I can’t believe it’s 2015! I am sure we all say that every year, around this time, but this year I am especially amazed with how much was packed in to the last twelve months. It feels like there was enough activity, excitement and growth to fill a decade, and at the same time, it seems like the year flew by. And in reflecting on the year, I realized that I found myself in a different city, and often a different country, during each month of 2014. Using my travels as an inspiration, I thought I would reflect on some of the exciting companies and individuals doing powerful work around the world. So based on the country or city that I visited each month last year, I have crafted a list of some of the artists that inspired me in 2014. Some of these are companies that I saw live, some are artists that I read about, and still others are individuals that just excite me! Hopefully they will excite you too!
JANUARY: Nottingham, England
I started the year in Nottingham, where the NottDance Festival is held as an annual international festival of dance and performance. Check out this year’s festival this spring!
FEBRUARY: Holland & Ireland
The festivals continue on with the Holland Dance Festival, which I attended last year, and this year’s Dublin Dance Festival.
Vincent Mantsoe and his French-based company, Association Noa Company, are long time inspirations for me.
Although I did not attend the Bienalle last year, it always promises a showcase of dance legends, emerging artists and scores of performance premieres.
Retina Dance Company is new to me but I am intrigued by their commitment to making site-specific works and engaging communities from the foundation of accessibility and education.
I simply could not choose between these two powerful London-based dance companies. The Hofesh Shechter Company and Luca Silvestrini’s Protein are both making poignant and timely statements about the world in which we live and the ways in which we inhabit this space that are enticing and provocative.
Exploring heights, weight and weightlessness, Loutop works to make contemporary dance accessible to new audiences.
AUGUST: Salvador, Brazil
The following quote, said by Silvestre Technique founder, Rosangela Silvestre, summarizes the magic of the practice. “Find a discipline and improve your body skills with technique, but don't forget to dance. Don't forget to listen to the Universe and let your body be the instrument of the Universe Dance; your dance, your life. Be Alive!”
SEPTEMBER: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Andrea Jabor uses Arquitetura do Movimento as a platform to share a rich investigation of samba dance and culture. Her contemporary and deconstructed approach to the historical movement feels fresh and thought-provoking.
OCTOBER: Austin & New York
Austin is not only my hometown, but the home of award-winning and cutting edge dance company, Forklift Danceworks and founder, Allison Orr. Forklift also happens to be my community dance home, where my interest in the field was birthed. And New York is filled with so many greats, that it only seems fair that I choose a few.
Nora Chipamire: captivating dancer and choreographer, social justice artist and long-time personal inspiration
Urban Bush Women: foundational American community dance company and essential building block in my creative journey
MBDance: led by the extraordinary mover and community builder, Maria Bauman, inviting and igniting us to all “sweat our truth”!
Check them all out!
NOVEMBER: Boston & Maryland,
Boston Community Dance Project is a young project that feels worth keeping an eye on! On the other hand, Dance Exchange is a veteran community dance company that has been bringing professional intergenerational dance to the Maryland-area for nearly 30 years.
DECEMBER: Chicago & San Francisco
The Dance Center of Columbia College started an exciting and diverse performance line up in the fall, that is continuing through this spring. And finally we make it to my new home-base which is jam packed with exciting artists, but I’ve selected two to feature who have especially peaked my interest. Arts Activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph is transforming San Francisco’s performance landscape in his role as Director of Performing Arts at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Meanwhile Axis Dance Company is stretching the boundaries of dance and dancers through its offering of integrated dance opportunities in the Bay Area.