7 Mentorship Applications that Pair Early-Profession Choreographers with Skilled Artists

7 Mentorship Applications that Pair Early-Profession Choreographers with Skilled Artists

Mentorship amongst choreographers is nothing new: Jose Limón had Doris Humphrey, and Alvin Ailey had Lester Horton. However in a profession the place there’s usually scarce coaching (most faculty packages nonetheless primarily prepare dancers, not choreographers, as an example) and that may be aggressive and isolating, mentorship alternatives which might be formalized moderately than happenstance have gotten more and more wanted.

San Francisco–based mostly choreographer Amy Seiwert, who has usually seemed to Val Caniparoli as a mentor, agrees: “The way in which the sector is altering, we’re extra cognizant that mentorship shouldn’t simply be like what occurred with me and Val—it was very organically developed, which was nice,” she says. “However we have to look past these instant relationships, as a result of who’re we lacking once we solely look in our personal circles?”

Fortunately, structured mentorship packages—such because the creative fellowship at Seiwert’s firm, Imagery—are additionally turning into more and more widespread. Right here’s the news on seven of them, plus perception into what makes choreographic mentorships work.

Amy Seiwert’s Imagery Creative Fellowship

What it’s: A two-year program launched in 2018 by which fellows obtain mentorship from each Seiwert and Imagery’s managing director Annika Presley, plus a stipend and two commissions.

The origin of the fellowship: Seiwert was impressed to launch a program that mixed creative and administrative mentorship after noticing a sample of choreographers being tapped for creative director positions with out coaching in key management abilities, like studying a finances. Up to now, this system is working as supposed: The inaugural fellow, Ben Needham-Wooden, is now serving as creative director of Boulder Ballet.

What fellows do: On the executive facet, fellows study the ropes of operating a dance group after which start to guide their very own initiatives inside Imagery. On the creative facet, fellows observe Seiwert in rehearsal, obtain suggestions from her (on every little thing from the choreography itself to how they run their rehearsal rooms), attend and analyze native performances and extra.

The Younger Choreographer’s Competition

7 Mentorship Applications that Pair Early-Profession Choreographers with Skilled Artists
James Myrick and Michael Bailey in a piece by 2018 Younger Choreographer participant Michael Sakelos. Photograph by Jaqlin Medlock Pictures, Courtesy YCF.

What it’s: Based in 2010 by Emily Bufferd, the New York Metropolis–based mostly Younger Choreographer’s Competition presents promising choreographers ages 18–25 who could also be too early-career for different festivals. Collaborating choreographers obtain high-quality pictures and movies of their work to make use of to undergo different alternatives, in addition to a mentor who helps them by means of the method and an business panel.

What the mentorship seems to be like: Bufferd says mentors (together with Sheila Barker, Ginger Cox, Maurice Brandon Curry, Pascal Rekoert and Wes Veldink) could assist choreographers with something from enhancing their work right down to a festival-appropriate size to touchdown an agent. Although mentors and mentees are solely required to fulfill eight occasions over the course of 4 months, many relationships final far longer, says Bufferd, with mentors usually hiring their mentees or connecting them with job alternatives.

Structuring a sensible mentorship program: There are energy dynamics at play when pairing a younger choreographer with a extra established one, so giving each artists clear pointers is crucial, says Bufferd. As an example, mandating a sure variety of communication factors ensures that the mentee doesn’t really feel like they’re “bothering” the mentor when reaching out.

a female and male dancer wearing all black and holding hands, female has one leg extended
Rena Butler’s 2014 work for YCF. Photograph by Jaqlin Medlock Pictures, Courtesy YCF.

DEVICES: Choreographic Intensive & Mentorship Program

What it’s: Since 2014, Doug Varone and Dancers has held this intimate weeklong intensive in New York Metropolis, specializing in choreographic craft, adopted by a number of months of one-on-one mentorship with Varone earlier than a public displaying of labor.

The function of the mentor: Varone sees himself as a sounding board, with the aim of serving to the artist uncover their very own voice. “I attempt to put belief in them, that there’s no proper or fallacious manner, that an important factor they need to be experiencing is the method of unearthing who they’re,” he says.

BalletX’s Choreographic Fellowship

What it’s: A paid, season-long fellowship that pairs one rising choreographer with one established one as they each make works on the Philadelphia-based firm. (At present, fellow Gary W. Jeter II is working with mentor Darrell Grand Moultrie.)
The way it works: Over the course of not less than three to 5 conferences earlier than and through the rehearsal course of, the guy would possibly deliver the mentor questions or issues, ask for suggestions or talk about navigating a profession as a choreographer, explains BalletX creative and government director Christine Cox.

How mentorship can profit mentors, too: “I’ve heard from mentors that it has given them the chance to speak about their work and actually hear themselves share their course of, which strengthens their very own sense of self and competence,” says Cox.

a female dancer sliding into the splits holding with male holding onto her arms, female woman is standing in front watching
BalletX 2019 choreographic fellow Katarzyna Skarpetowska in rehearsal with Skyler Lubin and Richard Villaverde. Photograph by Vikki Sloviter, Courtesy BalletX.

Jacob’s Pillow’s Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellows Program

What it’s: Based in 2018, the 10-day program invitations eight early- to mid-career choreographers (who could every deliver two dancers) to the Jacob’s Pillow campus for process-oriented exploration and suggestions, led by esteemed dance subject mentors Risa Steinberg and Dianne McIntyre. Choreographers obtain housing and a stipend, in addition to 10 hours of one-on-one continued mentorship with the artist of their selecting upon completion of this system.

What fellows do: Choreographers spend time working with their dancers (with out the expectation of creating something), receiving suggestions from Steinberg and McIntyre, listening to from different visitor artists and business professionals, exploring the Pillow archives, taking part in roundtable discussions, watching performances and extra.

The mentor’s accountability: “Mentorship for a choreographer is when the mentor is freed from their very own aesthetic preferences,” says McIntyre. “You see what the particular person goes for and also you assist information them to what it’s that they need, and likewise push them into new methods of doing issues whereas sustaining the specialness of who they’re.”

a male dancer on his hands and knees with a female dancer laying over top of him, another is standing above
Choreographers Lab at Jacob’s Pillow. Photograph by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob’s Pillow.

CHIME (Choreographers in Mentorship Alternate)

What it’s: Launched in 2004 by San Francisco–based mostly choreographer Margaret Jenkins, this system at present helps two to 3 chosen Bay Space choreographers with a stipend, which incorporates funds for a rehearsal area rental, and one-on-one mentorship. The yearlong program culminates with a reside efficiency, the place mentees current what they’ve been engaged on (which doesn’t should be a completed product).

The lengthy payoff of mentorship: “When you have got somebody who mentors you, it’s possible you’ll not have it come to fruition for a variety of years,” says Jenkins. “Now and again, once I’m making a piece, I’ll have a look at it and suppose one thing specific about it. And I’ll suppose, Oh, that’s what so-and-so meant 10 years in the past, once I wasn’t prepared to listen to it or didn’t hear it in that manner.”

a large group of people seated around a round table
Mentor Tere O’Connor with CHIME contributors. Courtesy CHIME.


What it’s: Led by Bay Space–based mostly choreographer KT Nelson, the casual, rolling program contains group discussions, one-on-one mentoring with Nelson and different facilitators, and occasional residencies and showings.

Why Nelson began it: “As a choreographer, I noticed I used to be lacking some type of inside infrastructure to make the work I wish to make,” she says. “I felt myself making an attempt to please lots of people. So I needed to deal with that early on within the improvement of the choreographer. I used to be additionally searching for a special kind to go some information on, and permit me to be round a youthful technology of pondering in an intimate manner.”

two dancers in a studio wearing masks and holding their heads with one hand
Cauveri Suresh and Julie Crothers in rehearsal with choreographer Ky Frances. Courtesy RoundAntennae.

Leave a Reply