New Faculty for CCB's Summer Intensive 2017!

I'm so, so incredibly excited to announce that both Nick Blaylock and Monik Jones have been added to our roster of faculty for CCB's Summer Intensive.  Check out their bios below:

NICK BLAYLOCK

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NICK BLAYLOCK is a choreographer/dancer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. An alumnus of the Theater and Dance Department at Southern Illlinois University Edwardsville, Nick is currently an MFA candidate and Teaching Assistant in the Modern Dance Program in the University of Utah’s School of Dance. Nick’s technical training consists of release methods and extensive experience in techniques of Limon, Horton, Cecchetti, and Vaganova.  As a dancer, Nick has performed in works choreographed by Paula David of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Jennifer Huffman and Omar Olivas of Diavolo – Architecturein Motion, Michael Mizerany of Malashock Dance, and Lesley Telford of Nederlands Dans Theater. Nick has also toured around the United States performing works choreographed by and in collaboration with Shaun Boyle of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Molly Heller of Salt Lake City. He also worked with Molly Heller to present her duet Mighty at the Salt Lake City TEDx event.  Nick Blaylock’s creative work has been commissioned throughout the United States. He received three consecutive choreographic awards from Southern Illinois University’s Theater and Dance Department. His work has been presented in three American College Dance Association Gala Concerts in two United States regions.

MONIK JONES

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MONIK JONES is a master West African dance teacher.  After having received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine, Monik went on to further study West African dance and its diaspora forms in Ghana and Brazil.  She is a currently on faculty at Irvine Valley College, Mt. San Antonio College and Long Beach City College and is a sought after African and hip hop instructor throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.

Words, Wo/Men & Song

This February I will have a short work as part of Impact Dance's annual home season.  The lovely Judy Bejarano has decided to do a mixed rep evening and has invited several local choreographers to join her.  I was honored to be invited by Judy and have had such an amazing time working with her mature dancers.  Because I'm getting to work with adult dancers, I've chosen a bit more serious topic and am enjoying exploring it.  Shows are Feb. 17 and 18th at the brand new and gorgeous Music District.  I hope you all will be able to join us.  I will send ticket info as soon as I get it!

http://www.themusicdistrict.org/event/words-women-song/?mdcd=2017-02-17

New Choreography...

I am totally honored to have just been asked by Judy Bejarano, Artistic Director of Impact Dance, a company she founded over 20 years ago, to set a new work on her amazing dancers.  Actually, I'm a little intimidated.  But... loving choreography as I do, the chance to work with such mature dancers is an opportunity I can't pass up.  I feel a theme emerging that has something to do with... Well, I can't tell you yet!  It won't make sense in words just yet.  Ha ha, more to come.

Dallas Theological Seminary - Artists in Residence

Scott and I just got back from a fantastic trip to Dallas where we were the guests artists for Dallas Theological Seminary's annual Arts Week.  In addition to Scott installing one of his pieces that will hang until February, we produced 2 new videos.  Two of my older video works were also shown as part of the weeks' events.  The theme of this year's Arts Week had to do with technology, society and ethics.  The piece I made for the week is seen on my home page and was shot on location at Esterbrook Church, WY.

Garrotxa, Spain....

I'm fascinated by one of the cheeses selected from the Welsh Rabbit that you'll be tasting at our "Al-Andalus" event. It's called Garrotxa and gets its name from the town it comes from located in foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in Catalunya Spain. Apparently, it was almost extinct when some young cheese makers revived it in 1981! Spain, as you might of guessed also has a very rich folk dance tradition. Here is a folk dance from Catalunya:

Flamenco - the end goal is "duende."

In preparation for my upcoming Spanish food, wine and dance event, "Al-Andalus," Aug. 5th and 6th at the Ruminate Barn in Fort Collins,  I've been thinking about why I've long been so infatuated with flamenco.  Yesterday I saw this video of my earlier mentor, Alonzo King: 

I hope you will watch the whole thing.  But in it he talks about the real end goal of dancing:  changing lives, if even for a moment, through dance - but dance that has integrity.  Truth, beauty, honesty, humility.  These, he says, must come from inside and transcend technique.  In my limited training in flamenco, I feel like from early on the end goal of "duende" - or spirit, passion is taught.  The video below says it all!

"Al-Andalus" - A contemporary look at Flamenco dance in Fort Collins.

I just wrote a press release for The Coloradoan describing my new work that will be part of the August 5th and 6th event, "Al-Andalus: An Evening of Spanish Food, Wine and Dance."  I enjoyed articulating some of my thoughts about this upcoming event:

In Al-Andalus, a new full-length work, choreographer Alicia Laumann traces the roots of flamenco dance and song as it was developed in the barrios of southern Spain where the persecuted Jews’, moors’ and gypsies’ ancient traditions blended to form a sensuous and mysterious new art form.  Using a contemporary dance vernacular, Ms. Laumann, takes the audience on an aural journey with the use of traditional and contemporary Moroccan and Sephardic music to highlight how the fusion of these traditions produced what is today known as flamenco.

Laumann says, “I am not a trained flamenco dancer but I fell in love with it when I studied in Spain for six months.  Flamenco to me is one of the most beautiful and important classical traditions precisely because of its unique roots and because it was an art form birthed out of hardship.  When the Inquisition effectively drove these minority groups into the mountains in southern Spain, it was their ability to live in relative harmony that produced flamenco.  I find that fascinating and a small picture of the best in humanity.”  

She goes on to say, “Out of respect for the form, I have stuck to my roots - ballet and contemporary dance - but have tried to represent the essential elements of flamenco dance: the duende, or spirit; its sensuousness through large expansive movement; the element of community through unique groupings; and, its rhythmic vitality through strong percussive movement.”

Balanchine's "Valse Fantasie"

So I've gotten it in my head to apply for a license for Balanchine's "Valse Fantasie."  It's a pretty, short dancy piece that requires only 5 ladies and one male.  I've asked my professor from UCI, the lovely Leslie Peck, if she would set it.  Of course, it will take a small miracle to get the license, but "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Congratulations!

Bella just returned from her first trip to the YAGP finals in NYC!  What am amazing learning experience for both of us.  But I'm also pleased to announce that Bella won scholarships for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Harrid Conservatory.  She has elected to attend the Houston Ballet's summer program on full scholarship.  

YAGP - The Finals' Experience

I just returned from a week in NYC accompanying my dancer, Bella Northburg, on her first YAGP Finals competition.  The week was so overwhelming and I'm too tired to write about it just yet, but here are the FB posts I wrote.  Enjoy.

Saturday: Bella, Sue and I arrived yesterday in New York City on a warm and pleasant humid day.  We then spent close to three hours in the whirling dervish of the New York's cab system.  From the airport to the theater and back to hotel, we grab a quick meal and a little Pilates.  We promptly fall into bed by 8:30.   But this morning on the opposite side of the Brooklyn Bridge we are ensconced in a quiet and appropriately New York dance studio. I'm watching a boys class – 12 to 14 maybe. The level of training in these young dancers is frankly astounding. The fact that CCB has a dancer here is truly an accomplishment and speaks to the level of training there. I hear myself echoed as their teacher corrects and encourages, but seeing the pristineness of the instructor is also a reminder of the never-ending responsibility of the teacher to continue her own education!

Sunday: It's Sunday early afternoon. It's the most gorgeous day in NY I've ever experienced...and a local said the same. We walked along the New York Bay this morning, spotting the distant silhouette of the Statue of Liberty. It was a good walk, a calming walk.  Now we are sitting in the sunlit lobby of the utilitarian but large Mark Morris Dance Center.  All the dancers sit and stretch mutely, surreptitiously glancing at one another. Bella is her normal calm self but yesterday in class and a bit on stage she was tense. This is if course totally understandable. But I am hoping that with one solo under her belt and with that perfect walk by the water, she lets go some.

Tuesday: It's amazing how much of the week has been spent just waiting. We wait for our taxi, we wait in the taxi, we sit in the lobby waiting to be called up to class and wait in the theater waiting to be called to dance. Bella's variation is only one minute 37 seconds, yet the morning in preparation will take six hours.  I wonder how fulfilling the time can be onstage for these smart dancers, dancers who have undoubtedly already had large rolls. I think it telling that we have spent little time watching the other performances at the theater. It's a competition and these variations are unnaturally detach from their stories. Everything outside of that has been so much more enriching.  Yesterday, for example, we took a class at Steps on Broadway and watched a professional dancer who took alongside us. We were fascinated by her quick, quirky technique. Bella couldn't pull her eyes away, mesmerized by the dancer's spinning style pirouettes with over crossed arms.  That's a Balanchine dancer I told her. Today at about 1 PM, Bella will take the stage and the waiting will be over.  It's a blessing to be such a small part of all this.