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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.


Oct
18

BDL – MEET THE DANCERS

VALERIE SALGADO was the assistant choreographer for the first season of the NBC series “SMASH” produced by Steven Spielberg. She has worked closely as the assistant to Emmy award winning choreographer, Joshua Bergasse, for several years. With Bergasse, she has worked as assistant choreographer for BC/EFA’s Gypsy of the Year opening number, associate choreographer for Bright Lights Big City (Marymount Manhattan College), has assisted with pre-production for numerous regional shows, and assisted with Bergasse’s Musical Theater Performance Project. Valerie was the original choreographer for the musical Helen on 86th St at the Chernuchin Theatre. She has also had her work shown at Dance Theatre Workshop with Motion Dance+Theatre, Band of Gypsies Choreographer Showcase, and has choreographed for the Rutgers Dance Team. Valerie received her classical dance training at Le Studio in Pasadena, California, under the direction of Philip and Charles Fuller, and earned her B.A. in dance from the University of California, Irvine. She has performed with contemporary dance companies in LA and NY as well as regional theatre across the country. West Side Story, Ticket to Ride, (David Marquez), I’ll Be Damned, At the Vineyard Theatre (Luis Salgado). Workshops: The Great White Way, James and the Giant Peach (with Pilobolus).

VANESSA RUSSO: BILLY ELLIOT, First National Tour (Swing I Asst. Dance Captain); WEST SIDE STORY, Asian I European Tour (ANYBODYS I JET GIRL); OKLAHOMA!, First National Tour (Sally Skidmore) FILM: ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (Featured Dancer); GREAT EXPECTATIONS (Starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow) OTHER: Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Ensemble Dancer); Ballroom Dancesport National Latin Champion. Proud Member of ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION

DEANNA DOYLE danced with the Kansas City Ballet for eight years, dancing numerous principal and soloist roles in ballets choreographed by legends such as Agnes de Mille, Donald McKayle, Twyla Tharp, and Paul Taylor. She studied tap and jazz with her mother and trained at the School of American Ballet and performed with the New York City Ballet. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in psychology. Her equal training in ballet, tap, jazz, and theater has landed her roles in shows such as “42nd Street,” “All Shook Up,” and “Oklahoma,” as well as the lead role of Vera in “On Your Toes.” Deanna has also appeared in national commercials such as Tide and Twix. She is the fourth generation in her family to be a professional dancer/singer/actress, beginning with her two great-great- aunts who had a sister act on the vaudeville circuit.

TOMMY SCRIVENS is a Florida native, where he trained at New Tampa Dance Theatre. Tommy graduated from The Ohio State University with a BFA in dance performance in 2005. He has performed with Columbus Dance Theater contemporary ballet company, in the United Kingdom tour of Tap Fusion, as a guest artist with BalletMet, Columbus, Collide, and Parsons Dance. He is currently dancing with dre.dance, Nicholas Andre Dance and marInspired. In addition to company work Tommy has been featured in several movies, musicals and tv shows. Most recently, The Big Gay Musical movie, City Center Encores’ production of “Where’s Charley?” and the premier of the Rosie Show.

ALEX DeLEO is thrilled to be a part of Josh Prince’s Broadway Dance Lab. Alex is an actor in New York and has training from The Walnut Hill School, CCM, Pace. Professional credits: St. Louis Muny, North Shore Music Theatre, Boston Children’s Theatre, Atlanta’s Fox, and Carnegie Hall. Tv/film credits include: MTI’s Educational videos (dance capt.), HDTV commercials, lil iguana safety pilot, McGraw-Hill textbook series. Thanks to my loving family, friends, Avalon Artists and to Josh for bringing this amazing group of people together for this project.

MINDY UPIN is originally from the Chicagoland area and received her BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is currently Rehearsal Director and member of The Steps on Broadway Ensemble, and also dances with Nathan Trice/Rituals, Grace Courvoisier Dance Company, and Trainor Dance. Mindy has choreographed Off-Broadway plays, musicals, and original works as well as been a guest teaching artist in New York, Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, and even South Africa. Along with her choreographic partner, Lindsey Kelley, Mindy choreographed, produced, and danced in her own show “The Ratio of Mindsey to Kelpin” shown in both Chicago, IL and Asheville, North Carolina. Mindy was recognized by Dance Magazine with an ENews exclusive interview and has been showcased as a style model. Currently, Mindy is teaching contemporary modern at Steps on Broadway, and at the McCarton Center for Developmental Pediatrics, where she teaches children with special needs. Please visit www.mindyupin.com to learn more.

KHORI R. PETINAUD began dancing at the age of 13 after seeing her first ballet of Firebired by Dance Theater of Harlem and has never looked back. She studied at North Carolina School of the Arts, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin ailey and Russel’s School of Ballet in Northern VA. She received her BFA in dance from NYU’s Tisch school of the arts and has just recently finished the national tour of The Color Purple. She is currently a member of the Steps Repertory Ensemble and is so happy to have this opportunity to work with the wonderfully talented Josh Prince! Jeremiah 29:11

GIOVANNI BONAVENTURA is thrilled to be a part of the Broadway Dance Lab. Credits: Pippin, Workshop (A.R.T.), A Chorus Line (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Damn Yankees (Paper Mill Playhouse). CCM Graduate. Thank you Josh for this incredible opportunity!

JESSY SMITH grew up dancing in woodsy Hudson, Ohio and went on to receive a BFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She choreographs and performs with The Good to Go Girls, a bubbly trio of classically trained dancers whose skits toy with physical comedy and burlesque.  Their work, coined “surprisingly professional” by the New York Times, has been presented by numerous venues including Joe’s Pub, DTW, The Box NYC, Le Poisson Rouge and The Triad Theater.

BILLY GRIFFIN:  Performing credits include the 1st national tours of the musicals “Mary Poppins”, “Young Frankenstein” and “White Christmas”.  Company member of Jeff Amsden’s “A Few Good Men Dancin’ “.   Many regional theater productions and industrials, working with the likes of Spike Lee, Debra Messing and Jerry Seinfeld.  T.V shows: “SMASH” and “The Electric Company”.  Animated Billy on the video game “Dance On Broadway” for Nintendo Wii.  Choreographer of the Miss Connecticut Pageant for the Miss America Organization.  BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (CAP 21).  Proud AEA and SAG-AFTRA member.  Thanks to Josh for this awesome experience.

NICK KEPLEY:  Born in Asheville, NC, Nick Kepley trained with Sandra Miller and spent summers at the School of American Ballet and The Juilliard School. He has danced professionally with Ballet Austin and Kansas City Ballet performing works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp and Jose Limon, among others. In his theatre career, Nick served as dance captain in McCarter Theatre’s A Christmas Carol and appeared on Broadway in Mary Poppins (Neleus, Valentine) and in Camelot with the New York Philharmonic, which was broadcast nationwide on PBS in 2008. He also performed on “The Celebrity Apprentice” and NBC’s new series, “SMASH.”  Nick is Founder and Artistic Director of MOTION Dance+Theatre, a summer dance company and choreographic laboratory based in Asheville, NC www.motiondt.com.


Oct
18

BDL- DAY 14

Day 14 was split between the men and the women.  The women were working on a somewhat macabre piece, while the men were working on a very, very zany/absurd piece.  It’s fun to switch gears like that so dramatically in one rehearsal.  I get to do that in the Lab.  I get to stretch my own imagination as far in any direction as I like.  Whenever I like.  This type of exercise is vital to any artist.  To be able wander… to switch gears… to free-associate… to play.


Oct
16

BDL – DAY 13

Today was a challenging day for me because I’m feeling rather tired.  I would never claim to know just how difficult it is to be a parent but starting one’s own company probably has its similarities.  I wake at 7am, put my feet on the floor, and it’s Broadway Dance Lab from then on until I place my head back on the pillow.  No rest for the weary.  There’s always something that demands my attention.  Today, for instance, I sent out about 100 invitations to my showing next Friday.  And those invitations didn’t write themselves!  And that was before leaving for the studio for work.  Of course, I’m loving every second I get to be creative but I’m not exactly a born business man.  I find balancing the artistic side and the managerial side of the business to be exhausting and I look forward to the day when I can have an honest to goodness staff to help me.  People tell me I should be delegating responsibilities now and I’ve tried to do that.   But at this point, I really don’t even have the time to explain what it is that I need.  Heck…half the time, I don’t even know what it is that I need until I need it.  On the upside, I began work on a new piece today.  I didn’t think I would start it but I went in and just felt the urge.  And there you have it.  The reason for The Broadway Dance Lab.  I felt like exploring an idea and I did.  I had an outlet for my creative urges and I was reminded that, in this environment, honoring where I am at is all I need to do.


Oct
16

BDL- DAY 12

Monday was Day 12 and we were rehearsing at the Mark Morris Studios in Brooklyn.  I spent the day reviewing and tweaking some of the material and I finished another one of my dances.  Of course, when I say “finished” I mean that the way one might say they “finished the laundry” when, in fact, it’s just sitting in the dryer.  Sure, the clothing is clean and but it’s not exactly folded and put away.   It’s funny because the number I worked on “finishing” is one that I thought would come easily to me.  I thought it would just flow right out.  But, alas, it was a rather halting, painstaking process.  I hate when that happens.  But I really, really love it when it happens the other way!