May 30, 2020
Recognizing that it has been an emotionally difficult, sorrowful, frightening week for this country and especially Black people… as we watch rebellions springing in multiple cities around our nation sparked by the callous murder of George Floyd. As a human, a black human I am heartbroken and emotionally exhausted... However what hurt and disappointed me more was the absence of thev voices of the Ballet companies who are working so hard at Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.... I saw almost NO ballet companies acknowledging the happenings. Companies, artistic directors, school directors, colleagues who some of whom I have come to consider friends, allies…. their organizational feeds looked like quarantine business as usual digital class, digital seasons, recipes Tik Toks…
After going to bed with the vision of the Minneapolis police precinct ablaze I woke to the travesty of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew arrested live on TV. Something in me broke, and I had to speak out, and call out my colleagues. Your silence is complicity, your silence is violence…. I went on a rant and well, here is it. I will have an article on the subject coming out on Dancemagazine.org shortly
May 17, 2020
After a short hiatus... We are back and with a great conversation with Seattle Opera's Director of Programs and Partnerships Alejandra Valarino Boyer. We became acquainted first through sitting on Opera America’s ALAANA Opera Network, after which she invited me to sit on the opera's panel: Black representation in the Arts which was a community conversation to set the stage (so to speak) for their production of Yardbird, the contemporary opera about Jazz legend Charlie Parker. I was please to participate with African American librettist/poet and playwright Bridgette A. Wimberly, the discussion was lead by Seattle Opera Scholar in Residence, Naomi André, who is also an author and professor at the University of Michigan.
Those trips can be fast and furious and often there is no time to take a beat and connect as people…I could tell both from phone conversations and or lunch during my trip that we connected and wished I had more time have non work related,human to human, conversation. So when started this podcast and thought about the voices and conversations I wanted to have Alejandra was on the short list… you will see why, she is well worth the wait.
April 26, 2020
This week Rachel S. Moore the president and CEO of The Music Center, Los Angeles joins me in conversation. A former dancer with American Ballet Theatre, she would go on to become the Executive Director then CEO of ABT before joining the Music center. I met Rachel in Amsterdam at the Positioning Ballet conference and found her to be extremely authentic, powerful and unapologetic in her convictions. Later once we began to speak and share more deeply, I became privy to her highly impressive resume, and body of work all of which resonated with her personal values and perspective of organizational culture and leadership, what it should look like, how it should behave. I would learn that many (if not all) of the elements that we were discussing in terms of a new paradigm of leadership she was enacting in her position at the Music Center. In this episode you will hear her discuss how she and her executive team are approaching the Corona crisis, and how they are strategically planning for when the world re-opens. Hear about who she and he team is consulting with, and what they have identified as some of the unseen obstacles in getting people to gather in spaces to experience art again.
Rachel S.Moore Bio
The Music Center
Book: The Artist's Compass
April 16, 2020
It’s been a month…with no end in sight… It was a rough week but my conversation with Patricia Mears, the Deputy Director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology was just the stimulation I needed. Patrica is the woman the curator behind the brilliant exhibition Ballerina Fashion’s modern Muse, which is now being held hostage by Corona. It was truly a feast for the eyes, The exhibition also presents the idea of the ballerina as a “woman of style.” Over one dozen ensembles by Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Halston and worn by stars such as Margot Fonteyn, Alicia Markova, Maria Tallchief, and Virginia Johnson illustrate the important role fashion played in the ballerina’s career. Although the exhibition is on lockdown like the rest of us, the MFIT website has a plethora of materials that is almost as grand as being there.
Hear how we became acquainted, Patricia’s er process of curation, her love and appreciation of ballet and who introduced her, as well as what she is up to while in quarantine with some interesting and entertaining creatures..hint, they make “egg”cellent companions…
Additional Links Mentioned in Episode:
Museum at FIT
And Still They Rose: The Legacy of Black Philadelphians in Ballet
Dark Muse: Balanchine and Blackness
April 7, 2020
This my third week I traded in my ticket on the emotional rollercoaster that is the corona pandemic. I rode the highs lows… I share with you my lows and my interview with Black Ballerina Nikisha Fogo what an incredible high! Fogo is a first soloist with Vienna State Ballet, having been promoted just about two years ago. For those who follow me know that I am an avid supporter of her, and in fact penned Dance Magazine’s (Aug, 2019) “One the Rise” were I got a chance to chat with her, and was please to learn how sweet and humble the Jamaican Swede is. I was pleased to find that she was safely ensconced in her home in Vienna. We talked about a slew of things… the “rona”, the dance world, her technique, artistic process, and what’s next for her after we successfully defeat this virus. *Note there was so much to this episode there are a lot of edits, and because we do this via Zoom Or Skype… there were some technical glitches.., so bear with it she is well worth it!
It Instagram Changing the Dance World's Value System
March 30, 2020
The 3rd Episode of The Corona Chronicles features a woman who really helped shaped the works that I do, she gave me my first international platform. It its the one and only Peggy Olislaegers!!! She is one of the leading independent dance dramaturges in Europe and provides artistic and strategic advice for both choreographers and institutes in the performing arts, working with Balletto di Roma Huang Yi Studio, Alessandro Sciarroni, Alida Dors (Netherlands) amongst others. From 2010 to 2016 she has been the Artistic and General Director of the Dutch Dance Festival, and was the Artistic Associate of Rambert Ballet. She co-initiated the European project Act Your Age and PivotDance and is a mentor of the European project Performing Gender.
Ted Brandsen and Peggy Olislaegers worked intensively together for the first time in 2017 during the first edition of the international ballet conference Positioning Ballet, initiated by Dutch National Ballet, which was co-curated and led by Olislaegers. Since then, Olislaegers has been involved as an external expert in innovative projects within Dutch National Ballet. February 2019 Dutch National Ballet appointed her Associate on Research and Development.
I so honored to call her ally and friend and you can be a fly on the wall in one of our (usually monthly) conversations
Here is the link to my first ever keynote for Positioning Ballet, shaped by Peggy…https://mobballet.org/index.php/2017/02/17/positioning-ballet-diversity-keynote/
And the Link to Peggy’s website! http://olislaegers.nl/category/peggy-olislaegers/
March 25, 2020
If you are a New Yorker in the dance community you probably are familiar with Danni Gee, either from her job as the Dance Curator for New York CityParks SummerStage, or her time ON stage as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey (or Philadanco), or possibly out and about as she is the epitome of a social butterfly. We actually came up together in Philadelphia having gone to a performing arts school together.
I was excited to have a chance to catch up to her and see how she is fairing during this crisis personally and to see how CityParks as an organization is strategizing around this Corona crisis. The looming question is, will they have a season come June??
Danni and I we talk about life, dance, and love in the time if Corona, most movingly she shares the sense of responsibility she feels towards the dance community.
March 20, 2020
For those of you who may not know Choreographer Donald Byrd, he is the Artistic Director Spectrum Dance Theatre in Seattle Washington which was a city that had some of the first cases of the Corona Virus in America. Donald and his company keep rehearsing for a long as possible until they had to begin to practice social distancing and shelter in place.
Donald an I have known one another for over 20 years. We first met when I danced in his production of Carmina Burana for New York City Opera he created a beautiful solo for me and then I danced in his production of Harlem Nutcracker and later toured with his company Donald Byrd/The Group when they did the Beast. Ironically the day that we were supposed to start rehearsals for it was 9/11, and we were flying to L.A to start the tour on the day America retaliated with” shock and awe” in Iraq.. so we've been through a lot together. We always have the best conversations, ranging from deep to silly we challenge and support one another and always with healthy doses of laughter this conversation was not different.
The thing to know about Mr. Byrd he loves dances, art, travel and above all FOOD!!! Enjoy