Local Students Train with National Dance Professionals at the
NORD/NOBA Center for Dance Summer Intensive
Program culminates with joint performance by students, local artists, and TU Dance
New Orleans, LA – The NORD/NOBA Center for Dance (CFD), a cultural community partnership of the New Orleans Recreation Department and the New Orleans Ballet Association, in collaboration with Friends of NORD began its annual Summer Intensive dance program on July 6 at Tulane University’s McWilliams Hall.This year’s program features residencies by former dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Pilobolus.
The Summer Intensive is an extension of the Center for Dance’s pre-professional program that allows 50 dance students ages 9-18 to train alongside local and guest artists for four weeks. To qualify for the program, students must have at least two years of ballet training and are selected by audition in the spring.
“NOBA's ongoing dedication to the NORD/NOBA Center For Dance and their passion for enhancing the lives of our children have been critical to the tremendous success and national recognition of this program," said Vic Richard, Director of NORD. "We're excited to continue this partnership with NOBA and to be a part of the creativity, discipline, and imagination of our youth as they are given the opportunity and access to truly explore the arts.”
This year’s guest artist faculty includes Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, former dancers with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and co-founders of the TU Dance Company; Christina Johnson, former Principal Dancer from Dance Theatre of Harlem and currently rehearsal director for Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Armitage Gone! Dance; and Tamieca McCloud of Pilobolus. The diversity in style and training of the guest artists in this year’s Summer Intensive represents a unique opportunity for artists, students, and audiences in the New Orleans area to celebrate the excellence and outstanding repertoire of both classic and new works.
“The camp provides an opportunity for dance students in New Orleans to receive technique and choreography training from a high caliber of guest and local artists,” said Chara Mock, NOBA Education Coordinator. “The CFD strives to offer students with a demonstrated talent an accessible opportunity to intensively train with some of the best teachers possible.”
For more than a decade, the summer intensive has trained students throughout the community, and for the second consecutive year, the program has increased to four levels to support the demand. “The artists are not only working with our Senior Level students, but our young dancers as well. It’s not often that students at a beginner level and as young as nine years old receive the opportunity to work with such high level of teaching artists,” said Mock. Past guest artists have included Urban Bush Women, Pascal Rioult, choreographers Thaddeus Davis and Tanya Wideman-Davis, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, PerksDanceMusicTheatre, and Urban Ballet Theatre. All of the current and past guest and local artists have a deeply rooted commitment to working with youth that is core to their company’s and personal mission.
The Summer Intensive program is offering many distinct choreographic voices that will culminate in a performance by the students of the works that they have learned in addition to performances by guest artists Toni and Uri Sands from TU Dance, on Friday, July 30, 6:30 pm at Dillard University’s Cook Auditorium. Tickets for the performance are $6, and are available by calling NOBA at 504.522.0996.
NORD/NOBA Center For Dance
The NORD/NOBA Center For Dance is a cultural community partnership between the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) and the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA). Founded in 1992 with seed money from the Freeport-McMoran Foundation, The Center was born out of a need to make dance accessible to all school-age children. A program that began with just 30 students now has an annual gross enrollment of more than 750 children at 5 NORD centers and three partner sites citywide. With a core curriculum of ballet, classes are open to any child in Orleans Parish with a demonstrated interest in dance. Through a professional faculty, master classes by NOBA Main Stage artists and other visiting artists, a mentor program and field trips, the Center works with each child to cultivate dreams and strengthen futures. The NOBA programs are a recipient of the 2005 Louisiana Governor’s Arts Award, 2005 Big Easy Classical Arts Award, and 2002 Coming Up Taller Award by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
TU Dance is one of the nation’s newest non-profit, professional dance organizations. Founded in 2004 by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, the Minnesota-based company reaches across dance styles, drawing on a broad range of dance traditions from contemporary ballet to modern and traditional forms. Exploring themes as varied as South Africa’s heroic struggle to the tone of a Minnesota lake, TU Dance’s work aims to reveal the connective power of dance, celebrating a beautiful diversity on stage. In its first few seasons, TU Dance has premiered more than 10 new works by choreographer Uri Sands, named as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” for 2005, and recipient of the inaugural 2005 Princess Grace Award in choreography. The company has also premiered work by leading American choreographers such as Dwight Rhoden and Ron Brown. Alongside their passion for diversity, Toni and Uri are committed to introducing new, aspiring artists to the Twin Cities scene. The company features 10 extraordinary professionals, and has regularly included guests from renowned companies like Complexions and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet.
Born in Vienna, Austria, Christina began her dance education at age seven. She trained at the Boston School of Ballet, the School of American Ballet and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. By the time she was seventeen she began her professional career. She was a member of the Boston Ballet for two years before joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she rose to become a principal dancer during her 13-year tenure and dance leading roles in much of the company’s repertoire. Christina has worked with distinguished choreographers and coaches including Jerome Robbins, Frederic Franklin, Suzanne Farrell, Allegra Kent and Sir Anthony Dowell. She also has had original works created on her by Glen Tetley, Rui Horta, Alonzo King and Dwight Rhoden among others. She was a member of the Swiss companies, Le Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve for five years and the Ballett Basel for two years. Christina has been a featured guest artist with various companies worldwide, including the renowned Royal Ballet of London, and is a founding member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She made her Broadway debut in The Red Shoes and is also featured in The African Americans, a book which portrays accomplished African Americans in various fields. After her performance career Christina has been sought after as a teacher, coach and ballet master, and has worked with companies such as the Washington Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and Gotesborg Ballett. Christina held the position of Rehearsal Director for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Karole Armitage’s company, Armitage Gone! Dance in New York. In addition, she assisted Frederic Franklin with the restaging of Giselle for the Joffrey Ballet, and also assisted choreographers Dwight Rhoden, Nicolo Fonte, and Karole Amritage in creating world premieres. Christina continues her work as teacher, coach and ballet master for dance companies and schools worldwide.
Tamieca McCloud began her dance studies in her in Newark, NJ, at the School of the Garden State Ballet. In 1994, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University, where she completed a dual major in the studies of Dance and Literature. Tamieca has been performing professionally since 1995, when she began touring, nationally and internationally, with Pilobolus Dance Theater. She has been choreographing her own work, since 1992. Tamieca’s work has been performed at Rutgers University (NJ), Mulberry Street Theater (NYC), the Thelma Hill Presents series Toenails of Steel and Ruby-Red Text (NYC), Judson Memorial Church (NYC), The Bridge for Dance Uptown Performance series (NYC), the Dancers Responding to AIDS Remember Project (NYC), the CEC Meeting House (Philadelphia), Queensborough Community College, at the Goose Route Dance Festival (W Va.), and in Bermuda as a guest of the National Dance Theater of Bermuda. She established restless.native.dance., in 1999. Tamieca has continued to freelance with Pilobolus, performing both onstage and in commercials for Hyundai, Ford and the NFL. She has performed with the B3W and Wright Now! PerformanceXperience dance companies, and taught dance at CedarBridge Academy and United Dance Productions, in Bermuda. In addition to choreographing and working as a freelance performer, Tamieca works in the field of Information Technology, and holds a Master of Science degree in Information Assurance.
This project is supported in part by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans as administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans; a Decentralized Arts grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts as administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans; by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Southern Arts Federation and the Louisiana Division of the Arts; by a grant from National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces: Dance initiative, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts; and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.