As I watched this evening of works made by 13 choreographers who grew up in the NYC-based after school dance program run by Ellen Robbins, I couldn’t help but think of a heated debate the dance community took up sometime in the aughts over the question, can choreography be taught? Peter Martins, then director of New York City Ballet, claimed it could not. Nearly everyone else disagreed. Surely this Dances By Very Young Choreographers alumni concert erases any lingering doubt. Robbins, now in her 41st year of teaching, produces a public show every year of the remarkable creations of her young makers, ages six to eighteen. One can assume many now populate arts audiences everywhere. And then there are those featured in this alumni concert at New York Live Arts, who go on to dance degrees and performance careers of their own.
“Switchbacks” by Saskia Globig and Michael Ipsen, part of Dances by Very Young Choreographers Alumni Concert. Photograph by Alice Chacon
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE