Four choreographers, including alumna, selected for this year’s Choreographic Institute at UNCSA

The UNCSA School of Dance has announced the participants for this year’s Choreographic Institute, a four-week summer residency designed to foster the development of new work by emerging and mid-career choreographers of exceptional promise.

The institute begins June 23 and culminates in a performance that is open to the public on July 19 at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Freedman Theatre on the UNCSA campus, 1533 S. Main St. Tickets, at $12 each, will be available starting June 3 for purchase online or by calling the box office at 336-721-1945.

This year’s choreographers were selected from more than 150 submissions and include Asia Pyron and Anderson Souza in contemporary ballet, and Danielle Swatzie and Dance alumna Annalee Traylor (High School ’06) in contemporary dance.

Dance alumnus Juel D. Lane (B.F.A. ’02) is the new director of the Choreographic Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience as a dancer, choreographer and director.

Juel D. Lane

Juel D. Lane, director of the Choreographic Institute

“The institute offers gifted choreographers the time and space to just explore and push their imaginations, to create the world that they want to create, which is a dream for most choreographers.” said Lane.

“My goal is to make the choreographers feel seen, valued and heard.”

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. The institute looks for emerging choreographers who exhibit strong choreographic voices, exceptional promise and at least five years of choreographic experience.

The institute was formerly overseen by Dance faculty member and alumnus Ashley Lindsey (B.F.A. ’07), now the director of UNCSA’s Summer Dance program.

Ashley Lindsey, director of UNCSA’s Summer Dance program

Ashley Lindsey, director of UNCSA’s Summer Dance program

“I’m super thankful for Dean of Dance Endalyn T. Outlaw for selecting me for this role,” Lane said. “And it’s so great to work with Ashley Lindsey.”

To begin the session, the four choreographers will select 15-18-year-old dancers who are attending UNCSA’s Summer Dance Intensives for their pieces through auditions.

In addition to the allotted time and space to create works, the choreographers will have the benefit of several workshop leaders that Lane has assembled, including Sharrell Luckett, director of the Black Acting Methods Studio; Sule Adams, founder and executive producer of Whole Heart Productions; Pam Greene, founder of PMG Arts Management; Marissa McCullough, director of the UNCSA Dance Costume Shop; and several others.

“I want to make sure that I share things that have been especially beneficial for my career with the choreographers,” Lane said. “You have to learn about things like contracts and things to ask an agent. This is what I do as a working choreographer, so let me bring you into my world for four weeks.”

As Lane mentors the institute’s choreographers, he will work alongside Faculty Emeritus Trish Casey, who was his composition teacher when he was a student at UNCSA.

“When Endalyn asked me to be director this year, I immediately said, ‘I have to get Trish Casey as a mentor’ for the choreographers,” Lane said. “I thought it would be amazing. The thing about Trish is the way she sees imagery and the language that she can use to help the choreographer highlight their imagination and really get themselves going in terms of making artistic choices.”

With a myriad of summer dance and choreography programs going on throughout the country, Lane explained what’s different and special about the one at UNCSA.

“I always like to give space where choreographers can find their voice and center themselves in their work,” he said. “A big part of being a choreographer is: How do I tell a story? We’ve seen so many variables of different ways to move. So, I want the choreographers to have a space where they can really show who they are and what they have to offer.”

Lane, who was a guest instructor at UNCSA during the spring semester, is a contemporary of Dance alumna Camille A. Brown (B.F.A. ’01) and danced in the ensemble of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which Brown choreographed.

“I have to give big respect to my sister Camille,” Lane said. “To feel my heart beat out of my chest, knowing millions of people are watching — live. You also have cameras with you on the stage, and you have to dance around them, thinking ‘Don’t bump into this cameraman.’ It was the most exciting experience in my life.”

More on the UNCSA 2024 Choreographic Institute Residents

Asia Pyron

Asia Pyron

Asia Pyron

Pyron is a freelance choreographer and the director of “PYDANCE,” a dance collective she formed. Pyron is originally from Atlanta but received most of her early training at Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan. After graduating high school, she attended the Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she received her B.F.A. in contemporary performance and composition in 2020. During her time in Boston, she performed in local dance festivals such as the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Onstage360 and the Boston Conservatory WinterWorks concerts.

Pyron has been commissioned as a guest artist at institutions and companies such as Nolte Academy, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, URBANITY Dance, DanceLab NY and Metro Dance Nashville. She has been awarded various grants and residency opportunities such as the Metro Arts THRIVE Grant, South Arts Cross Sector Impact Grant in partnership with Creative Parks Nashville, Tennessee, and the Mare Nostrum Elements: Emerging Choreographers Series. Pyron currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, where she continues to create work for PYDANCE and other dance organizations throughout the country. 

Anderson Souza

Anderson Souza

Anderson Souza

Born in Santo Angelo, Brazil, Souza received his training at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Dança under Jorge Teixeira. After graduating, he joined the Cia Brasileira de ballet in Rio de Janeiro, dancing principal and soloist roles and competing in national and international competitions, including the Beijing International Ballet Competition. He traveled with the company to perform in Colombia, China, Israel and France. In 2013, Anderson joined Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, where he matured his artistry under the unique guidance of Kirkland. He has had the pleasure of dancing roles in renowned ballets such as “The Nutcracker” by Yuri Possokhov; “La Sylphide” as Gurn, staged by Johan Kobborg; “Sum Stravinsky” by Kiyon Ross; “Sandpaper Ballet” by Mark Morris; “Tuplet” by Alexander Ekman; and the world premiere of “Catch” by Liam Scarlett.

In his performances, Souza aims to connect with audiences on a deep emotional level, using dance as a means of communication. He believes in the power of movement to touch hearts and minds and he strives to create moments of beauty and inspiration through his art. Additionally, Souza has also embarked on a successful career as a choreographer and has created works for Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Ballet 2, showcasing his unique artistic vision and creativity.

Danielle Swatzie 

Danielle Swatzie

Danielle Swatzie

Born and raised in Atlanta, Swatzie began her training at DeKalb School of the Arts and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As a professional creative director, choreographer, filmmaker and dancer, she pursues her professional work as a freelancer based in the city of Atlanta.

As a filmmaker and choreographer, Swatzie received the 2021 BronzeLens Film Festival Award for best music and dance film for her short titled “META.” Swatzie’s short film “growing roots through concrete” premiered in 2020 and was an official selection at the American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers in 2023 and received an honorable mention at the Jacksonville Dance Film Festival in 2021. As a choreographer, her work has evolved into musical theater contributing movement for the Alliance Theatre’s musical production of “The Incredible Book Eating Boy.” Her experience in stage work extends into collegiate institutions such as Spelman Dance Theatre at Spelman College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s  Dance program. To continue to nourish her craft as a movement maker, she has worked on major projects in entertainment with renowned artists such as Otis Sallid and previously Kiki Ely as their assistant choreographer.

Outside of her creative work, her dance performances can be seen on networks including BET, Starz, Apple TV and HBO Max, and on stage for artists such as Helen Simoneau, Tommie-Waheed Evans, Komansé Dance Theatre, Julio Medina and more. She has also included her talents inside her own independent films, staged works and conceptualized projects that can be seen online. With her ever-evolving passion and commitment to the performing arts, her hard work has landed her on Dance Magazine’s 2024 “25 to Watch” list.

Annalee Traylor

Annalee Traylor

Annalee Traylor

Traylor is a creator, choreographer, director and educator originally from Huntsville, Alabama. Her tragicomic storytelling lives at the intersection of theater and dance. Her creative practice is nourished by interdisciplinary collaboration and anchored in highly physical, archetypal and emotive state-based research. She is a faculty member at Emory University as the inaugural 2023-24 Emory Arts fellow in Dance.

Traylor's work has been presented nationally and abroad in Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and more.

She has been commissioned by Emory University, Kennesaw State University, Periapsis Music and Dance, Texture Contemporary Ballet, Point Park University's International Summer Dance, REED Dance, The Dance Gallery Festival, Houston Contemporary II, Dance Canvas, and Voices Carry Inc., and was chosen as a choreographer for Dance Lab NY, working with artists of Korzo Theater in The Hague, Netherlands.

Her guest teaching credits include Carnegie Mellon University, Sam Houston State University, Point Park University, Slippery Rock University with the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, DeKalb School of the Arts, Dancewave, The Creative and Performing Arts High School, and the virtual international dance school Ballet Together, among many other preprofessional programs, schools and studios throughout the U.S.

In addition to receiving her High School diploma from UNCSA, Traylor received her B.F.A. from Point Park University and her M.F.A. in choreography from the California Institute of the Arts. 

Contact Media Relations(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)

Get the best news, performance and alumni stories from UNCSA.

May 08, 2024