Dance in Albany Series and Outreach

Tango Fire

Year: 2017-2018
DanceForce Member: Kim Engel
Artists: 10 Hairy Legs, Raphael Xavier, RUBBERBANDance Group, Collage Dance Collective, Tango Fire, Bridgman/Packer Dance, Dublin Irish Dance Company; Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; MOMIX; Ellen Sinopoli
Community Partners: Albany High Schools; Emma Willard School; National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Springs; Sage College; Saratoga Performing Arts Center; Schenectady High Schools; Skidmore College; The Egg, UAlbany Performing Arts Center; Union College, Schenectady
Audience: 3,710
Counties: Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady

“It’s not enough to just present dance, we want ensure that it is part of the fabric of our community.”
~ Dance in Albany partners, The Egg and UAlbany Performing Arts Center

In 2015-16, The Egg and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center collaborated to offer Dance in Albany, a joint series of diverse dance companies planned, promoted and packaged by the two venues. Now concluding its third season, the series expanded to ten companies (up from six in the first year and eight in the second) and included Tango Fire (9/30/17), 10 Hairy Legs (10/12/17), Collage Dance Collective (10/20/17), Raphael Xavier (11/7/17), Bridgman/Packer Dance (2/16/18), Dublin Irish Dance Company (3/6/18), MOMIX (3/16/18), RUBBERBANDance Group (4/3/18), Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (4/20/18) and Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (5/5/18).

The Egg and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center funded the performance series with pre- or post-show talks for all ten performances as well as receptions for artists and audience at three of them. The two venues made a commitment to ensure that there was an investment in the community by a majority of the visiting companies through outreach activity. Support from the NYS DanceForce allowed more than half of the companies to spend time in the Capital Region community in relation to their performances. The outreach included master classes, lec/dems and a performance in a variety of locations.

“The support of the NYS Dance Force was key in enabling the Collage Dance Collective, Bridgman/Packer Dance and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo to spend additional time in the community to interact with young people – offering master classes to dance students – as well as demonstrations of their dance technique to general audiences. These types of activities are an important element in cultivating new audiences for dance as well as offering opportunities for existing audiences to familiarize themselves with emerging companies.”
Peter Lesser, Executive Director, The Egg

The schedule of activity was as follows:

October 9, 2017
10 Hairy Legs at Skidmore and Union Colleges
Four master classes

October 10, 2017
10 Hairy Legs at Schenectady High School, Skidmore College and Emma Willard School
Four master classes

October 11, 2017
10 Hairy Legs at Abram Lansing Elementary
Performance for student body

October 18 & 19, 2017
Collage Dance Collective at Union College
Master class and lecture/demonstration

November 6, 2017
Raphael Xavier at Albany High School and Skidmore College
Three master classes

November 8, 2017
Raphael Xavier at Schenectady High School
Five master classes

February 14-15, 2018
Bridgman/Packer Dance at Union College and National Museum of Dance
Master class and lecture/demonstration

April 2, 2018
RUBBERBANDance Group at Skidmore and Union Colleges
Two master classes

April 19, 2018
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at Schenectady High School
Master class

Following is some feedback by those involved in some of the outreach:

“Thanks for creating such a fun time for the company and the students last week. Our girls really enjoyed the class and interacting with the men of 10 Hairy Legs.”
Barbara Magee, Dance Program Director, Emma Willard School

“We had a wonderful experience with Randy and the guys from 10 Hairy Legs. I had forgotten how charming and warm Randy truly is. I am in conversation with his manager about bringing them back for a longer visit so I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens.”
Debra Fernandez, Dance Department Chair, Skidmore College

“Raphael Xavier and his dance company were a refreshing surprise during two workshops they offered to my intro to theatre arts classes. At this point in the year, we have just begun working on improvisation, so bringing a dance company in was a big risk for my classes that are comprised mostly of freshmen–their collective attention can be a little hard to hold. Mr. Xavier’s particular style of physical storytelling was perfect. It blended dance and spoken word forms my students love. They were completely engaged, in fact, nearly every student eagerly got up to participate when he invited them to do so.”
Ward Dales, Theatre Ensemble Director & Theatre Arts Instructor, Albany High School

“Raphael and company members bridged elements of hip-hop history with contemporary hip-hop forms through energetic, challenging classes. Students were in awe of the company members demonstrating various breaking movements and worked hard to embody the essence of the wisdom they shared.”
Lindsay Redick, Dance Department, Schenectady High School

“The students appreciated that Raphael Xavier emphasized the idea that anyone can dance, even if they have physical limitations. They also appreciated Raphael’s approach to class because he gave specific movements and also asked them to choreograph some of their own movement based on what they learned. He helped push the students and broaden their view of dance and they were able to explore a new grounded way of moving.”
Mary DiSanto-Rose, Dance Department, Skidmore College