BWW Interview: Nicole Buggé and LIBERTY HALL DANCE FESTIVAL on 9/16

Article Pixel

BWW Interview:  Nicole Buggé and LIBERTY HALL DANCE FESTIVAL on 9/16

The newly created Liberty Hall Dance Festival will be presented on Saturday, September 16th in Union, NJ. The festival was created by Nicole Buggé of Buggé Ballet in partnership with the Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University.

The Liberty Hall Dance Festival brings together 15 companies and choreographers from the tri-state area including Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Buggé Ballet, and Art of Motion Dance Theater. Performances are themed around moments in history and will happen in five different site-specific locations across the beautiful museum grounds. Additionally there will be informal movement lessons and tours of the museum. It will be a wonderful interactive held out of doors and a perfect end to the summer!

Nicole Buggé is working hard to build a new dance history in the Liberty Hall location. We had the opportunity to interview her about her career and the upcoming festival.

Tell us a little about your background in dance.

I have been dancing since I was four years old. I grew up training at Princeton Ballet and performing alongside American Repertory Ballet. I moved to Richmond, VA to earn my BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University and performed with the Richmond Ballet in many works including The Four Temperaments, Rubies, and Serenade by George Balanchine. When I graduated, I moved to NYC to study at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts earning my MFA in Dance. I performed as a freelance dancer in NYC for numerous companies and worked as an arts administrator for New York City Ballet and currently at Dance Magazine.

I started Buggé Ballet in fall of 2012 as an outlet for my choreography and to provide deserving dancers with performance opportunities. Since our start, Buggé Ballet has performed in many unique and famous places including Lincoln Center and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland as well as has been seen on WHYY PBS Friday Arts Series. My choreography was a finalist in both Rider University's inaugural Emerging Choreographer's Competition and Breaking Glass: The Emerging Female Choreographers Project. My company's mission is to be a modern-day storyteller exploring human behavior through contemporary ballet. The company seeks to create universally appreciated works that inspire, delight, and engage our audiences through compelling movement.

What inspired the Liberty Hall Dance Festival?

I have always been interested in finding new ways to make dance accessible and relevant to anyone. I visited Liberty Hall Museum on a few occasions for tours, enjoyed the beauty of the grounds and started thinking this would be a great venue to showcase New Jersey companies. I reached out to Bill Schroh, Lacey Kohutich, and Gina Lampasona from the museum and Kean University with the idea for historical inspired dance pieces in the different locations across the museum would be very unique and Liberty Hall Dance Festival was born!

Tell us about some of the performances that audience members can expect.

Each performance will be different from the other in style and location. Audience members are in for a treat with 15 dance companies and choreographers works! Audience members travel from a quaint blue front porch, to a 19th century carriage house, and then to a rose garden watching dancers perform works catered to each unique location. One company will be performing a solo from Mayne Mentshn, another will premiere a new work inspired by the language of fans in the Victorian era and a third will be dancing through a garden maze as strong Amazonian women. We have fifteen different companies performing a diverse slate of dances.

Will this be a recurring event?

Our goal is to continue this event annually, growing with more companies and finding new unique performance spaces each year on the museum grounds.

Why do you think that NJ Dance Companies are to be celebrated?

There are so many talented New Jersey dance companies and choreographers that travel across the river every day to share their work with the large NYC community. I think there is a real market and opportunity for dance to grow and expand more in New Jersey. By creating opportunities in the garden state, artists will have a chance to share their work with a local audience that may not have the opportunity to see them in the city.

Anything else, absolutely anything that you would like BWW readers to know?

Each audience member will be able to choose their own adventure, or customize where they want to go and which dance to view on the performance day. This is a unique way to approach dance for the audience! I am looking forward to talking with attendees and hearing about their path around the Liberty Hall Dance Festival.

About Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University

Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University chronicles more than 240 years of American history. The museum also houses extensive collections of furniture, ceramics, textiles, toys, and tools owned by seven generations of the Livingston and Kean families. The Firehouse Museum, built in 2004, houses three antique fire engines, including a rare 1911 American LaFrance Metropolitan Steam Engine. The museum is open April - December, Tuesday - Saturday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., with tours leaving every hour.

About Buggé Ballet

Buggé Ballet is a critically acclaimed ballet company based in New Jersey and led by founding artistic director Nicole Buggé. Called "Fresh...charming...a wonderful articulation of Americana" by Edward Villella, the company has been featured on PBS in WHYY's Friday Arts series as a winner in Rider University's inaugural Emerging Choreographers Competition. Buggé Ballet performed internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and presented multiple commissioned works at Lincoln Center and with One World Symphony in New York City. Buggé Ballet toured in Virginia and Maryland with its annual Nutcracker production, has been part of the curated NuDance festival, and Breaking Glass: The Emerging Female Choreographers Project. The company has performed in Asbury Park and Point Pleasant in New Jersey, in addition to at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Bryant Park, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, NYC Fashion Week, and Dixon Place in New York City.

Tickets for the Liberty Hall Dance Festival are on sale now and are $20.00 for adults and $12.00 for children ages 3 - 17. Admission includes access to all dance performances, classes, and the first floor tour of Liberty Hall Museum. All ticket sale proceeds support both Buggé Ballet and Liberty Hall Museum. The rain date is Sunday, September 17. Reservations are suggested; tickets can be purchased by phone at (908) 527-0400 or online at More details about the performance can be found on the Liberty Hall Museum website:

Photo Credit: Samantha Lawton

Related Articles View More New Jersey Stories   Shows

From This Author Marina Kennedy