by Nikki Croker
Six choreographers were chosen out of [however many] applicants to present two dance pieces: one classic Broadway piece and one original work of any kind. The premise is to provide a platform for choreographers to showcase their work to some of the big-wigs in the industry, while simultaneously giving 60 dancers an opportunity to be showcased as well. It's where choreographers like Andy Blankenbeuhler got their start a decade ago, and where many future Tony Award winners are bound to begin. We got to perform in the beautiful downstairs theatre at Alvin Ailey, where the energy of the space vibrates with possibilities.
My choreographer hadn’t actually met any of his dancers before getting in the studio with us. I myself was referred to him by a friend, and I’m beyond grateful to have been trusted to dance his vision for the two pieces he chose to present. We were allotted only 12 hours of rehearsal in all to set both numbers. Unlike a standard Broadway show where you have 2.5 hours to tell a story, the choreographers each had to try to tell their story, or rather convey their respective choreographic points of view, in one number. The second number was expected to be contrasting, and yet further explicatory upon their voice as a choreographer - same dancers, same twelve hours, same stakes.
I was quite lucky to have previously worked with most of my fellow dancers, and we had a really positive group of people making the otherwise quite stressful process very much enjoyable. That being said, it was definitely a challenge to set two pieces and get them feeling comfy enough to perform in only 12 collective hours. I was thrilled to perform in DANCE BREAK 2018, though, because we were surrounded by so many inspirational dancers which really gave reason to everyone to rise to the occasion. I was able to perform for industry professionals and, truth be told, performing in the show actually lead to a job opportunity for me! How could I be anything but grateful to have been part of DANCE BREAK 2018?? Regardless of an offer, a connection, or anything else that any of us may have tangibly benefitted from the experience, the opportunity to be onstage with the best in the industry performing for the absolute best in the industry was simply invigorating.