Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana

Photo by Darryl Padilla

In October of 2021, Flamenco Vivo presented its 7th event for emerging artists, the Flamenco Certamen USA. The NYS DanceForce has supported this program through all of its iterations: from a single performance in 2014 to the inclusion of a week-long residency at Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Lake Placid provided extensive resources including 4 studios, family-style housing and technical support. During this residency, finalists worked in depth with industry mentors and musicians to harness their artistic strengths and generate meaningful relationships. The final live performance took place on October 15th at the Bruno Walter auditorium at Lincoln Center in NYC.

This was Flamenco Vivo’s first time in partnership with Lake Placid Center for the Arts, and the residency center created a unique opportunity to build a community of artistic inspiration, cultural sharing, and collective growth. Amidst the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, LPCA was the ideal location for creating an intimate but communal shared space for artists to re-awaken their passion together.  LPCA gave us the necessary studio space with appropriate flooring for flamenco.  The opportunity to utilize a shared space also allowed LPCA staff to observe and witness the work being done by Certamen artists during a dress rehearsal of the Certamen program on the final day.  Although limited in size due to the pandemic, these interactions lead to an important artistic and cultural exchange between Flamenco Vivo and Lake Placid.  Flamenco Vivo has been invited to return for its 2022 Flamenco Certamen USA programming so that we may create more opportunities for artistic development and collaboration more fully with the greater Lake Placid community.

Bridgman/Packer Dance

TRUCK by Bridgman/Packer Dance.

In July 2018, Bridgman/Packer Dance was presented at Goodwill Theatre Inc.’s Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson, City NY, funded by NYS DanceForce. The venue includes and is surrounded by shuttered industrial spaces, architecture that stands in witness to generations who worked at the Endicott Johnson shoe company.

The environment and context inspired Bridgman and Packer to develop a new work – Ghost Factory, based on the imagery and narrative of these post-industrial spaces. In an unexpected benefit and an unanticipated one — the Goodwill Theatre supported the new work by providing the artists with access to work/office space during the year they spent collecting imagery and interviewing residents. This was an extra added benefit for the artists. The American Dance Asylum provided $2,000 in commissioning support to jumpstart the fundraising. Despite the disruption of the pandemic, Ghost Factory was presented June 25, 26 2021 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Sept 23, 25 2021 at Sheldon Theater, Red Wing, MN.

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company

Undercover Playground being performed at Frear Park in Troy

In 2010, DanceForce member Kim Engel envisioned a project that would bring dance to families in a setting in which they were familiar and comfortable. Working with the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, the project developed with DanceForce support in the spring of 2011 as Undercover Playground, a short 15-minute performance piece performed spontaneously by the company’s dancers and a musician on playgrounds to unsuspecting audiences.   The work premiered over a seven-week period in the late summer and fall in six New York State counties. It has been offered for over a decade now with various sources of support including the National Endowment for the Arts, city/county funds, local arts council funds and area businesses.

Beyond its original intended format, Undercover Playground has also undergone various incarnations such as versions for summer youth camps and special populations on adaptive playgrounds.  During the pandemic, the work continues to have life as part of the company’s educational programs, bringing the art form to school children in a safe, outdoor environment. Undercover Playground allows school administrators an option to offer arts programs to students without the safety concerns that are currently inherent in having gatherings and welcoming outside visitors.