Friday, June 19, 2015

Guest Post: An Inside Look at Bryant Park Presents Modern Dance

To celebrate the return of many Bryant Park summer programs, and to introduce our readers to our fantastic partners, we asked our partners to write guest blog posts. Dan Fishman, Programming and Events Associate here at the park, interviews Tiffany Rea-Fisher, dancer and Artistic Director of Inception to Exhibition (ITE), which is a co-presenter of Bryant Park Presents Modern Dance.

Dan Fishman: Hi Tiffany, thanks for taking time to talk today. The series is in its third year now, and it’s one of the youngest cultural programs in the park. What do you tell people you meet who have never been before?

Tiffany Rea-Fisher: Hi Dan, thank you as well. I say a few things. First, dance is just movement – it’s something that exists in all of us. I think that being able to see people who have dedicated their lives to movement in a very friendly setting is a great way to experience dance. I also say that the program does not ask much of the audience. It’s not crazy heady: these are beautiful dancers trained in this craft who want to share their talents. I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t like it. I know that not everyone will jump immediately into dance class but no matter how much you know about dance it will definitely be an enjoyable evening. It’s is a lot more accessible than people realize. The fact that you can sit eating a meal and look to see a stage with amazing performers – it’s an embarrassment of riches.

Tiffany Rea-Fisher, in the striped dress, poses with dancers during last year's installment of the Modern Dance program. 
DF: We hope so, and thanks for saying that. One of the main reasons we do this is so that people can see dance and have that great experience outdoors. It’s also a chance to show some truly amazing artists – can you tell us more about the performers this year?

TRF: Yes, of course. One of the main drives of the series this year is to present a great range of dance companies – from groups that are establishing themselves in New York to full-fledged companies that have been performing and touring for forty years. We also wanted to make sure that each evening had its own unique appeal, and there is a great diversity of dance styles.

Our opening night showcases three companies who present what is happening in modern dance now: all of them have been on the scene for ten years or fewer. The next evening has three very different but complementary styles: from Renegade Performance Group’s urban feel with classical influences to Cornfield Dance’s deconstruction of classical and modern dance forms. July 3 will have three male artistic directors, which is unique in a mostly female-choreographed field and should bring different energy. Finally, our last evening provides a great opportunity to see three groups with extraordinary energy, all of which prove that dancers are true athletes.

DF: It’s a great lineup and I am looking forward to seeing many of the performers. There’s one thing I want to bring up before the end: one of my favorite moments from last year was an evening that was almost cancelled due to rain. The stage was wet and it was raining heavily at times, but none of the dancers wanted to cancel: they were so ready to perform and the audience stayed to watch them. It amazed me to see great dancers so excited to perform even in far from ideal conditions.

Dancers limber up before getting rained out last year.
TRF: Yeah! The dancers love this series. Many of them love dancing outdoors and being in an environment that is so open. I am a dancer and we are so often stuck in studios and cramped spaces all day. To be outside and feel the wind and the sun – it’s incredible. Also you feel a bit more connected to the audience – there are no lights blinding you, you see the audience right there and you can feel the energy. It’s a very unifying experience.

Fridays, June 19 - July 10
6pm - 8pm
Bryant Park Stage

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