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Atlanta’s dance renaissance gets national exposure in Dance Magazine

This month’s issue of Dance Magazine, a leading national publication in the field, features a package I wrote on the Atlanta dance scene — and the articles may be of interest to Atlanta’s arts community.

The first, “Atlanta’s Dance Renaissance,” profiles Atlanta Ballet in its 80th-anniversary season and pays tribute to its founder, Dorothy Alexander, and her successor, Robert Barnett. The story also highlights artistic director John McFall and a few of the company’s recent achievements.

 

Jenna Sagraves and Kevin Flores in Atlanta Ballet's 2008 Summer Intensive. Photo by Kim Kenney

I wrote: “Collaborations with popular Atlanta-based musicians have energized the company’s community presence. In 2001, the Indigo Girls sang live during Margo Sappington’s sleek and sexy ‘Shed Your Skin.’ The next season, Diane Coburn Bruning built the rambunctious ‘Ramblin’ Suite’ to the folk/bluegrass sounds of the Red Clay Ramblers. And in 2003, Christian Holder’s ‘Trans-cendence’ united ballet with music of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Choir. McFall recalls how the 80-member gospel choir onstage, contemporary music ensemble, and 50-piece orchestra in the pit flowed with Holder’s free, fluid movement, invoking a sense of common humanity. The message, McFall says, was that through hope and acceptance, Atlanta’s diverse people can overcome differences.”

The article continues: “McFall stresses that such collaborations are primarily about creative process. ‘You’re all looking into the unknown and experiencing the process in a way that is absolutely fresh, so remarkable, in the moment,’ he says. ‘There’s no syllabus, no historic precedent. You’re just responding to each other every time you’re together, and you’re discovering all this stuff, and you don’t know what the outcome is going to be.'”

The second article, “Atlanta: Dancing All Over,” gives an overview of the city’s vibrant, growing dance scene — a great place for a dancer and/or choreographer to build a career:

 

 

Brooks & Company Dance members Jena Michele Kovash, Kristyn McGeehan and Stephen Loch in Joanna Brooks' "4.3.5." Photo by Will Day

 

“Supportive networks have developed, united by a shared passion for dance and a desire to build, collaborate and create. Established schools and colleges provide excellent training.

“And for developing choreographers, Atlanta offers room to grow. Less saturated and less competitive than New York, it is a place where choreographers can take risks, define their identities and build audiences.”

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