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BWW Dance Article: 'Dance: Broadway Stage and Screen' Presented by THE DANCE ENTHUSIAST

BWW Dance Article: 'Dance: Broadway Stage and Screen' Presented by THE DANCE ENTHUSIAST

On Tuesday evening April 12th, The Dance Enthusiast presented an informal evening of dance and conversation. The 4th in a series called Enthusiastic Events!, Dance: Broadway Stage and Screen consisted of three engaging speakers and two short dance performances.

Founded by Christine Jowers in 2007, The Dance Enthusiast, an extension of the nonprofit Moving Arts Projects, is a vibrant digital news site and arts service organization that brings the best of NYC dance writing, reporting, and communications to national and international audiences.

A warm and delightful host, Ms. Jowers graciously introduced her guests for the evening: Chet Walker, Director/Choreographer (Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, Astaire Award winner, Tony nominee PIPPIN); Nikki Feirt Atkins, Founder/Artistic Director of American Dance Machine for the 21st Century (ADM21); Ellenore Scott (So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), CATS Broadway Revival) and dancers from ADM21, Paloma Garcia-Lee and Mikey Winslow.

The evening started off with a self-choreographed performance by Ms. Scott entitled "The Wheel." An expressive and engaging performer, she articulated her movements with ease. Her fluid choreography juxtaposed her beautiful lines with jerky, staccato-like movements to great effect. You can see why this woman was an audience favorite, became a finalist, and was invited back as an All-Star on SYTYCD.

BWW Dance Article: 'Dance: Broadway Stage and Screen' Presented by THE DANCE ENTHUSIAST
Ellenore Scott. Photo: Ben Gabbe.

Next up, a performance by Ms. Garcia-Lee and Mr. Winslow. They performed " Gotta Dance," made famous by Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in the film Singin' in the Rain. Lars Rosager, a member of the original American Dance Machine, staged the number. Mr. Rosager recreated the dance by watching the movie, yet had to fill in key spots that were used as close-ups in the film. He reimagined what might be taking place when the dancers left the frame for a few seconds. The result was a winning performance by both dancers. Mr. Winslow mirrored the athleticism and cool style of Kelly from the film, yet added his own quirky and comical take on the role. The stunning Ms. Garcia-Lee embodied Charisse's sexiness, slick technique, and playfully mischievous quality.

BWW Dance Article: 'Dance: Broadway Stage and Screen' Presented by THE DANCE ENTHUSIAST
Mikey Winslow and Paloma Garcia-Lee. Photo: Ben Gabbe.

A brief panel discussion followed the dance performances. Ms. Feirt Atkins spoke about her early dance training with legendary teachers including Lee Theodore, founder of the original American Dance Machine. She admired the dedication of Theodore who painstakingly recreated some of Broadway's most famous choreography. The original American Dance Machine ended with the death of Theodore in the late 1980's and in 2012 Feirt Atkins founded ADM21 to honor her legacy. Since its inception, ADM21 continues to thrive and has produced two popular concerts at the Joyce Theatre.

Mr. Walker shared some stories on working with and assisting Bob Fosse, as well as his own 2-½ year tenure in creating the musical Fosse. For the 2013 revival of Pippin, Walker paid homage to his mentor and choreographed the show "in the style of Bob Fosse." Collaborating with director Diane Paulus and circus act contributor Gypsy Snider, he explained that though the show kept on developing with each rehearsal, the new elements they were adding got to be confusing at times. " I'll never forget the first preview performance with the three of us nervously sitting in the last row of the theatre. We saw something we didn't know we had. It was exhilarating."

Ms. Scott gave us the inside scoop on her audition experience on SYTYCD. She grew up studying classical dance, so SYTYCD was a totally different experience. "They told us in the room that they were casting a reality show, not a dance show," said Scott. "There could have been literally thousands of beautiful dancers and technicians in the room, but what they really cared about was the dancer who would pull focus on a camera," she added. She was used to dancing from an internal place so after she danced her solo, the judges asked her what she was looking at, and whom she was performing for, to which she exclaimed, "me!" The judges informed her that television audiences wanted to be entertained and didn't care about her "experience." Although finding that difficult to grasp, she took the advice, which came in handy for future television auditions. She was now aware of what she had to "sell," whether it is for an artist, a product, or a brand.

All in all, the informal evening provided the audience with a quick snapshot into the artistic accomplishments of the guest panelists along with some exciting dance performances.

BWW Dance Article: 'Dance: Broadway Stage and Screen' Presented by THE DANCE ENTHUSIAST
Host Christine Jowers and panelists. Photo: Ben Gabbe.

All photos by Ben Gabbe/gabbegroup

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