Discovering New American Talent/Dance
By Michelle Martin, Associate Artistic Director

Unlike visual artists, choreographers can’t make work by themselves. Dancers, rehearsal space and time are the precious, and often expensive, resources that choreographers need to pursue their craft. Ballet Austin’s New American Talent/Dance is a biennial choreographic competition that provides compelling early-career choreographers with these essential “tools,” commissioning them to create a new work on our dancers which is then promoted and presented for Austin audiences and a panel of jurors.

Our third competition was launched in January, with a call for entries inviting choreographers from across the country to submit proposals and work samples. We anticipate that, when the application process closes at the end of March, we will have received about 50 submissions. Over the next month, the artistic staff will review the submissions and cull the proposals down to 6 choreographers and, by the end of May, a panel of 3 jurors will have selected 3 finalists.

From my vantage point at the front of the rehearsal studio, these residencies are an amazing study in creative process. Each choreographer brings not only a unique movement vocabulary and artistic “voice,” but also a highly individual approach to making work. This is usually an incredibly challenging and fulfilling experience for the dancers.

The three new works will be presented at the AustinVentures StudioTheater in March, 2010. At the premiere, each of the 3 jurors will have $5000 to allocate as they choose to the choreographers and, at each performance, an audience vote will deliver an additional cash prize to one of the choreographers. Our past New American Talent/Dance competitions have revealed rich potential in America’s choreographers and we’re looking forward to welcoming our next “class” of participants.

For more information or to explore the interactive on New American Talent/Dance, click here.

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