Impulses Dance Theatre Arts, Inc. Announces New Film
“Dancing Without Steps: The Art of Improvisation with Margaret Beals”
Margaret Beals’ Impulses Dance Theatre Arts, Inc. announces the release of “Dancing Without Steps: The Art of Improvisation with Margaret Beals” introduced by National Medal of Art recipient Meredith Monk.
This short documentary represents a life’s journey for Margaret Beals, a solo performer since the 1960s best known for her improvisational artistry in dance and theatre. It is under consideration for art, dance, and women-centric film festivals with a premiere in late 2022.
“Dancing without Steps” ignites a discussion of the power of improvisation to influence dancers and artists in other mediums such as painting, music and poetry through the words and actual footage of Ms. Beals’ pioneering works. Ms. Beals, Jackson Pollock, Keith Jarrett and others reveal their creative process, offering young artists an opportunity to explore the freedom and authenticity of improvisation.
Born in Boston, she self-trained, dancing without steps until the age of 17. Arriving in New York, she had the privilege of studying with luminaries Martha Graham and Jose Limon. In 1976, Olwyn Hughes gave Ms. Beals the rights to choreograph the “Ariel” poems of Sylvia Plath. A three-year National Endowment for the Arts grant enabled her to create Improvisations to Chopin with pianist Thomas Hrynkiv. She also has written and performed two one-woman evenings, The Teak Room, directed by Tony award winner Tony Tanner, and Pathways, directed by Obie Award winner Lee Nagrin. She continues to coach and teach in her New York studio.
Ms. Beals says, “Dancing Without Steps has given me a platform to express the philosophy that has informed my life’s work. Improvisation in performance is like surfing. You must jump in without hesitation and keep swimming.”
About the Film and Film Information
USA 26 minutes
Margaret Beals/Impulses Dance Theatre Arts, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit – Executive Producer
Adriana Davis/D-Squared Media NYC – Director/Production Company
(D-Squared has 25-years’ experience creating documentaries such as “The Last Jews of Baghdad” and 6 others from their Iraqi Jewish series, and narratives including “Play It By Ear” starring Rita Moreno.)
Margaret Beals has performed her solo evening, “Margaret Beals in Concert,” appearing at Jacob’s Pillow; the NY Dance Umbrella; the Delacorte Theatre; The Place, London; the International Festival de Danse, Paris; and the Het Theatre Festival, Holland, among other venues. For more information, go to: www.margaretbeals.org
Thursday/Friday/Saturday, October 13, 14, 15 at 7:30 PM
The Center at West Park (in the Sanctuary Space), 165 West 86th Street
(running time: 50 minutes)The Center at West Park presents the world premiere of Anabella Lenzu’s The night that you stopped acting/La noche que dejaste de actuar, on its UNIQUE performance series, October 13, 14, 15, at the historic West Park Presbyterian Church at 165 West 86th Street, NYC. In her new one woman tour-de-force, Lenzu confronts the absurdity and irony of life while being both an artist and a spectator in today’s world. The work reflects the Argentinian native’s experience as a Latina artist living in New York, and comes from a deep examination of her motivations as a woman, mother, and immigrant.
Originally from Argentina, Anabella Lenzu is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and teacher with over 30 years of experience.
Lenzu directs her own company, Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama (ALDD), which since 2006 has presented 400 performances, created 15 choreographic works, and performed at 100 venues, presenting thought-provoking and historically conscious dance-theater in NYC.
As a choreographer, she has been commissioned all over the world for opera, TV programs, theatre productions, and by many dance companies. She has produced and directed several award-winning short dance films and screened her work in over 150 festivals both nationally and internationally.
She has received grants from Brooklyn Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Edwards Foundation, The Vermont Community Foundation, and the Independent Community Foundation.
Her first book, Unveiling Motion and Emotion, was published in 2013. Her second book, Teaching Dance through Meaningful Gestures, is expected to be published in 2022.
Currently, Ms.Lenzu conducts classes at NYU Gallatin, School of Visual Arts, California State University Fullerton, and Peridance Center.Anabella is a board member of the American Dance Guild and Pioneers Go East Collective, and on the Selection Committee for the Bessie’s Awards since 2020.
“Lenzu has been described as an “Argentine firecracker” which nicely sums up her large, passionate nature as well as her intense commitment to the creative process. She has developed a beautifully integrated approach to dance and theater which will continue to serve her and her fine company going forward.”
— New York Arts article by Mari Gold
OperaMyLove magazine: Hello Annabella. You are originally from Argentina, but your parents were Italians, weren’t they?
Anabella Lenzu: I lived and worked in Italy (Rome and Naples) from 2002 to 2006. I love Italy!!! My dad was Italian. He emigrated with my grandparents to Argentina after the Second World War. My grandmother’s family was from Benevento & my grandfather’s family was from Sant’Antioco, in Sardegna. From 2002 to 2005, I was the Mary Poppins of dance in Italy. I traveled by train with my suitcase full of dreams between Rome, Caserta, Capua, Santa Maria Casalnuovo, Benevento, Fonti, and Naples, sharing art, culture, and experiences. On any given day I would teach in two or three cities—Rome, Naples, and Caserta (covering a total distance of 300km). Tireless and adventurous, I learned dialects, traditions, and superstitions, and visited secret historical sites… I also found many kindred spirits along the way. In Italy, I connected with my roots as the daughter of Italian immigrants who came to Argentina in 1952.
I arrived in Southern Italy in 2002 and was invited to local parties and festivals, where I learned the traditional dances from the people dancing in the streets. I polished my technique with professional artists, who taught me the traditional dances of Naples, Calabria, Puglia, and Benevento: tammurriata, pizzica, calabrese tarantella, tarantella of Monte Marano, and saltarello. These dances reflect agricultural practices, religion, superstition, and even local politics! It was a great privilege to learn firsthand from Raffaele Cioppa, Francesca Trenta, and Mario Cerchi. Anita Bucci, director of the company “Balletto 90” in Rome, invited me as a choreographer to create a multi-disciplinary work with 10 musicians, 25 dancers, and two actors. Called “La Donna nel cerchio che balla” (“The woman dancing in the circle”), the piece was aimed at bringing the audience face to face with its dying folk dances and folkloric traditions. So began my work of translating this folklore and training contemporary dancers. It was with great pleasure and respect that I studied and discovered the folklore of Southern Italy, although I always found it strange to be a foreigner teaching Italians their own traditions!
OperaMyLove magazine: Did you always know you would be going into dancing? Did you study dance in Argentina?
Anabella Lenzu: Dance underlies all that I am If you believe in reincarnation, I have been dancing for an eternity!! For me, dance is the union of a person with his interior. It is a communion with oneself, with others, with the environment, and with life. Through the crystal prism of dance, one can understand life. My love, devotion, dedication, and passion have led me to travel across the world, enriching myself with experiences.
I’ve never wanted to be a sheep. Thanks to my mother and father Antonio and Graciela, I have developed an active critical faculty. I don’t believe what they are selling me on TV. I don’t follow fads. I study, see and reflect. That’s why I dedicate myself to art. As a choreographer, I celebrate, meditate, respond, protest, scream, cry, and laugh about life through dance. I use dance to make the audience experience, feel, think, and emote.
As a dance educator, I seek to reconnect people with the joy of dance. I love to see people bloom and develop. I am not only teaching movement but also guiding dancers in rediscovering why they dance and what they dance about.
OperaMyLove magazine: In 1994, you founded your own dance school, L’Atelier Centro Creativo de Danza, in Buenos Aires. How many years did you teach at your school? Did you continue to teach in other countries?
Anabella Lenzu: Teaching is a passion for me. I am a dedicated educator and truly enjoy guiding my students to make discoveries and find their own voices through movement. Regular classes, workshops, and residencies both in-person and online include Dance-Theater, Ballet, Modern, Argentinean Tango, Choreography/Composition, Repertory, Dance History, Dance Criticism, Anatomy, and Methodology of Teaching in more than 50 institutions since 1994, including universities, professional dance studios and companies, festivals and symposiums in USA, Argentina, Italy, and Chile. I have been teaching in higher education since 2005. From 2020 to the present, I created and directed the Online Choreographic Mentorship Program.
I founded L’Atelier: Centro Creativo de Danzain 1994 and directed the school until 2001. L’Atelier was established as a center for dance where students develop a sensibility for art and where ethical and aesthetic knowledge are combined with the joy of creating through a holistic and humanistic approach. I established and refurbished a 4,000 sq. ft. rehearsal and performance space with two studios, a monthly performance series, and community outreach programs, handling all publicity and studio bookings. Furthermore, I managed and produced successful fundraising and benefit events. I developed the curriculum for the entire school, which gives dance instructor certification. I selected and coordinated 5 full-time faculty members and administrative assistants. I planned and developed a certificate program in experimental performance, recruited over 350 students, designed a full-time curriculum, taught classes in dance, advised student projects & choreographed work on students. In addition to developing the curriculum for L’Atelier, in Italy I collaborated with the dance schools DanzArte, Movimento Danza, and Projetto Arte to develop their Modern Dance and Ballet curriculum. I have also been a consultant for various dance schools and Universities addressing curriculum and programming issues.
OperaMyLove magazine: Youhave been commissioned to create choreography for opera. What operas did you prepare your choreographies for?Which one did you find the most challenging?
Anabella Lenzu: As a choreographer, I have been commissioned all over the world, for opera, TV programs, theatre productions, and by many dance companies, such as Anna Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble (New York) and Movimento Danza (Naples, Italy). I have been performing and teaching in Argentina, Italy, England, Chile and the US, showing my own work and collaborating with other dance companies as a freelance choreographer.
I choreograph for traditional Operas like Il Pagliacci, and Cavalleria Rusticana, as well as experimental/ Avant Garde operas like Mata Hari in NYC.
It has been a journey of exploration and self-analysis being the guest choreographer for Mata Hari Opera production, sharing my creative process, inspiration, and artistic quest.
With the magic of giving shape to an idea, an emotion, or an opinion comes great responsibility. Sharing my work with others provides the ultimate fulfillment, allowing me to broaden my search and crystallize my views on whatever moves me deeply.
Like an artisan, with each choreographic section, I refine and explore ideas through movement and examine how to communicate.
This is not the first time that I have choreographed an opera. Previously, I created dances for “Il Pagliacci” by the opera director Guy Ariel Kruh (Paris/France) in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1998. Later that same year I choreographed “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Bahia Blanca Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of Eugenia Gallego in Bahia Blanca, Argentina.
I also choreographed the “Notre dame de Paris” musical in Sardegna, Italy in 2003, as well as being a guest choreographer for many theater productions, TV programs, and dance companies in Argentina, Italy, and USA.
I would like to talk about the relationship between Dance and Music. As a choreographer and maker of metaphoric images and sensations, I understand the power of dance as a language.
How does one balance the meaning of the lyrics in the song when there is a powerful movement and visual effects at the same time? Words are specific, movement is subjective.
As an audience member, there is a choice to make with your attention. Imagine someone massaging you when to are eating a piece of steak while smelling roses at the same time.
I remember my choreography teacher Mary Anthony talking about using music without lyrics because words are your direct intellectual competitor.
What about when the lyrics are in a foreign language for that audience? Alternately, what is the effect if the lyrics and audience speak the same language?
Like husband and wife, music and dance share the same bed but are two different people choosing to live together.
OperaMyLove magazine: You studied Tango and the folk dances of Argentina, Spain, and Italy. What prompted your interest in these dances? How much do these studies influence you when creating your choreographic works?
Anabella Lenzu: I believe the study and practice of some form of folkloric dance are essential to any dancer’s training. Why? I love folk dances because they genuinely conserve the creative impulses and essential ways in which we celebrate life (and death), and in so doing, they help us guess at the meaning of life. They transport us to another world and dimension and teach us about geography and culture. Layers of stories are preserved in a single gesture! They show us how movement can be cathartic for a whole society.
My own dance theater works are not folkloric per se, but they build on characters and stories inherent to folklore. These characters and stories inspire me and provide a solid, tangible point of departure for my exploration. Digging through my culture’s history and identity guides me as I strive toward universality of gesture and movement.
OperaMyLove magazine: You have produced and directed several award-winning short dance films. Could you tell us more about them?
Anabella Lenzu: I produced and directed several award-winning short dance films and screened the work in over 200 festivals both nationally and internationally, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, London, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States & Venezuela.
My husband, Todd Carroll, is a professional photographer. He is usually the one who films, and I direct him. We talk and discuss how much we want to show in the frame. Usually, I do several shoot “studies” with my phone first, and then Todd films it with a nicer camera.
This pandemic changed all of us. Whatever creative process I knew about, I threw it out the window. So, what is my creative process now in contrast to the past? For 30 years I have choreographed for the stage non-stop and right now, because of the pandemic, I started creating dance films in my home because it is a place where I feel safe, even though the space is limited. I live in a small apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I have 2 kids, a husband, a dog, and many belongings. It requires a lot of planning but at the same time I am very interested in exploring this environment that I live in, and I try to pour my personal and artistic life into this new creation. Since the pandemic, I have been studying filmmaking and video art at the School of Visual Arts, and I have also been doing a lot of research.
The pandemic forced us off the stage, and at this moment I can’t envision myself choreographing for the stage again! The stage isn’t the right fit for the ideas and images I’m working with now. The images are more cinematic in nature. In general, I’m a choreographer who uses strong images. Now I’m figuring out the length and how I frame these ideas. It also led me to frame the body in a different way. On stage, I perform and show my entire body, but now I can just choreograph with my face or my shoulder or with my elbows, or just my hands. So, it gives me more possibilities to reframe my body. I am also able to incorporate my private life into it. It’s not that my previous works were very different. In the beginning it was political, then it was more ritualistic, then more spectacular and in the last couple of years I found my work to be more along the lines of an autobiography. More recently, I’ve been diving deeply into my identity as an immigrant and as a mother, so my creative process has changed drastically.
OperaMyLove magazine:Do you have any personal quotes about dancing that you want to share with our readers?
Anabella Lenzu: I do:
I consider the practice of any Art as a meditation on life.
I dedicate my life to investigating the interior logic of performance and the role of a dancer in our culture today, using the 5 W’s and the H: Who, what, when, where, why, and how. My practice for 30 years is teaching, choreographing, dancing, and writing.
Nothing gives me more fulfillment than to discover different processes of creation, becoming, and transformation.
My curious mind and heart always lead me to a fresh beginning, where creativity helps me to transcend ideas and rules, creating meaningful methods.
In each new adventure, I’m either creating a scene, a show, an education program, or a class. But how does one keep this boundless attitude after 30 years?
There are periods when my inner child is fully awake and the generosity of my discoveries is easy to communicate and share with others, but there are periods when the candle is only half-lit, and that’s when my experience, practice, and mastery of craft, guide me like a blind person.
It’s a precarious balance between my outer and inner state.
Dance is a union with ourselves, with others, and with the environment.
I celebrate, respond, protest, scream, cry, and laugh about life through dance.
OperaMyLove magazine: You have written for various dance and art magazines, and published your first book in 2013, entitled Unveiling Motion and Emotion. Could you tell us more about your book?
Anabella Lenzu: For me, writing is not so much a pleasure as it is a civic responsibility, and as an educator, my perennial goal is to generate appreciation for and understanding of the arts and of artists. Putting these words on paper forces me to be honest with myself.
As a choreographer, I celebrate, meditate, respond, protest, scream, cry, and laugh about life through dance. I use dance to make the audience experience, feel, think, and emote.
As a dance educator, I seek to reconnect people with the joy of dance. I love to see people bloom and develop. I am not only teaching movement but am also guiding dancers in rediscovering why they dance and what they dance about.
“My aim is to integrate mind + body + spirit; I write + choreograph + teach.”
We cannot control the weather, the economy, politics, what people think, or how our partner feels! The only thing we can control is our body, our own microcosm, and our attitude toward life.
I have had moments in my career as a teacher and choreographer that have been difficult—difficulties that were cultural, economic, and social—but I have always risen above the complications by thinking and reflecting on my role as one of service to dance, to art, to my community, and to my people.
In my quest for personal and spiritual growth, my enthusiasm has always led to paths of abundance and happiness. My impulse to learn, my need to see the world, and my desire to gain insight into this life and the next have led me to travel, teach, and share my experiences and my culture with others. I feel privileged and blessed to have been able to make a living as a choreographer, dancer, and teacher in Argentina, Chile, Italy, the United States, and the world.
I published“Unveiling Motion and Emotion/Revelando Movimiento y Emoción,” with photography by Todd Carroll, in 2013.
The book is bilingual (Spanish and English), and explores the importance of dance, community, choreography, and dance pedagogy. The photography by my husband Todd fully documents the performances and provides a glimpse into the creative process. This book wants to be an inspiration to dancers and teachers alike and is the first of its kind as a bilingual text on dance pedagogy.
“The narrative style of Lenzu tends toward the poetic and sometimes metaphysical. Sometimes it offers beautiful images like the great pioneers of Dance, Martha Graham or Mary Wigman, provided to their dancers and students.”
— DanceEurope, London
OperaMyLove magazine: On your website, you define Art as a Political Act. Could you elaborate on that?
Anabella Lenzu: Choreography for me is an “Apparatus of Capture”, it is a way to capture a moment in time, sensations… an intimacy that the stage cannot provide me. It is another form of communication. I look for different ways to capture the movement, and the emotions.
Art is a political act. Dance is discipline and revolt. My body is my country. I react to my environment and use the body as a receptacle and messenger of the multiple realities that we are immersed in. My work reflects my experience as a Latina/European artist living in New York and comes from a deep examination of my motivations as a woman, mother, and immigrant. Performance is a conduit for examining cultural identity through form and content, as well as relationships between people and society. I investigate the interior logic of performance and the role of a dancer in our culture today, redefining the parameters of dance and theater. My works live inside and outside of the theatrical traditions and venues, as well as on the screen.
OperaMyLove magazine: Are there any special projects you are working on that you would like to tell us about?
Anabella Lenzu: In November 2022, I will be teaching Choreography for the Camera Workshop Online via Zoom for Filmmakers, directors, choreographers, and dancers interested in dance film collaborations. Visit this link for more information: https://www.anabellalenzu.com/workshops
OperaMyLove magazine: Three adjectives to describe you…
Anabella Lenzu: Feminist, Passionate & Relevant
OperaMyLove magazine: A message for our readers?
Anabella Lenzu: Come to see my show on October 13-15, 2022 at the Sanctuary Space, The Center at West Park, Inc. For me, performing a LIVE full-length solo show again after two years is an opportunity for a meaningful encounter with my friends and my community. Thrilled to share all my research and work over the last 3 years with YOU! Join me!
A premiere is always a gift to the attending public because of its novelty, regardless of the content and validity of the performance, but in the case of After Dinner Opera Company’s “Sacco and Vanzetti” an extra layer of glamour and interest was added, both because of the composers and the topic of the opera. Yes, it’s composers and not composer, since the opera was started by the musician Marc Blitzstein and completed by Leonard J. Lehrman, who also conducted the orchestra at the performance.
There were pleasant surprises mixed with a set of not-ideal choices that were presented to the audience, and that allowed for the performance to debut in a respectable manner. Let’s talk about the choices that could have been better first… Blitzstein’s music as such did not age well, being more set for musical theater than opera, and the valiant effort of Maestro Lehrman was not sufficient to revive it properly to be appreciated by a contemporary audience.
Furthermore, the length of the opera, given the type of music, which could have been and probably would have been shortened by the original composer if given the opportunity to revise it, was inappropriately long. This occurred probably not because of a musical choice but to follow the original libretto. Having some exposure to libretti through the years, I can vouch that a good third of the opera could have been cut and by doing so, obtain a more harmonious flow to the story and the music. The conversation about the shoe, one of the scenes from the opera, for example, takes away from the drama and tragedy behind the Sacco and Vanzetti story and does not add any valuable musical element to the opera.
Lehrman’s conduction was almost flawless, being disrupted by his choice to interact at times with the musicians as if this was a rehearsal of some sort. True was it that the audience was mainly made of friends, families of performers, and admirers of the composer, but it still was a premiere performance and not a practice one…
Taking away these blemishes, the opera was successful because of the hard work the opera company’s components put in to offer a special, historical performance. The stage direction by Benjamin Spierman was optimal, considering the limited space the Studio Theater of Lehman College offer. The stage and lighting design by Joshua Rose offered a suitable and well-worked ambient for the singers. The choice of the back screen was wonderful and the video design by Maxwell Bowman allowed for a further understanding of the story. The Metropolitan Philarmonic Orchestra and Chorus performed well, although some members were absent in the second act, therefore the extra work for the conductor —impromptu pianist…
The singers were all performing well and gave their best… In particular, though, there were some exceptionally successful performances by a few of the major characters. Michael Niemann as Bartolomeo Vanzetti was inspired, offering not only a vigorous vocal performance but also a touching portrayal of the character… Christopher Remkus interpreted Nicola Sacco impeccably, showing at the same time the wonderful control of his powerful voice… Perri Sussman presented a credible and vocally pleasant Rosa Sacco, Nicola Sacco’s wife… Sarah Blaze performed brilliantly, both as a singer and an actor… Christopher Tefft showed a particularly effective control of his commanding voice and gave an optimal character performance that invigorated the story…
Many others offered a valid performance, too many to mention…
This was a valid premiere, even considering Blitzstein’s music is more appropriate for Musical Theater than Opera, and our compliments go to Maestro Lehrman for his work and dedication. The story of Sacco and Vanzetti was certainly a valid choice for an opera, being intrinsically permeated by tragedy. This opera shows the racist choices of the investigators brought to a dreadful end, the execution of the two innocent Italian anarchists. This is a story that we should never forget.
GALLERY (all photos by Tiziano Thomas Dossena unless marked otherwise)
The Fini Dance Festival and Awards returns to the Ailey Citigroup Theater to present a gala performance and presentation of awards to outstanding figures in the dance community, on August 31 at 8 PM, hosted by Milan’s charming actress/TV personality Tabata Caldironi. Founded in 2011 in Calabria Italy by Calabria native Antonio Fini, the annual event celebrates artists from Italy and New York, sharing a program in a spirit of exchange and collaboration. The evening also includes awards for dance notables. Recipients of past awards include Alessandra Ferri, Edward Villella, Luigi, Alessandra Corona, and more.
Ballet Belvedere (from Calabria)
Ballet Eloelle-Grandiva (New York based)
Dzul Dance (New York based)
Fini Dance Company (Calabria & NY)
Turin Tap Dance (Turin Italy)
Karol & Gabriel Chiappetta, finalists on Dancing With the Stars in Italy
Fini Dance Junior Company
2022 Awards Recipients
Louise Cantrell, founder of Dancing Angels Foundation – Lifetime Achievement Award
Lloyd Knight, principal with Martha Graham Dance Co. – Extraordinary Dancer Award
Bianca Delli Priscoll, senior artist with Ajkun Ballet – Rising Star Award
Angela Valentino, international makeup artist – Makeup award
More About the Program:
Ballet Belvedere from Calabria will present a duet choreographed by Maria Marino, danced by Karol and Gabriel Chiapetta.
Ballet Eloelle-Grandiva: The all-male comedy ballet company will appear in Odalisque Pas de Trois from Le Corsaire, choreographed
by director Victor Trevino to music by Adolphe Adam. Danced by Palomina Carrera, Marianela Moreorless, and Teresa Carino.
Dzul Dance: Javier Dzul and Miriam Barbosa will appear in a duet.
Fini Dance New York will present Memories of Tirana, danced by Antonio Fini and Nina Chong-Jimenez.
Turin Tap Dance from Turin will appear in a trio danced by Davide Accossato, Martina Barone, and Allegra Schwerdtfeger.
Fini Dance Junior Company in a work by Danielle Marie Fusco
More About the Awards Recipients:
Lifetime Achievement Award: Louise Cantrell, Founder of Dancing Angels Foundation:
Native New Yorker Louise Cantrell earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the College of New Rochelle. With over ten years of experience, she became an Assistant Vice President at Guy Carpenter & Company. In 2004 she settled in North Carolina and married Edward Cantrell, who joined the 3rd Special Forces Group. During her husband’s career, Louise gave up her own career and became a stay-at-home mother, caring for their daughters Isabella and Natalia. On March 2, 2012, tragedy struck when their home burned down. Louise survived, but her husband and daughters perished. To honor and perpetuate the memory of Isabella and Natalia, Louise created the Dancing Angels Foundation to ensure their memory through dance scholarships for dedicated dancers. As a Gold Star wife, Louise also works to mentor families of fallen soldiers as well as being involved in other military organizations.
Extraordinary Dance Award: Lloyd Knight, principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company:
Born in England and raised in Miami, Lloyd trained at the Miami Conservatory of Ballet and New World School of the Arts. He joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 2005 and performs major roles in the Graham repertory, including Appalachian Spring, Embattled Garden, Night Journey, and many others. Lloyd has appeared with ballet stars Wendy Whelan and Misty Copeland in signature Graham duets, and has had roles created for him by Nacho Duato and Pam Tanowitz. He is currently a principal guest artist with The Royal Ballet of Flanders, directed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
Rising Star Award: Bianca Delli Priscoli, senior artist with the Ajkun Ballet Theatre:
Bianca trained at Artestudio in her native Salerno, Italy, studying ballet, modern, and jazz techniques, and continued her training at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome. Moving to New York in 2014 she studied at the Ailey School and has performed with a variety of classical and contemporary companies in the U.S. and abroad. Her repertoire includes Giselle, Apollon Musagete, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, and Nutcracker. Bianca is an ABT Certified Teacher from Pre-primary through Level 7 of the ABT National Curriculum Training. She joined Ajkun Ballet Theatre in 2020.
MakeUp Award: Angela Valentino, international makeup artist:
The Milan native developed a passion for makeup while a student at the Liceo Artistico Caravaggio in Milan. She graduated in 2008 from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, listed first in the Top Academies of Arts in the world. Angela studied set and costume design, and subsequently included makeup, which she studied at the prestigious BCM Cosmetics School in Italy. Now a New York resident, she has been working in high fashion shows in Italy and the U.S. and has contributed to international fashion magazines, as well as creating sets and costumes for theater, TV, and cinema.
By Tiziano Thomas Dossena [courtesy of L’Idea Magazine, September 18, 2018]
Based in New York City, one of the most diverse and culturally rich environments for the arts and the many artists it supports, Maestro Alan Aurelia has distinguished himself as a conductor, an arts advocate, educator, and administrator. He is currently the music director of the Richmond County Orchestra, New American Youth Ballet, and artistic director/conductor of the Riverside Opera Company. He received full scholarships and fellowships to study at the Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Conductors Institute at the University of South Carolina and Columbia. He has served on the music faculties of Wagner College, the College of Staten Island, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Describing Maestro Aurelia’s virtuosity, composer and conductor Lukas Foss stated that “He conducts very naturally, effortlessly, and clearly enabling all in the orchestra to follow every musical nuance and inflection quite easily”. At the conclusion of a concert that Maestro Aurelia conducted in Italy, Joel Cohen of the Staten Island Advance wrote that “he was called back five times for bows by astanding ovation audience” and Michael Fressola, also from the Advance, noted that “The concert strikes a multicultural chord with the audience”. Under his baton, the Richmond County Orchestra was selected to perform at the Guggenheim Museum’s NY.2022, a multi-media creation by Parisian visual artist Dominique Gonzalez-Forester with music by the Berlin-based composer, Ari Benjamin Meyers, which received a rave review from the New York Times. Maestro Aurelia has also performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and he has been asked to conduct in Carnegie Hall as well as in Miami, Florida, and Mexico. He has been a guest conductor for the Bacau Philharmonic from Romania during Tuscany’s “Festival Sinfonico di Massa” and for the Kiev Strings in Montegnioso. In addition to performing the standard symphonic orchestral literature, Maestro Aurelia conducts the opera, ballet, premiers of new compositions as well as the music of Broadway. As a consequence of his versatility, he is comfortable in an array of different genres and creates interesting and exciting programs that appeal to a broad audience. Maestro Aurelia’s Side-by-Side program for students stands out as a significant marker of his dedication to music education, which is also reflected in the establishment of the RCO Musicians Contest and the Instrument Petting Zoo, programs that he initiated as music director of the Richmond County Orchestra that actively support music education for young students in the New York metropolitan area. He has received several awards and honors for excellence in performance, education, and community relations. He has appeared on many local radio and TV programs inNew York and serves as chairman of the Board for Tribeca Music and Art in Manhattan.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You are the Music Director of the Richmond County Orchestra and the New American Youth Ballet Orchestra. How different is being the Music Director of an orchestra and of a Ballet group? Alan Aurelia: It is easier to conduct the RCO when we are doing symphonic music together because there are just two variables orchestra and me. Together we try to make the composer’s music sound its best. When dancers are added to the mix the challenge becomes making the music “fit” the dancers’ movements, jumps, and gestures. The music has to be in the right tempo, in time with the dancer(s). It’s akin to, the buzzer has to go off when your finger touches the doorbell, not before. The good thing about conducting ballet music with dancers is you don’t have to worry about playing too loud.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You are also Artistic Director/Conductor for the Riverside Opera Company. What does this entail versus the positions that I refer to in the preceding question? Alan Aurelia: Accompanying singers, with orchestra, especially opera is the most challenging conducting. Voices are very delicate instruments and as such, singers need to take liberties with tempos because of breathing, and a good opera conductor must never allow the orchestra to drown out the singer.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: What is the operatic program of the Riverside Opera Company and where do they operate? Alan Aurelia: The Riverside Opera Company is celebrating its 22nd season! Although based on Staten Island it has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Washington Square Park for Garibaldi’s bicentennial. They have performed all the major operas with full orchestra and continue to perform the popular opera numbers many times combining popular pieces as well as Broadway numbers.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: When did you realize you wanted to be a music conductor? Alan Aurelia: I was student director of my High School Symphonic Band and conducted many community orchestras and bands, then having a successful career as an instrumentalist, I was offered my first professional conducting position in 1993 for a local NYC ballet company orchestra and have been conducting professionally ever since.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Are you still teaching in college? Did you also teach instrumentation? Alan Aurelia: I was on the Music Faculty of three colleges and universities in NYC, now retired, I have private students and teach at a local Music Conservatory.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Which one is the opera you feel is the most rewarding for you as a conductor and why? And the most challenging one? Alan Aurelia: All operas are equally challenging. depending on the singers, production staff, directors you are working with because all affect the music-making.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: What characteristics do you feel make a better orchestra conductor? Alan Aurelia: Know the music well before the first rehearsal and with a minimal gesture from one’s baton or hand, convey the composer’s musical ideas clearly, enabling the musicians to perform at their optimum ability. A good conductor is a good teacher as well as a learner and must show compassion for the orchestra and vocal musicians as well as dancers. Years and years of conducting help to make better conductors. It took me ten years before I felt comfortable in front of an orchestra. Many orchestra boards today make the mistake of hiring the young “wunderkind” conductor and problems generally ensue.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You directed orchestras from different nations. Have you found a different attitude among the orchestra members, as music interpretation goes? Do you feel that music is so universal as to flatten out ethnic and racial differences? Alan Aurelia: My experience has been, whether conducting in the US or abroad, that if the conductor is sensitive to the musicians’ needs, mostly musical ones, they will perform well.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Are there any new projects you are working on? AlanAurelia: I am always seeking to do more concerts for the public, as a guest conductor or taking the award-winning Richmond County Orchestra on tour.
Tiziano Thomas Dossena: If you could meet anyone from the past or the present, who would he or she be? What would you like to ask them? What would you like to tell them? Alan Aurelia: Wow, this is a hard one because there are so many people. But if I had to choose one it would be the conductor Arturo Toscanini and I’d ask him if he truly had a photographic memory.
Positions are open for the Company, Limón2, and Guest Artists.
Photo by Christopher Jones
FOR FEMALE AND NON-BINARY IDENTIFYING DANCERSMon. June 13Tues. June 14FOR MALE AND NON-BINARY IDENTIFYING DANCERSTues. June 14Wed. June 15CALL BACKSThurs. June 16 & Fri. June 17LOCATIONEverett Center for the Performing Arts466 West 152nd Street, 2nd Floor NYC 10031
What is Limón2?
The 75th Anniversary of the Limón Dance Company brings a new legacy for the José Limón Dance Foundation: Limón2 – The Foundation’s second Company
Positions available for The Company, Limón2, and guest artists beginning August 3, 2022Repertory includes Limón masterworks and new commissions Domestic/International Touring and annual New York SeasonsStrong Modern and Ballet Technique RequiredFamiliarity with Limón Technique preferableCOVID-19 Vaccination is required to audition and as a condition of employmentU.S. Citizen, Green Card, or Valid Work Visa only
Auditions are BY INVITATION ONLY To be considered, please fill out the application form and submit your video or enroll in the upcoming summer intensive for the week of June 6. Space is limited.
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