News: Rural Retreat 2008

Friday 23 March 2007

DanceEast’s fourth Rural Retreat will focus on the dance world’s artistic directors and creative directors for the future. It will take place in January 2008 at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire. 26 participants from four continents were selected from some 70 applicants to take part in the inspirational four day think-tank.

The 2008 Rural Retreat is structured for would-be directors of mid-to large-scale ballet and contemporary dance companies. Several of the participants already have some experience of smaller scale leadership having formed their own companies: Daniel Gwirtzman who founded the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company in New York in 1998 and choreographer Cathy Marston who formed her own company very recently (The Cathy Marston Project) and actually takes on the directorship of Switzerland’s Bern Ballet later this year.

Others have evolved into shared positions of leadership in companies which have nurtured their entire performing careers, such as Feng Ying, deputy director of the National Ballet of China and Tamas Detrich now ballet master and associate director of Stuttgart Ballet. Some have already taken on leadership – quite recently – of small companies, including Michael Trent, artistic director of Toronto-based Dancemakers and The Centre for Creation since August 06, Christopher Stowell, artistic director of Oregon Ballet Theatre since 2003 and Jeff Edwards, associate artistic director of Washington Ballet, also since 2003.

Some have moved on from dancing and already forged diverse careers in other creative orbits of dance, such as Farooq Chaudhry who has produced Akram Khan’s projects for the last seven years, and Sharon Watson and Kenneth Tharp, both of whom are also currently fellows of the UK’s Clore Leadership Programme which aims to help train and develop a new generation of leaders in the arts in the UK.

Dancers such as English National Ballet’s Thomas Edur, The National Ballet of Canada’s Artist in Residence Rex Harrington,ex-Nederlands Dans Theatre’s Václav Kunes (now working as a freelance dancer and choreographer), Cullberg Ballet’s Tilman O’Donnell (soon to join the Forsyth Dance Company), Royal Ballet principal Tamara Rojo, Finnish National Ballet’s Minna Tervamäki,and, until recently, Rambert’s Ana Luján Sánchez are now pushing open doors to explore possible new futures in the dance world, while others have already made an impact as teachers and repetiteurs – Ballet de Lorraine’s Christophe Béranger and Otto Neubert, ballet master at Pacific Northwest Ballet following a dancing career at New York City Ballet. Combining careers as dancers, choreographers and producers are the Royal Ballet’s Will Tuckett and Ernst Meisner and Poland’s Karol Urbanski.

Established choreographers André Gingras and Australia’s Natalie Weir and Adrian Burnett, and performer and choreographer Marc Brew complete the list of participants


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