Fall 2018 Session


The Institute's two-week Fall Session was focused on reconsidering the classical art of pas de deux. For our resident artists this meant questioning inherited assumptions about gender, power, partnership, and equality. The Session began on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, pairing three choreographers with six designers from the NYU Department of Design for Stage and Film. These collaborations gave the choreographers the essential experience of working with lighting and costume designers to develop and envision how their ballets could be realized for the stage. The participating dancers were Principals, Soloists, and Corps de Ballet members from New York City Ballet.

NYCI/NYU Partnership


The Fall 2018 Session immersed the choreographers in interdisciplinary collaboration with their lighting and costume designers, generating concepts and renderings of designs which were then presented in studio showings. The designers were part of the rehearsal process from day one, attending all rehearsals and meeting with the choreographers after each rehearsal to evolve their collaborative ideas. The value of these unique partnerships is captured by choreographer Mari Meade when she says, "I appreciated that the designers were there all day every day. I felt like I had a mini support system going into the studio with me every day, to bounce ideas off of, get feedback, and also influence the work."

Additionally, the choreographers and designers attended a lighting design workshop, which highlighted the technical and theoretical elements of lighting design and further developed the relationships between choreographers and lighting designers. The collaborators used this laboratory to experiment with how stage lighting influenced and affected their understanding of costuming and materiality: incorporating costume prototypes, which were selected and contributed by the costume designers.  

Each team was also able to see the dancers perform excerpts from their respective choreography under the lighting they had conceptualized that first week. 

Mari explains how this lighting design lab provided her with new points of access to her own creative process, "I have walked away with a new approach to lighting. Now, I am thinking in terms of lighting even though I am in the beginning of my work, something I have never done before. I have scheduled meetings with my designers much earlier, and I can't wait to explore this new viewpoint in the process as well as product of my work." 


Photo © Kyle Froman 

paired reflectionsMari Meade, a freelance choreographer based in New York, worked with NYU costume designer Matthew Lott and NYU lighting designer Christopher Thielking. Mari worked with NYCB dancers Sara Adams and Gilbert Bolden III

Photo © Kyle Froman

Admix: NYCB dancer Preston Chamblee partnered with NYU costume designer Avery Reed and NYU lighting designer Amanda Clegg Lyon. Preston worked with NYCB dancers Jonathan Fahoury and Sebastian Villarini Velez

Photo © Kyle Froman

Vis-à-VisSophie Laplane, Scottish Ballet's artist in residence, partnered with NYU costume designer Mariko Ohigashi and NYU lighting designer Ted Boyce-Smith. Sophie worked with NYCB dancers Megan Lecrone and Andrew Veyette

During the session, the choreographers consulted with dramaturg Janice Paran, from Sundance Institute. These Dramaturgical Sessions helped to guide the development of their ballets and provided the choreographers with new tools for building effective stage worlds.

As always, a broad array of multidisciplinary performances and exhibitions throughout New York City were attended by our resident choreographers and designers. This not only provided a foundation for roundtable discussions and critical debate, but it furnished the artists with inspiration for their own collaborative processes. 

Choreographer, Sophie Laplane comments how "being exposed to a range of artistic activities is food for a choreographer’s imagination and the activities on offer were all so varied and of such a high standard it was really enriching. It was wonderful, not only to participate in these activities but to discuss them afterwards with fellow participants."


The 2018 Fall Session concluded with an informal showing on November 2, presented in NYCB's studios for an invited audience. The choreographers and their casts gathered to show their works along with presentations of the designers' and choreographers' concepts. 


paired reflections


Photo © Kyle Froman 



Photo © Kyle Froman



Photo © Kyle Froman