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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!



Oct
13

BDL – DAY 11

Today was Men’s day.  I decided to re-conceive a piece I had worked on years ago and give it to the men.  I decided this yesterday.  And the idea for it came to me yesterday, too.  One of the most difficult exercises is re-inventing your own work.  But it can be a great reminder that there are always many, many possibilities and potential outcomes.  There is no right or wrong way to interpret music and it can be a great challenge to reinterpret a theme in a whole new way.  It’s a funny piece.  Or at least I hope it’s funny.   At any rate, It’s been so incredible to just be able to follow my impulses.  To create with abandon.  Would I love the number to work like a charm?  Sure!  Would I love every number I do to work like a charm?  Absolutely!  But it’s so liberating to know that they don’t really have to.  That weather they “work” or not has little to do with my experience creating them.  And because of that, I find myself wanted to create even more… and take more risks.  That’s what the Lab is all about and today, I was so grateful for it.


Oct
13

BDL – DAY 10

Day 10 was a day to review everything we had worked on up to this point.  I had started a few pieces that I wanted to finish and it was good to clean a few things.  I can’t believe we’re already at the half-way mark.  It has been an incredible two weeks.  I turned around and all of a sudden I had 9 separate ideas that I had been able to  explore.  It’s been incredible.  Michael and Stephen came to watch today.  It was great to have them there and get their feedback.  It’s also fun when my cousin (not a dancer) asks me things like, “How do you REMEMBER all of this?”   I take it for granted that I just do.  Well… ok… I remember MOST of it.  The dancers are very good at gently reminding me of the rest.   The real work now is readying the Lab for the presentation on the 26th. The 26th feels like it’s tomorrow.  But wo weeks is actually quite a bit of time and I plan on doing everything I can to prepare the dancers and create a wonderful showing for my friends in the industry.  It was nice to reflect today on all that we’ve accomplished and all that I have learned in a mere 10 rehearsals.


Oct
12

BDL- DAY 9

Day 9 was Women’s Day.   I decided to just work with my women on two numbers that I wanted to try.  One is quite “camp”… the other is quite dark.  I’m beginning to realize that I’m kind of a feminist when it comes to dance.  I find that women are all too often objectified in the dance world.  And I get it… sex sells.   But what about the funny women?  The athletic women?  The introverted women?  The complicated women?  In theater, every project dictates the types of people that are hired. But in the lab, I can explore all types of characters at the same time.  In the Lab, I can practice the camp material, the dark material, and even the sexy material…all in one three hour rehearsal.  In the Lab, I can ask my women to be all the things they are.  Where else can I do that?

 


Oct
12

BDL- DAY 8

We moved to yet another complex of dance studios on Day 8.  (We also moved Day 7)  And at the new complex, we moved studios half way through our rehearsal.  We went from a nice sized space to a much smaller one.  I wasn’t too terribly put off by this because it didn’t happen to interfere with what I was working on.  But it absolutely could have been paralyzing.  It reminded me why the ultimate goal of The Broadway Dance Lab is to have it’s own space – a space that approximates a Broadway stage.   The Paul Taylor Studios are built to be the exact dimensions of City Center.  This is an extremely useful model for me.  One of the reasons I was adamant about hiring 10 dancers is because Broadway most often deals in large scale visuals.  When was the last time you went to a Broadway show and saw only 2 dancers in the ensemble?  Can it happen?  Sure.  Does it happen very often?  No.  So we finished a dance I started last week and I began a new one.  I’m not sure I’ll continue with this new one.  But I will most likely present the idea at my showing.  The reason I may not continue with it is because it will be comprised of a series of rather complex traffic patterns and this type of product can take hours and hours to achieve.  I need to decide if figuring out this matrix is on my list of priorities.  However, it reminded  me yet again why the lab is so necessary.  In a time-sensitive rehearsal process, most choreographers really need to just do what works quickly.  Spending hours on a complicated pattern could result in something brilliant… but who takes the risk that it won’t?   This is why I’d present the idea.  To give people a visual example of this very conundrum.

 


Oct
10

BDL – Day 7

Day 7 was filled with laughter as I began to work on a new piece that is one of the silliest ideas I’ve had in a long time.  Well, it made me laugh anyway.  But it was also day for me to reflect on the elements of gesture in dance.  While shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” have brought a wonderful attention to elastic, athletic, passionate young dancers and highly skilled choreographers, it still remains a competition. By that, I mean that there is very little room for expressions of the body that don’t immediately “impress” – or “amaze”.  And I love a daring display of gymnastics and partnering as much as the next guy.  But what about the multitude of highly effective statements that can be made with the body that have nothing to do with blatant displays of physical prowess?  Do audiences value this much anymore?   And where does humor fit in to the current equation?  Once again,, it was glorious to be in an environment where I didn’t feel the need for shock and awe.  Where we could all just be regular humans for the day.   Ok…maybe not so regular.