Though I enjoyed choreographing throughout high school and college, it was not until my senior year at NYU that I decided I wanted to continue choreographing post graduation. To celebrate my final year, I decided to make the most of my resources as a student while pushing myself as a choreographer more than I ever had before. I worked with classical music for the first time, had the dancers wear gym shoes, and even incorporated two tables as props. While having this many obstacles initially was quite overwhelming, the challenge taught me a lot about myself and rewarded me with a piece that felt genuinely me. Seeing all the risks that initially made me uncomfortable play out on stage made me feel such purpose and pure joy. It was then that I realized I didn’t want my graduation to serve as the ending to my choreographic career. After that initial concert, my piece was chosen by the NYU Tisch Dance faculty and student body to be presented again at the end of the year during Second Avenue Dance Company’s Major dance concert. To me this served as another sign that I should pursue choreography with full force.

5) What is your goal as a choreographer? Do you want to start your own company? Or, work project based?

I started my company, RyderDance, immediately upon graduation. Because I am so fresh out of school, I am currently focused on developing a body of work to my name and applying for performance opportunities. Right now, my goal is to have a talented company of dancers and the means to continue exploring my choreographic voice.

6) Where do you see yourself in ten years as a choreographer?

In ten years, I plan to be in a place where I can pursue choreography full time with a consistent company of dancers that I am able to compensate fairly for their time and energy. I aspire to be established to the point where my company tours nationally and internationally, and I am asked to create commissions with other artists.



2018 ETD/NCG Spotlight: Kanon Sapp by Andrew Tran

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We are honored to introduce to you Kanon Saap, one of the three lovely ladies who received the 2018 ETD/NCG. We are so excited to see what she produces over the next three months. Read below to learn more about her and her journey as a dancer and choreographer...


1) How long have you been dancing? What college did you attend?
I began my dance training when I was three years old, and have continued to pursue dance seriously through college. I graduated from East Carolina University in May 2016, with my BFA in Dance Performance. 

2) When did you start creating work and what was the name of your first work? (feel free to elaborate)
I constructed my first piece of work during my sophomore year of college at East Carolina University.  I created solo work on Kristalyn Gill for an informal showcase at school, entitled Lights Up! The work, when the bough breaks, was later selected to perform at the American Dance Guild, in New York City in December of 2013.

3) Which choreographers inspire you the most and/or what is your favorite piece of choreography? 
Barak Marshall is such an inspiration to me .The Los Angeles based company, BODY TRAFFIC, performed during my time at ECU. Watching the company perform Barak Marshall's, And at Midnight the Green Bride Floated Through the Village Square, changed my life forever.  It was the first time that I had ever seen gestural, pedestrian movement performed at the magnitude of concert dance. Marshall's work is so intricate and delicately weaves together storytelling through gestural work. This work of art is truly stunning, if you ever have the chance to see Barak Marshall's work, I know that it will forever impact you the way it has impacted me. 

4) What made you fall in love with choreography? Can you think of any specific moment in your life that made you realize you loved choreographing?
During my sophomore year of college, I remember sitting down with my professor, John Dixon and bursting into tears out of frustration. I was feeling this internal conflict,  the movement language I was using as a dancer wasn't translating in the same way that I heard music and visualized movement. Dixon pushed me to try choreography as an outlet to organize the way I heard music, and visualized movement. I fell in love with choreography the moment I tried it. Choreography combines movement invention, music, and storytelling; and when these three elements are assembled with intelligence and honesty the outcome is never less than incredible. 

The performance at the American Dance Guild is a bold moment for me in my choreography journey. The piece had just performed and there was a  brief moment of silence in between- after the lights go out, but before the audience begins to clap. In that brief moment of silence I heard an audience member say, "wow." It wasn't the recognition of someone enjoying my work that was so special. It was the first time that I felt that internal conflict subside. The movement language I chose to speak in through the work was not only heard, but was understood. 

5) What is your goal as a choreographer? Do you want to start your own company? Or, work project based? 
I started looseKANONdance in October 2017. Growing looseKANON from the ground up is one of my most tremendous goals as a choreographer. looseKANONdance is my personal creative getaway that houses my additional artistic interests: fashion, make-up, photography, costume creation, music, and video editing. This house will always be under renovation as I continue to expand my skills and artistry. My greatest ambition is to establish looseKANONdance, not only as a company that produces impactful and intelligent work, but as a group of diverse artists who can do it all.  

6) Where do you see yourself in ten years as a choreographer? 
In ten years, I see myself as an established choreographer. I hope to have the opportunity to see the world and share looseKANONdance's point of view with others.