A Washington, D.C. Magazine for Minority Dance
Learn About D.C.’s Official Dance: Hand Dancing
An American in Paris: Advice On International Gigging Choreographer Jeremy McShan Speaks Pointe Shoes to Ballroom Heels Joan Ayap and Her Journey Back to Dance
Photoshoot with DDT’s Young Stars: Moyston Henry & William Wilson
Dissonance Pg 1
Founded By Artistic Director Shawn Short in 2007
www.DDTDC.org Pg 2 2
What’s Inside...The Features
The dancer who just can’t quit Joan Ayap
Pg. 11-12 Let him entertain you!
Musical Theatre Artist Jeremy McShan speaks on self-producing and the art of making a “good show”
Homeboy from aroung the way Dancer, teacher, and choreographer Chris Law shares his love for Hip-Hop Dance
Pg. 13-19 Pg. 10-13
Hand dancing proving it’s never out of style
Dancer Profile: Chris Law...pg 27-29 Photography Special Male Dancers of Dissonance Dance Theatre pg 30-26 Health: Kinesiology Tape Benefits pg 30 Opinions Movement and Healing pg 31 Globalizing Your Dance pg 32-34 Dance Directory: pg 40
Cover Photo: DDT Dancer William Wilson (right) with Moyston Henry (left) Photography by Shawn Short
A Washington, D.C Magazine for Minority Dance
Editor In Chief/Publisher Shawn Short email@example.com
Editor Damon Foster firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writers and Editors Tyler Lewis, William Wilson, Moyston Henry, Tehreema Mitha, Donovan Johnson, Damon Foster, Shawn Short Staff Photographers Jeremiah Jones Jade Enders Shawn Short Sergey Apasov For advertisment information and news submissions, please email: NRmagazine@ngoma-center-fordance.org
Publisher’s Words Spring is here and summer is slowly approaching! The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a Bi-monthly online publication that gives literary voice to minority dance artists of Washington, D.C. NR speaks through three core components: Community (D.C. Dance Directory), Awareness (Shows, Events, Projects, Season Announcements), Celebration (History, Spotlights). The origin of Ngoma Reader sprang from a need for us at Ngoma to archive vital stories of artists and provide a “go-to” news source for what’s going on in the D.C. minority dance community. “This issue features dance photography featuring Dissonance Dance Theatre dancers Moyston Henry and William Willson. The talented theatre choreographer Jeremy McShan graces us with an interview after his sold out show. We are proud to announce our newest Los Angeles and Paris columnists Ingrid Graham and Dereke Clements Plus, Hip-hop heart throb Chris Law explains his love of hip hop dance. The weather is warming up! This is the perfect time to take a class in D.C.’s official dance: Hand Dancing. Plus, former ballroom sensation Joan Ayap tells us her journey back to concert dance. We hope you enjoy learning about the emerging and established voices of dance artists around the D.C. area!” Yours in Dance,
Shawn Short, Publisher/Editor in Chief email@example.com twitter.com/dissonancedance
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Joan competing with partner Abraham Sannoh Pg Photo9courtesy of Joan Ayap
Living Her Passion Dancer is Finding Her Groove By Damon L. Foster Joan Ayap can’t stop dancing even if she tried. Not even a two years break from the stage can keep this 26 year-old from pursuing what she enjoys most---performing.
“But after two years, I started to feel like something was missing. I loved my work as a designer, but could shake that feeling, and I knew I needed to discover what is was—it was dance.”
Born in Washington D.C, but raised in the Philippines, Ayap currently performs with two companies: Bowen McCauley Dance and Dana Taisoon Dance Company. She welcomes the challenges that come from the two contrasting companies.
Ironically, it was Ayap’s mother, who helped guided her back to dance with an invite to a party hosted by Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance Studio in Chevy Chase, MD. After signing up for an introductory program to learn ballroom dance, Ayap was approached by the studio manager to consider becoming an instructor.
“Right now, I am in a good place to have my range of versatility stretched and expanded,” she said. “BMD has a unique ballet style that allows me to enhance the ballet foundation I already have. With Dana Taisoon, which is more Graham-like and martial arts, I find more options on how to be expressive. I think that quest to always stay versatile is what keeps me constantly engaged.” Ayap’s dance journey spans across the continents and oceans. Raised by her grandparents in the city of Manila, she studied ballet and danced for Philippine Ballet Theatre, beginning at age 8. Her stage charisma and technique proficiency propelled Ayap through the company ranks till she reached principle member status at age 21— all while earning her degree in interior design from Assumption College. After college, Ayap, officially moved back to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in design, putting dance on hold, or so she thought. “I quit cold turkey,” She said. “I wanted time to focus other areas in my life. Dance is such a time-consuming effort as anything will be when it is your passion and interest. That time away allowed me to discover more about myself just as a person.
She would work for Arthur Murray two years. Ayap competed on the local and regional ballroom circuit with her then partner, Abraham Sannoh. “That was a pivotal moment for me. Learning a whole new style of movement, gave me the motivation I needed to begin plunging myself back into movement and performing. The more I danced, the more I wanted to better. So I started taking ballet classes at Joy of Motion Dance Center.” She said.
Joan (downstage) with Philippine Ballet Theatre Photo courtesy of Joan Ayap
From there, Ayap has been non-stop dancing migrating from the ballroom dance back to concert dance. She performed last season with DC Contemporary Dance Company/El Teatro de Danza Contemporanea, under the direction of Miya Hisaka. “I was quite nervous returning to the stage after a long hiatus,” she recalled. “I am very thankful for family and friends who kept me encouraged. “It’s funny to me now. I say dance came and found me again,” Ayap said. “I did not realize how much I had missed the stage. It is where I feel most comfortable . The goal for me now is simple: keep exploring. Keep expanding my vocabulary. Keep teaching. Keep getting better. Keep having fun.”
Joan competing with partner Abraham Sannoh Photo courtesy of Joan Ayap
That’s Entertainment D.C. musical theater artist loves putting on a show By Damon L. Foster
Jeremy Mc Shan wants to entertain. He’ll sing. He’ll Dance. He’ll fall out on the floor, roll twice, quickly hop to his feet, going into an array of furious turns to somehow magically end sitting an audience member’s lap, punctuated by a stylish smile—anything to put on a good show. The 30 year-old Atlanta transplant has called Washington D.C. home since 2009. He has performed, staged, and/or choreographed musicals productions around the DMV region including All Shook Up (Rockville Musical Theater); Altar Boys (First Stage); and Legally Blonde (McLane Community Players). In recent months, McShan has taken on a new challenge, producing his own shows with the launch of his production company J.A.M. The Revue. He has produced three shows at the Anacostia Arts Center in Ward 8. McShan talked with NR about the crash-course learning experience of pulling together full length evening show on his own, what keeps him motivated, and why he loves people. NR: Why do you love performing? would. Theater can be such an amazfamily, friends, and co-workers. ing vehicle to inspire and uplift. And JM: “I love performing because it’s a NR: How did you select your cast? people will remember that. They gift I know that God has given me to will remember how your show made JM: “I did not hold any formal audibring joy to people. There’s nothing them feel.” tions. I approached artists whom I like a good entertaining show that had worked with in times past. Most just lifts your spirit or just makes you NR: What will make J.A.M. The had been background dancers or feel good. I live for those moments.” Revue stand out amongst singers on other projects. I wanted Washington D.C’s already steep NR: How did the concept of J.A.M. to use J.A.M. The Revue to really theater community? The revue come about? highlight their talents that might not JM: “The beautiful thing about thealways get the full recognized as JM: “Well I had toyed with the idea ater is that there is something for evthey deserve. When I explained the for two years but I did not really get eryone. I did not approach the project concept, most just came on board serious about it till I got to a point with the idea of having to compete and offered their talent and time to where I was fed up with the long with other theater ensembles. I think help get the project off the ground. periods of waiting between gigs. ‘too much is never enough’. What They became a strong point of motiI had no idea what I was doing. I might not appeal to one, will be vation for me to make the show well was accustomed to coming up with ‘everything’ for the next person. If made, from a business end, so they choreography or just playing a role; anything, I hope audience take away would feel good and just perform on and now, I found myself having to be that they had a good time—because stage.” responsible for every detail.” that feeling goes a long way. I believe J.A.M. will stand out because NR: What were some of the NR: What makes good of the genuine focus we put on the challenges? entertainment to you? audience. We want you engaged, participating, laughing, crying, singing JM: One of the biggest challenges JM: “Good entertainment draws me and dancing right along with us.” was the marketing. Obviously, I did in to the point where I want to jump not have a large budget for promoright on stage with that person who’s tion, but we live the age of social singing or dancing. Good entertainmedia and basic word-of-mouth is ment should have an element of joy still best form of advertising. People and pleasure even when the topic is just kept sharing what J.A.M. was serious. I don’t want to remind the doing. Really have to credit my cast audience members of their problems. members for going extra mile to proThey could stay home for that. I mote show and spreading the word to
Photo courtesy of Jeremy McShan
Photo Courtesy of Smooth and EZ Hand Dance Institute
Keeping Traditions in Changing Times D.C.’s Official Dance Looks for Relevancy By Damon L. Foster In the era of twerk it, twist it, pop it, lock it, drop it, that have come to define urban dance, there is one dance form that continues to find its currency and appeal both among the young and old here in the nation’s capital— hand dance. An improvisational form of swing style partner dancing developed in the Washington, DC area in the early 1950s by African Americans as a form of recreation and entertainment, hand dance or “DC Swing” is recognized as the Official Dance of the District of Columbia by Resolution of the DC Council (1999). National Hand Dance Association president Beverly Lindsay-Johnson said despite changing times and trends, DC hand dance will not go out of style. “There is a level of sophistication and accessibility with hand dance that keeps it appealing and in demand,” she said. “Even amongst the youth, don’t assume that everyone just wants to twerk and grind to beat-deafening music. Hand dancing is fun. It is complex and just as challenging as other dance forms.” According to the NHDA’s website, DC hand dance evolved from the early Lindy Hop and Jitterbug dance styles of the 1930s and 1940s created by George “Shorty” Snowden. The movement is rooted in the floor version of swing as opposed to the acrobatics and aerials of the Lindy and Jitterbug. Individual style and interpretation is key in defining and understanding this dance style. “What makes any dance enjoyable is ability to put ones’ personality into the movement, be it ballet, hand dancing, modern, or hip-hop.” Johnson said. “Right from the very onset, individuality has always been a critical component to hand dancing’s popularity.” Known as the “Jitterbug” in the 1950s, hand dancing swept through the dance halls and arenas in the Washington D.C. area such as Turner’s Arena, Lincoln Colonnade and the U-Line Arena.
Teens danced in recreation centers, school gymnasiums, basement parties, in dance halls such as WUST (9th & V Streets, NW), and on the television show “The Teenarama Dance Partyy” on WOOK-TV Ch. 14. Teenarama was the first all-black teen dance television show to air in the 1960s. (1963-1970). Dancing in Two Worlds Today, hand dance lessons can be found all across the DMV region, including at Smooth and EZ Hand Dance Institute, which holds classes out on Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Ranier,MD. Other locations include the Chateau and Eclipse Night Club, both located in NE D.C. Article continued on pg 19
“Even amongst the youth, don’t assume that everyone just wants to twerk and grind to beat-deafening music. Hand dancing is fun. It is complex and just as challenging as other dance forms.” - Beverly
Markus performing with partner at hotel exhibition. Photo Credit: Desi D
Lawrence Bradford with partner. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Bradford
Markus Smith teaching class with partner. Photo courtesy of Markus Smith
Pg 18Pg 15
Washington D.C. native Lawrence Bradford founded the Smooth and EZ Hand Dance Institute in 1992. He has performed and/or taught hand dancing for over 40 years. Some of his students have gone on to compete and teach both nationally and internationally, including in countries such as China and Germany. The 69-year-old still considers himself a student of the craft. “I am continuously intrigued by the depth and complexity of hand dance,” Bradford said. “Yes, it starts out as simple steps, but then evolves and transforms and takes on new shapes and directions. I compare to chess in the sense of learning basic fundamentals is like learning where to place your chess pieces and how you position them. Once you understand the fundamentals, your possibilities are endless of how you achieve your end goal.” Bradford refers to himself as a keeper of the “old school” while champion the “new school” hand dance for a younger generation. The difference, he said, is in the music. Much is what is referred to old school hand dance spanned decades of sound from big band music of the 20s and 30s to Motown. New school encompasses the use current popular music along with flasher and often quicker movement. “Dance, like anything else, has to keep up with the times,” Bradford said. “The older generation of hand dancers have their of era music that fits their palate, but this younger generation need to hear their sounds, their beats, their voices when there dancing. I think that is part of the massive appeal of hand dance. It’s not bound to an era of music.” Fellow hand dancer and D.C. native Markus Smith echoed much of Bradford’s sentiments on hand dancing ever-evolving appeal. At age 31, Smith is recognized locally as new school hand/swing dancer. He has been performing since his high school senior year at Northwestern High School in Prince George’s County. For Smith, the love for hand dance was immediate. “I was very much into sports growing up,” said Smith. “My mother danced swing, and she constantly encouraged me to try. I was resistant at first, until I tried a class in high school. It was instant love. It wasn’t what I thought it would be.” Smith along with his partner Trendlyon Veal launched StuckOnSwing, LLC to further promote hand dancing and west coast swing. Rather he is teaching high school seniors at the Ophelia Egypt Teen Center in Ward 7 or hosting a social at Avant Garde Ballroom Dance Center in Bethesda, MD, for Smith hand dancing’s constant appeal lies in the people he meets. “Hand dancing and swing are social dances. They were created to bring people together,” Smith said. “The biggest joy I get after so many years of performing and teaching is encountering so many wide-range of people who want to learn this craft and the stories that are shared along the way. It’s perfect example of witnessing art that bridges the gap between races, ages, professions, and gender. For more information, visit the following websites: Smooth & EZ Hand Dance Institute http://www.smoothnez.com/ StuckOnSwing LLC http://www.stuckonswing.com/ National Hand Dance Association http://www.nationalhanddanceassociation.org/
Dancing Boys Photography by Shawn Short Dancers: Moyston Henry and William Wilson of Dissonance Dance Theatre Pg 20
Photo Courtesy of Chris Law
Chris Law Dancer Teacher Choreographer
1. Where are you from?
9. Sneaker, Boots, or High Heels?
I am a born native of Prince Georges County Maryland. I grew up in New Carrollton but I currently live in Silver Spring.
Sneakers all day everyday.
2. How old are you and what’s your zodiac sign? I am 30 years old and my birthday is in early October which makes me a Libra
I’m happily married to my high school sweet heart and soul mate Mrs. Ama Law. She’s probably one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met. Love you babe.
3. Where do you dance currently?
11. What would be your funniest dance moment?
I currently dance as apart of Culture Shock Washington DC and I’m also a founding member of the Upperclassmen dance crew.
During Culture Shock DC’s East Coast Dance Concert of 2011, myself and fellow captain Setarra Kennedy directed the company’s freestyle medley. During the performance, I dropped into a split and chipped my tooth. What can I say? I have always had a reputation for going “full out”.
4. What’s in your dance bag? My dance bag contains a pair of adidas sneakers, A five hour energy shot, my computer, and a change of clothes for when I sweat out the other ones in class or rehearsal. 5. iPhone or Android? You mean we don’t use pagers anymore? Haha! Just kidding. iPhone of course 6. Who inspires you in the dance world? Do you have a dance mentor?
10. Single or Dating?
12. What is your take on hip hop and concert dance? Do you feel that hip hop is growing more in a concert dance way like modern dance, or classical ballet? I feel that there aren’t many differences between hiphop and concert dance. Hip-hop has come a long way from the courtyards and projects of the Bronx, NY. It is now an internationally recognized art form and is displayed in the same arenas as that of your most highly recognized ballet or modern dance companies. The concepts of Head to tail connections, movement efforts, and even dance notation are becoming almost identical. I am extremely excited to see hip-hop dance evolve even more and take it’s rightful place into University and even grade school curriculums.
I’m inspired by many people and I don’t currently have one specific mentor, but rather a long extended dance family who have coached me into the artist I am today. I could go on all day with names. However, I just want state that I’m very fortunate and blessed to have trained in the DMV area. 13. Any advice for emerging artists? 7. What’s your favorite dance style? I love hip-hop. Both commercial choreography and freestyle. I’ve also recently discovered my love for old way vogue and have always been a fan of KRUMP.
Get rid of your day jobs and fully commit yourself to your art. If you love it and continue to work hard at it, you will always find an avenue to make a happy living within your art.
8. What’s your dream company to work with? Rennie Harris and Ron Brown’s Evidence dance company
Pg 29 Photo Coutesy of Chris Law
Dancing Smarter Kinesiology tape becoming popular amongst dancers By Damon L. Foster Healthy skeletal muscles are essential to keeping you dancing at your best. A strained or injured muscle or tendon can make you feel slower or weaker than normal. With the physical exertion that the profession of dance requires, keeping your body free of tension and pain is essential for performance, especially when a show is coming up. Today, innovative devices and techniques to help protect and treat your muscles, tendons and joints have come out of research in kinesiology, the science behind muscular and skeletal movement. One of those innovations in recent years is kinesiology tape which, according to local physical therapist Kira Davis of PhysioDC, can significantly aid dancers in muscle recovery, especially after an injury such a as a strain. “Kinesiology tape is great for helping facilitate specific muscle groups, whether you want the muscle to relax or to tighten,” Davis said. “The way it works is that the tape mimics the muscle patterns, which tricks the body’s sensory system to loosen the muscle if the tape is applied lightly. If the dancer needs the muscle to get stronger, then applying tape more tightly will tell sensory system to tighten or compact the muscle tissue.” Dancers, both professional and recreational, have used many methods to treat sore or injured muscles, from pain pills and topical creams to massage therapy and acupuncture. It has become a widely accepted rule, throughout the dance therapy and kinesiology communities, today that keeping muscles moving and improving circulation reduce pain and speed healing.
Tyrell Louis, takes modern and hip hop classes throughout the DMV area. The 28 year-old said using kinesiology tape was instrumental in his recovery after he injured his shoulder last year during a performance. “It definitely helped speed up the process,” Louis said. “I use the tape regularly, especially when my shoulder begins cramp up really bad. I am able to get my muscle to stay relaxed which keeps me on the floor dancing and not off to the side sitting.” Kinesiology tape gained much notoriety with as it has been used by professional athletes, including Olympic Gold medal beach volleyball player Kerry Walsh-Jennings and Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong. The tape is now available at regular pharmacy chains such as CVS and Walgreens. Davis explained that while the accessibility of kinesiology tape is beneficial, she recommended that those using the tape thoroughly understand how to apply, otherwise the reverse desired affect may occur. “One thing I have noticed with the tape products offered in stores is that the instructions are vague and not detailed,” she said. “Kinesiology tape needs to be applied in a certain way depending on what area of the body it is being applied and what the desired effect is. In that sense it is good to seek professional expertise to ensure the tape is being applied correctly. “Even in the age of Youtube and the whole ‘learn-ityourself’ movement, with certain issues especially an injury, you can’t be too careful.” For more information on kinesiology tape go www. kinesiotaping.com
That’s the science that inspired the father of kinesiology taping, Japanese chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase, to develop a muscle treatment in 1979 that he named the Kinesio Taping Method. This taping method gently lifts the layer of skin and attached tissue covering a muscle so that blood and other body fluids can move more freely in and around that muscle. Photo Credit: sports-pictures.vidzshare.net/
oxygen on a cellular level. This affirmations and desires. When you is the best way to promote health write down your goals you set a chain reaction in effect. When you become in our bodies. excited about your projects and work Start your day with an approach towards your goals, the right people that sets you on a positive will be there to help facilitate your suctrajectory. Wake up with purcess. I have seen this happen numerous pose. Don’t be in such a hurry times. Enthusiasm, commitment and to check your email and phone. focus will set you on the proper trajecThat can wait. Your goal is to tory. create health and peace in your body and mind. I assure you that Does your current goal reflect your individuality and fundamental beliefs? this method will deliver. You are an individual with unique I recommend starting each day talents. Honor those talents! That is the with cleansing breaths. Lay true source of happiness. Don’t buy supine and place one hand over into a manufactured dream of success! your abdomen and the other over You create your life and are responsiyour heart center. You do this to ble for your choices. ensure that the breath originates from the diaphragm and not the Remember your level of success as a chest. Breathe in for six counts, human being is directly related to your contribution. There is no way around hold for two counts and expel that. What are you doing for others? the air through the mouth for How can you increase your amount of six counts. Repeat this series four times. When you exhale you can service? incorporate sound and make your Movement is healing. When you move breath slightly audible. This aids in the body it propels you to action. relaxation. Move in the direction of your goals. Help others achieve their purpose. The next step involves gentle moveThis formula will be the secret to your ment. This is how you awaken the There is a direct correlation between body and spirit. Implement an element success and happiness. your health and movement. Dancers of play into your stretch and moveare fortunate to be able to move their ment segment. Watch children and the Ingrid Graham’s credits include performing and choreographing at Merce bodies regularly. It is essential that way they move. They make play an inthey balance the demanding physical tegral part of their existence. As adults Cunningham, California African American Museum, Edinburgh Festival, Dance workload with a focus on breath, heal- we forget the significance of having Under The Stars Choreography Festival ing, play and goal setting. By incorpo- fun. It needs to be a part of your daily and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She rating these basic tenets, you will see life. Take a moment to channel your performed with the Pacific Northwest radical improvement in your physical, inner child. How does he or she move? Ballet and as a guest artist at Stephen spiritual and mental well-being. Be gentle with your body and explore Sondheim’s Gala Benefit. Her television the different ways you can stretch and credits include the Victoria’s Secret FashLet’s begin with the breath. Your ion Show, Grammy’s and The Today Show engage every muscle in the body. It breath is your life source. When was will behoove you to incorporate your among others. Her films have received the last time you took a moment to deep breathing techniques during this honors and screened at Lincoln Center, Dance:Film in Scotland, ADF Internationlisten to your breath and heart beat? movement/ stretch phase. al Screendance Festival at Duke UniverThe benefits of mindful deep breathing include relaxation, mental clarity, im- The last step in creating a healthy body sity and The Los Angeles Movie Awards. mune boosting properties, anxiety and and mind begins with your vision and She has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour and Vibe Magazine. tension relief, increased lung capacity commitment to your projects. I recand increased energy. Most important- ommend you purchase a journal that Contact: ly you are increasing the amount of http://www.collaborationmovement.com/ you use exclusively for your daily
Movement and Healing
By Ingrid Graham
Pulling A JosĂŠphine: Globalizing Your Dance By Dereke Clements
Dereke in France. Photo courtesy of Dereke Clements
I am an American dancer currently based in France. Why on Earth, as a professional dancer, would I put so much distance between myself and dance mecca New York? Well, because New York is only the American mecca for dance and I’m a global citizen--an international dance maverick. What it means is that I’m a professional dancer, just like you, but I’m ‘pulling a Joséphine’: expatriate for a period of time to perform abroad. Though I’m not doing it in protest of segregated audiences as Ms. Baker did in her time, I’m globalizing my dance just the same, and it’s something worth considering for yourself.
thicket of New York and L.A. I wanted to experience all the spoils of a dance career. Most dancers enter the field because they know the possibilities it offers: an opportunity to travel the world and more! Unfortunately, too many wait for dance to take them around the world, instead of taking themselves around the world to dance. Why wait when you don’t have to?
Dance is a timeless, age-old artistic discipline, cultural expression, and profession that has been happening around the world longer than America has been in existence! While there are certainly multiple and unique opportunities and paths in When I was asked during the known concentrated centers of dance like New York and months leading up to graduation, “So are you heading L.A., there must be equally abundant opportunities to New York, or L.A.,” I to dance elsewhere—and replied, “France,” with a there are! Pick a country, knowing smile. I knew that the culmination of my train- and there’s dance—professional-level dance. Do ing, education and career pursuits made for a calculat- a little research and you’ll find comparable dance ingly choreographed jumpoff after graduation: I would institutions and performance dance in France. Now what, venues in Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, you may ask, made possiAustralia, etc. ble this fortitude of choice? To be clear, this wasn’t a Most recently, I was offered happenstance, fly-by-theseat-of-your-pants decision. a contract on a European cruise ship. The call: male It was simple arithmetic: I dancers who speak french. studied dance and french, That’s me, all day! I danced so I would dance in France for my life during the Lon(or another french-speaking country). I knew that global- don audition among 300+ dancers and was exceedizing my dance life would give me even greater oppor- ingly proud cut, after cut, after cut, to still be standing tunities that I could perhaps among the final 15 or so access, sooner, in another remaining. “Booked and country than in the densely blessed,” I thought. “God populated, coveted dance is my agent!” Three days
later, I was heading back home through Paris on a flight, checking my email on my phone, and read, “Dear, Dereke. I am afraid we are unable to use you as the ship needs an E.U. passport to embark.” What did that mean? Besides the obvious—I had more auditioning to do—it also meant that the business didn’t work out. The cost of my salary for a shortterm contract wasn’t a good investment for the cost of sponsoring a visa for an international performer. It was business--the business of art and something every dancer should know. So what does one do next? You keep auditioning and ensure that the next company is in the business of hiring international performers from outside the E.U.; and that your residence and registered nationality doesn’t prevent you from an opportunity to dance. I’m not deterred in the least! Currently, the audition circuit is buzzing with upcoming main stage and European tours of shows like Wicked (London & European tour), Chicago (Stuttgart, Germany), Lion King (London & European tour), the Moulin Rouge (Paris, France), Robin Hood (Paris, France), D.I.S.C.O. (Paris, France) and multiple cruise ship and cabaret contracts. You get sharp, you get clarity, and you adapt. It’s what dancers do best! Make an effort to access dance markets outside of
New York and Los Angeles both in America and abroad; there are equally viable opportunities where your cultural competencies are both competitive and oftentimes, unique: American dancers have a dynamic and flavorful energy and style! I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last to pull a Joséphine. It is my hope that many more of you,sometime in your career, do the same. And 5, 6, 7, 8! Dereke, International Dance Maverick BIO
-Dereke Clements is an international dance maverick. He is a professional dancer and linguist--a global citizen. His pursuits span dance and theatre performance, music, linguistics, cultural competencies and creative industries consulting. He has been a scholarship student with the Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance, an apprentice with Ballet Preljocaj (France), a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar with the Department of State, a U.S. Congressional Intern, and he holds an American Bachelor of Arts in Dance and French. He is a vocal advocate for the business of art and a Creative Industries Consultant.
Headshot Courtesy of Derek Clements
Additional Information ! Want to globalize your dance? You should. Here are some questions to consider and resources to research.
Considérez à Danser en France/ Consider dancing in France * You can audition in multiple countries because of its proximity to the region
* Travel is considerably less expensive--with multiple forms of transport. You can book a flight on EasyJet or Ryan Air 2. In what countries? (discount airlines), catch the SNCF’s (national rail company) 3. What language/s is/are spoken TGV high-speed rail, book a seat on a there? number of charter buses (think Greyhound, but 10 times better), rideshare 4. Do I already speak the country’s with online programs like BlaBlaCar. language or can I quickly learn? com (formerly covoiturage.fr), book inexpensive hotels and hostels, and 5. What is required for me to visit, find free temporary housing on hosting work, or live long-term? sites like Couchsurfing.com; the latter, curiously, an American company 6. What is the climate of immigration based in San Francisco. policy in that country. 1. Where is professional dance happening?
* As a dancer--more than any other 7. How open/willing is the country profession--your body is your direct to welcoming foreign visitors and ticket to a salary and the health and workers (this changes drastically maintenance of it is vital. It is widewith the current politic)? ly reported the benefits of access to universal healthcare in France, Europe 8. How do I get permission to work in and in many places throughout the another country? world. America has a lot of catching up to do in that regard. 9. What is the difference between a passport and a visa? * In a country where art is subsidized heavily, you have access to incredible 10. Are there programs that send dance training institutions and conservatories artists abroad? that--in the States--would cost you not only an expensive audition (trav11. How can I prepare myself to el-wise) but thousands of dollars in accept dance work outside of the tuition annually. In france, and many United States? other countries in the E.U., these reputable institutions are accessible public 12. Where is affordable housing in instituions with fees comparable to a your chosen country and how do community college (if not less). you secure it? 13. What is the best strategy to secur- ing inexpensive international flights?
* Additionally--considering dancer nutrition--french culture affords one a wide-array of marchés (open-air mar-
kets) where you can continue to eat ‘close to the Earth.’ * Public local transportation throughout the region is as much affordable as it is efficient and clean. Coming abroad without a vehicle should be the least of your concerns as you may relocate somewhere that will allow you to be completely free of a car. Also, if you’ve mastered any of the metro systems of America’s metropolises (perhaps, New York, D.C., or Chicago) you will have no problem figuring out the transportation networks here. It just takes a little familiarity with the language. Additional thougts: Consider a broader scope of dance for yourself. consider your cultural competencies and how can they take you to dance. As a dancer you learn to adapt well to new environments—new/uncoventional rehearsal and performances spaces, traveling to new regions touring, adjusting to new creative directors and leaders, scenery and costuming. Finding dance outside of America is very similar to this. Got A News Submissions? Please email: NRmagazine@ngoma-center-fordance.org Subject Line: News Article
Community Directory African American Dance Companies African Dancers and Drummers Melvin Deal, Founder 1320 Good Hope Rd Southeast Washington D.C 20020 202-399-5252 www.facebook.com/africanheritagedc Cacho Dancers and Drummers Bonita Cacho, Founder/Artisitic Director 202-607-0164 www.CachoAfricanDance.org Coyaba Dance Theatre Sylvia Soumah, Founding Artistic Director 3225 8th Street Northeast Washington, D.C 20017 (202) 269-1600 www.coyabadancetheater.org Dissonance Dance Theatre Shawn Short, Founding Artistic Director Resident Company of Ngoma Center for Dance
P.O. Box 2377, Washington D.C 20013 202-540-8338 www.ddtdc.org EdgeWorks Dance Theatre Helanius J. Wilkins, Founding Artisitic Director P.O.Box 73396 Washington D.C, 20056 (202) 483-0606Â www.hjwedgeworks.org Farafina Kan Mahiri Fadjimba Keita, Founding Artistic Director 3802Â 34th Street, Mt Rainier, MD 20722 http://www.farafinakan.com Just Tap/Sole Defined Quynn Johnson, Ryan Johnson Founding Artistic Director www.quynnjohnson.com
World Dance Companies
KanKouran West African Dance Company Assane Konte, Founding Artistic Director P.O. Box 1338 Washingto D.C, 2013 202-518-1213 www.kankouran.org
D.C Contemporary Dance Theatre Miya Hisaka, Founding Artistic Director P.O.Box 9796 Washington, D.C 20016 202-316-5277 www.teatrodedanza.org
Lesoles Dance Project Lesole Z. Maine, Founding Artistic Director 3802 34th street. Mt. Rainer, MD 240-744-6694 www.ldpdance.org
Furia Flamenco Estela Velez ( Director) Joy of Motion Dance Center 5207 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington, D.C 20015 (703) 568-4404 www.furia-flamenca.com
Memory of African Culture Akua Femi Kouyate, Founder MAC, Inc. P.O. Box 50045, Washington, D.C. 20091 (202)210-7120 www.memoryofafricanculture.org
Jayamangala 8600 Waterside Ct, Laurel, MD 20723 (301)617-2712 www.jayamangala.org
Step Afrika Brian Williams, Founding Excetive Director 133 4th street NE Washington, D.C 20002 202-399-7993 ext. 112 www.stepafrica.org Vision Contemporary Dance Katherine Smith, Artistic Director P.O. Box 48087 Washington, D.C 20002 301.909-VCDE (8233) www.visioncontemporarydance.org Urban Artisty Junious Brickhouse (Founder) 8001 Kennett Street Silver Spring, MD 20910 202-431-4202 www.urbanartistry.org The National Hand Dance Association P.O. Box 70006 Washington, D.C. 20024 www.nationalhanddanceassociation.org
Maru Montero Dance Maru Montero, Founder email@example.com www.marumontero.com Nomad Dancers Christel Stevens( Co Director) Adriane Whalen (Co Director) 4166 South Street, Arlington, Va, 22206 (703) 799-0282 www.nomaddancers.com Silk Road Dance Compay Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, Founder and Artistic Director P.O. Box 11346 Takoma Park, MD 20913 301-585-1105 www.silkroaddance.com Tehreema Mitha Dance Founding Artistic Director 8509 Pelham Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817 (301) 581-9520 www.tmdancecompany.org
Community Directory Dance Schools and Institutions Angel of Hope Ministries, Inc Rev. Claudia H. Harrison
Developing the Physical through Dance and Health Awareness
Coyaba Academy Sylvia Soumah, Founder and Artistic Director Dance Place 3225 8th Street Northeast Washington, D.C 20017 (202) 269-1600” www.coyabadancetheater.org Dance Dimensions Dakyia Lambert (Artistic Director) 7979 Parston Dr District Heights ,MD 20747 301-420-1567 www.dimensions-inc.com
Duke Ellington School of the Arts Charles Augins, Dance Chair 3500 R street NW , Washington, D.C 202-282-0123 www.ellingtonschool.org Howard University Theatre Arts Dept - Dance 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, D.C 20059 firstname.lastname@example.org 202-806-7050/7052 www.coas.howard.edu/theatrearts/dance Jones-Haywood Dance School Saundra Fortune-Green, Artistic Director 1200 Delafield Place NW Washington D.C 20011 202-441-1099 www.joneshaywood.com
Making Moves Dance Collective Inc Amber L. Comer, Artistic Director Kellie N. Sellers, Artistic Director Dance Institute of Washington 5640 Sunnyside Avenue, Fabian Barnes, Suite E Beltsville, MD 20705 Founder and Artistic Director 301-220-1500 3400 14th street NW, Washington, D.C www.makingmovesdc.org 202-371-9656 www.danceinstitute.org Ngoma Center for Dance Dance Makers INC Ms. Robin Angelica Pitts, Executive Director 9901 Business Parkway, Suite L Lanham, Maryland 20706 301-731-0003 www.marylanddancestudio.com Divine Dance Institute Amanda Standard, Founding Director 505 Hampton Park Blvd., Suite R Capitol Heights, MD 20743 301-333-2623 www.divine-dance.com
Shawn Short, Founding Artistic Director P.O. Box 2377 Washington D.C 20013 202-540-8338 www.ngoma-center-for-dance.org
Northeast Performing Arts Center Rita Jackson (Founder) 3431 Benning Rd NE Washington, D.C 20019 202-388-1274 www.nepag.org Suitland High School Center for the Visual and Performing Arts 5200 Silver Hill Road Forestville, MD 20747 301.817.0092 www1.pgcps.org/suitlandhs
The Davis Center Beatrice E. Davis-Williams 6218 3rd Street N.W. Washington D.C 20011 202-277-6110 www.thedaviscenter.net Ubuntu Nankama Dance Studio 3802 34th Street, Mt Rainier, MD 20722 Words, Beats, & Life Inc. 1525 Newton Street, NW Washington, D.C 20010 202-667-1192 www.wblinc.org Baltimore Area Morton Street Dance Donna L. Jacobs, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Ste. 108 Baltimore, MD 21211 410-235-9003 www.mortonstreetdance.com Baltimore Dance Tech Stephanie Powell, Director, 5130 Greenwich Avenue (Near Route 40 West) Baltimore, MD 21229 410-233-1101 www.baltimoredancetech.com Connexions School for the Arts 2801 N. Dukeland Street Baltimore, MD 21216 Phone:(443) 984-1418/1419/1420 Fax:(410) 669-4418 www.csfta.org Dance & Bmore Cjay Philip, Director email@example.com www.danceandbmore.com Coppin State University Vanessa Coles, Chair - Dance Physical Education Complex Rm 212 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698 firstname.lastname@example.org www.coppin.edu/dance
“TWO COMPANIES, ONE HEART” Sunday June 1st and Sunday June 8th, 7pm Dixon Place 161A Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10002 An Evening of Performance with: SUE SAMUELS’ JAZZ ROOTS DANCE COMPANY www.jazzrootsdance.com and SILVA DANCE COMPANY www.cadny.org Tickets at www.dixonplace.org
A Washington, D.C. Magazine for Minority Dance
(c) Copyright Ngoma Reader 2013 All Rights Reserved
Published on Apr 28, 2014
The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a Bi-monthly online publication that gives literary voice to minority dance artists of Washington, D.C. NR speaks...