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!


ETD 2016 Spring Audition by Eryc Taylor

As we sorted through over 250 head shots and resumes a couple weeks before tonight's audition at Dany Studios I was overwhelmed yet excited at the response. Timothy handled most of the legwork sifting through submissions, and eventually we narrowed it down to 75 candidates whom we invited to the audition. I spent the whole day worrying about the heavy snow and the deterrent weather and what that would mean for our audition. To my relief, 40 dancers still showed up last night. 

Once everyone got their numbers, there was a quick interview & walk phase. During the individual interviews, Shoko (an ETD dancer for 3 years now) taught an adagio in the holding studio. We saw two group performances and made our first cut to 30 dancers. This year's cut was especially hard for me for two reasons. First, maybe it's just New York City, but dancers seem to be getting more and more technically skilled with professional poise at such a young age. Second, I was really just not used to the sheer amount in attendance. 

With 45 minutes left, I had Timothy play random music on Spotify and asked the dancers to solo improv. While technique is incredibly important, creativity and the ability to create a real & natural improv is a key component of ETD. At the end of it all, we invited 3 male and 14 female dancers to the call-back this Wednesday, February 17th.