Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Dance of the Month at Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, 3:30-5:30pm with teacher/choreographer, Catherine Turocy and live music by Isaac Hutton. Cost: $17

What are we teaching?  The Tambourin from Scylla et Glaucus in Act V!

go to 2:38:52 for the music


From January 16-February 20, 1986 The New York Baroque Dance Company was in residence at the Opera de Lyon where I was the choreographer for this beautiful opera by Jean Marie Leclair. Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner [conductor] collaborated with us on this first modern day production of the opera. Philippe Lénaël was the stage director and our glorious production won le Prix Claude Rostand (Critic’s choice for the Best Lyrical Opera Production of the Year).

From Catherine Turocy…

“What many people forget is that the dancers were half from The New York Baroque Dance Company and half from Ris et Danceries. This was an experiment on my part to see if we could combine our forces and have as many dancers as chorus members on stage…eventually… trained in the technique. La Compagnie de Danse l’Eventail director, MarieGeneviève Massé, was one of the dancers from Ris et Danceries. Sadly, my invitation to Ris et Danceries was never reciprocated, and, as the company has now disbanded (1980 to about 1995),  I am no longer anticipating an invitation.”

The internet was not active in 1986 and it is impossible to find even a program from the 5 performances given in Lyons.  The NYBDC files are currently in storage but hopefully we will be able to re-discover the cast list before too long.

Happily we are returning to France for performances at Versailles April 25 and 26, 2020:

link to information


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Catherine Turocy in one of her 7 choreographies for this dance which she has created over and over again from 1983 to 2018.

The Characters/ Diversity and Transformation (Location in NYC TBA)

Exploring A master work of historical significance, Les Caractères de la Danse (1715)

Honoring the Women’s Suffrage Centennial in 2020, The Characters/Diversity and Transformation is a workshop exploring one of the first professional women choreographers, Françoise Prevost, and her iconic creation, Les Caractères de la Danse.


Original descriptions of this dance can be found in the Mercure de France Paris Journal and what is described is a unique portrayal by one dancer of 11 different faces of humankind; young and old, men and women, privileged and vulnerable.


Françoise Prevost, a principal dancer at the Paris Opera passed this work on to her pupils, the famous “Maries”, Camargo and Sallé, who both created their own versions and passed the work onto to the next generation of performers in Europe.  These original choreographies by women reflected social and theatrical practices of 18th century France. Catherine Turocy, internationally celebrated for her work in Baroque dance, will teach her original period choreography as a way of introducing the students to Baroque compositional structure. Each day a specialist with a focus on Black Haitian dance (Marcea Daiter), Ballet Folklorico of the Hispanic heritage (Roberto Lara), Native American dance (We are in conversation with Tohanash Tarrant of the Shinnecock Reservation on Long Island) or Gender bending in the Burlesque (Austin McCormick (in negotiation) and Joe Williams), will lecture on their topic and introduce students to the “characters” of these cultures. The second weekend of the workshop the students will create their own dances of “characters” that represent America in 2020-21.  We are asking Joe Williams, an expert in Delsarte, to assist in coaching the students. And through sharing the template of this famous work with the current generation of dancers, we hope to facilitate honest discussions of current and past ideas of gender, social class and age and a safe creative space for performers to explore identity in all its complexity.

The duet version with Timothy Kasper and Catherine Turocy at Florence Gould Hall, New York City, September 23, 2005

The ability to perform such a dance demands a “state of transformation” from the dancer. The changes are not made with costumes or masks or props. The performers must own all the characters and emotions within their being, connected by a line of energy. Discovering this line of energy which allows the performer to shift on a breath, builds empathy for these characters both in the performer and in the audience. The truth of this statement was discovered by Turocy in her January 2019 workshop at ODC in San Francisco where she taught this dance for the first time to dancers outside of her company. The students felt enriched by a common humanity by broadening their understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.


Encouraged by Turocy’s experience and students in the workshop, NYBDC is eager to expand the workshop to include a creative performance aspect.

Turocy’s original 1983 version in performance with Mercury Baroque in 2007.

Produced by the NYBDC this workshop will be in several cities across the U.S.:  NYC at Gibney Studios in June of 2020 and in April of 2021 it will go to Dallas, Texas and Chicago, Illinois.  As part of the workshop, a public performance with the students in collaboration with the Dallas Bach Society Orchestra will take place at the Saluna International Music and Arts Festival dedicated to bridging the classical arts and contemporary life.  Next, the NYBDC will take the workshop to Chicago. Currently we are speaking to collaborators.s conducting an 8 week workshop this fall. Because of the mimetic nature of the dance it is not required to have previous Baroque dance instruction. The workshop is truly inclusive and invites dancers of all styles and ages as well as musicians and actors. The public performance will contain many styles of dance as represented by the students.

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Catherine Gallant

A few words from the director of the workshop, Catherine Turocy…

Livia Vanaver worked directly with Jane Sherman, the youngest dancer in the Denishawn tour of the Orient in 1925-26. Jane was so impressed with Livia and her company that she taught Livia White Jade, a solo of Ruth St. Denis.  We are so fortunate to have Livia teaching White Jadeand directly relaying inspiration from the legacy of Ruth St. Denis to our students.

Catherine Gallant has dedicated her teaching and performing career to the dances of Isadora Duncan. She will share her profound experience with Duncan choreographies and emphasize their musicality. She will also share her process of modern dance reconstruction. Here is a link to the choreography we will be learning:

Allegretto video

Joe Williams has studied the movement theory of Delsarte and has practiced this theory as a teacher, performer and stage director. I have studied with him and found his keen eye to be uncanny in analyzing movement and guiding the student to a fuller expression of a pose or gesture. Delsarte is at the basis of early 20th century modern expression and is an important area of study.

Modern Dance and Delsarte article

Caroline Copeland and I will be teaching Pre-Delsarte expressive gesture and posture from 17th and 18thcentury masters in dance and in the art of declamation.  My choreography, inspired by Marie Sallé’s creation and performance of La Gelosia to music of Handel, will act as a template for our period dance expression exploration.

 How to Think Like a Baroque Choreographer by Jack Anderson, NYTimes


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Meggi is teaching Dance of the Month this Saturday, May 4th, from 3:30 to 5:30 at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. The dance of the month is the Gavotte and if you attended Catherine’s class in April, there will be a review of the gavotte phrase from that class. All are welcome and the fee is only $17.

Who is Meggi Sweeney Smith?

A soloist with the New York Baroque Dance Company since 2010, she has trained with Catherine Turocy, Lieven Baert at the Stanford Historical Dance Week and Thomas Baird.  In addition to teaching private classes in the Baroque period, Meggi just finished teaching workshops in Basics, Ornamentation, and Improvisation and Notation/Reconstruction at the Mark Morris Dance Center.  In 2011 she instructed students in Renaissance dance and acrobatics for the Roving Classical Commedia University Summer Workshop.  In addition to teaching private Baroque lessons and advising in historic etiquette, Meggi dances with companies such as CorbinDances, Cohen/Suzeau, Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater, and the Anna Sokolow Dance Company.  Meggi is so thankful to be part of this beautiful community of artists.

She studied at the University of Kansas where she received highest honors for her BFA in dance and a minor in music. While there, in addition to modern, ballet and East Indian, she studied Renaissance and Baroque reconstruction and notation,  while performing group and solo works for concerts and lecture demonstrations. She received the School of Fine Arts Collaborative Initiative Award and Undergraduate Research Award for her dance research in historic fields.  Meggi received Honorable Mention for the Sara and Mary Edwards Paretsky Award for Creativity in her curriculum for teaching music through dance.  She began dancing at the age of ten in her hometown of Carrollton, Missouri.

Her interests have also included playing the piano, flute, tumbling, and participating in madrigal and theater works.

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Catherine Gallant to teach the Isadora Intensive
at Mystic Fountain Workshop
June 20-23, 2019

Legacy and interpretation in the works of Isadora Duncan

June 22 2:30-5pm followed by lecture 5-6pm and June 23 2:30-5
Catherine Gallant will share the history of Duncan’s work (her movement and use of music) with a focus on the innovations she made that initiated the development of “modern dance” in the US and internationally. Ms. Gallant will lead a Duncan technique session and teach excerpts from her recent choreography which honors Duncan’s 1908 work to Beethoven’s Allegretto (from the Symphony No. 7). Movement activities will be followed by a discussion which highlights the process, and inherent questions, involved in such acts of interpretation as “reconstruction”, “re-staging” and “reimagining”.
How does a dance exist when it is over?
What happens to a dance when it becomes “lost”?   The Allegretto sections from Isadora Duncan’s untitled work to Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 Op.92, was performed in 1979 when Maria Theresa Duncan presented a reconstruction of this “lost” work with her Heritage Company. Originally Duncan performed three movements of the symphony as a solo and was accompanied by a full orchestra. She performed the work between the years 1904-1909 in the US, France and the Netherlands. This dance is an important representation of Duncan’s musical intelligence and marks her primary foray into abstraction as a catalyst for her dance making process. Critics of the time were outraged at her choice to dance to Beethoven and called it a “sacrilege”.

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March 19 in Dallas!

Buy Tickets

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by Francois de Troy

The Duchesse du Maine. portrayed above in the Astronomy Lesson by François de Troy, was a patron of the arts in France. Born as Anne Louise Bénédicte de Bourbon (1676-1753), she suffered from a lame arm and dwarf-like stature; she was abused as a child; and at 15 years of age she was forced to marry a man she did not love. Both she and her husband were later imprisoned for their political views in a battle for the Regency after the death of Louis XIV.

However, despite these challenges, she developed her salon in the early 18th century where she created a liberal environment which contributed to the “salon culture,” transforming politics, culture and art.

In our March 19th appearance with the Dallas Bach Society we are celebrating the month of March, dedicated to women.

Featured works on the program are:



The Cantata: Jonas (from Cantates Françaises sur des sujets tirés de l’écriture) by Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre and sung by Julianna Emanski.

The Sonata in D minor also by Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre
Les Caractères de la danse with music by Jean-Ferry Rebel, choreographed as a duet in the manner of Marie Sallé by Catherine Turocy and danced by Caroline Copeland and Roberto Lara.
*Apollon, La Nuit, et Comus with music by Nicolas Bernier, stage direction and choreography by Catherine Turocy and performed by members of The New York Baroque Dance Company: Brynt Beitman, Julia Bengtsson, Caroline Copeland (Assoc. Dir. of NYBDC), Roberto Lara, Glenda Norcross and Matthew Ting.  Julianna Emanski, Hunter Birkhead and Joshua Hughes will be the soloists singing this charming work.
We hope you are able to join us for our debut at the Moody Performance Hall in the Arts District in Dallas, Texas.
*A Word from the Choreographer:
Some of the dances for Apollon, La Nuit, et Comus are actually period dance notations from the early 18th century which have been adapted to the music.  In order to give the air of authenticity and a keener sense of the aesthetic, I have asked Caroline Copeland to learn a sarabande from an unpublished collection of dances as well as a musette from Mr. Siris.  In both cases I asked her to simply dance the choreography straight to the music.  Then, I coached the decision making as we played with density of steps and musicality.  I would not have attempted this process with anyone else in the cast but Caroline, because she has a deep understanding of the style.  I admire her talent and instincts and I follow the practice of the 18th century which is to give those dancers with the most experience, the most freedom in their solos. For the final trio of “Unissons Nous,”  I based the dance on the Minuet by Mr. Shirley, published in 1711. This is my personal acknowledgement to my Baroque dance teacher, Shirley Wynne.

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BEDfest2019-flyer_v2 (1)


Sarah Edgar leading the NYBDC and friends in a dance at Mark Morris Dance Center

Contact: Jennifer Meller
Phone: 323-791-6769
Email: jenbeast@gmail.com

Announcing the very first Bay area Early Dance Festival on January
20, 2019, 8pm at the ODC Dance Commons in San Francisco,

The BED Festival is the brainchild of local dancers Carlos Venturo
and Jennifer Meller, who met at a baroque and renaissance dance workshop in 2012 and decided something needed to be done about the lack of resources for the study and practice of historical dance forms in the Bay Area.

Jennifer and Carlos plan to produce the festival of workshops and
performances every two years and to include a widening range of
dance styles and historical periods, workshops for musicians, and
sessions for the exchange of ideas around community-building,
preservation, fresh approaches, with a special interest in exploring
the connections between early dance forms and modern dance. It
will be held in January which is usually a quiet time for teachers and
students, and a nice time to visit California for those in colder

The first BED fest will consist of one low-key performance by
participants of a weekend baroque dance workshop January 18-20
held in Studio B at ODC. The workshop is taught by Catherine
Turocy, artistic director of The New York Baroque Dance Company
(NYBDC) and recipient of this year’s Isadora Duncan Award for her
reconstruction of 1745 opera “Le Temple de La Gloire” at

The festival will include performances by special
guest dancer Sarah Edgar, associate director of NYBDC, and live
music provided by Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
educational director Lisa Grodin leading students from San Francisco
Music Conservatory.

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Gregory Youdan and Meggi Sweeney Smith


Covered by news in Japan!

January 5, 2019 Dance of the Month with Meggi Sweeney Smith

Continuing her lesson on the gavotte, Meggi says: “We will use our physical practice to help one another confidently embody the weight shifts and quality of ease that are part of this form while expanding our listening practice and understanding of Bach’s French Suites!”

Have you recently googled gavotte? There are so many descriptions of the dance as a kissing dance, a dance from the Alps, a moderate dance, a fast dance, a dance which was usually followed by the minuet…but what is it, really? Looking at a particular time period and composer helps to bring clarity and this is what Meggi will be offering on January 5th. Class will begin with a warm-up and then move into step sequences and patterns. This will be an energetic class and a good way to start the New Year! All are welcome. Pay at the front desk.

Time: January 5, 2019 from 3:30-5:30, Studio B

Place: Mark Morris Dance Center at 3 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn

Cost: $17

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5% of Our Donations to Haiti Artists

Haiti and the NYBDC
From today until January 30 th
5% of your donation to the NYBDC
will go to  Dance to Save Lives  in Haiti.

Click Here  to donate online to NYBDC via PayPal

Marcea Daiter (pictured above) and I have been friends since the 1990’s and share a passion of dance history.  Marcea’s research into the dances of colonial Haiti has inspired our work together in classes, workshops and performances orbiting the historical figure of the Chevalier de Saint George as well as unearthing information about standard French social and theatrical practice in colonial Haiti. The main opera house in Haiti employed racially mixed casts and when the Revolution came (1791-1804), many of these artists migrated north to the US, traveling and performing in the southern coastal states like Florida and the Carolinas as well as Louisiana.
Today’s artists in Haiti are struggling for materials and even the very basic necessities; we would like to help them.  Honoring our work together with Marcea Daiter, the board of The New York Baroque Dance Company has decided to contribute a portion of our  end of year fundraising drive  to “Dance to Save Lives”, a Haitian arts organization.
Dance to Save Lives:
Marcea has guided our goodwill to the Haitian artist, Dieufel Lamisére, Artistic Director/HaitiDansco. He has been a colleague of Marcea’s these past five years. He opened several free schools under the organization “Dance To Save Lives,” a non-profit project that offers free professional dance training, art education and shelter to children and disadvantaged youth from the poorest areas. In addition to dance training, the group’s members have been provided with daily meals, transportation costs and merit-based scholarships. Mr. Lamisére has also offered shelter for those temporarily in need. Out of his personal funds and with the help of some of the money he raised for DTSL, Mr. Lamisére significantly contributed to school expenses for several of his ‘children.’  Unfortunately, circumstances have caused him to move from Jacmel to another location, Ville Du Cap-Haitian, North Haiti and he is starting from scratch. Last summer, some of Marcea’s colleagues went to Haiti and participated in a Haitian dance workshop he sponsored which was a success, but between the recent hurricanes and earthquakes, life in Haiti has become even more challenging for Mr. Lamisére and his organization.
Thank you!
In honor of our shared artistic heritage, we thank you in advance for joining us in the spirit of community which goes beyond our borders. By donating to The New York Baroque Dance Company this season, 5% of your contribution will go towards Mr. Lamisére’s organization “Dance to Save Lives”.  And if you are curious about NYBDC projects please click Projects in Development
Sincerely yours,
Catherine Turocy (Artistic Director) and fellow NYBDC Board members Caroline Copeland and Sarah Edgar (Associate Directors), Rachel List and Laurie Postelwate

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