Five choreographers including several alumni selected to participate in UNCSA Choreographic Institute

The School of Dance has announced five participants for its 2023 Choreographic Institute, a four-week residency designed to foster the development of new work by emerging and mid-career choreographers of exceptional promise. 

The institute begins June 26 and culminates in a performance that is open to the public on July 21 at 2 p.m. at the Stevens Center, 405 W. Fourth St., downtown. Tickets, at $12 each, will be available starting June 5 for purchase online or by calling the box office at 336-721-1945.

This year’s resident choreographers include Dance alumnae Chelsea Ainsworth (High School ’06) and Maiya Redding for contemporary, Mollie Sansone and alumnus Richard Walters for contemporary ballet, and Eva Stone who will create a piece that is a combination of both styles. They will each create a new piece with ballet and contemporary dance students from the Summer Dance Intensives. Ballet and contemporary students 12- to 18-years-old participate in the intensives, and those over 15 may audition to be in the Choreographic Institute residents’ new pieces.

“We are ready for another exciting summer program, welcoming students from as far away as Japan and South America,” said Ashley Lindsey (B.F.A. ’07), an alumnus and director of the Summer Dance Program.

alumnus and director of the Summer Dance Program, Ashley Lindsey

Alumnus and director of the Summer Dance Program, Ashley Lindsey

Inaugurated in 2017, the Choreographic Institute provides choreographers and dance students with resources to create new works and opportunities to work with some of the leading-edge performance technologies in today's dance world. For the first time ever, this year the choreographers will also be teaching classes for the Summer Intensive students. The institute looks for emerging choreographers who exhibit strong choreographic voices, exceptional promise, and at least five years of choreographic experience. There were more than 200 applications for the 2023 session.

The highly competitive residency leverages studio space and time, dancers and faculty, and guest artist expertise at UNCSA to foster the creativity of exceptionally talented emerging choreographers.

This will be Ashley Lindsey’s fifth and final year as director of the Summer Program. For the past two years, he also has served as a visiting guest professor at UNCSA.  

“It’s been an incredible experience,” Lindsey said. “I’ve learned how to build a program, and how to do administrative things. Personally, it’s been great to see quite a few kids who start in our summer program and end up graduating from our high school or college program.”

Dance alumna Mari Meade (High School ’06, B.F.A. ’09) is the associate director of the Choreographic Institute and will teach workshops remotely from her home in France.

Dance alumna and associate director of the Choreographic Institute, Mari Meade

Dance alumna and associate director of the Choreographic Institute, Mari Meade

Meade is an educator, choreographer and founder of the Moulin/Belle in Perigord Vert, France, and the Mari Meade Dance Collective (MMDC). Meade has received an invitation to the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of New York City Ballet; UNCSA Development Residency; and the Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education; and was an artist-in-residence at Chez Bushwick, Triskelion Arts, City University of New York Dance Initiative and Lake Studios Berlin.

Her contemporary dance company is approaching its 10th year and has performed nationally and internationally. MMDC's "dialogue" (excerpt) won Spoke the Hub’s Winter Follies in New York City and was a Top 10 national finalist at McCallum Theatre’s Choreography Festival in California.

The institute’s mentor this year is Sidra Bell, a master lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and adjunct professor at Ball State University in Indiana. She was artist-in-residence at Harvard University, an adjunct professor at Georgian Court University in New Jersey and an adjunct professor at Barnard College in New York City. 

Bell has won several awards, notably a 2015 National Dance Project Production Award and Production Residency for Dance from the New England Foundation for the Arts. Her company, Sidra Bell Dance New York, was one of 25 inaugural recipients of the Dance Advancement Fund Award from Dance/NYC in 2017.

“She will work one-on-one with the choreographers as they build their pieces,” Lindsey said. “And she’ll also be teaching workshops for the five choreographers on the creative process.”

The institute gives the choreographers freedom and support that may be difficult to find in the day-to-day world of the professional dance.

“Oftentimes, independent choreographers are expected to be the choreographer and the producer,” Lindsey said. “In the Choreographic Institute, those things are taken care of by somebody else, and you can totally focus on the choreography.”

More on the UNCSA 2023 Choreographic Institute Residents

Chelsea Ainsworth, a UNCSA alumna, is a graduate of the Dance Department of The Juilliard School. After graduating, she worked with Johannes Wieland/StaatstheaterKassel, Lorena Egan, Flexicure, Amber Sloan, Bryn Cohn + Artists, and was on the dance faculty at CAP21 musical theater school and Chen Dance Center.

Chelsea Ainsworth

Chelsea Ainsworth

Currently Ainsworth is the co-choreographer and director of Dual Rivet, a women-led dance company focused on creating and sharing highly physical contemporary dance to a wide audience. Based in New York City, Dual Rivet creates work for stage and film that exchanges a cinematic and visceral language to influence both platforms. Dual Rivet hosts an annual choreography festival, MADE BY WOMEN, highlighting women choreographers and creators.

Maiya Redding was raised in Chicago, and now is a full-time resident of New York City. She graduated from SUNY Purchase College in 2016, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. During her junior year in college, she studied abroad at the Korean National University of Arts (K-Arts) in Seoul for four months.

Maiya Redding

Maiya Redding

Recently Redding reset her work "Breaking through the Generational Curse" on Alessandra Corona Performing Works and set another work, "Chicago Luvin," on Dance Lab New York. In addition, she created and choreographed two films, "The Evolution of Womb(man)hood" and "Letters to Medusa."

Redding has a Master of Fine Arts in dance from Hunter College. She teaches there and at Hofstra University.

Growing up in North Carolina, Mollie Sansone began her dance training with Mel Tomlinson, Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, among others. During the summers, Sansone attended the Joffrey Midwest Workshop, the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory, Atlanta Ballet and Nashville Ballet.

Mollie Sansone

Mollie Sansone

In 2004, Sansone began her professional career with Nashville Ballet. During her 19-year tenure she has performed works by choreographers such as Jirí Kylián, George Balanchine and Salvatore Aiello. Sansone has been a School of Nashville Ballet faculty member since 2005. She premiered her first professional choreography in 2019 and is now the resident choreographer for Nashville Ballet.

Richard Walters, who attended UNCSA School of Dance under the direction of Ethan Stiefel, is Madison Ballet's rehearsal director and principal of Madison Ballet School. From Rochester, New York, Walters went on to perform with Hubbard Street 2, Oklahoma City Ballet, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery and BalletX, performing works by Alejandro Cerrudo, Twyla Tharp, Nacho Duato, Ma Cong, Jorma Elo and Cayetano Soto.

Richard Walters

Richard Walters

In 2018, Walters began exploring dance through film, performing in premieres at American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers, Virtual Pathways Dance Festival, 92Y’s Mobile Dance Film Festival, Men in Dance festival and Violet Sands’ “No Matter What” music video. Since 2019, Walters has been a guest teaching artist for LamonDance and collaborator for various dance film projects with Dance//Novella in Vancouver, B.C. Walters has had dances commissioned by Hudson Ballet Theater, LamonDance and Madison Ballet.

Eva Stone received a B.F.A. in performance and choreography from Arizona State University. After completing an M.A. in choreography and choreological studies from Trinity Laban in London, England, she formed The Stone Dance Collective.

Eva Stone

Eva Stone

Her company presented work at both The Place and Sadler’s Wells theaters. Stone relocated to Seattle in 1995, reestablished her company, and began an extensive teaching and lecturing career. She is currently on faculty at Spectrum Dance Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, where she initiated New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance. This nationally recognized program is specifically designed to educate and mentor the next generation of female dance makers.

Stone is also the founder, producer and curator of CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, an annual Seattle-based contemporary dance festival that is now celebrating 14 years and features local, national and international dance artists as well as classes, lectures and community-based programs. This nationally recognized dance festival has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and was cited as one of most important contemporary dance events in the U.S. by Dance Magazine.

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May 16, 2023