Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

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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Caroline Copeland backstage at Drottningholm

The New York Baroque Dance Company provides an important entry into the world of Baroque dance and music for its company dancers. Trained by Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director and Associate Directors Caroline Copeland and Sarah Edgar in period performance technique, the dancers are also encouraged to be involved in projects outside the company.  Reading the dance notation, developing their research skills and expanding their knowledge of the general culture from the period are skills the dancers must pursue on their own. These skills are not learned in a dance rehearsal. However, dancers do gain insight into these skills through their NYBDC performances. Being a good dancer does not automatically mean one is equipped to stage direct or choreograph…but it is a start!

This past summer Alexis Silver was the choreographer for the new Aquilon Music Festival in Oregon.  She worked on the fully-staged opera premiere of La Chûte de Phaëton, a commedie en musique, from 1694. For a fuller account of the festival and its activities Click here.

Olsi Gjeci taught his first Baroque dance intensive in Lisbon, Portugal on July 30th. Currently he is expanding his research into dance notation, often involving his wife, dancer Diana Seabra as his partner. Olsi is a true “citizen of the world” and is having an incredible impact on dance through his web platform UMUV.  An experienced modern dancer (formerly with Trisha Brown) as well as an accomplished modern dance choreographer himself, we are looking forward to Olsi’s deeper journey into the Baroque!

Last April Brynt Beitman choreographed a solo and performed for the City Choir of Washington in their tribute to Maestro Shafer’s fiftieth anniversary as a conductor in Washington, DC.  Already a contemporary choreographer, it is exciting to see Brynt’s interest in combining the new with the old.

Looking back, I first met Sarah Edgar as a scholarship student at our summer workshop in Napa in 1998. She has accomplished so much since then. Be sure to catch her work as stage director at the end of September for Handel’s Serse at Haymarket Opera in Chicago.


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Louis XIV as Jupiter from a ballet

Taught by Catherine Turocy
Where: New Mexico Ballet 10410 Comanche Rd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
When: July 23-27, 9:30am-12:30pm
Cost: $150.00
Hosted by New Mexico Ballet and funded in part by the Dance Preservation Fund of The Ohio State University
for more information call Mariel McEwan 323-578-0846
Dance as Science: In the magnificent and opulent court entertainments of Louis XIV, early ballet was considered both an art and a science. The body was trained as a highly functioning instrument of artistic expression revealing the movements of the soul within the dancer. Through both the lines of motion felt within the body and outside the body… whether executing a dance phrase or in creating spatial geometrical patterns of choreography on the stage, through thiese lines, the dancer spins the story of the ballet.  These lines of geometry were part of a larger aesthetic ruled by measurements believed to be at the heart of universal harmony and joining the earth with the heavens.
As a dancer, I have used the philosophical concepts of the  body being the microcosm of the macrocosm of nature and in harmony with the golden ratio. Perhaps the secret behind my performance persona comes from this ability to use the body both physically and dramatically within this structure which is still valid in dance performance today.
The workshop will take students through early ballet concepts of theory, technique and performance practice. The morning session will look at technique and complicated dance phrases. Using a smaller movement range than we do today, students will experience a heightened sense of fine motor skills. They will be able to add this new mastery of the muscles to their modern training thus enhancing their abilities to add a subtle air or color to their own performance practice.
The morning session will use music from the Ballet of the Seven Planets as well as additional music. We will also look at opera text using the aria of Venus to see how expressive movement and pantomime can be combined to enhance the sung text. Ballets in the 17th and 18th cenuries often wove together the sung and danced air to make a suite.
The 9:30-12:30am sessions will be my chance as a choreographer to experiment with phrases and to begin to set the Ballet of the Seven Planets as I would like to use it in the planetary dome show. After breaking for lunch, from 1-2pm  I would like to train specific dancers on how to coach the period dance style with the notion that they could eventually use material learned in the workshop to enhance an educational outreach class touching upon the origins of ballet. This afternoon session is a separate class from the workshop.   Poster at right can be downloaded: 

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The Ostrich (Glenda Norcross) makes her debut with the Dallas Bach Society in Fairy Queen. Her trainer is the Fire Salamander (Matthew John Ting) and choreographer, Catherine Turocy (The New York Baroque Dance Company. Jane Stein created the ostrich and the salamander. This is a phone video from May 12, 2018 in Dallas at the Northaven United Methodist Church to whom we are so grateful!

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One of the advantages to being stage director and choreographer for Fairy Queen is being able to incorporate these magical creations of Jane Stein. Since 1980 she has made masks, crown masks and body puppets for the NYBDC. Come to our performance on May 12 at Northaven United Methodist Church, 7:30pm and bring family and friends! Tickets

Jane’s website

Teseo performed at Drottningholm in Sweden, production of Goettinfen Handel Festival

Rehearsal of Opera Lafayette’s production of Rameau’s Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour

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Congratulations to the following dancers who auditioned for the Scholarship Program in our summer workshop supported by friends of The New York Baroque Dance Company and partially by a special grant from San Jose State University, the Artistic Excellence Grant.

Sade Warner “Young Dancer” scholarship
I began dancing at age three and have spent most of my time in a dance studio ever since. In 2011 I graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Dance where I furthered my studies in ballet, modern, and ethnic dance forms. Since graduating I have taught classical ballet for the last six years and choreographed for various shows and competitions. As a performer I am fortunate to begin my 4th season with Academy Danse Libre, a dance troupe based in Palo Alto that specializes in recreating 19th and early 20th century dance. Outside the studio I enjoy all things old. I’m passionate about history as well as period costume design and look forward to enhancing my knowledge of the baroque era. 
Why Historical Dance?
Ballet has endured and evolved over the decades and it is the foundation for many other dance forms and techniques. But what was the foundation for ballet? This workshop is such a remarkable opportunity study from the best and to learn the history behind the steps we do everyday. Dancing ballet is not only enlivening but it is truly special to know that you are  continuing a tradition that is full of history. That is a thrill that I want to share with my students. 
Marisa Castillo: “Shirley Wynne Memorial Teacher” scholarship
Marisa Castillo is a lifelong student of movement and dance. Marisa loves all dance genres and has studied a diverse range of styles including Classical Ballet, Modern, Hip-hop, Contact Improvisation and Salsa to name a few. She has studied at the Ailey School in New York City and holds a B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University. For the past 13 years she has been honing her skills as a somatic classical ballet
teacher in San Francisco under the mentorship of Augusta Moore. Ms. Castillo has also had the pleasure of studying Experimental Anatomy and the application of it to dance with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. She became involved with Historical Dance in 2015 while performing with the San Francisco Renaissance Dancers. Marisa is excited to be a scholarship recipient and is eager to immerse herself into this much-needed look into dance’s past.
Why Historical Dance?
I feel that historical dance is a major component for understanding today’s dance, especially classical ballet. Where did the steps come from? How did they develop the ballet technique we employ today? This all stems from Baroque and also Renaissance dances. I feel it is critical as my role as a dance educator to pass this knowledge onto my students. I also see it as a way to help students understand that ballet didn’t just all of a sudden appear but it comes from a history and lineage
worthy of study and examination.
Isabelle Sjahsam : work study / Teacher’s assistant
Ms. Isabelle Sjahsam studied the rigorous Royal Academy of Dance system with Connie Vaughan, and at thirteen, moved to England to continue her training and complete her major examinations in London.   While in the United Kingdom, she competed in the All England Dance Competition, reaching the Quarter Finals with her ballet solo.  At the age of eighteen, she completed her Advanced examination, receiving her certification to teach the Royal Academy of Dance.  She has an International Baccalaureate from the American Community School in Cobham, England. She also graduated from Mills College with a degree in Dance.  
Ms. Sjahsam has performed with Bay Area dance companies including SF Renaissance Dancers, Em Space Dance, Jenny McAllister/13th Floor Dance Theater, and Anna Halprin and Dancers. She appeared in the works of Michael Lowe while working with Moving Arts Dance, Black Diamond Ballet Theatre, and Menlowe Ballet, and has toured internationally with Leyya Tawil’s Dance Elixir.
Her choreography has been presented in venues 
including Counterpulse, Temescal Arts Center, Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival, Cal Arts Electronic Music Festival, and West Wave Dance Festival. From 2005 to 2011 Sjahsam collaborated with actor and director Malinda Trimble to create new works for their dance-theater troupe ArtFace Performance Group. In 2008, she received a new work commission by Middlebury College Dance Company. The work she created
there, Standing Mother, premiered in Vermont and was also performed in Tabor, Czech Republic. In recent years she has collaborated with Saint Helena based Ehlers Art Society, and LA based artist Daniel Leland Crook.
Why Historical Dance?
To explore the origins of ballet in order to deepen the practice.

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Eva Marie Garrick, dancer and wife of David Garrick, portrait by Boucher


Dance of the Month: January 6th, Saturday, with Meggi Sweeney Smith! Learn these popular contredanses from the English court of William and Mary and French court of Louis XIV:  L’Amoureuse click for notation
and La Fanatique click for dance
Join us in Dance of the Month: 18th Century Dance Classes offered by The New York Baroque Dance Company every first Saturday of the month from 3:30-5:30PM  at Mark Morris Dance Center at 3 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn, New York (corner of Flatbush Ave).  www.markmorrisdancegroup.org/schoollocate.cfm.

Cost: only $17 per class!

P.S. If you went class in 2017 you will remember that Meggi was expecting her child at the end of the year. She arrived on Thanksgiving Day or should I say night. Sidney is in fine health and we are so happy for the Smith family!

Or catch Catherine Turocy in San Francisco also on January 6th and 7th! 

photo by C. Andrako

Empowering the Performer: 18th century Techniques Lost and Found and Useful to Today’s Dancer
with Catherine Turocy, The New York Baroque Dance Company
Saturday, January 6
Class Fee: $20.00

ODC Dance Commons
Kimi Okada, School Director
351 Shotwell Street, SF

Description:  What is our legacy from the 18th century stage which can bring a new depth to the dance of today? This class will look at basic aesthetic principles of the Golden Ratio and the Vitruvian Man and how they influenced the creation of the five positions of the feet in ballet as well as the expressive dance technique common to both ballet and modern dance forms. The class will be a physical, dancing experience using excerpts of published dance notation from the repertoire of the early 18th century including minuets and chaconnes. The theory behind the exercises will be emailed to participants in order to keep the class moving.

Public Workshop Sunday, January 7th: “Bach in Time!” a dance and music Workshop in celebration of the Junior Bach Festival’s 65th concert season. Catherine Turocy, the nation’s foremost baroque dance expert and founder of New York Baroque Dance Company, will lead the Workshop. Participants will dance to the music of J.S. Bach, accompanied by members of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, who perform Bach’s music on instruments from his time.

Time and Date: 2:30 to 4:00 pm. on Sunday, January 7, 2018

Venue: The Hofer Auditorium at Crowden Community Music Center, 1475 Rose Street at Sacramento (close to the North Berkeley Bart Station)

Suggested Donation:  $10 for adults. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Students may attend free of charge.

Description:Families, teachers, performers, and Bach enthusiasts are warmly invited to participate in this  Workshop about dances that inspired Bach’s music, performed on instruments from Bach’s time. No previous dance experience is required. Dancing is not mandatory, but if you would like to dance, please wear comfortable clothing and dancing shoes (if you have them). Powdered wigs are not necessary.

Why dance when the Festival is all about J.S. Bach’s music? In Bach’s time, musicians and their audiences would have been familiar with dances that comprised the 18th century French dance suite. (Bach himself knew at least three former dance masters of King Louis XIV of France!) Today’s musicians find that the more they learn about baroque dance, the more easily they can interpret music that was based on baroque dance forms —including many of J.S. Bach’s compositions. The meter and quality of a dance can inform the modern player’s decisions about tempo, articulation, phrasing, bowings, and ornamentation.

And for those who studied with Ana Yepes at our summer Spanish Baroque Dance workshop…

Image may contain: 1 person, text

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Seven Awards in 2017!

Cast and Crew for Le Temple de la Gloire not including orchestra and chorus.
photo by Frank Wing
Dear Friends,
This has been an amazing year of accomplishments for The New York Baroque Dance Company.
Seven Awards in Recognition of Artistic Excellence
We won 3 prizes and we are waiting on another nomination. This recognition is for a stellar production of the modern day premiere of Le Temple de la Gloire by Jean Philippe Rameau, in competion with all styles of music and dance for these awards.
1. and 2. First prizes in categories of Choreography and Opera from Best of the Bay https://nybaroquedance.org/2017/09/27/won-first-prize-for-opera-and-for-dance/
4. National Endowment for the Arts Award to support our summer workshop in Seattle, June of 2017.
5. The Artistic Excellence Programming grant from San Jose State University was awarded to our company last month for pre-workshop costs associated with our summer workshop planning and development. Click here for more information on our workshop, Historical Dance at Play:  https://nybaroquedance.org/san-jose-summer-historical-dance-weekend-august-2-5-2018/
6. Mariel McEwen, our producer and dance camera director for Harmony of the Spheres, received a grant award from New Mexico Women in Film this past fall to attend the 2017 Pleiades National Planetarium Conference in St. Louis.
7. Supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Howard Gilman Foundation, the New York Baroque Dance Company was the first historical dance company invited to perform and teach in Cuba when political relations were good in February, 2017.
Historical Trip to Cuba
Thank you to those individuals who donated to our GiveGab campaign to help us close the gap between government funding and actual costs. We performed at the Esteban Salas Early Music Festival in Havana and taught a 3 day workshop at Acosta Danza.
From Carlos Acosta: “The joy with which the dancers have assumed your teachings will help us in our effort to create a company that embraces the whole dance, without distinction of epochs and styles, in search for a unique and beautiful result.”
Groundbreaking Workshops
With support from fundraising, tuition and the NEA Art Works, Millicent Hodson and Catherine Turocy conducted a summer workshop exploring Nijinsky’s notations for a sarabande to music of Bach. The exploration began in Seattle then continued at the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts.
Millicent Hodson and Catherine Turocy: Conversation on video with illustrations, by Mariel McEwan https://vimeo.com/channels/nybaroquedancesbhd/241610577
Nijinsky’s Abandoned Saraband workshop at CBA consisted of volunteer dancers helping our team (Catherine Turocy, Millicent Hodson, Kenneth Archer and Claudia Jeschke with assistance by Doug Fullington) to sketch out the choreography. These dancers included: Molissa Fenley, Holly Farmer, Tyler Gilstrap, Nicole Duffy Robertson, Julia Bengsston, Julian Donahue, Caroline Copeland, Rachel List, Carly Fox Horton, Meggi Sweeney Smith, Patricia Beaman, Andrew Trego, Matthew Ting, Kaz Hiruma, Kristin Foote, Kyle Bukhari.
New Video Page on Website
We updated our website and now have a Video Page. See our NYBDC trailer, The Making of a Modern Day Premiere, Artist Spotlight on Catherine Turocy (Artistic Director) and more: https://nybaroquedance.org/videos/
Our teaching videos from our summer workshops 2012 until the present, recorded and edited by Mariel McEwen. NYBDC is first in the field of historical dance to offer documentation of class explorations into areas of interest rarely explored and now offered free to the public on our online vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/channels/nybaroquedancesbhd/videos
The New York Baroque Dance Company
Pajarito Environmental Education Center and Planetarium, Los Alamos
… and The New York Baroque Dance Company are partners in creating a dome show, Harmony of the Spheres: Dance, Astronomy, Music and Mathematics. Click here for the full story and our online campaign:https://www.givegab.com/nonprofits/the-new-york-baroque-dance-company/campaigns/harmony-of-the-spheres
Harmony of the Spheres - Storyboards
“Mind the Gap!” …as they say in the London metro system.
 The greatest challenge to our company is finding money for general operating support. Administration, marketing and development, maintenance /updates to websites and mailing lists, costume maintenance, etc.…all these costs are partially paid by project budgets but there is a gap of $10,000. Please support our important work in Dance and help us close the gap by donating with an end of year tax deductible contribution. 2016/2017 was our 40th anniversary season. A contribution of $40 or more would be deeply appreciated. If you have already donated this fall to the NYBDC, thank you for supporting usDonate
Our Associate Directors, Caroline Copeland and Sarah Edgar, joined the company in the late 90’s as young dancers. Thank you so much for all you have done and thank you James Richman, our music director, for being by my side since the beginning!
Catherine Turocy, co-founder and Artistic Director
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