Juel D. Lane’s innovative choreography scores him roles among dance's best
For dancer and choreographer Juel D. Lane ('02), life is all about breaking through boundaries — and giving back to the school that gave him the confidence to do it.
He’s done plenty of both since graduating with a BFA from the UNCSA School of Dance with a concentration in Contemporary Dance. He’s taking command of the national stage with his boundless, captivating style.
For the 2015-16 year, Lane was back on campus as an artist in residence, teaching the next generation of UNCSA dancers how to make their way in the professional world.
“I don’t only enjoy the dancing — I like to challenge people’s minds and feed people’s souls,” says Lane, whose original piece “When the Beat Drops” brought audiences to their feet during 2015's Fall Dance. The piece has since put Lane in the role of filmmaker, as he pooled the talents of dancers and students in the School of Filmmaking for an original music video that premeried in April 2016.
“It is so important for the students to find their own identity. Once you can own your personality, you attach that personality to the moving body, and you have this beautiful artist who is confident and not afraid.”
Fear is not a word in Lane’s vocabulary these days. The Atlanta-based artist’s fearless fusion of various dance styles attracted national attention in 2013, when he was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” More recently, he was one of four emerging choreographers chosen for the exclusive Alvin Ailey Foundation New Directions Choreographic Lab fellowship in New York City, where he helped create his next original dance on film with students at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Lane began making his mark early in his career when he toured the U.S. and abroad for six years with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company. Another career highlight: In 2012, he created “Moments of Dis” for the Atlanta Ballet, the troupe’s first-ever main-stage commission from a locally based, independent choreographer. He also dances with fellow UNCSA alum Camille A. Brown and Dancers in New York City.