Joffrey Academy of Dance to Present WINNING WORKS: CHOREOGRAPHERS OF COLOR AWARD, 3/10


The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, presents the Third Annual Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Award, featuring three World Premieres by rising-star choreographers Ma Cong, William McClellan and Jeremy McQueen. New York-based fashion designer LaQuan Smith will conceptualize and design a costume for McQueen's piece. The three World Premieres, along with Academy Co-Artistic Director Alexei Kremnev's work titled Carnival of Animals, are presented in Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Award 2013 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, in one performance only, Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 4 pm.

The Choreographers of Color Award was created to recognize promising young minority choreographers whose diverse perspective will ignite creativity in the field of dance. Each of the three selected choreographers are given a minimum of 30 rehearsal hours to set a new work on the Joffrey Academy Trainees. Each winning choreographer also receives a $2,500 stipend and an opportunity to work directly with Joffrey Academy Artistic Directors, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik.

"I am proud that the Choreographers of Color Award has become an important platform for emerging and talented choreographers," said Ashley C. Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. "It is our role as a leader in the industry to foster and nurture the next generation of innovative and inspiring artists."

"At the Joffrey, nurturing the next generation of artists is just as important as preserving the classics," said Christopher Clinton Conway, The Joffrey Ballet's Executive Director. "This program provides the resources to support young artists and build new audiences leading to the creation of important works of art. We are deeply grateful to Allstate, Boeing, Sara Lee Foundation, Patti S. Eylar and Charles R. Gardner and the Harris Theater for supporting this artistic initiative."

Ma Cong started his career at the Beijing Dance Academy training as a Chinese Classical dancer before he joined the National Ballet of China in 1995, then Tulsa Ballet in 1999. He worked with international directors and choreographers and performed leading roles in works by Balanchine, Cranko, Robbins, Tharp, Duato, Kudelka, Kylian, Forsythe, MacMillan, Hans Van Manen and many others. Cong has also appeared as a Principal Guest Artist on international stages across the world. As a choreographer, Cong has created original works for Tulsa Ballet, Houston Ballet, BalletMet, Ballet Florida, Smuin Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Ballet Des Moines, among others. In 2006, Cong was named one of the "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine for his dancing and choreography as well as The Choo-San Goh award in 2007. In 2008, Cong was the winner of the 21st Century Choreographic competition and also received the "Audience Favorite" and received the "Editor's Choice Award" from Pointe Magazine. Most recently, Richmond Ballet performed Cong's Ershter Vals at the Linbury Studios at the Royal Opera House to sold out audiences.

William McClellan is currently an MFA candidate in the Department of Dance at University of Michigan. Before coming to Ann Arbor, he was principal dancer and resident choreographer for ten years for the first and second Dayton Contemporary Dance Companies (DCDC/DCDC2) in Dayton, Ohio. He worked with renowned artists such as Bill T. Jones, Bebe Miller, Eleo Pomare, Warren Spears, Ron Brown, Diane McIntyre, and Rennie Harris. He represented DCDC at dance festivals, performing Talley Beatty's signature solo Mourner's Bench, and received numerous awards, including the JOSIE for Best Dancer in Performance and a Princess Grace Awards nomination. He has created ballets for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and the Cincinnati Ballet and has received recognition for his choreography from the Ohio Senate. He was also an original member of CounterGroove Dance Company in Detroit, MI. McClellan hails from the South Side of Chicago and is a Whitney Young High School graduate.