E A R T H Part two: MAN IS BORN by Eryc Taylor

ETD EARTH BLOG — Part 2


Last Monday was “Earth Day,” making last week “Earth Week,” but no single day, week or month is ever enough to address the health of our planet. Every day should be and is Earth Day, because the Earth is always with us, spinning on her axis, giving us sustenance and life all 365 days a year without fail or the need for a holiday to commemorate the gifts of her bounty.

However, the balance that has been sustained for more than 4.5 billion years has been under serious threat due to recent human actions - a mere blip on this planet’s history, but one that will ensure the worst if we don’t take daily action immediately to do our part for our home.

This sense of urgency was my impetus for ETD’s most ambitious undertaking to date — EARTH — an ongoing exploration of how we are harming our planet through global warming and other planetary dangers. EARTH is a collaborative project which involves five past recipients of the ETD New Choreographer Grant (NCG), two invited guest composers, ETD dancers and the audience who are an integral part of our continued process. The five workshop presentations through October 2019 begin with a “behind the scenes” video, and conclude with a question and answer session. The work of the five choreographers plus the opening and closing segments of EARTH, The Big Bang and Earth on Life Support, (which I will choreograph) will be shown at the EARTH world premiere following the project’s developmental period. At its heart, it’s a continuous community collaboration with a global reach.

Our first studio showing took place on March 29th, and featured new choreography by Robert Mark Burke with an original score by composer Daniel Tobias. Initially, as with any new production, I didn't know what to expect but was hoping for the best. I did feel the process was a bit overwhelming and rushed, because there were so many logistics to juggle in planning a year-long endeavor series building into a final production. I made it clear in working with Robert how essential the narrative component  would be in his piece — Earth is Created. But with my limited rehearsal and advisory time with the invited choreographers, I was just as surprised (and impressed) by the results onstage as was the audience. What Robert was able to do in that limited time (only 21 hours total), with mishaps like sudden dancer injuries and other disasters, is not only remarkable but commendable. The choices he made in the intimate stage setting with no sets or costumes were strong and clear. The visual impact for the evening was aided by my decision to work with NYC-based videographer David Kagan, who just returned from a glorious trip to Hawaii and offered what he captured of the Earth in all of her explosive and expressive glory — volcanos, oceans and lush jungles — demonstrating the majesty of what we must work to preserve. We also introduced a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Robert’s process and work with Daniel Tobias’ sweeping score. The house was packed to capacity and it was a success in all ways. The post performance Q&A was hosted by my Director of Operations, Michelle Cole, who utilized the “Liz Lerman Critical Response Technique” in the discussion, which was extremely engaging and effective. Some of the best responses came from children in the audience, who were completely mesmerized by what they experienced.

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The next workshop presentation, Man is Born, is choreographed by the  most recent recipient of the NCG, Jordan Ryder, whose piece in our 2018 NCG showcase was an audience favorite. I am eager to implement what we have learned and to be able to grow from the first edition of the series, to see Jordan’s creation and especially to continue the dialogue about our impact as citizens of this city, state, country and the world at large.  We hope our artistic efforts have a ripple effect and activate positive change now. The urgency to take multiple daily actions and do our part is more than a trend — it's our duty to ensure we have a healthy and harmonious home left for ourselves and future generations in the decades to come.

This vision for EARTH would not be possible without generous matching grant from ETD’s biggest advocate and supporter — The Marta Heflin Foundation —- and in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).

My goal and desire is to educate, inform, challenge, and inspire people to make a difference. I sincerely believe that art has the power to change minds, and promote important ideas that ignite and elicit action. Not only will attendees of these workshop performances witness provocative works by dynamic new choreographers, but they’ll walk away with practical information on what they can do on a daily basis to curb environmental threats and reduce their damage to the planet. In addition, twenty percent of all proceeds will be donated to https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/.

If this is something you believe in, we need your help and support. Here are three ways to get involved and support EARTH:

  • Come to our workshop presentation showcasing the incomparable talents of NCG recipient Jordan Ryder on Friday, May 10th at Martha Graham Studio Theater on 55 Bethune Street, New York, NY 10014 and donate $25 (20% goes to Greenpeace USA). Tickets are extremely limited. Reservations are highly suggested; please RSVP www.ETD.nyc/earth as we do reach capacity. If you would like to commit to all five workshops in the EARTH Series — suggested donation is $250 for our VIP pass which includes reserved seating, program credit and a ticket to ETD's cocktail party gala event at the program’s finale. All donations to EARTH will be matched by a generous donation from The Marta Heflin Foundation.

  • Come to our workshop presentation showcasing the incomparable talents of NCG recipient Jordan Ryder on May 10th at Martha Graham Studio Theater on 55 Bethune Street, New York, NY 10014 and donate $25 (20% goes to Greenpeace USA). Reservations are highly suggested, please RSVP www.ETD.nyc/earth as we do reach capacity. If you want to commit to all five in the EARTH Series — suggested donation is $100. To take it a step further — VIP tickets are $150 for the Five EARTH Studio Series and offer reserved seating and program credit.

  • If you can find it in your heart (and in your pocketbook) to take your belief in the worthiness of the work being done here, I challenge you to join our other esteemed supporters and help us reach that matching grant from The Marta Heflin Foundation to ensure such meaningful work continues to thrive. Of course our patrons will also be recognized by seating privileges and donor credit. Donations to ETD can be made here: www.ETD.nyc/donate

  • You don’t have to wait until May 10th or Earth Day or Earth Week to make a difference. Even though we may try to do our best, for the most part, people tend to get stuck in their own worlds and forget the small, simple habits that add up to a lot of good. Here are a few links you can explore, share, post and repost now to raise consciousness towards international awareness, action-taking and help heal our world:

  • https://www.energysage.com/energy-efficiency/101/ways-to-save-energy/

  • https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-you-can-stop-global-warming

  • https://www1.nyc.gov/site/greenyc/index.page

I look forward to seeing you May 10th at 8pm at Martha Graham Studio Theater on 55 Bethune Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10014 for Jordan Ryder's Man in Born, choreographed to  Salomon Lerner’s commissioned score. Bring your open minds and hearts, and come equipped to share your insights on the small daily tasks we can all do make an immediate difference in protecting and preserving our most important asset — our EARTH.

-Eryc Taylor

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Photo Credit: Shannel Resto




E A R T H-Part 1 by ETD

I'm excited to announce Eryc Taylor's Dance new work—EARTH—a collaborative, immersive dance experience addressing global warming, a critical concern that affects us all. I feel it’s my duty as an artist, a producer and an entrepreneur to address global warming through my art and to make a difference on issues that will have a direct impact on the generations to come. If we don't do something soon about our planet now, we won't have much left...

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ETD 2018 into 2019: Glancing Back and Blazing Forward by Andrew Tran

Every year has its ups and downs, accomplishments and challenges. The end of the year is an ideal time to assess how all that happened over those past 365 days might shape the new year to come.

I always encourage my company members, ETD Outreach instructors & participants and the recipients of the annual New Choreographer’s Grant to “find your fire.” In 2018, they all did in their own unique ways that dazzled the eyes and moved the hearts of those who encountered them in their element, and further ignited my own imagination and passion for the power of dance and movement to transform lives. There were so many accomplishments this year, here are a few highlights from Eryc Taylor Dance in 2018:

Photo: Nikola Bradonjic

Photo: Nikola Bradonjic

January 14

The Acacia Network officially adds ETD Outreach Movement Workshops to PROMESA’s Detox/Rehab treatment program. Acacia Network Community Residences have four supportive housing buildings with 115 diverse residents — some who have physical or mental disabilities, substance abuse issues or are elderly. Through teaching dance and movement, ETD encouraged the residents to express themselves, communicate with each other, socially interact, exercise, energize and share joy.

April 2

The Marta Heflin Foundation continued to support Eryc Taylor Dance and ETD Outreach for the third year consecutively with a grant in the generous amount of $10,000. These funds have directly increased the reach and impact of each of ETD’s programs from nearly two dozen weekly workshops on our home turf of NYC to opportunities to perform ETD’s works internationally.

May 14

In a collaboration supporting the Felix Organization, ETD instructors — Michelle Cole and Danielle Criss — worked with students from the Mott Haven Academy Charter School in the Bronx to create “Da Felix Dance,” the official dance for the 2018 Dance This Way Fundraiser at Arena NYC.

June 12

The ETD company dances repertory favorites including: “Cycles,” “Chaise Lung” and “Grand Duo” in an open-air performance alongside other NYC dance companies for The Bryant Park Contemporary Dance Program with the iconic skyline of Times Square as their backdrop. The performance garnered them a rave review on Broadway World Dance.

July 20

ETD performs “Cycles” at the Guild Hall in the Hamptons as part of the Dancers For Good benefit for the Dancers Resource, a branch of the Actors Fund devoted to the specific physical, mental and emotional needs of dancers. The Resource was created by Bebe Neuwirth, a dance, stage and screen legend, being honored that night alongside another icon — the multiple award-winning dynamo Chita Rivera. The dancers’ emotional depth and athleticism were lauded in the Broadway World review and thrilled the audience at the sold-out fundraiser where ETD shared the bill with Paul Taylor and Martha Graham Dance companies, among others.

August 4

ETD principal dancers Nicole Baker and Chris Bell (choreography and guided by Eryc Taylor) are featured in a provocative and poignant film shot throughout NYC by Italian photographer & filmmaker, Clarissa Lapolla.

September 27

In celebration of artist, Chris Tanner’s exhibition,Here’s Looking at You,” ETD Dancers perform “Grand Duo” and “Song for Cello” at the HOWL! Happening gallery in the East Village.

October 15

The ETD New Choreographers Grant held at the Martha Graham Studio sells out both showings and received critical praise for the creativity & approaches portrayed in the three dances: “Veil,” choreographed by Kanon Sapp, “Awakenings,” choreographed by Melanie Ramos and “Railways,” choreographed by Jordan Ryder. The three women stated that the most impactful and meaningful part of their experiences was their one-on-one session with Eryc Taylor to help better understand the business side of dance being of equal importance as the creative vision.

November 25

Released on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the short film, Although,” featuring Chris Bell & Nicole Baker, explores the internal fears and external traumas experienced by victims of abuse, as well as the possibility of empowerment, standing up to mistreatment and regaining one’s self worth.

So it’s sufficient to say that in terms of finding your fire — this year was a hot one! But things are heating up even more in the coming year. If 2018 was a blaze, 2019 will be an inferno!

Here is a sneak peek into what’s in store for ETD in 2019 and a request for your help to keep fanning the flames:

ETD is performing at APAP on January 7, 2019 at City Center at 12:30PM Free and no reservations needed!!

Everyone involved with ETD is thrilled and honored to announce that our biggest and most generous supporter, The Marta Heflin Foundation, has outdone themselves and awarded ETD a grant for $20,000 to commission a new work titled, E A R T H.

This grant gives us the crucial seed money for our most ambitious project to date that acts as an extension of ETD and the NCG program: In 2019, five of the most impressive and innovative alumni of the New Choreographers Grant will be chosen to set an original work on members of Eryc Taylor Dance company as part of and evening length work tilted, E A R T H. This is an unprecedented opportunity for these emerging artists to expand their visions even further and work with a professional company as a guest choreographer. And since collaboration, inspiration and uplifting others has always been at the heart and core principles of ETD, this extension is a natural progression.

However, this comes with a caveat — in order to achieve this exciting and important undertaking, we have to raise an additional $20,000 to match the grant. This is where you come in! While everyone is making the “ask” at the end of the year, think of the vast reach that such an opportunity will produce? Not only for the dancers and choreographers directly involved, but for the thousands of people who will see them perform, watch their choreographic creations and perhaps even enjoy a class or workshops under their guidance for years to come.

If this past year is any indication of what ETD can do, let the matching grant challenge we are posing to our patrons, supporters, friends, family, lovers of dance, physical expressions and empowerment of all kinds act as an inspiration to urge all of us to greatness and to take that leap of faith when something feels too important and necessary to ignore.

If you have ever been a part of our ETD family and the greater dance community of NYC and the wider world, or if you believe in uplifting those in need or giving chances to those who show such promise and merit but who may not have the means, then I encourage you to open your hearts (and yes, your wallets) to support ETD in our ambitious mission for 2019.

May your fire find you in the New Year. Onward and upward! HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at ETD!

Become a part of our family and donate HERE for a 100% tax-deductible donation!





Being a Beacon of Light in the Darkness by ETD

Today, December 21st, is Winter Solstice -- the shortest, darkest day of the year in terms of sunlight. This is a stark contrast to June 21st, Summer Solstice, where the sun shines longer than any other day of the year and if you are in NYC you might enjoy just soaking up some sun at an outdoor cafe. But right now, if you are in NYC, not only is it the darkest, shortest day of the year but the gray skies and pouring rain make the gloominess utterly pervasive.

Winter blues are real, and many people feel especially lonely, overwhelmed and depressed during the holiday season -- a time when we are constantly reminded through the speakers of every store or restaurant blasting Christmas songs to celebrate and be joyful and merry. To those who feel hopeless, this feels like a dismissal of their sorrows. 

There are ways to reach out to and uplift others. Giving back in the spirit of gratitude is a boomerang -- it will circle back to you. By taking care of others we assure that we too will be taken care of in our own times of need. And more than anything, giving back feels good! This is one of the main principles and cornerstones of the ETD Outreach Program. We view dance as a healing modality and have seen its power to transform lives, especially of those in more vulnerable communities. Sometimes all it takes to get negative, heavy energy moving is to move your body. This is how my company and I choose to share, give back and spread light but there are a multitude of ways you can use your own skills, passions and open minds and hearts to offer a little bit of relief (and maybe even some joy and festivity) to those lost in the darkness this holiday season. Lending a hand and giving back is truly the gift that keeps on giving. 

So I challenge you to take a day, a fews hours or even mere moments out of your hectic holiday schedule to be there for someone else who is in need. And it doesn't have to be glum -- why not turn it into a fun family or friends activity? Getting others involved makes the ripple effect even greater. Giving back is an excellent way to end the year and begin a new one. 

Here are some ways to help, please spread the word and share your own ideas:

Donate or Volunteer:

The IRC https://www.rescue.org/

NYC Rescue Mission http://nycrescue.org/

DanceNYC https://www.dance.nyc/about/donate

Animal Haven https://www.animalhavenshelter.org/

The Equal Justice Initiative https://eji.org/

Books For Africa https://www.booksforafrica.org/

Meds and Food for Kids https://mfkhaiti.org/

Eryc Taylor Dance http://ETD.nyc/donate :)


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Everyone at ETD wishes you all the best this Holiday Season!

Sincerely,

Eryc Taylor

ALTHOUGH | A Dance Film | Elimination of Violence Against Women by Andrew Tran

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women created in honor of the Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic who were assassinated because of their participation in movements against the dictator Rafael Trujillo's regime). The date, designated by the United Nations General Assembly, marks the beginning of 16 days of remembrance and activism concluding with International Human Rights Day on December 10th. Though a single day, sixteen days or even many years is never enough to remedy this global issue, it ought to at least give us all a moment to pause and reflect during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to think about what we can do and to stand in solidarity with the massive amounts of women worldwide affected by violence, many right in their own homes.

Statistically, about 1 in 3 women have or will suffer some kind of sexual or violent abuse in their lifetimes by someone who is not their partner. According to a report by the United Nations, 19% of women between the ages of 15-49 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence “by an intimate partner” that in some cases has resulted in her death, while other studies show a staggering 70% rate of abuse at the hands of a partner. (Next time you’re in a group of women, look around and let those figures sink in). This gender-based violence spreads to the especially vulnerable: young girls and trans or queer-identifying women in the LGBTQ communities.

In honor, awareness, and solidarity of these sixteen days and for the women, girls and all people affected by any act of violence against them or their loved ones, I wanted to share a film I am very proud of that ETD was a part of this past summer. This incredible short film, ALTHOUGH, was directed and filmed by Clarissa Lapolla with Music by Massimo Bonuccelli, choreography by me, Eryc Taylor, in collaboration with ETD performers Chris Bell and Nicole Baker.

I was both honored and moved that she asked me to collaborate and participate in this meaningful project and intrigued about why she sought ETD out for something with this kind of subject matter. She was initially looking for dancers more along the lines of an ABT style and was a bit hesitant about Chris and Nicole, but I pushed for them because I know what they are capable of both physically and emotionally and the power of their presence on and off stage and screen from working with them for years. In addition to that, they have a special, intimate bond from working with one another in the company plus they are regular dance partners and also have done outside projects and multiple photography sessions together -- so that absolute trust is there. They both ended up exceeding my expectations (and Clarissa’s) as they always do which just makes me beam with pride and gratitude for my extraordinary company members.

I definitely learned A LOT more about this painful topic from working on the film (which I was initially apprehensive about because I am aware of the sensitive nature of the subject matter and didn't want it to come across as reductive in any way) and about the complications of filming in general. The video couldn't follow the original script because we had a location issue with rain that day. So a three-day shoot turned into a one-day shoot of 12 hours because of scheduling. Filming poses different challenges than a live performance. The experiences with working on this film and additional investigative research on these issues further broadened my awareness to the vulnerability many women and girls face daily at the hands of abusive men in a patriarchal society that doesn't seem to be getting better.

Thinking of those statistics makes me wonder every time I am in a group with women -- how many of those I know and care about (as well as acquaintances and even strangers) have been victims of some kind of abuse? How many of our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts grandmothers, partners, and friends -- who all probably thought it could never happen to them -- are holding in torturous secrets?

But if I know one thing about women from having the rock-solid support of my magnificent mom, my beautiful best female friend Beth and the many dancers, associates and other delightful divas I have had the privilege to know, it is that women are STRONG and resilient. They can overcome enormous difficulties and adversities and I believe there is hope and with love, support and taking action, there can be healing and the power to change as well. When women band together they can and do transform the world! Already 140 countries and counting have laws in place to protect women and girls from domestic violence and sexual harassment. But it all starts right here at home and with each of us doing our part.

Here is what you can do over the next 16 days and anytime to help others and/or yourself by taking the steps to raise awareness and work to end violence against all female-kind:

  1. Use #HearMeToo to help spread awareness to End Violence Against Women and Girls

  2. View our film here:https://vimeo.com/302575690 and #Repost

  3. If you are or know someone in need call: National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

  4. Join or donate to an organization that empowers women, stands up to defend and protect the vulnerable and eliminates violence and sexual abuse against women and girls. Here are a few:

     5. Do the research -- Here are some other resources:

https://mainweb-v.musc.edu/vawprevention/