The Young Choreographers Project encourages young dancers to find and articulate their individual voices while developing choreographic skills. So much of dance education is about watching, following, and imitating – developing an original dance taps into a different creative source. It frees the dancers to go beyond the technical to reach deep into their imaginations. Making a new dance involves not just putting known steps together, but thinking abstractly and putting concepts into motion.
Each student choreographer is paired with a professional choreographer who serves as her mentor through the project. This collaboration with the professional dancer/choreographers is a valuable part of the project. There are few places where teens can work together with experienced adults, more as peers than the traditional student/teacher relationship. The mentors act as guides and resources, but the results are a product of the energy and innovation of the young choreographers.
In 2002-03, EDE launched the first Young Choreographers Project. The project included a five-day workshop led by Jan Erkert – then of the Columbia College Dance Center – and culminated in a full-length program, Breaking Pointe: The Young Choreographers’ Project, staged at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts. The success of that program prompted EDE to include YCP in our season whenever possible. Since then, YCP has been produced three more times and some dances from the project have been included in EDE mainstage shows.
YCP is a recurring, but not yearly, project of the Ensemble. Check back here to see when the next one will be.