UNCSA announces four inaugural Choreographic Development Residents for summer institute

Four emerging choreographers, including two School of Dance alumni, are the inaugural participants in the Choreographic Development Residency at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) this summer, Dean of Dance Susan Jaffe has announced.

The alumni residents are Kyle Davis, a 2008 high school graduate and a soloist with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Mari Meade, a 2006 high school graduate and 2009 B.F.A. recipient who is founder and artistic director of Mari Meade Dance Collective in Brooklyn. The other residents are Charlotte Griffin, a native of Durham who studied at Juilliard and is assistant professor of dance at the University of California at Irvine, and Marielis Garcia, who studied with Alvin Ailey and Twyla Tharpe and leads her own dance production company in New York. 

Kyle Davis

Kyle Davis

“These four up-and-coming artists have strong choreographic voices,” said Jaffe. “We are proud to offer them a groundbreaking career opportunity to develop new works as we launch our UNCSA Choreographic Institute.”

Announced in February 2017, the two-track Choreographic Institute includes both the Development Residency and the Professional Residency. Jaffe and former Dean of Dance Ethan Stiefel, both former principal dancers with American Ballet Theatre, are the first professional residents, who will work with invited professional dancers for two weeks this summer to research choreographic ideas or build toward new works.  

Mari Meade

Mari Meade

The institute’s second track, the Development Residency, includes individual mentorship by Visiting Distinguished Artist Helen Pickett, who is resident choreographer for Atlanta Ballet. 

In addition to mentoring by Pickett, the choreographers will participate in daily technique classes, workshops and lectures led by esteemed UNCSA Summer Dance faculty and guests, and will hold afternoon rehearsals with their cast of dancers selected from the Summer Dance Intensives. In the evenings, residents will have access to UNCSA’s studios for further choreographic research. The residencies will culminate in a fully produced performance of the new works on July 21 at the Stevens Center in downtown Winston-Salem.

Helen Pickett

Helen Pickett, second from left, will mentor choreographic residents.

“I am thrilled to offer the Choreographic Development Residencies to Kyle, Mari, Charlotte and Marielis,” Jaffe said. “They will infuse our Summer Dance Intensives with new creative energy. Our Summer Dance students will reap the benefits, and I cannot wait to see the works they will create together.”

About the choreographers

Kyle Davis is from Green Bay, Wisc. He trained at Makaroff School of Ballet and on scholarship at Rock School for Dance Education and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and attended summer courses on scholarship at Milwaukee Ballet School, the School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. He also studied with Ethan Stiefel and Warren Conover.

Davis joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2008 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2009 and soloist in 2016.

In 2008, he won the Prix de Lausanne competition in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also won various awards in the Youth American Grand Prix Regional and Finals in 2005 and 2006. He was a 2007-08 recipient of the Elizabeth Harriet Weaver Memorial Scholarship and the Martha and Spencer Love Foundation Scholarship for Excellence in the Arts at UNCSA.

Marielis Garcia, a native New Yorker, is currently a member of the Brian Brooks Moving Company and Peter Kyle Dance. In 2016, she premiered her own dance production company, MG DanceArts, which exhibits her creative work and that of her collaborators.

Garcia earned her B.F.A. in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College. She received full scholarships to The Alvin Ailey Summer program, and the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Contemporary Workshop under the direction of Milton Myers. In 2014 she was awarded full tuition to the Twyla Tharp Winter Session Workshop and was later invited to continue her studies by taking classes with the Twyla Tharp Company.

 Professionally Garcia has danced with ODC of San Francisco, City Dance Ensemble, Douglas Dunn and Stefanie Battan Bland. For three years, she danced with Steps Repertory Ensemble where she had the opportunity to work with many New York-based dance artists. Through the Steps Ensemble, she toured South Africa teaching and performing with Ikapa Dance Theater.

In 2014 through a generous residency from La Mama Theater Spoleto, Garcia and her collaborators Kristin Draucker and Nicole Restani created Chimera Project, a multi-medium arts collaboration, which made its debut in Spoleto, Italy.

Garcia’s work has been requested by Appalachian State University, Salem College, Howard Community College and University of North Carolina Greensboro. She currently teaches at Rutgers University, The Washington Heights Community Conservatory of Fine Arts and in New York City public schools.

Charlotte Griffin creates dynamic work for the concert stage, cinematic screen and multimedia environments. Her repertory has been commissioned by the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, the Hartt School Dance Division, BJM Danse in Montreal, Danza UDLAP, Barcelona Institut del Teatre, The Juilliard Summer Intensive, Peridance Professional Trainees, Princeton University, Rutgers University, and more.

She has created ballets at the New York Choreographic Institute with dancers from the New York City Ballet and School of American Ballet, at the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in Austin, and for Eliot Feld's Ballet Tech Kids Dance. Current projects include Bum Phillips All-American Opera, a Monk Parrots production for La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater in New York City, as well as The Cambrians’ Empress Archer remix project, which premiered in Chicago in January 2017.

Griffin’s education and professional trajectory have deep ties to the American Dance Festival where she studied from 1994-1996 and received the Scripps/ADF Primus-Tamiris Fellowship for the International Choreographers Commissioning Program in 2005. In addition, she has been a guest artist at ArcDanz in Mexico, Springboard Danse Montreal, The Yard, Cayman Island Arts Festival, and the Bates Dance Festival. Her award-winning dance films, Barefoot Negotiations (2009) and Raven Study (2007), have screened internationally and have influenced her continued research of choreo-cinematic form, motion, and style. She served on the selection committee of ADF’s International Screendance Festival in 2010 and currently acts as an Advisory Board member of TenduTV, an online dance channel.

Griffin received her B.F.A. in Dance from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy and performed the masterworks of artists such as Paul Taylor, Agnes de Mille, and José Limón. Upon graduation, she was honored with The Martha Hill Award for excellence in her field of study and went on to collaborate and perform with choreographers including David Neumann, Yasmeen Godder, Sue Bernhard, Toshiko Oiwa, Karen Graham, Robert Battle, and Larry Keigwin. She received her M.F.A. in Dance from The University of Texas at Austin, taught at Marymount Manhattan College and Bowdoin College, and has offered master classes in Mexico, Spain, the Czech Republic, and South Korea.

Originally from Durham, N.C., Griffin is assistant professor of dance at the University of California, Irvine.

Mari Meade graduated from the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2009, she relocated to New York City as a recipient of the Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education and started Mari Meade Dance Collective (MMDC). Since that time, she has been an Artist-in-Residence at Chez Bushwick and Lake Studios Berlin (Germany).

Meade’s work has been shown on countless stages nationally and internationally. Highlights include the Kenan Fellowship at Clark Theatre at Lincoln Center, Dance: Access at Danspace St. Mark’s Church, STUFFED at Judson Memorial Church, FLICfest, Battery Dance Festival, New Orleans Fringe Festival, Asheville Fringe Festival (N.C.), Katlehong Arts Center (South Africa), and Lake Studios Berlin (Germany). In New York, she has danced for Dana Salisbury and the no-see-ums, Amanda Hinchey & Dancers, Celia Rowlson-Hall, CJ Holm, touche pas, and Barbie Diewald. She is currently a teaching artist for New York City Ballet and Dancing Classrooms.

About Helen Pickett

A dancer, choreographer and actress, Pickett is resident choreographer for Atlanta Ballet. In the past decade she has created more than 30 ballets in the United States and Europe. In February 2016, she staged her 2008 contemporary ballet Petal for UNCSA’s Winter Dance, the first time it was set on students. Pickett was the speaker for UNCSA’s High School Commencement in 2016, where she received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts and was named Visiting Distinguished Artist.

Pickett has twice been named the best choreographer in Atlanta.  In 2007, she was named to Dance Magazine’s list of “25 to Watch.”  She received a Choreographic Residency from Jacob’s Pillow in 2008, and was one of the first choreographers to receive the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works Grant. She was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance award in 2013. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University in 2011.

Since 2005, she has guest starred in William Forsythe’s award-winning postmodern ballet Impressing the Czar for the Royal Ballet of Flanders and Dresden Ballet in Germany. She first performed in the work for Ballett Frankfurt in 1989, and has since performed it in France, England, Scotland and China, and at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York.

by Lauren Whitaker

April 11, 2017

filter: dance