2018 WNY Choreographers’ Initiative Recipients Announced

Two Western New York based choreographers have been selected for the Western New York Choreographers’ Initiative 2018, a new funding opportunity launched by The New York State DanceForce, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts. The awardees, Tammy Carrasco (Rochester) and Nancy Hughes (Buffalo) each receive 24 hours of studio time, access to professional dancers, the guidance of a professional mentor chosen by the artist, and a $2,500 stipend. The WNY Choreographers’ Initiative is designed to help WNY resident choreographers develop their choreographic skills by providing them with appropriate resources that are generally unavailable or unaffordable.  

 About the Awardees

Tammy Carrasco

Photo by Steve Clarke

Tammy Carrasco is a dance artist, educator, and the Artistic Director of Wild Beast Dance. In 2015, Carrasco joined the faculty at The College at Brockport, SUNY as Assistant Professor of Dance, and has taught workshops on contemporary dance, choreography, and improvisation at universities nationally and internationally. In recent years, she taught at North Carolina Governor’s School East as Lead Dance Instructor, and presented her pedagogy at National Dance Education Organization.

Wild Beast Dance (www.wildbeastdance.com) is a Rochester-based company with the philosophical underpinning that art and dance can elicit curiosity about the implicit meanings of the body as informed by social, political, and historical contexts. Carrasco’s choreography frames dance performance as our shared corporealities rendered visible and tangible in real time. As the current state of the world increasingly fills with unknowns and anxieties about the future, Carrasco aims to make art that emphasizes the “now”, grounding performers and viewers in aspects of humanity that unify us. Wild Beast Dance implicates viewership as a creative act, empowering audiences to activate themselves as autonomous authors of the work.

Carrasco’s work has been presented at various venues in New York City, such as Triskelion Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church and Open Performance, Jennifer Mueller/The Works, and Gowanus Art and Production, with upcoming shows at Dixon Place and NimbusPRESENTS. Philadelphia venues include the Performance Garage and the CEC. Her work has also been featured in festivals such as The Keybank Rochester Fringe Festival, OhioDance Festival, American College Dance Festival Association Gala 2017, and Baltimore’s Charm City Fringe Festival.

Carrasco is a recipient of funding from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, The College at Brockport, SUNY, and The Ohio State University. She received a MFA from The Ohio State University and BFA from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and is a Walnut Hill School graduate.

 Nancy Hughes

Photo by Mike Collins

Originally from Texas, Nancy has been living in Buffalo for eight years.  Hughes is an educator, performer, choreographer and event organizer who co-facilitates regular events for contact improvisation and modern/contemporary dancers.  Hughes has been awarded grants from NYS DanceForce, Northampton Arts Council and KeyBank and has received sponsorship from Harold Grinspoon.  Nancy Hughes produces dance events throughout the year. These include the Tuesday Contemporary Dance Series, Buffalo Sunday Contact Improv Jam, Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts Youth Performance Workshop, Mission Improvable, and a new guest artist series.  Her work as a performer and choreographer has been performed across the U.S. as well as in Paris, France and Toronto, Canada.  Nancy is influenced by the work of Nancy Stark Smith and the Underscore, and she co-coordinates the annual Global Underscore. She can be seen performing in Buffalo with Center Dance, Anne Burnidge Dance, and others, in theaters, museums, galleries, people’s homes, and silos.

Hughes is currently the director of Center Dance. Center Dance is an emergence focusing upon movement, wellness, and education. Through interdisciplinary performance, movement training, community outreach and the presentation of learning opportunities Center Dance strives to increase Buffalo’s gravity as an international hub for creative exchange between dance artists.