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30th Anniversary Season is Underway

A stomach flu has sent me home from the office with time to stop and enough of my wits to write about how things are going so far this summer.  The weather has been hot but beautiful and we are staying cool in our new, air-conditioned office and theater. The campus is at its most beautiful with lush lawns of healing green to lounge on.  The grounds are a small oasis which my pooch, Finn and I relish several times a day on our walks. We are so fortunate to have a lovely campus, amazing food and a beautiful, green dining common where we dine and socialize. Bates has provided us with an ideal home base for building community.

We are two and half weeks into our Young Dancers Workshop and its starting to dawn on the students that the program is almost over. Our 90 teens are preparing for their work in progress showings tonight with their counselors and I can’t wait to see what they show. These young dancers are an incredibly smart, focused and mature group. They bonded almost immediately upon arrival and have been wonderfully supportive of one another. The very first night they formed a huge circle outside the dining common to get acquainted. BDF is a place where you make friends and colleagues for life. What a great way to start a career in dance.

The teens have not only had the privilege of studying with a terrific team of  generous teachers, but also seeing showings by Adele Myers and Dancers and Kyle Abraham/, and performances by Rennie Harris. Kyle’s concert will close out their program this Thursday.

Our ten counselors are amazing. They bring so much knowledge, passion and creativity to their interactions with the students. YDW is not just a training program in dance–its an experience of how to live with others with respect, a sense of adventure, an openness to new ideas and knowledge of one’s self. Each night the students have a hall meeting with their small group to process the days’ experiences framed by a question. Around classes they participate in workshops led by the counselors in composition, yoga, musical theater, site specific choreography, Pilates, music and more. We are blessed to attract such talented and giving individuals to serve as the support system for our teens.

So far BDF 2012 has been a super smooth ride for all us staffers. This is a tribute to my amazing team–each and every one of them dedicated, extremely capable and generous to a fault.

We kicked off the performance season with a one-week residency by my old friend, Rennie Harris and his crew, Puremovement (RHPM) who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Rennie was in fine form leading a Lec/Dem and teaching a master class for our whole program. What a blast and lots of laughs. Sage that he is, Rennie shared the history of hip hop culture, but more importantly the spirit behind it. I was thrilled to introduce our teens to this master artist and to reconnect with the company after a several years absence.

RHPM’s performances were crazy good! Both completely sold out. The audience, which was extremely diverse in age and background, went wild. I haven’t heard such screams since the last time RHPM was in the house! What a thrill to see their classic works back on our stage along with great new house dances by the women. And they got a great review:

This weekend we present the Maine premiere of Kyle’s new show Live, The Realest MC  as the opener for the Professional Training Program. Over the course of the next three days all the teens will depart and 250 adult participants and artists will arrive. The vibe will shift dramatically and the whole atmosphere will get much more intense. So glad I had a Sunday at the lake before we dive into the whirlwind of the next three weeks.

I hope to find time to keep writing amid the madness. It is my 25th year at the helm and there is much to celebrate, contemplate and be thankful for.