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Dec
23

GIVE THE GIFT OF DANCE!

“Serious art is born from serious play”- Julia Cameron

Dear Friends and Family,

As I prepare to open my second Broadway show, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, I am filled with a renewed passion for Musical Theater and the sheer joy it brings audiences all over the world. The special combination of song and dance – a uniquely American art form – is something I have always held dear. Dance itself is a staple of Broadway Musicals and I believe so strongly in its power to uplift, excite, and even educate. To that end, I hope you will join me this holiday season in supporting my new organization, The Broadway Dance Lab.

The Broadway Dance Lab is the first non-profit organization dedicated to providing the necessary resources for Musical Theater choreographers to explore and test their ideas in a private, artistically safe space. And it is because of you – our supporters – that our inaugural year was such a success! With a grassroots campaign we raised over $16,000 to help sponsor our very first “Lab Cycle” – a period of intense creative incubation in which we employed 10 spectacular dancers for one-month and created 12 brand new pieces of choreography.

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!

Here are some BDL highlights from 2013:

• We performed at “Steps: Beyond,” the 19th Annual “Fire Island Dance Festival,” and the Career Transitions for Dancers Gala “Broadway and Beyond” at New York City Center.
• Your gift is tax-deductible! We are proud to be an official Non-Profit with the State of New York and we remain a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.
• We teamed up with My Dutch Uncle, Inc., the San Francisco-based company specializing in assisting non-profits, who are helping us maximize our artistic mission and build our Board.
• We joined with the prestigious branding firm HZDG (Volkswagen, Brooks Brothers, Washington Redskins) to create a strong brand identity.
• Finally, two of Broadway’s most iconic dancers have joined our Advisory Board! Donna McKechnie (original “Cassie” in A Chorus Line) and Chita Rivera (original “Anita” in West Side Story) have both endorsed The Broadway Dance Lab and its mission. We are thrilled to have the support of these lengendary women!

I am excited to announce that our second Lab Cycle will take place this March and I am reaching out to ask for your help in raising the necessary funds to keep The Broadway Dance Lab moving forward with unparalleled momentum. Your support ensures that theater choreographers have a place to create without limitations, and that dance in Musical Theater stays fresh, vital, and strong for decades to come. Please consider becoming a patron of The Broadway Dance Lab today with a gift of $50, $100, $200, or more! Every dollar counts as we set out to meet our goal of $50,000 by March 1, 2014. Please join me on the ground floor of this exciting new organization!

VISIT OUR “DONATE” PAGE TO MAKE YOUR TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TODAY!

Thank you so much for your generosity and I wish all a very happy holiday season!

Josh


Nov
13

BDL CELEBRATES ONE YEAR!

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As we reach our one-year anniversary, we have much to celebrate.  Our initial fundraising campaign surpassed $15,000, and with that generosity BDL has begun building a strong presence in the New York dance and Musical Theater communities.  Because of your support, BDL has received remarkable exposure during its first year:

"In Defense", photo: Rosalie O'Connor

“In Defense”, photo: Rosalie O’Connor

In Summer, 2013, BDL received its first commission from the Fire Island Dance Festival, one of the most prestigious dance festivals in the dance community.  Josh’s new work, “In Defense” – a piece celebrating the repeal of DADT – opened the festival which presented works from such renowned dance organizations as New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor, and Alvin Ailey.

"Take Five", BDL

“Take Five”, BDL

BDL was invited to present work at Steps Beyond, a performance lab series held at Steps On Broadway, a premiere dance school in New York City.

"Doggie In The Window", BDL, City Center

“Doggie In The Window”, BDL, City Center

BDL also performed at Career Transition for Dancers 28th Anniversary GALA: “Broadway and Beyond” honoring Ann-Margaret.   This took place on October 8th at The New York City Center – the prestigious 2,750 seat theater and dance establishment in the heart of Manhattan.

Thanks for all you have helped us accomplish!  We cannot do it without you.

 


Oct
28

BDL- THE PRESENTATION

A.M. —  Boy, am I exhausted.  But I’m also super excited to share the fruits of this artistic process with my friends, family, those who have donated, and the folks who know nothing about it.  Public speaking is not my favorite thing on the planet but I am happy to have the opportunity to explain my platform and to finally be able to show concrete visual examples of what I have been talking about for the past year.

P.M. —  The presentations went wonderfully!  I couldn’t be more proud… or more relieved.  People really seemed to respond in very positive ways to my reasonings for the existence of The Broadway Dance Lab.   I got my footing today and that felt so good.  The dancers were fantastic…a HUGE thank you to them!

I know that this is just the beginning of a very long process but I firmly believe that, with the right support, The Broadway Dance Lab can take flight!

 


Oct
28

BDL – DAY 21

Day 21 was a very challenging day.  A long interview followed by a run of all our material in order.  But it was amazing to see how much we had accomplished in such a short amount of time.  And all without a pre-determined agenda.  The fact that I was able to “free associate” just like other writers made it possible to explore 14 different ideas!  (About 40 minutes of music!)  And to think that a month ago I wasn’t sure I would create anything at all.


Oct
24

BDL -DAY 20

The presentation is getting close (this Friday!) and boy, am I exhausted.  I don’t have a second to myself and I sleep like the dead every night.   Today, the filming began.  All the dancers were interviewed for the mini-documentary I’m having made about the Lab.   It was a day with very little dancing.  But that’s okay because I really feel the dancers are ready for Friday.   Tomorrow is a big day.  I have to do my own interview and we are going to run all of the numbers (12 in all!) twice through.  It will be a hard day but it will be an exciting one.  I’m excited to see all the progress we’ve made over the past week.  We’ll be back at Paul Taylor Dance Studios.  I love that space and I always look forward to going there.   A big thanks to Mark Morris and Gina Gibney studios, too, for being such wonderful hosts to The Broadway Dance Lab!


Oct
24

BDL – DAY 19

I began day 19 by looking at a new piece I’m working on.  But this new piece is unlike any of the others in the Lab thus far because it is to an original score composed by a friend of mine.  We have been tinkering around with a wonderful concept for a show but, up until now, I’ve had no way of exploring the movement in a big way.   Although I have only worked on 4 minutes of the idea, it has already given me inspiration to continue confidently down the path I’m on, when I wasn’t exactly sure how the idea was going to dance.  Lately I came up with the slogan:  If you can’t SHOW it, you can’t KNOW it.   The Lab has, once again, served a large purpose for me.  I have been able to begin the process of making that which has just been an idea in my head become a concrete entity in front of me.  There is a huge journey ahead but I know now that the next time I’m in the Lab, I might very well just choose to concentrate on this one narrative and see where it takes me.


Oct
24

BDL -DAY 18

Our 18th day of rehearsal took place in the largest studio at the Mark Morris Dance Studios in Brooklyn.  This was a fortunate turn of events because it really allowed me to work on the material in an appropriately sized space.  One of the aims of The Broadway Dance Lab is to provide Broadway sized space for choreographers.  There’s an old wives tale about fish in a fish tank.  The gist is that a fish will only grow in relationship to the size of the container you put it in.  You put a fish in a fish bowl, it will stay really small… put it in a pond and it grows bigger.. .and so on.  Dances are like that.  You can’t create a big dance in a small space.  Sure, one can approximate.  But dancing isn’t about “approximating” movement.   And choreography is all about spacial relationships.  Being too close or too far away from another dancer can change the entire look and meaning of a piece.  One can’t paint a mural in a sketchbook.   But choreographers try to do it.. are forced to do it… all the time.  It’s unfortunate.  And I’m super proud to have given myself the opportunity to work with a big group of dancers in big spaces.  It really changes everything.

 


Oct
21

BDL- DAY 17

Day 17 was a wonderfully low-key day.  I continued to work on the pas de deux, finessing it and changing it a little.  And then I made some nice adjustments to my men’s number.  It’s fast and hard and it’s supposed to be funny.  All three things make for a very challenging piece.  I ended the day working on a real fun solo number.   3 very different pieces in 4 hours.  The week coming up is the week of our presentation and I am already pretty exhausted trying to manage the invitations, the rehearsal schedule, the filming schedule and, oh yeah… the DANCING!   I’m very excited to show people what we’ve been working on the past three weeks and to explain to them why it is so important to keep this Lab going!


Oct
19

BDL – DAY 16

I have never had the opportunity to create a really romantic pas de deux.  It’s rather rare to see dance duets of any kind these days on Broadway.  Today… I was able to create one.  And I even decided to put my female dancer on pointe.  It’s not often that one gets to choreograph a true pas de deux with a girl on point in musical theater.  I certainly can’t think of any new book shows I’ve seen the past few years that has a romantic pas.  And there you are… yet again, the Lab serves an important function.  As a choreographer, am I just supposed to wait to hopefully be hired for a show that may or may not have a pas in it for me to be able to explore one?   That doesn’t seem right.


Oct
19

BDL – DAY 15

Day 15 was a day where we ran all the dances back to back for the first time.  All of a sudden, I realized I had about 45 minutes of choreography that I’ve explored.  I didn’t plan on having that much… I just kept creating.  I just kept finding myself inspired by a new idea and wanting to see what it would look like.  The dancers are doing brilliantly.  The amount they have had to retain in only 14 rehearsals is really astounding.   When I began the Lab three weeks ago I wasn’t sure if I’d even make one dance…and now I have TWELVE.   I guess you could say I am milking my creative time for everything it’s worth.