Jersey (New) Moves!, a collaboration of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Dance New Jersey, has lent a strong supporting arm to emerging choreographers since 2015 by awarding mentorships that conclude with a showcase of new works at NJPAC.
Through a process that begins with an online application judged by a panel of independent dance professionals, up-and-coming talents from New Jersey are given the rare opportunity to transform their choreographic ideas into fully staged productions. Dancemakers are guided each step of the way by a partnering mentor, who assists in shaping the dance work, from music and casting to costuming and lighting design.
An innovative component of this program, announced today, is a multi-year fellowship that expands the number of participating choreographers from four to six and provides career training beyond artistry. The Jersey (New) Moves! Fellowship enables participants to dedicate two seasons to preparing their dance works for public performance, while receiving expert advice in related fields, such as marketing, grant writing, and structuring an arts learning curriculum.
Accomplished mentors contribute to this initiative by taking an active role in the creation and rehearsal of the dances. Those advisors are Nai-Ni Chen, artistic director of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in Fort Lee; Carolyn Dorfman, artistic director of Carolyn Dorfman Dance in Union, and Randy James, artistic director of 10 Hairy Legs in Highland Park. Other arts management experts instruct the fellows on best practices in the arts and entertainment industry.
“Not only will the fellows receive valuable, one-on-one feedback from their partnering mentor in the staging of their work,” said David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer, “but this new program will inform the ‘artist as administrator’ by offering first-hand experience in such key areas as contract negotiations, fundraising, social media, and technical design.”
“Dance New Jersey is grateful to have such a wonderful collaborative relationship with NJPAC,” said Lisa Grimes, Executive Director of Dance New Jersey. “This amazing opportunity – the mentorship between artist and established artist over the course of two years – gives emerging choreographers the leadership and guidance they need to move further into their choreographic career.”
The current, 2016-17 grant recipients are Robert Mark Burke of Elmwood Park, artistic director of Robert Mark Dance, mentored by Carolyn Dorfman; Lauren Connolly of Bayonne, artistic director of Connolly & Co., and Kyle Marshall of Jersey City, director of Kyle Marshall Choreography, both mentored by Nai-Ni Chen, and Ariel Rivka Grossman, also of Jersey City, founder of Ariel Rivka Dance, mentored by Randy James.
Those four artists will be joined by two first-year fellows: Nijawwon Matthews of Newark, founder and artistic director of the XY Dance Project, mentored by Carolyn Dorfman, and Stephanie Nerbak of Parsippany, who directs the company n-Root Danceart, mentored by Randy James.
Each choreographer will premiere a modern dance piece in the third annual Jersey (New) Moves! showcase on Friday, June 16 at 8 p.m. in NJPAC’s Victoria Theater. Tickets are $34 through njpac.org, by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722) or visiting the box office at One Center St. in downtown Newark. For groups of nine or more, call (973) 297-5804.
Fellows will receive professional development opportunities – a series of panels, workshops and seminars – to build aptitude as managers and producers. They also are expected to dedicate time to coaching young dance students in NJPAC’s arts education programs as teaching artists.
Fellowships are awarded through an online, open submission process that takes place in the fall at njpac.org.
Jersey (New) Moves! is an initiative of Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance, now in its seventh year. Support for Jersey (New) Moves! is provided by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
One Center Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
www.njpac.org or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722)