New collaboration bringing in artists to teach series of 21st century dance practice


The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron (NCCAkron) and the University’s School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration (DTAA) announce Ideas in Motion. The joint initiative is supported by NCCAkron, The University of Akron, The University of Akron Foundation and the Mary Schiller Myers Lecture Series in the Arts.

Brian Brooks

Brian Brooks will be Inside the Dancer's Studio Feb. 17.

Kicking off this initiative is a new survey series called “21st Century Dance Practices” with classes led by some of the most exciting dance artists working today. Each spring, beginning in 2020, nine artists will visit DTAA’s Modern V-VIII course, with some classes being opened up to students from other disciplines to drop in as well.

“This initiative goes beyond the standard ‘master classes’ usually appealing to most university programs in conjunction with a scheduled performance,” says Christy Bolingbroke, NCCAkron executive/artistic director. “Instead, we have curated a series of working choreographers to bring their practices into the studio and augment the curriculum. This capsule series is the first rollout in a three-pronged initiative, with NCCAkron matching a generous gift from the Mary Schiller Myers Lecture Series in the Arts.”

21st Century Dance Practices are representative of genres, geographies, cultural and/or social contexts outside the traditional binary of modern and ballet in a conservatory setting. The artists come from as close as Cleveland and as far away as France. They include a range of styles, such as West African, hip hop, modern, and contemporary dance, with a number of artists working in between genres.

Raja Feather Kelly

Raja Feather Kelly will be Inside the Dancer's Studio Feb. 28.

“This joint initiative with NCCAkron challenges students to be versatile and open, while also firmly rooting them in the present dance field,” says Dr. Marc Reed, director of UA’s School of Music and School of Dance, Theatre and Arts Administration. “We look forward to this program expanding the scope of what our students imagine is possible with a dance degree from The University of Akron.”

For some artists, like Nicole Klaymoon of Oakland, Calif., coming through as part of the 21st Century Dance Practices capsule series will be a return visit to Akron. She came to NCCAkron in 2018 to create the recently released dance film “Chrysalis” as part of Dancing Lab: Screendance. For others, like Liz Lerman of Tempe, Ariz., it will be part of a first visit.

Other scheduled artists include Dianne McIntyre of Cleveland; Raja Feather Kelly, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Taja Will, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Mustapha Braimah, Asheville, N.C. All artists, when not in class, will enjoy access to NCCAkron’s staff and studio facilities for their ongoing creative development and research.

Mustapha Braimah

Mustapha Braimah will be Inside the Dancer's Studio March 9.

“This is such a rich opportunity for students and faculty alike — perhaps once in a lifetime,” says Valerie Ifill, assistant professor of dance at DTAA. “On the faculty end, it’s exciting to provide a pedagogic through-line for the series and to connect with the visiting artists around their values in dance education. Experimentation and reflection will be a part of our process.”

An ongoing series of interviews with 21st Century Dance Practices artists, titled “Inside the Dancer’s Studio," will be open to all. This series of lunchtime talks with today’s dance makers explores creativity, the craft of choreography and navigating an artistic career. All talks will take place on Mondays or Fridays in Guzzetta Hall 194. See the schedule.

Visit the National Center for Choreography online for a full listing of public events.

About NCCAkron

The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron supports the research and development of new work in dance by exploring the full potential of the creative process. In addition to offering studio and technical residencies to make new work, activities focus on catalyzing dialogue and experimentation; creating proximity among artists and dance thinkers; and aggregating resources around dance making. For more information, visit the National Center for Choreography.

About The University of Akron School of Dance, Theatre & Arts Administration

The University of Akron School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration (DTAA) prepares students for successful performing, academic, and administrative careers in the arts. Its diverse student body works with distinguished, award-winning faculty in classes that offer technical training, theoretical study, practical experience, and creative skill-building. The Dance Program offers both a B.F.A. and B.A. with Business Cognate. The Theatre Arts Program offers a B.A. with four tracks, including applied theatre and social entrepreneurship. The school’s M.A. in Arts Administration provides students the education necessary to work in all disciplines of the non-profit arts. DTAA is headed by Marc Reed, D.M.A., who also directs the School of Music. For more information, visit the School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration.

About the Mary Schiller Myers Lecture Series in the Arts

Ideas in Motion is made possible by the support of The University of Akron Foundation’s Mary Schiller Myers Lecture Series in the Arts. NCCAkron is grateful to Stephen E. Myers, trustee of the University of Akron Foundation and of the Myers Foundation and son of Mary Schiller Myers, for his support. 

Established in 1979 under the sponsorship of the Mary and Louis S. Myers Foundation, this endowed lecture series brings significant representatives of the arts to campus and community annually, to share their particular talents with students, faculty, and residents of the community. These events can include performances, lectures, and master classes.