Each summer, the Steps with Contemporary Masters program at New York City’s Steps on Broadway offers an introduction to the repertory and style of some of contemporary dance’s most renowned choreographers. Over the course of 13 weeks, each presents a week of daily workshops detailing his or her style and technique, allowing dancers and teachers to explore new movement approaches. On the roster for 2008 are Jacqulyn Buglisi, Donald Byrd, Robert Battle, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson and Nathan Trice, among others.
The format of each workshop, which meets for an hour and a half Monday through Saturday, depends on the artists, who either bring in a piece of current repertory to explore or use class time to create new material with students. Past workshops have also featured panel discussions on such topics as the
economics of choreography and the relationship between dancers and
choreographers. At the culmination of each session, Steps provides studio space for choreographers who wish to audition participants for their own
companies and works.
Participants may choose to take one or all classes offered by a particular artist, or attend more than one workshop throughout the summer. Diane Grumet, co-artistic director and managing director of Steps, sees the program’s flexibility as a boon for busy professionals. “A lot of teachers don’t have time to commit to a full program,” she explains. “They can get a lot out of one class or one experience with these artists.”
Grumet works to add at least one new name to the selection of artists per season. Meanwhile, many return year after year, as do students and, in particular, teachers, who gain creative tools for both classroom and stage. “Teachers can come, and within a short period of time, experience a new approach to choreography and have something to bring back to their own students,” says Grumet.
This year’s series began on June 2 and runs through August 30. A full list of master artists is available online. There is no audition or application process, but participants are expected to have at least an intermediate to advanced level of experience. Info: Steps on Broadway, 2121 Broadway, New York, NY 10023; 212-874-2410; [email protected];