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!

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