The Bard College Dance Program/Gibney Partnership provides unique opportunities for Bard students to work closely with Gibney Company and Company Curated Teaching Artists. The program launched in September 2020 and is the fourth professional partnership launched by the Bard Dance Program, which began in 2009 with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and has included the American Dance Festival and the Trisha Brown Dance Company.
The partnership is championed by Director of Engagement Amy Miller, Bard’s Dance Program Director Tara Lorenzen, and Professor of Dance Maria Simpson with support from Senior Company Advisor Alexandra Wells and the Gibney Education Team.
This partnership represents a wide-ranging vision of what dance can be in a liberal arts curriculum at a time when artist engagement in both local and global communities is essential.
Each semester, teaching artists selected by Gibney’s leadership teach courses embedded in Bard’s dance curriculum, including studio courses for all levels of dancers as well as seminar courses that address discipline-specific topics. Extracurricular workshops and master classes will further enhance the educational field of study.
During the inaugural semester, Maleek Washington, 2019 Company Curated Artist and former Gibney Community Actionist, taught two modern dance technique courses on Bard’s Campus, following a strict COVID-19 safety plan. “It’s amazing how much we can push our boundaries inside of boundaries. It’s been super gratifying to work with Bard students in this unprecedented time,” says Washington.
Past faculty have included:
Each fall semester, Director of Engagement Amy Miller also teaches a seminar course entitled Entrepreneurial Artistry as Activism. Modeled after Gibney Company’s Advocacy Fellowship program and welcoming in members of the Gibney leadership as guest speakers, this course is for students who want to combine an intense exploration of the written word as a tool to speak more powerfully about the relevancy of body-based performance, and to pinpoint a pressing social issue that ignites a personal passion.
GIBNEY COMPANY RESIDENCY
Once a year, Gibney Company will be in residence at Bard College. Gibney Company will take advantage of unencumbered work time outside of New York City to focus on the production elements of newly commissioned choreography at the LUMA Theater inside the Fisher Center for Performing Arts. Each technical residency will also include exchange with Bard students through open rehearsals, master classes and a final public showing for the larger Annandale-on-Hudson community.
This partnership will also involve connections between the Bard community and Gibney’s Community Action team. Gibney will share two Community Action programs with Bard students: our Hands are for Holding assembly program, which uses movement to start conversations with young people about healthy relationships, and our Moving Toward Justice trainings that cultivate a space for ‘artist entrepreneurs’ to build skills and foster dialogue and exchange at the intersection of arts and social justice. Embedded with embodied practice experiences, these sessions addressing activism aim to expand the definition of ‘community’ to include those right around us. Sessions build awareness about a myriad of social justice issues and are rooted in Gibney Community Action’s long history in addressing gender-based violence alongside survivors and social workers.
Amy Miller is a NYC-based dancer, choreographer, educator, administrator and advocate. Recently appointed as Gibney’s new Director of Engagement, she builds on her long dedication to both artistry and social action by facilitating the deepening of reciprocal exchange with educational institutions and building new programming that further acknowledges the fractal nature of transformation both inside and outside the studio in our constantly shifting world.
Originally from Ohio, her youth as a gymnast evolved into training at The Dance Institute at the University of Akron. She spent a decade at the Ohio Ballet where she performed works by a wide-range of choreographers including José Limon, Lucinda Childs, George Balanchine and Alonzo King. She was a founding member of Cleveland-based GroundWorks DanceTheater where she choreographed numerous works and continues her ongoing connection as artistic advisor. Since 2012, she has been a Director and a performing member of Gibney Company performing works by Gina Gibney, Bryan Arias, Peter Chu and Shannon Gillen.
Interested in revealing ways to foster both artistic excellence and social engagement in all her work, Miller strives to prioritize both components in equal measure. For nearly a decade, Miller has focused on Gibney’s Community Action initiatives and has worked closely with social workers toward facilitating movement workshops with survivors of gender-based violence, conducted both local and international trainings for artists interested in engaging in social action, and facilitated healthy relationship workshops for young people to raise awareness about the role of the arts in violence prevention. Miller will steward the expansion of the Moving Toward Justice platform at Gibney providing a supportive curriculum for activating arts-based social justice projects aimed at addressing gaps in the field. Miller co-facilitates creative spaces for advocacy alongside Gibney’s ‘Move to Move Beyond Storytellers,’ a group of survivors creating performances for audiences and performers alike to deepen our critical consciousness, witness the power of reclaiming one’s agency, and move toward shared liberation. Actively moving toward co-creating spaces that value antiracism as a foundational tenet, Miller is a facilitation committee member of Gibney’s internal Decentering Whiteness Working Group offering white-identifying staff members opportunities to unlearn oppressive structures, as well as dovetail energies with Gibney’s Multiracial Staff Group directly addressing reducing harm to and support of our BIPOC staff and greater community.
Miller has facilitated teaching residencies at Oberlin College, Brown University, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Bates Dance Festival, SUNY Purchase and The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron among many others. Miller is currently a teaching artist for the Bard College Dance Program/Gibney Partnership, a multi-year engagement that represents a wide-ranging vision of what dance can be in a liberal arts curriculum. She has conducted Gibney Company international residencies at Mimar Sinan University and Koc University (Istanbul), University of Cape Town (South Africa), DOCH: School of Dance and Circus (Stockholm), MUDA Africa (Tanzania) and Gisenyi, Rwanda. Miller has thrice been a Dance/USA Mentor through their Institute for Leadership Training. Miller was honored to receive an Arts & Artists in Progress “Pay it Forward” Award from Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Miller holds a BFA in Dance and is a recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for her choreography.
Elisa Clark is an award winning artist, educator, and administrator from the Washington, DC area, who trained at the Maryland Youth Ballet, before receiving a BFA from The Juilliard School, under Benjamin Harkarvy. Ms. Clark was a founding member of Robert Battle’s Battleworks Dance Company, where she also served as Company Manager. Additionally, she was a featured member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and Mark Morris Dance Group, and performed with Nederlands Dans Theater and The Metropolitan Opera, in works by Jirí Kylián, and Crystal Pite amongst others, respectively. Her extensive performing career has also included appearances in the Off-Broadway production of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, as well as in film work with Breton Tyner-Bryan’s Breton Follies Productions, and as an actor in several Samuel Beckett plays, directed by Mark Morris for Northern Ireland’s Happy Days Festival. As an educator and mentor, she has held residencies and faculty positions at the Ailey School/Fordham University, Alabama School of Fine Arts, American Dance Festival, Brown University, George Mason University, Indiana University, Jacob’s Pillow, Marymount Manhattan College, MOVE (NYC), University of North Carolina School of the Arts, New World School of the Arts and is currently on faculty at the University of the Arts and Princeton University. As a repetiteur and rehearsal director, Ms. Clark frequently restages the works of Mr. Battle and Mr. Morris, in addition to serving as Mr. Battle’s creative assistant for new works. Ms. Clark is a Princess Grace Award Winner and a Certified Life Coach, often leading seminars, empowering artists to navigate their respective field. Her most recent performing engagements have been dancing alongside Monica Bill Barnes in Happy Hour. She is grateful to be a Gibney Teaching Artist with Gibney Dance.
Alanna Morris-Van Tassel
Dancer/Choreographer/Educator/Artist Organizer. Brooklyn native and Saint Paul-based artist excavating cultural retention and fragmentation within Caribbean diasporic identity. TU Dance performer (2007-2017). Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch! TU Dance’s former Artistic Associate (2020) and current Advisor to Springboard Danse Montreal. Minneapolis City Pages’ Artist of the Year and Best Choreographer for her solo, “Yam, Potatoe an Fish!” Artistic Director of AMVTP, founded in 2017 to produce dance, education and community-building initiatives. 2015 McKnight Dance Fellow. Graduate of The Juilliard School and LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts. Currently developing performance art project, Black Light, which explores the nobility of black-ness, divine feminine expression and primordial creativity. Live and virtual presentations in 2021 and 2022. www.alannamvt.com
Cameron McKinney, the Artistic Director of Kizuna Dance, is a New York City-based choreographer and educator. With over 15 years of Japanese language study, he created Kizuna Dance with the mission of using contemporary floorwork to create works that celebrate the Japanese culture. He was recently selected as a 2019-20 U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artist Fellow to collaborate with renowned Japanese choreographer Toru Shimazaki and present work in showcases in Japan alongside the 2020/2021 Tokyo Olympic Games’ events. He is a 2020 Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellow at The School at Jacob’s Pillow (under the direction of Dianne McIntyre and Risa Steinbeirg), a 2017-18 Alvin Ailey Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab Fellow, and a 2018 Asian Cultural Council Individual Grantee. Through Kizuna Dance, Cameron has presented work and taught in fifteen states and in Japan, Mexico, France, and the UK. His commissions include Princeton University, twice from the Joffrey Ballet School, twice from the Let’s Dance International Frontiers Festival, The Dance Gallery Festival, Manhattanville College, CREATE:ART, Western Washington University, and SUNY Brockport, among numerous others. His teaching credits include Adjunct Lecturer positions at Princeton University and Queensborough Community College, and he has taught on faculty at Gibney Dance since 2016. He has also taught on faculty at the Joffrey Dance School, the Charlotte Dance Festival, the Tennessee Dance Festival, the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, and Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center. He is currently building Nagare Technique, a training module that blends streetdance styles and contemporary floorwork. Through Kizuna Dance’s new Culture Commissions program, he also directly supports emerging artists through commissions for new works created through research-oriented explorations into the Japanese culture.
Maleek Washington (Entertainer) is from the Bronx. A graduate of the Boston Conservatory, where he studied on full scholarship, he began his dance training at Harlem School of The Arts, Broadway Dance Centerand LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. He has danced with CityDance Ensemble (Washington DC), Montreal’s SpringBoard Danse (working with Jose Navas & RUBBERBAND), and Kyle Abraham’s A.I.M for four seasons, before becoming the first African-American male to perform in Sleep No More. He has also performed for Sia, Phish, and Rihanna (for an immersive experience for her AntidiaRy Campaign). Maleek was part of NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live and performed with Camille A. Brown and Dancers in the 2018 Ted Talk Conference in Vancouver. Maleek is thrilled to be a member of CABD for 4 seasons having the opportunity to work on shows like Porgy and Bess of the Metropolitian Opera as an assistant choreographer, Spike Lees Mont Blanc Commerical as assistant choreographer, and Camilles Alvin Ailey piece entitled “City of Rain”. Recently Maleek was a guest choreographer and adjunct professor at University School of the Arts for fall 2019. Finished his 3rd year choreographing at Sydney’s premiere Full time training program Brent Street and was Movement Director for Fenders “Inside the Box” with Chic’s, Nile Rodgers.