Old Stories & New Choreographies

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5/20/21

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5/20/21

May 20, 2021

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Old Stories & New Choreographies: Migration of Tales, People, & Dance

May 20, 2021, 1:00-2:15 PM EST

Contemporary choreographers around the world reimagine oral traditions, which may or may not “belong” to them, as emotionally and politically-potent dance works. What types of transformation become possible in these physicalized reinterpretations? Join an international panel of dancemakers as they explore how the global movement of narrative, people, and dance has shaped personal and national identities as well as the dancemakers’ respective bodies of work. This sharing of dance and ideas brings together Seeta Patel (Seeta Patel Dance, UK), Michael Keegan-Dolan (Teaċ Daṁsa, Ireland), Neil Ieremia (Black Grace, New Zealand), Roxane D'Orleans Juste (Limón Dance Company, USA), and Sameena Mitta (MeenMoves, USA), and will be moderated by Dr. Henry Daniel (Simon Fraser University & Full Performing Bodies, Canada).

Born in London, Seeta Patel has worked with a range of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance professionals and toured with many companies including DV8 Physical Theatre, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company & Gandini Juggling. She has presented sold out work at the Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House: ROH2 and Sadler’s Wells. In tandem with her choreographic and performing work she has worked in film, TV and theatre, including producing a multi award-winning short dance film, The Art of Defining Me; being a judge, mentor and advisor for the inaugural BBC Young Dancer Competition, and choreographing a play at the Theatre Royal Stratford East - The House of In Between. Her work, Not Today’s Yesterday, is a one-woman show taking a dramatic look at the whitewashing of history. The show won Best Dance and the Peace Foundation Award at the Adelaide Fringe. Most recently Seeta created a Bharatanatyam version of the iconic ballet, The Rite of Spring,  touring in 2019 and to be expanded in 2023 for Sadler’s Wells and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Michael Keegan-Dolan founded Teaċ Daṁsa in 2016 as a means to forge stronger connections with the native traditions, language and music of Ireland. The name Teaċ Daṁsa, ‘House of the Dance,’ in Classical Irish, supports this process and is exemplified in the company’s first two productions, Swan Lake / Loch na hEala (2016) and MÁM (2019). Swan Lake | Loch na hEala – reimagines the story on which the famous ballet is based and is a contemporary fusion of dance, traditional storytelling, folk music and theatre. It premiered at the 2016 Dublin Theatre Festival and won the 2017 Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Production and the award for Best Modern Choreography at the UK National Dance Awards later in the same year.

Neil Ieremia (ONZM) is the founder and artistic director of Black Grace. Over the past 25 years, Black Grace has changed the face of contemporary dance in Aotearoa New Zealand, drawing upon Neil’s Samoan heritage and melding it with Māori and Western influences to create unique expressions of our contemporary identity. In that time, Black Grace has also become one of our most successful cultural exports, performing Neil’s choreography in Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Caledonia, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States of America. Among the company’s international highlights are sell-out performances at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts and a four-week season on New York City’s 42nd Street, as well as performances at Mexico’s renowned Cervantino Festival, Washington D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver. The company also received a Herald Angel Award at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Roxane D’Orleans Juste is a native of Montreal and of Haitian descent. She is a graduate teacher with Honors from Canada’s National Ballet School where she acquired her teaching certification from the ISTD in the Cecchetti method and European National Dance. She pursued her dance studies in Montreal, in Europe and in New York where she began her professional career. D’Orleans Juste performed with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company (1981-83), Annabelle Gamson Dance Solos (1988-2008) and as a lead dancer with the Limon Dance Company (1983-2016) where she served as Artistic Associate and Associate Artistic Director (2007-2016).

Sameena Mitta (co-producer) is the artistic director of dance-theatre company MeenMoves and its education program MadHops. Mitta has presented choreography around the world, and is in year 7 of her 10-year dance film Struwwelpeter Project, filmed site-specifically in Germany. Mitta earned with distinction the Cecchetti Society’s Associate Diploma and an MA in Dance Creation from UQAM focusing on Movement Intervention for South Asian survivors of domestic violence. Mitta is an advocate for diversity in dance and has sat on dance juries in Canada and the USA for several organizations and governments. An NJPAC Choreography Fellow (2018-2022), Mitta is mentor for the Recanati-Kaplan scholarship students in dance through the Harkness Dance Center and is also on faculty at the Limón Institute and 92Y Harkness Dance Center.

Sameena Mitta (co-producer) is the artistic director of dance-theatre company MeenMoves and its education program MadHops. Mitta has presented choreography around the world, and is in year 7 of her 10-year dance film Struwwelpeter Project, filmed site-specifically in Germany. Mitta earned with distinction the Cecchetti Society’s Associate Diploma and an MA in Dance Creation from UQAM focusing on Movement Intervention for South Asian survivors of domestic violence. Mitta is an advocate for diversity in dance and has sat on dance juries in Canada and the USA for several organizations and governments. An NJPAC Choreography Fellow (2018-2022), Mitta is mentor for the Recanati-Kaplan scholarship students in dance through the Harkness Dance Center and is also on faculty at the Limón Institute and 92Y Harkness Dance Center.

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