Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Video from the Vault and News!

I hope you enjoy our video from the vault this week! Three of the artists from this production appeared in the original production of Christie’s Atys a year later… Ann Monoyios and Howard Crook sang the leading roles and Ken Pierce joined Ris et Danseries as a dancer. The NYBDC has mentored lead artists in the fields of early dance and music, especially opera-ballet, since 1976.

Today our NYBDC is grateful to Gibney and the Mark Morris Dance Center for helping us continue our rehearsals and classes in a supportive and affordable space. But most of all, both centers act as a meeting place and catalyst for dance innovation and study. As artists, we value the opportunity to randomly bump into other choreographers, dancers, teachers, actors and musicians in the lobby or warm-up areas where we are able to share ideas and catch glimpses of works in progress as dancers of all styles prepare their work.

Most recently we were preparing Scylla et Glaucus dances for the April 15th premiere in San Francisco and the Versailles premiere April 25th. We are sorry it was cancelled/postponed because of the coronavirus.  Here is a glimpse of the sarabande rehearsal at Gibney 280 Broadway:

Both dance centers are suffering from being closed during the pandemic. If you are able, please make a contribution to Gibney  and/or Mark Morris Dance Center

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Minister of Circe designed by Marie Anne Chiment

Minister of Circe designed by Marie Anne Chiment

Scylla and Glaucus,  April Premiere in San Francisco and Versailles

by Jean-Marie Leclair (1697–1764)
Tragédie en musique with one prologue and five acts on a libretto d’Albaret, created in 1746 in Paris.


“It is an honor not only to be chosen as the stage director and choreographer for this new production, but to also bring ten dancers from The New York Baroque Dance Company with me to San Francisco and Versailles, is a dream come true.”

Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director

Glaucus, designed by Marie Anne Chiment


Véronique Gens:  Circé
Chantal Santon-Jeffery:  Scylla
Judith Van Wanroij:  Vénus, Témire, Dorine
Aaron Sheehan: Glaucus
Douglas Williams:  Chef de Peuple, Licas, Hecate

Les Chantres du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles (conducted by Olivier Schneebeli)
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan Musical: conductor
The New York Baroque Dance Company
Catherine Turocy: Stage director and choreographer
Marie Anne Chiment: Costume designer
Pierre Dupouey: Lighting and video designer
Antoine Fontaine: Set designer



Jean-Marie Leclair, at 49, composed his first (and single) opera, Scylla and Glaucus, created at the Académie Royale de Musique in 1746, and performed seventeen times to great acclaim… A meteoric work strongly influenced by Rameau, this opera is undoubtedly one of the achievements of French 18th century.


Plot: To gain the love of beautiful and chaste Scylla, Glaucus calls the magician Circe to the rescue: but she falls in love with him, dragging the trio into an implacable and dramatic spiral, ending in tragedy for all and Scylla’s metamorphosis into a deathly rock. This beautiful score (with irresistible choruses and dances), where virtuosity serves a gripping plot, will be premiered in a “historically informed” staging and choreography in San Francisco, conducted by Nicholas McGegan.

Coproduction: Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale. Scores realized by the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles with surtitles in French and English

Who is Jean-Marie Leclair?

The son of a skilled haberdasher and amateur musician, Leclair was born in Lyon on May 10, 1697, one of six siblings, five of whom were also to become musicians. He is often called “the elder” to distinguish him from a younger brother also known as Jean – Marie who enjoyed a musical career in their native city. Nothing is known of his early masters though we do know that for a decade Leclair performed both as a dancer and a violinist. His stage debut most certainly took place early in life, for at age nineteen he wedded a ballerina of the Lyon Opera, Marie – Rose Casthanie. Soon thereafter we find the man who was to become the most travelled French musician of his day in Rouen; in 1722 he joined the Teatro Regio of Turin as premier danseur and ballet master. For all of his responsibilities he found time to compose three intermezzi for Semiramide, an opera by Giuseppe Maria Orlandini.

Leclair came to Paris in the fall of 1723, (take me to article, http://www.early-music.com/what-is-early-music/jean-marie-leclair-1697-1764/)

Nereid design from 17th century

Buy Tickets for San Francisco: https://philharmonia.org/2019-2020-season/scylla-et-glaucus/

Buy Tickets for Versailles:


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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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