Juilliard Dance Announces 2017-18 Season

Tuesday, Jun 06, 2017
Press Release
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Season Opens With New Dances: Edition 2017 in December

Featuring World Premiere Dances by Bryan Arias, Roy Assaf, Gentian Doda, and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano

5 Performances: December 6-10

A Celebration Following the Closing Performance of New Dances Will Honor Lawrence Rhodes for His 15 Years as Artistic Director as He Steps Down from Juilliard’s Dance Division

Juilliard Dances Repertory in March Features Masterworks: Merce Cunningham’s Sounddance; Crystal Pite’s Grace Engine; and Twyla Tharp’s Deuce Coupe

5 Performances: March 21-24

NEW YORK –– Juilliard Dance, entering its 66th season, opens its new season in December with New Dances: Edition 2017 featuring four world-premiere dances by up-and-coming choreographers Bryan Arias (first-year class), Gentian Doda (second-year class), Roy Assaf (third-year class), and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano (fourth-year class). 

A celebration following the closing performance of New Dances: Edition 2017 on Sunday, December 10 will honor Lawrence Rhodes for his 15 years as artistic director as he steps down from the Dance Division. During his tenure, Larry Rhodes has transformed the dance program and has helped educate a generation of gifted dancers, choreographers, and educators who have taken their place as leaders in the dance community. He will become artistic director emeritus for the 2017-18 academic year. Taryn Kaschock Russell, who has been on Juilliard’s faculty since 2014 and who served as associate director of the division this past academic year, will serve as acting artistic director, beginning July 1, 2017. (A bio on Ms. Russell follows at the end of this press release.)

Bryan Arias, a native of Puerto Rico, has performed in companies including Crystal Pite’s Kidd Pivot and Nederlands Dans Theater. He has choreographed works for Hubbard Street 2, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Ballet Vorpommern (Germany), Scottish Ballet, and Tanz Lucerne Theater. He now has his own ensemble, Arias Company. In addition to Juilliard, Arias’s upcoming commissions include Ballet Basel and Paul Taylor Company. Gentian Doda danced with Albania’s National Theater of Opera and Ballet, Compañía de Victor Ullate and Compañia Nacional de Danza. Doda’s career as a choreographer began with commissions for C.N.D.2 and the main company, and he was awarded the 2011 First Choreography Prizes in the Copenhagen and Hanover contests, as well as the Scapino Production Prize. Current projects include new commissions for Gärtnerplatztheater, Fondazione Teatro Massimo Palermo and Staatsballet Berlin. Doda also currently serves as First Ballet Master of the Staatsballet Berlin under Nacho Duato. Roy Assaf, a native of Israel, started working with Emanuel Gat in 2003 and danced alongside him until 2010, developing new works and re-staging existing repertoire. In 2010, he was appointed artistic associate at the NND company in Groningen. Recent commissions include works for the Intima Dance Festival (Israel), L.A. Dance Project, Royal Swedish Ballet, National Dance Company Wales, and the Batsheva Dance Company. His company, Roy Assaf Dance, makes its U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow this summer. Gustavo Ramirez Sansano has been artistic director of Luna Negra Dance Theater (2009-2013) and now combines his work as a freelance choreographer with Titoyaya Dansa, the company he co-founded in 2006 in Spain with Veronica Garcia Moscardo. Sansano has been the recipient of numerous awards for his choreography and has been commissioned by companies such as Nederlands Dans Theater, Compañía Nacional de Danza, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Luzern Theater (Switzerland), Ballet BC (Vancouver), Hamburg Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and Luna Negra Dance Theater, among others.

New Dances: Edition 2017 performances take place December 6-9 at 7:30pm and December 10 at 3pm in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Tickets are $30 and will be available at events.juilliard.edu. Tickets are free for Juilliard students; non-Juilliard students may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office.

In the spring semester, Juilliard Dances Repertory features repertory works by acclaimed choreographers. They are Merce Cunningham’s Sounddance with music by David Tudor, Toneburst, and Untitled; Crystal Pite’s Grace Engine with music by Owen Belton; and Twyla Tharp’s Deuce Coupe with music by the Beach Boys.

Merce Cunningham created Sounddance upon his return from spending nine weeks at the Paris Opera, where he worked on Un jour ou deux. Cunningham’s fast and vigorous piece is set to David Tudor’s powerful score. Sounddance was premiered on March 8, 1975 at the Music Hall in Detroit, Michigan. The centenary of Cunningham’s birth takes place in 2018, and Juilliard’s performance comes at the beginning of a yearlong, nationwide celebration of the choreographer.

Grace Engine, set to an electronic score by Owen Belton, was created by Crystal Pite for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. In the work, choreographer Pite continues her exploration of the familiar storylines that connect mankind. Pite positions and frames these narrative elements within her choreographic language. The work had its premiere on January 31, 2012, by Cedar Lake at La Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France.

Twyla Tharp’s Deuce Coupe was commissioned by Robert Joffrey for The Joffrey Ballet and was premiered on February 8, 1973 at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. The work stands both as Tharp’s first major commission and the first cross-over ballet, a dance that forms a bridge between modern and classical styles. The piece is set to music by the iconic American band, The Beach Boys. Juilliard Dance last performed the work in 2007.

Juilliard Dances Repertory performances take place on March 21-23 at 7:30pm and March 24 at 2pm and 7:30pm in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Tickets are $30 and will be available at events.juilliard.edu. Tickets for Juilliard students are free; non-Juilliard students may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office.

Additional events in the Juilliard Dance season include Choreographers and Composers 2017 featuring Juilliard dancers performing new works set to original music by Juilliard composers on Friday, November 17 (6 and 9pm) and Saturday, November 18 (2 and 8pm) in the Willson Theater; Senior Dance Production, which is completely produced by the senior class, on Friday, April 20, at 8pm, Saturday, April 21 (2:30 and 8pm) and Sunday, April 22 (2:30 and 8pm) in the Willson Theater; Choreographic Honors, a sampling of works by Juilliard dancers curated from workshops and performances, on Friday, May 11 (7:30pm) and Saturday, May 12 (7:30pm) in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater; and the Senior Dance Showcase, featuring the class of 2018 on Monday, May 14 (7:30pm) in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater.


2017-18 Juilliard Dance Season

New Dances: Edition 2017

Four world premiere commissions choreographed by:

Bryan Arias (first-year class)

Gentian Doda (second-year class)

Roy Assaf (third-year class)

Gustavo Ramirez Sansano (fourth-year class)

December 6-9, at 7:30pm

December 10, at 3pm

All performances take place in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Tickets are $30 and will be available at events.juilliard.edu. Tickets are free for Juilliard students; non-Juilliard students may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office.


Juilliard Dances Repertory

Sounddance by Merce Cunningham

Grace Engine by Crystal Pite

Deuce Coupe by Twyla Tharp

March 21, 22, 23, and 24, at 7:30pm

March 24, at 2pm

All performances take place in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Tickets are $30 and will be available at events.juilliard.edu. Tickets are free for Juilliard students; non-Juilliard students may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office.


Additional Events in the Juilliard 2017-18 Dance Season

Choreographers and Composers

Friday, November 17, 6 and 9pm

Saturday, November 18, 2 and 8pm

Juilliard’s Rosemary and Meredith Willson Theater

The performances are the culmination of the long-running Juilliard classroom/studio course of the same name, which provides Juilliard dance and composition students with techniques to explore collaborative art. Tickets available to Juilliard students, faculty, and staff only.

Senior Dance Production

Friday, April 20, at 8pm

Saturday, April 21, at 2:30 and 8pm

Sunday, April 22, at 2:30 and 8pm

Juilliard’s Rosemary and Meredith Willson Theater

Senior Dance Production is the culmination of a yearlong creative and educational process focused on launching seniors into the professional world. Juilliard dancers work in close collaboration with lighting design teams, costume designers, and composers as they create their original works. Ticketing information to follow.

Choreographic Honors

Friday, May 11, at 7:30pm

Saturday, May 12, at 7:30pm

Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater

A sampling of works curated from workshops and performances by Juilliard Dance Division students throughout the year. Free; tickets are required.

Senior Dance Showcase

Monday, May 14, at 7:30pm

Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Juilliard Dance’s class of 2018 presents a diverse program of solos and duets from the repertory and created by alumni and commissioned choreographers.

About Taryn Kaschock Russell, Acting Artistic Director of Juilliard Dance

Taryn Kaschock Russell has been a member of Juilliard’s faculty since 2014 and served as associate director of Juilliard’s Dance Division in the 2016-17 academic year. She will become acting artistic director for the 2017-18 academic year, beginning July 1, 2017. She has also been on the faculty of the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase.

Ms. Russell directed Hubbard Street 2 between 2008 and the spring of 2013. Prior to that, she held the position of rehearsal director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In her twelve-year performing career with both Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet, she traveled extensively, performing works by George Balanchine, John Cranko, Agnes de Mille, Martha Graham, Lar Lubovitch, Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, Ohad Naharin, and William Forsythe. During her tenure as director of HS2, she was responsible for programming and staffing the HSDC summer intensives and curating HSDC’s National Choreographic Competition each season. In this capacity, Ms. Russell realized her passion for teaching and mentoring young and emerging artists.

Ms. Russell has guest taught at the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Trey McIntyre Project, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet BC, and is a regular company teacher for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has been commissioned to choreograph work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, as part of their Danc(e)volve Series at the Museum of Contemporary Art and has staged existing repertoire on the Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Ms. Russell has composed a number of site-specific installations, most notably in collaborative partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

About Juilliard’s Dance Division

The Juilliard Dance Division, entering its 66th season in 2017-18, is a groundbreaking conservatory dance program whose faculty and alumni have changed the face of dance around the world. The program was established in 1951 by William Schuman during his tenure as president of Juilliard with the guidance of founding director Martha Hill. It became the first major teaching institution to combine equal dance instruction in both contemporary and ballet techniques. Among the early dance faculty members at Juilliard were Alfred Corvino, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, José Limón, Anna Sokolow, Antony Tudor, and Héctor Zaraspe.

Alumni of Juilliard’s Dance Division include Robert Battle, Pina Bausch, Martha Clarke, Mercedes Ellington, Robert Garland, Charlotte Griffin, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Adam Hougland, Saeko Ichinohe, Loni Landon, Jessica Lang, Lar Lubovitch, Bruce Marks, Susan Marshall, Austin McCormick, Andrea Miller, Ohad Naharin, and Paul Taylor.

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New Dances: Edition 2016
Matthew Neenan's "Walk Me Through" from New Dances: Edition 2016 (photo by Rosalie O'Connor)
Juilliard Dances Repertory 2017
Nacho Duato's "Por Vos Muero" from Juilliard Dances Repertory in March 2017 (photo by Rosalie O'Connor)