NCI Discovery 07: New Choreographers Initiative Presents an Evening of Dance Premieres
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The last date listed for NCI Discovery 07 was Saturday July 28, 2007 / 8:00pm.
The fourth annual National Choreographers Initiative will take place this summer. During three weeks of intense creative effort at the dance studios of University of California, Irvine, teams of choreographers and professional dancers will produce new dance works culminating in a public performance of NCI Discovery at Irvine Barclay Theatre.
The choreographers invited by Director, Molly Lynch, come from a variety of backgrounds and are leaders in the dance community. The choreographers invited to participate this summer are: Melissa Barak, Edwaard Liang, Jerry Opdenaker, and Frank Chaves.
Molly Lynch commented, “As NCI enters into its fourth year, it’s very exciting to me to see how far this project has reached into the dance community and the effect of these choreographers’ works across the country. NCI has brought 12 choreographers to California to develop new works. Ten of the pieces begun here have gone on to be premiered or developed further and performed elsewhere in the United States and abroad. The project has also been blessed with 35 talented dancers representing 14 professional dance companies from across the country.”
The process for the National Choreographers Initiative begins with a three-week rehearsal period that takes place in the dance studios at the University of California, Irvine, culminating in a public performance, NCI Discovery, Irvine Barclay Theatre. During the three weeks of intense creative effort, choreographers and dancers will produce 4 new dance works. Each choreographer is given complete freedom to choose the style and theme of the work. Artistic Directors from dance companies around the country have been contacted for their input and involvement and will be invited to preview the new works for possible inclusion in their company’s repertoire. [The choreographers retain the right to promote and license the works they have created to other companies.]
Melissa Barak was raised in Los Angeles, CA; trained at the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica; and was a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet. She joined New York City Ballet in 1998 and performed many leading roles with the company, including a principal in Christopher Wheeldon’s Klavier, Helena in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and leads in The Four Temperaments, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty. She recently became a member of the new Los Angeles Ballet. She began choreographing in 1997 and created a piece for the School of American Ballet Student Choreographic Workshop. She has participated in the New York Choreographic Institute in 2000, 2003, and 2006. She has choreographed works for New York City Ballet and Choreographers on Pointe. In 2001 she received the Mae L. Wien Award for choreography and the Choo San Goh Choreographic Award.
Frank Chaves was born in Cuba. He joined River North Chicago Dance Company in 1992 as a choreographer and, in 1994, became co-artistic director. In May 2001, Mr. Chaves assumed sole artistic directorship of River North Chicago. An international choreographer and teacher, Mr. Chaves has created numerous works for River North Chicago and other companies including Spectrum Dance Theatre, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Point Park College for the Performing Arts, Barat Repertory Dance Company, Kaleidoscope Dancers, Pori Dance Company (Finland), and Ballet Pacifica’s Choreographer’s Workshop. Mr. Chaves’s theatrical commissions include work for Steppenwolf Theatre and the Cleveland Playhouse. As a performer, Mr. Chaves has danced with Ballet Concerto of Miami, New York’s Ballet Hispanico, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, and six years with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2000, Mr. Chaves received a Ruth Page Dance Achievement Award for Mission, co-created with Sherry Zunker, Co-Artistic Director Emeritus of River North Chicago, in honor of the Company’s 10th anniversary. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Dance for Western Michigan University.
Edwaard Liang was born in Taipei, Taiwan. He was raised in Marin County, CA, and began his ballet training at the age of five at Marin Ballet. In 1989, Mr. Liang entered the School of American Ballet. He joined New York City Ballet in the spring of 1993, and the same year he was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and the Mae L. Wien Award. He was promoted to soloist in 1998. He danced with NYCB until 2001, when he joined the Broadway cast of Fosse, performing a leading role. In 2002 Mr. Liang became a member of the Nederlands Dans Theater 1, where he danced, choreographed and staged ballets. After returning from Holland, he returned to NYCB. He has also performed as a Guest Artist with various companies like the Norwegian National Ballet and Complexions. He has choreographed a number of works including a piece for Nederlands Dans Theater, which has been restaged for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Configurations. He participated in the 2004 New York Choreographic Institute. He has created pieces for Cedar Lake Dance Company, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Sadler Wells Theatre in London. He was named one of the “Top 25 to Watch” for 2006 by Dance Magazine.
Jerry Opdenaker was raised in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Opdenaker graduated from the University of the Arts with a degree in dance. He has danced in many jazz and modern companies as well as Pennsylvania Ballet. After dancing with Kansas City Ballet, he joined Ballet Florida in 1992. He has performed in works by Peter Martins, Val Caniparoli, Daniel Ezralow, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett. For ten years, he was instrumental in the development, creatively and educationally, of STEP Ahead, Ballet Florida’s choreographic workshop. This project received an NEA – Access to Artistic Excellence grant twice. He has been choreographing since 1996 and his choreography has been performed by Ballet Florida and Ballet Gamonet. In 2005 he participated in the New York Choreographic Institute.
The first NCI took place July 22, 2004 with the idea of promoting the creation and production of professional dance. Under the direction of Molly Lynch, NCI provides an opportunity to engage outstanding choreographers from around the U.S. in the creative process. There is a need nationwide to have a workshop setting where choreographers can create works of their choosing and have time to experiment and develop their craft. Through this project, NCI provides this opportunity and therefore supports these national choreographers, dancers, and the greater dance community.