Friday, January 14, 2011

NEXT (part one)

Friday, December 14
Washington, DC

CityDance has been lucky to have a number of major initiatives come to be in these past 14 years (a number that, as the only person standing for the entire duration of those 14 scares even me). One of my favorites is the NEXT Commission. NEXT is an annual "competition" (hate that term) to find next generation choreographers whose work is still at least somewhat under-the-radar but whom I think will really make themselves known in the years to come. 

This year we received an enormous number of entries. I watched every one of them. Twice. And that was before making a cut. The work and effort that so often goes into these just makes that something we owe them. 

When it was all said and done, when I was down to about 10, I was sitting in a hotel in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was July 4th and Liz and Jason and I had just gotten into Jerusalem before spending a month teaching in Ramallah. We were in the courtyard of the Gloria Hotel. The sounds, the air, the smells of the Old City were all around. An unusual place to be making a selection about the winner of NEXT.

We hoped to choose two. One, Gregory Dolbashian, had won the year before, but we'd run out of time and resources to honor the commission in 2009-2010. In that year, following Greg and his work, it was clear his voice was growing by great leaps. So we knew he was coming in. 

The second choice was Loni Landon, a Graduate of Juilliard and, like Greg, a native New Yorker. Both talented, with very different yet compatible visions. 

This week they began working on their commissions. Starting on Wednesday the 12th with time just getting to know their dancers. Both are doing duets. Loni is working with two of the Company's women. Greg with two of the men. 

We love to document the process, and to give people a look inside the studio, and inside the thoughts, of the artists with whom we work. Creative Director Shannon Schwait spent the day with Greg and Loni on Wednesday, and her first Inside Look segment is below. 

Its a great piece showcasing two inspired artists at work....

No comments: