Wendy Whelan and Victoria Morgan

Women Ballet Choreographers and Directors:

in Conversation with Kathryn Roszak

Edited by New Jersey filmmaker Zoey Rose Best of ‘Long Gone Production Home’. Led by Kathryn Roszak and featuring Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director of Cincinnati Ballet, and Wendy Whelan, Associate Artistic Director of New York City Ballet. This conversation highlights the need for women in leadership roles in the arts, in production, and in corporate positions. Thank you to the many supporters of this video who made it possible. Join us in taking part in the conversation: https://www.dlkdance.com/women-ballet-choreographers-residen

 

The second part of this series will be released soon featuring Christina Johnson, formerly of Dance Theater Harlem, Composer Vivan Fung, Lauren Jonas Artistic Director of Diablo Ballet, and Julia Feldman of Sacramento Ballet.

 

If you would like to support this conversation and others in the
future, please consider donating here: www.dlkdance.com/donate

About the Panel

Victoria Morgan was a principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West, and resident choreographer for the San Francisco Opera, before joining the Cincinnati Ballet in 1997 as Artistic Director. During her time at Cincinnati Ballet, Morgan has worked to expose more people to ballet through innovative marketing programs, as well as finding new sources of funding, creating collaborations with other ballet companies, and creating world premieres such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Bolero.”

Wendy Whelan is a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, performing with the company for 30 years, touring in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. She has also worked with Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. Her inaugural project, “Restless Creature,” premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2013. In 2019, Whelan was named Associate Artistic Director of New York City Ballet.

Kathryn Roszak performed for many years with the San Francisco Opera Ballet, and has danced with San Francisco Ballet. She has performed, choreographed and taught at the American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Opera Center, California Shakespeare Festival, and Berkeley Symphony with Kent Nagano. She created and produced original works for the Goethe Institute/San Francisco Mozart Festival, Theatre Artaud, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Roszak is an Artist in Residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in California where she serves on the Choreography panel, and produces the annual Women Ballet Choreographers and Composers Residency.

Danse Lumière (formerly Anima Mundi Dance Company) was founded in 1995 by Kathryn Roszak. Danse Lumière has been recognized for their work combining dance with literature. The company’s unique approach brings new audiences to classical art forms by blending and innovating across disciplines, putting dance into conversation with music, visual art, poetry, and theatre.

Women Ballet Choreographers Residency:

Choreographers and Composers 2020

Pictured: (From left to right) Julia Feldman of Sacramento Ballet, Christina Johnson formerly of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Kathryn Roszak of Danse Lumiere

UPDATE: In light of recent events, Dance Lumiere is taking this Residency virtual! 

We are planning a series of filmed interviews about the future of women in dance, to be streamed on major dance company websites. This year we are thrilled that Wendy Whelan, Associate Artistic Director of New York City Ballet, and Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director of Cincinnati Ballet, will still be joining us for the digital event. 

Release Date July 30, on the Djerassi Resident Artist Program Website.

View the 2020 press release here

"Where are all the women choreographers?"

...asks Dance Magazine, as well as numerous other news and arts publications, dance companies and schools. Among choreographers in the ballet world, women are a minority group.

Kathryn Roszak's Danse Lumière has addressed this, by developing the Women Ballet Choreographers Residency. The inaugural Residency was held at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program on May 15, 2016. The second Residency took place on May 7, 2017. The third Residency took place on Sunday, June 3, 2018, and the fourth took place on Saturday June 15, 2019. During these successful events women choreographers screened their works and presented ballets in open rehearsal.

 

Kathryn Roszak says, "This residency program highlights choreographic and musical works by women. We plan to help women artists to further develop their choreography or musical work while giving them greater opportunity and visibility."

 

During the 2018 Residency, San Francisco Ballet Master Betsy Erickson accepted an honor on behalf of San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson for presenting ballets by women. Erickson read: "On behalf of Helgi Tomasson I just want to thank you all for this wonderful honor. Helgi wishes he could be here today but he is on a well deserved vacation following our big Unbound Festival this Spring. Congratulations to Kathryn Roszak for establishing this important residency celebrating and supporting female Choreographers... It’s a privilege to receive this distinction. Thank you."

Our mission is to continue the growing dialogue about women in leadership roles in the ballet community and this would not be possible without the generous support we receive each year. 

Press Coverage of WBCR

The June 2019 Residency

Participants included Marika Brussel, Betsy Erickson of San Francisco Ballet, Erica Felsch of Smuin Ballet, Composer Carla Lucero and VR Creator Carol Liu.

 

2019 honorees were Cathy Marston, presented by San Francisco Ballet and James Sofranko, Artistic Director of SFDanceworks.

The June 2018 Residency

Participants included Lissa Resnick of No Strings Attached Dance Company, Dalia Rawson of The New Ballet, Kathryn Roszak of Danse Lumiere, and composers Carla Lucero and Audrey Vardanega

The 2018 honorees were Julia Adam (Artistic Director of Julia Adam Dance), Dalia Rawson (Executive Director of The New Ballet) and Helgi Tomasson (Artistic Director of the San Francisco Ballet) accepted by Betsy Erickson (Ballet Master).

Collaborating artists joined Kathryn Roszak for a panel discussion about women in the arts including choreographers Jennifer Archibald (Artistic Director of Arch Dance Company), Lauren Jonas (Artistic Director of Diablo Ballet), Julia Adam (Julia Adams Dance) and composers Audrey Vardanega and Carla Lucero.

The May 2017 Residency

Invited participants included Dana Genshaft, formerly of San Francisco Ballet; Dalia Rawson, Executive Director of The New Ballet School and The New Ballet School Studio Company in San Jose; Lissa Resnick, Artistic Director of No Strings Attached Dance Company; Priya Shah from AileyCamp; and Kathryn Roszak of Danse Lumière.

Participating Women in Leadership included Cloey Hewlett, Executive Director of the Cal Alumni Association; Elkhanah Pulitzer, Artistic Curator of the SF Opera Lab; and Larissa Roesch, VP and Portfolio Manager at Dodge & Cox, and a Board member of the SF Ballet Endowment Foundation.

The 2017 honorees were choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Amy Seiwert (Artistic Director of Imagery ballet company).

Collaborating artists joined the choreographers for a panel discussion, including soprano Lisa Delan and pianist/composer Audrey Vardanega.

The May 2016 Residency

Participants included choreographers Julia AdamDalia Rawson, Executive Director of The New Ballet School and The New Ballet School Studio Company; Lissa Resnick, from No Strings Attached; Amy Seiwert, Artistic Director of Imagery; and Priya Shah from AileyCamp.

Collaborating artists and designers joined the above choreographers for a panel discussion. Panel participants included Katja Björner, formerly of Royal Swedish Ballet and star of "The Dancer"; Greta Schoenberg, Founder and Director of Programming for the San Francisco Dance Film Festival; film producer Kate Duhamel; visual artist Deborah O'Grady; and choreographer Myles Thatcher. There was also a video by Naomie Kremer.

Two dance companies and directors who present and promote works by women were recognized and honored. Mr. Thatcher, as ally ("I'm a feminist, and everyone should be"), made the presentations to Celia Fushille, Artistic Director of Smuin Ballet; and Lauren Jonas, Artistic Director of Diablo Ballet.

A residency preview took place at Djerassi in September 2015, with choreographers Rawson, Resnick, and Roszak. Following class with Ms. Rawson, dances were created in a beautiful dance studio and in the surrounding landscape at Woodside, CA. There was also a special fundraiser preview held in May, one week before the inaugural event.

View our past residency here:

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