Open Letter from Eryc Taylor / by Nicole Baker

After eight full months of preparation, it feels like our 11th annual 2017 New York City Season came and went in a blink of an eye. It's been two weeks since the show wrapped and I've given myself the space to reflect back on the season and want to share my thoughts and thanks you's to all of my friends, family, patrons, and everyone who came out to see the show and support ETD.

This was our second year back at The Martha Graham Studio Theater and it is definitely becoming a home for ETD's performances. As I have shared in the past, when I first moved to New York City, the 11th floor of the iconic Westbeth building was home to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1971-2011). As a young dancer, in the early 1990's, I was in awe of Cunningham and quickly got involved in the work study program at MCDC. I remember cleaning the studio, working the front desk and helping archive costumes by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and JasperJohns to name a few. My time at Cunningham was magical and to now have my own company years later and be performing in the same place where my career started brings tears to my eyes. Now home to The Martha Graham Dance Company I'm still drawn to the energy in that room - there is no denying it! I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Kyle Henning, Tiger, and all of the staff at Martha Graham for welcoming us with open arms and providing support throughout the prep! 

This year, we began a new and exciting partnership with MAC Cosmetics. Back in June, ETD partnered with nonprofit organization, Lantern Community Services, to put on a performance by its' residents during the Harlem Arts Stroll. MAC graciously donated their services to us and thus began the beginning of our sponsorship.  For the NYC Season, MAC sent us two incredible make-up artists, Nicole and Krista. They arrived two hours before each show and meticulously worked on each dancer to create six cohesive and theatrical looks. We are so grateful for their artistry. Thank you girls and thank you MAC for continuing to support dance in NYC! 

On opening night, immediately following the performance, I invited the audience to the back studio for a reception to toast the Season & year.  I can't thank Eric Gunhus (EG Event Group) enough for making this special evening happen and my sincerest thanks to Eden of The Deutsch Family and Fleur de Prairie for sponsoring our celebration and providing the delectable wine! 

I met lighting designer, Jason Fok, in 2015 when he inquired about collaborating with ETD on designing the lights for our show, but it wasn't until this year that we had the opportunity to work together. He attended a few rehearsals and from the start we were on the same page aesthetically. Each piece he designed the lighting plot for was exactly how I imagined it in my head and I'm excited to keep working and collaborating with him. Emily Brown was our Stage Manager and she kept us on track and went above and beyond supporting the company. It was her first gig in NYC so, understandably, I was a little apprehensive, but I instinctively could tell she was very professional, calm, and collected. Our ASM, Meghan Dechaine, jumped on board and I really appreciate her chill vibe and her assertive professionalism. Tiger, who works for Martha Graham, was our Technical Director and he obviously knows the space top to bottom and his expertise made the technical aspects of our show breeze by. I'm so grateful and couldn't have asked for a better technical team. 

Professional dance photographers and videographers who can successfully shoot dance are hard to find but fortunately for us, photographer, Hunter Canning, and videographer, Jesse Itkowiz, are pros. Hunter captured the essence of each piece and he made it very difficult to pick "the selects" from the shoot and I can't wait to see the edited video footage. Keep an eye out for their work on our site! 

Congratulations to my dancers who stayed focused and professional for the entire run. My process is all about collaboration so without their dedication to ETD, the season wouldn't have been a success. Their drive and determination to create movement inspires me everyday. Thank you Taylor, AJ, Chris, Graham, Alex, and Nicole for working so hard to bring life to the work and making this year's season so incredible.  Bravo!

Thanks a million to Douglas Sills of Sills Foundation for commissioning our new work, "Cycles". I'm forever grateful for his support and happy to dedicate "Cycles" to his foundation in perpetuity. Also many thanks for the generous support from Ron Walker of The Marta Heflin Foundation and to my marvelous partner Michel Wallerstein for his continued love and support and for believing in me and ETD.

Most people don't realize that half of the work it takes to produce a show is all of the administrative and daily operations. I'm forever thankful to Nicole Baker for keeping the company on track, managing, scheduling, running rehearsals and for her creative input and passion for dance.  She always stays positive even when my spirits are down. Lastly, my operations manager, Andrew Tran and fabulous publicist, Adria Rolnick worked overtime to advertise, market and publicize the season. We were sold out every show and without them, and my incredible team, none of this would be possible. I feel very blessed to be living my dream as an Artistic Director of ETD for 11 years and I look forward to all that lies ahead for the company. Stay tuned for a full report when ETD returns from our upcoming tour on November 14-20 to Merida, Mexico. 

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!

E. TAYLOR