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SUSAN JOHNSTON OWEN-JAZZ  /  SITE OWNER/MUSICIAN, WRITER,ARTIST, ELEMENTARY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER (RETIRED)

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DANCING

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Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain.

- Martha Graham

Dance is an art that imprints on the soul. It is with you every moment, it expresses itself in everything you do.

- Shirley Maclaine

Dance is bigger than the physical body. Think bigger than that. When you extend your arm, it doesn't stop at the end of your fingers, because you're dancing bigger than that: your dancing spirit.

- Judith Jamison

Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

- Martha Graham

Dance is the poetic baring of the soul through motion.

- Scott Nilsson

Dance is the song of the body.

-Martha Graham

Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It's the rhythm of your life. It's the expression in time and movement, in happiness, joy, sadness and envy.

- Jaques D'ambroise

Dancers are athletes of god

- Albert Einstein

Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer plays.

- George Balanchine

Dancers are the messengers of the gods.

- Martha Graham


SLIDESHOW



 


Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.

- Martha Graham

Dancing is like bank robbery, it takes split second timing.

- Twyla Tharp

Dancing is like dreaming with your feet!

- Constanze

 

Dancing is wonderful training for girls, it's the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it.

- Christopher Morley

Do you think dyslexic people have difficulty dancing to Y.M.C.A.?

- Dave Sokolowski

 

I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living.... In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.

- Martha Graham

I danced from the moment I could stand.

-Anna Pavlova

 

I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.

- George Balanchin

If I can not dance, I shall die!

- Anna Pavlova

 

 

If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.

- Isadora Duncan

If you want to dance seriously, do. You must think about it day and night, dream about it,--desire it.

- Christa Justus

 

I'm dancing to the music of the madness inside me.

-George C. Wolfe

In a dancer, there is a reverence for such forgotten things as the miracle of the small beautiful bones and their delicate strength.

- Martha Graham

 

 

It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer.

- Shanna LaFleur

It's what I always wanted to do, to show the laughter, the fun the joy of dance.

- Martha Graham


 


Dancers to Watch

http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/January-2011/25-To-Watch

Jerome Tisserand
Corps de ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Chosen by PNB principal Carla Körbes, a 2006 “25 to Watch”

 The first thing I noticed is how light Jerome can be. It's like he has air underneath him. You can see every position while he's still in the air. He has the perfect lines, he's very clean in his technique, and his presence is very prince-like. The way he holds himself is very classical, very calm. He’s so beautiful, like a little movie star. I would love to see him do Swan Lake.

Roberto Cisneros
Artist, Sacramento Ballet
Chosen by choreographer Amy Seiwert, a 2005 “25 to Watch”

 The first time I saw Roberto dance was in Smuin Ballet’s Christmas Ballet in 1999 when he was 11. He was performing a tap dance that has a battle between him and this girl, and suddenly he dropped to fourth and did 11 pirouettes. I was floored!

Isaac Akiba
Corps de ballet, Boston Ballet
Chosen by Boston Ballet principal, Misa Kuranaga

 I’ve known Isaac since he was 16. He grew up in Boston and he went to Citydance which is Boston Ballet’s outreach program. I was in the company and he was in the school. Even in school, he was shining. He has this special aura about him. When I look at his dancing, I don’t feel like I’m looking at technique, I feel like I’m looking at artwork. He just makes things look really easy.

 

Renan Cerdeiro
Corps de ballet, Miami City Ballet
Chosen by former MCB principal soloist and So You Think You Can Dance contestant Alex Wong, a 2010 “25 to Watch”

 His biggest first role was the Green Boy in Dances at a Gathering by Jerome Robbins. He was 17 then. This was actually really early last season, and I remember him being like, “I can’t do this. I don’t know why they’re giving me this.” I was like, “No, you really can do it.” I remember him practicing over and over again, and he wasn’t really ready in his partnering. And he ended up doing it really, really well.

 

 

Brittany Pollack
Corps de ballet, New York City Ballet
Chosen by NYCB principal Daniel Ulbricht, a 2001 “25 to Watch”

 

Brittany is a chameleon: She morphs to fit any choreography right before your eyes. I’ve seen her debuts in all kinds of works, from Balanchine and Robbins classics to more contemporary pieces, and it always looks like she’s danced them before. When she did the soloist part in Scotch Symphony—a very difficult role—she looked like an old pro, with a beaming grin on her face. She’s an honest performer, too; you can see who she is when she dances.

 

 

 

Leann Underwood
Corps de ballet, American Ballet Theatre
Chosen by ABT principal Gillian Murphy, a 2002 “25 to Watch”

 Leann is on the verge of a brilliant career at ABT. She has all of the technical elements: turning, jumping, extension. But she moves beyond that. She’s very musical and extremely versatile. She’s capable of greatness whether it’s allegro or lyrical in classical ballet, and also in modern works. Last season she seemed right at home in a principal role in Twyla Tharp’s Brahms-Haydn Variations, and she has also done exemplary performances of the third shade variation in La Bayadère. With each new opportunity she’s growing in her individuality, she’s expressing her artistry more and more, and looking stunning in all sorts of different roles.

Whitney Huell
Artist, Ballet West
Chosen by choreographer Helen Pickett, a 2007 “25 to Watch”

 My first experience with Whitney was in the fall of 2009, when I went to Ballet West to start making my new ballet, But Never Doubt I Love, based on Shakespeare plays, which premiered last spring. She was a part of the process from the very beginning. Whitney is a risk taker and she had a brightness in her eyes. I could tell she was curious and ready to be in that room and be a part of something new.

Julianne Kepley
Leading artist, Milwaukee Ballet
Chosen by San Francisco Ballet principal Tiit Helimets, a 2007 “25 to Watch”

 Julianne is intelligent and beautiful with strong technique. She is always going to give 100 percent. She’s had a very solid career.

 

Melissa Hamilton
First artist, Royal Ballet
Chosen by choreographer Wayne McGregor, a 2001 “25 to Watch”

 Melissa is proving to be a bold, intelligent, and dynamic dancer in both the Royal Ballet repertoire and in new creations. Hyper-mobile, fluid, with an elegant sense of line, she devours movement easily and on stage has a magical, untouchable presence. She is fantastic in new creations and choreographers seem always to want to create with her in the studio. She is a refreshing muse. We worked on Infra together and she was simply incredible with Eric Underwood. Rehearsals were a real pleasure—invigorating, inspiring and fun. Equally, she interprets the repertory roles in a questioning and individual way.

Allison Miller
Corps de ballet, Houston Ballet
Chosen by HB principal Melody Herrera, 2007 “25 to Watch”

Allison is the best mix: a strong technician with a very graceful and elegant quality. She has pure and strong technique, but there’s also something so feminine and delicate about her dancing—it’s enchanting to watch. When we did Balanchine’s Ballo della Regina, the second she came out, it was like she was flying across the stage.

 

 

Adam Hougland
Choreographer
Chosen by American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes, a 2001 “25 to Watch”

 I’ve known Adam since the Houston Ballet summer program in 1996, before I went out to France and he went off to Juilliard. He has a lot to offer to the dance world. I love and respect his choreography. He’s inspired by Kylián and by Nacho Duato, but he has made it into his own vocabulary, I spent a little time with him in Brazil and we choreographed my solo, Small Steps, together. It never felt like work; we went to the studio whenever we wanted. The amazing thing was how we collaborated together, yet he kept the integrity of his choreography. His work may be something abstract, but it has a sense of feeling, emotions behind it. He's a young choreographer, but he has that sensibility that you don't often find from other young choreographers.

 

 

Olivier Wevers
Director, Whim W'Him and principal, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Chosen by PNB principal Kaori Nakamura, a 2001 “25 to Watch”
When I first worked with Olivier, we were in Canada with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and he created a pas de deux for himself and me. He was already using really unique movement and costumes. He mixes classical with contemporary, and his new ballets are always different. For 3Seasons, his costume idea was to use recycled shopping bags, hundreds of plastic bags. It was set in the baroque period, but using bags. I was like, “I've never seen this!”

 

Robert Dekkers
Director, Post:Ballet and dancer, Company C Contemporary Ballet
Chosen by Ballet Arizona dancer Natalia Magnicaballi, 2005 “25 to Watch”

 When I met Robert in Phoenix—we joined Ballet Arizona the same season—he was starting his professional career. I pretty much saw him grow up in front of my eyes. I saw him improving his body, his technique, and being hungry for new movements and ideas. I’ve always admired his discipline and determination to overcome very tough situations in his life. He constantly challenges himself as a dancer and choreographer.

 

 

Yannick Lebrun
Dancer, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Chosen by AAADT dancer Jamar Roberts, a 2007 “25 to Watch”
I remember him being this little, scrawny kid in The Ailey School. I mean, just like a pencil. He also did Ailey II, and I saw him perform a solo called Takademe by Robert Battle. It was just so astonishing because he has this really big facility and really wide range of movement in his limbs and extensions. To do a solo that was so quick and contained and be able to control his length—I thought it was brilliant.

 

Ryoji Sasamoto
Dancer, Keigwin + Company and nathantrice/RITUALS
Chosen by K+C director Larry Keigwin, a 2004 “25 to Watch”

 Everybody who sees Ryoji has a dance crush on him! There are dancers who are technically proficient, but this guy is born to move. He does spectacular things with what looks like no effort—it’s not Fred Astaire’s type of movement at all, but it has that same ease. Watching him is like watching water: Everything is seamless and velvety. In a room full of great dancers, the eye goes right to him.

Ahmed Khemis
Dancer, Akram Khan Company
Chosen by director Akram Khan, a 2002 “25 to Watch”

 I went to Beirut to look for dancers. There’s something very, very spiritual in his way of moving and how he relates to music and movement. And it’s very rare that you see that in dancers. His energy always travels upwards. For Vertical Road, I wanted the body to express spirituality and to express a story somehow without words or text. That’s why I chose him. He had something that I felt was needed to kind of infiltrate all and share with the other dancers.

 

 

 

Nikki Zialcita
Dancer, Faye Driscoll Dance Group
Chosen by director Faye Driscoll, a 2008 “25 to Watch”

Nikki is constantly surprising me. In the three years I've known her, she's risen to every challenge. My process is very rigorous. You can't just be like, “Oh I've got the choreography, now I can relax.” I'm always pushing it for new layers. She’s someone who really loves the investigation, who shows up for often painful creative processes with an open mind and a sense of humor and a craving for growth and challenge.

 

Emily Schoen
Dancer, NY2Dance
Chosen by NY2Dance director Nejla Y. Yatkin, a 2005 “25 to Watch”

Emily Schoen is a beautiful redhead that can adapt roles from one character to another. I first met her in spring of 2009 when she auditioned for my company NY2Dance. I chose her for the Berlin Wall Project because I needed dancers that were physical and raw but also refined and had many textures in their dancing.

 

 

Troy Ogilvie
Dancer, Gallim Dance and Sidra Bell Dance New York
Chosen by Benoit Swan-Pouffer, director of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, a 2008 “25 to Watch”
I'm fascinated by Troy. She has a presence that's a rarity; she commands the stage. She's very feminine, but at the same time she's very grounded and raw. She has a very strong energy, an amazing physicality and musicality as well. She's young and she's a hard worker. She has this uncommon beauty, eyes that are very piercing.

 

Jonathan Fredrickson
Choreographer and dancer, Limón Dance Company
Chosen by Hubbard Street 2 director and HSDC artistic associate Taryn Kaschock Russell, a 2003 “25 to Watch”

 I found Jonathan’s intelligence intriguing from the start. From the second he stepped in the studio to create his piece after winning Hubbard Street 2’s National Choreographic Competition he was just working. And there was something incredible about watching the changes that were happening inside of his mind and then how he would translate them. He’s very— I really wish I had a different word besides “confident.” But he just has an incredible vision, a strength of vision, but with an open mind.

 

Huang Yi
Choreographer
Chosen by Fang-Yi Sheu, a 2005 “25 to Watch”

 When Huang Yi is performing his incredible flow of movement through space fascinates me. The way he floats is like his body blends into the air. He has a very special way of learning and choreographing. He is a very quiet person—quietly observing, quietly learning, and quietly choreographing. He makes dance through different lens and media, like with a video camera, projector, and LED lighting.

 

 

Luciana Achugar
Choreographer
Chosen by choreographer Noémie Lafrance, a 2004 “25 to Watch”

 Luciana is doing something that has an edge, but it’s also very clean, concise, together. I feel like her work, while experimental, is also accessible. You could see it if you hadn't been exposed to dance and still be moved. It has a touch of being universal.She’s also very strong as a performer. She’s powerful without being arrogant; her power is very pure. She’s a very down-to-earth human being—generous and natural.

 

Alexandria “Brinae Ali” Bradley
Dancer and co-director of the Tapology Dance Festival for Youth
Chosen by Roxane Butterfly, a 2002 “25 to Watch”

 On National Tap Day in 2000 at NYC’s Town Hall, a young troupe of hoofers from Flint, MI, blew my mind the same way Baby Laurence did when I first saw him dance on video. Their piece was choreographed and also performed by Ali Bradley. During her solo, I caught Harold Nicholas in the audience with the most mesmerized face.

 

Teddy Forance
Freelance dancer and faculty member, JUMP Dance Convention
Chosen by former “In The Heights” performer and “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant William Wingfield, a 2010 “25 to Watch”

 I met Teddy through Mia Michaels. He’s one of the most incredible dancers and human beings I’ve met. He has a very sweet energy—you just feel comfortable around him. When you watch him dance, you want to move with him. You don’t even realize you’re doing it; it just happens. He takes the music by the horns and rides it until the wheels fall off. He’s such a great mover, how he transitions from one movement to the next feels like that’s the way it should’ve been done

 

Nick Kenkel
Co-choreographer, Peepshow and dance captain, Catch Me If You Can
Chosen by choreographer Jerry Mitchell, a 2003 “25 to Watch”
Nick is a really gifted choreographer. What I like most about him is he understands the storytelling of theatricality, yet he’s got all the contemporary moves that I so rarely see in a Broadway show. He was a big, big, big component of putting Peepshow together for me in Las Vegas. And he’s a brilliant dancer. He’s extremely sexy, extremely masculine.

 

 





 

 


 

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