Welcome to MOT’s Dance Dialogues. Similar to a book club, this is a monthly virtual gathering to view and discuss dance together. MOT will share digital dance works of certain themes to view on your own. Then we will all meet via ZOOM on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:00 PM (ET). Each meeting will be hosted by Jon Teeuwissen, MOT Artistic Advisor to Dance and Kim Smith, MOT Dance Coordinator. They will be joined by a guest facilitator of discussion for the selected dance works; the guest facilitators will be comprised of choreographers, artistic directors, dance scholars and dance critics. Themes will vary from comparing similar pieces of dance works, celebrations of cultures through dance, highlighting legendary artists, and more.
November – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
This month we are highlighting a Detroit favorite, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a number of pieces in their repertory including Mr. Ailey’s signature work Revelations, paying homage to and reflects African-American cultural heritage. Join Jon Teeuwissen and Kim Smith on November 17 at 6:00PM for a discussion with Robert Battle, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
As a long-time partner with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, MOT is happy to explore this beautiful evening by the company at Lincoln Center in 2015. This is an offering via Ailey ALL ACCESS, the organization’s answer to the Covid-19 pandemic by sharing videos of the company on stage until they return to the stage when this intermission has passed.
CHOREOGRAPHER: Wayne McGregor
RESTAGING: Antoine Vereecken
MUSIC: Joby Talbot, The White Stripes
SET DESIGN: John Pawson
COSTUMES: Moritz Junge
LIGHTING: Lucy Carter
(Location in video 3:07)
CHOREOGRAPHER: Ronald K. Brown
ASSISTANT(S) TO CHOREOGRAPHER: Angelica Patterson, Telly Fowler
MUSIC: Duke Ellington, Roy Davis, Fela Anikulapo Kuti
COSTUMES: Omatayo Wunmi Olaiya
LIGHTING: William H. Grant III
CHOREOGRAPHER: Robert Battle
MUSIC: “Speaking in Tongues II” performed by Sheila Chandra. Courtesy of Real World Records Ltd.
COSTUMES: Original design by Missoni/ Re-design by Jon Taylor
LIGHTING: Burke Wilmore
(Location in video 1:06:23)
CHOREOGRAPHER: Alvin Ailey
COSTUMES: Costumes for Rocka My Soul section redesigned by Barbara Forbes
DÉCOR & COSTUMES: Original décor and costumes by Lawrence Maldonado; Revival décor and costumes by Ves Harper
LIGHTING: Nicola Cernovitch
MUSIC: Various Artists (Traditional Spirituals)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, Grace, Takademe, Revelations (2015)
(An audio description version of the film is available here.)
Artistic Director Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Robert Battle became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011 after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958. Mr. Battle has a long-standing association with the Ailey organization. A frequent choreographer and artist-in-residence at Ailey since 1999, he has set many of his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, and at The Ailey School. The Company’s repertory includes his ballets Ella, Juba, The Hunt, In/Side, No Longer Silent, and Mass.
In addition to expanding the Ailey repertory with works by artists as diverse as Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Ronald K. Brown, Christopher Wheeldon, Rennie Harris, Hofesh Schechter, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Robert Moses, Ohad Naharin, and Paul Taylor, Mr. Battle has also instituted the New Directions Choreography Lab to help develop the next generation of choreographers. Mr. Battle’s journey to the top of the modern dance world began in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami, Florida. He showed artistic talent early and studied dance at a high school arts magnet program before moving on to Miami’s New World School of the Arts, under the direction of Daniel Lewis and Gerri Houlihan, and finally to the dance program at The Juilliard School, under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, where he met his mentor, Carolyn Adams. He danced with the Parsons Dance Company from 1994 to 2001, and also set his choreography on that company starting in 1998. Mr. Battle then founded his own Battleworks Dance Company, which made its debut in 2002 in Düsseldorf, Germany, as the U.S. representative to the World Dance Alliance’s Global Assembly. Battleworks subsequently performed extensively at venues including The Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, American Dance Festival, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
Mr. Battle was honored as one of the “Masters of African-American Choreography” by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005, and he received the prestigious Statue Award from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA in 2007. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts and visited the White House to accept from President Obama, on behalf of Alvin Ailey, the National Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor. Mr. Battle was named a 2015 Visiting Fellow for The Art of Change, an initiative by the Ford Foundation. In October 2015, Simon & Schuster published MY STORY, MY DANCE: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey, an inspiring children’s book based on Mr. Battle’s life. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and has addressed a number of high-profile organizations, including the United Nations Leaders Programme and the UNICEF Senior Leadership Development Programme.
Full List of Moderators
Robert Battle became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in July 2011 after being personally selected by Judith Jamison, making him only the third person to head the Company since it was founded in 1958. Mr. Battle has a long-standing association with the Ailey organization.
A frequent choreographer and artist in residence at Ailey since 1999, he has set many of his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II, and at The Ailey School. The Company’s current repertory includes his ballets Ella, In/Side, Mass, No Longer Silent, and The Hunt. In addition to expanding the Ailey repertory with works by artists as diverse as Kyle Abraham, Mauro Bigonzetti, Ronald K. Brown, Rennie Harris, and Paul Taylor, Mr. Battle has also instituted the New Directions Choreography Lab to help develop the next generation of choreographers.
Suzanne Carbonneau is a dance critic and historian whose writings have appeared in The Washington Post, the New York Times and other publications. She founded and directed the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Dance, and she has served as Critic-in-Residence at the American Dance Festival and at the Joyce Theater. Carbonneau is a Scholar-in-Residence at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and has also served as the Resident Scholar at the Bates Dance Festival. She regularly writes and lectures for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University and is a Professor at George Mason University. Her authorized biography of Paul Taylor will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and she serves as Artistic Advisor to Paul Taylor American Modern Dance. Carbonneau is a MacDowell Fellow, a Yaddo Fellow, a Bogliasco Fellow, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
David Lyman is a freelance arts writer and former dance reporter for the Detroit Free Press. He is the dance and theater writer for The Cincinnati Enquirer/Cincinnati.com and is a contributing writer to Movers and Makers and Cincy Magazine. For nearly a decade, he was a consultant and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, traveling around the country to evaluate choreographers and dance companies. He is also the author of “Cincinnati Ballet Celebrates 50,” a detailed history of Cincinnati Ballet’s first 50 years and the English adaptation of “Ballettens kommende superstjerner” (“The upcoming superstars of ballet”), about Konpagni B, the performing company of the School of the Royal Danish Ballet.
Alastair Macaulay is a British critic and historian of the performing arts, working in London and New York. Between 2007 and 2018, he was chief dance critic of the New York Times. Between 1994 and 2007, he was chief theatre critic of the Financial Times. In 2019, he was a Director’s Fellow at the New York University Center for Ballet and the Arts. He has written for numerous other publications, including The New Yorker and the Times Literary Supplement, and was the founding editor of Dance Theatre Journal. He has also written a biography on dance legend Margot Fonteyn and a book of interviews renowned choreographer Michael Bourne. In 2020, he is curating an online series of ballet masterclasses for New York City Center Studio 5 Live @ Home and lecturing for Dansox, the Oxford (U.K.) society of dance research.
Eduardo Vilaro is the CEO and Artistic Director of Ballet Hispánico. He has been part of the Ballet Hispánico family since 1985 as a dancer and educator, after which he began a 10-year record of achievement as Founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago, where he created more than 20 ballets. He has also received commissions from the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Grant Park Festival, the Lexington Ballet and the Chicago Symphony. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispánico’s legacy with a bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance that reflects America’s changing cultural landscape. Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, he is a frequent speaker on the merits of cultural diversity and dance education.
Subject: “Swan Lake”
Videos: Bolshoi Ballet (traditional) and Mathew Bourne/New Adventures (contemporary)
Guest Facilitator: David Lyman, dance critic
Subject: Paul Taylor Dance Company
Videos: Signature Paul Taylor repertoire
Guest Facilitator: Suzanne Carbonneau, dance scholar; Paul Taylor dancers
Subject: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Ballet Hispánico
Videos: “Tiburones” (“Sharks”) by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and "Mambo" from “West Side Story” by Jerome Robbins
Guest Facilitator: Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director and CEO, Ballet Hispánico
Subject: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Videos: "Grace" by Ronald K. Brown, "Revelations" by Alvin Ailey
Guest Facilitator: Robert Battle, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Subject: “The Nutcracker”
Videos: New York City Ballet by George Balanchine and Ballet West by William Christensen (oldest US version still performed)
Guest Facilitator: Alastair Macaulay, dance critic
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Summer and Fall activities are supported by:
Dance activities are also made possible with the support of:
Joanne and Richard Brodie
The Maxine & Stuart Frankel Foundation
The Marvin, Betty, and Joanne Danto Family Foundation
Kevin Dennis and Jeremy Zeltzer
For many seasons MOT and UMS have worked together to bring world class dance to Southeastern Michigan. The 2020/21 dance season was going to be no different, but unfortunately the coronavirus has changed many things for both organizations. Paul Taylor Dance Company was set to perform at UMS this fall, but in lieu of Paul Taylor Dance Company’s canceled 2020/21 season appearance, UMS will offer a free streaming digital presentation. University of Michigan dance historian and educator, Angela Kane will have a unique discussion with Paul Taylor Dance Company Artistic Director, Michael Novak. As well as a look through rarely-seen footage of several iconic Taylor works, culminating in a full viewing of his 2002 Promethean Fire — arguably one of his greatest artistic achievements created in the wake of 9/11, proclaiming that even after a cataclysmic event, the human spirit finds renewal and emerges triumphant.
STREAMING September 11 - 21, 2020
Paul Taylor, one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century, was prolific. He created 147 dances for the Paul Taylor Dance Company which was founded in 1954. In 1962, his 30th work, Aureole…
By Jon Teeuwissen, MOT Artistic Advisor for Dance *To see a full performance video of Arden Court performed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company, v...
With swans, snowflakes and ghosts, the ballet blanc or “white ballet” genre is known for its story ballets like Swan Lake, Giselle and La Bayadére. Considered…