The New York Choreographic Institute continues its efforts to support emerging choreographers despite the recent challenges presented by the pandemic. Its latest session in October 2021 was the first time in 18 months that Institute choreographers and dancers were able to work together in the studio. In addition to showings for a live audience, the three new works were captured on film in a unique collaboration between the choreographers and filmmaker Quinn Wharton. The resulting dance films highlight the Institute’s commitment to more broadly share the work of its participants with a worldwide audience.
Read our behind-the-scenes feature for more information on the making of these works.
About the Choreographers
Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Houston Thomas began studying at the School of American Ballet at the age of 16 before moving to Germany to join the Dresden Semperoper Ballett two years later. Thomas has performed a number of featured roles, including in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and Justin Peck’s Heatscape, throughout his seven years with that Company, rising to his current rank of second soloist.
In his first piece created under the auspices of the New York Choreographic Institute during the 2020 Summer Session, Thomas collaborated with NYCB Corps de Ballet Member Mimi Staker and Soloist Sebastian Villarini-Velez, completely over Zoom, to create An Afternoon of Angelic Voices.
Follow Houston on Instagram at @houdidit_
Keerati Jinakunwiphat received her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase and was a recipient of the Adopt-A-Dancer Scholarship. She also studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Springboard Danse Montreal.
As a freelance choreographer, Keerati has presented choreographic works at the American Dance Guild Festival, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, Battery Dance Festival, Dance Gallery Festival, the Joyce Theater and New Victory Dance. She has been commissioned to set and create works on the Evanston Dance Ensemble, the Martha Graham School, SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, and New England Ballet Theatre.
Keerati was named one of 25 to Watch in 2021 by Dance Magazine.
Durante Verzola is a 25-year-old, Filipino American choreographer. Verzola's first choreographic work, A Light Exists in Spring, was chosen by Lourdes Lopez to be performed in Miami City Ballet School's 2014 Workshop. Since then, he has choreographed several works for Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet II, Ballet Dallas, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Columbia Ballet Collaborative (Columbia University), Goucher College, School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Kansas School of Classical Ballet, Peabody Dance, Princeton University Ballet, Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, and MANNA's Shut Up & Dance.
Durante was selected as the inaugural choreographer to lead Miami City Ballet School's Choreographic Intensive during the Summer of 2017, as well as invited to participate in CPYB's ChoreoPlan 2017. He is a winner of Joffrey's Winning Works, which recognizes talented and emerging ALAANA choreographers. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Verzola has choreographed several works virtually, and completely remotely. He was invited to the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University for an Artistic Partnership Initiative Fellowship with Miami City Ballet in the Summer of 2021.
Visit Durante's website to learn more.