(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) presents "Capturing the Moment" - a virtual two-part showcase of seven dance choreographers who have received the highest honor from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts – a Choreography Fellowship - on Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1st at 7:30pm each night. The event is presented by New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Each evening’s program will include performances as well as interviews with the choreographers by dance critic and a journalist Robert Johnson.
Part One – Friday, April 30 at 7:30pm EST features: Erin Carlisle Norton, Oluwadamilare (Dare) Ayorinde, and Pallavi Degwekar-Shaikh.
Part Two – Saturday, May 1 at 7:30pm EST features: Tsai Hsi Hung, Robert Mark Burke, Barkha Patel, and Nai-Ni Chen.
The performances are free with registration. Click here to register. Attendees will receive an exclusive viewing link.
NJSCA Choreography Fellows
Erin Carlisle Norton is a choreographer, dancer, movement educator, administrator and Artistic Director of The Moving Architects. Norton founded TMA in Chicago in 2007 and relocated it to NJ/NYC in 2013. Described as “precision-dependent choreography (brilliantly tense, unpredictable and specific)”, her work has been presented internationally through company performance and teaching tours to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (with the US Department of State and US Embassies), Morocco and Guatemala and widely at dozens of traditional and unconventional venues including NYC area’s BAM Fisher, Bryant Park Dance Festival, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Performance Mix Festival, Montclair Art Museum, Spring Break Art Fair NYC and Gibney and dozens of venues throughout Chicago and the Midwest, NYC and the East Coast and the Southern United States. She has taught dance courses at The Ohio State University and Beloit College and has enjoyed guest artist positions at dance studios, community centers and universities including Valley Day School (PA), Links Hall (Chicago), Kenyon College (OH), Pomerene Arts Center (OH), University of Chicago and Gibney (NYC). She currently leads the company’s pay-what-you-can movement program Community Movement Project in Northern NJ and hosts and produces the company’s semi-monthly dance interview podcast Movers & Shapers: A Dance Podcast. Erin is also the Executive Director of Dance New Jersey, the statewide service organization for dance and dance education.
Norton’s work has been supported by yearly creative residencies since 2007 at Wilson College (PA); Dancewave as the first artist-in-residence (Brooklyn); The Iron Factory (Philadelphia); High Concept Laboratories (Chicago); Columbus Dances Fellowship (OH); Nimbus Dance Works (NJ); and Links Hall’s Artistic Associates Program (Chicago). She has received numerous individual grants and fellowships including a 2020 and 2014 Fellowship in Choreography from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Norton has a BFA and MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University, a Graduate-level Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis from Columbia College Chicago (GLCMA) and is a Certified Pilates and Barre Instructor. As a graduate student at OSU, Norton received research awards including multiple dance department SFI Grants, The OSU International Award for Visual/Performing Arts, The Marianna Russell Technology Scholarship and the Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women Grant.
Oluwadamilare (Dare) Ayorinde is Nigerian – a Black freelance performing artist living in New Jersey. Since attending Rutgers University, he has worked with Colleen Thomas, Bill Young, Netta Yerushalmy, Stefanie Batten Bland, Susan Marshall, Kayla Farrish, Douglas Dunn, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, The Trisha Brown Dance Company, Kyle Marshall, and Miriam Gabriel + Carlo Antonio Villanueva. He has presented work at Smush Gallery, Morristown Museum, Stuffed Arts and Monday’s At Judson, Participant Inc Gallery and more. Last year he was Dance on the Lawn’s fifth Emerging Choreographer and a Chez Bushwick resident. He is a current New Jersey State Council on The Arts Fellow and is named top 25 to watch in Dance Magazine for 2020.
Pallavi Degwekar-Shaikh’s dance journey began when her Guru, Asha Joglekar, accepted the then ten-year-old as a student of Kathak, a North Indian classical dance form. Hailing from a family of tabla players, rhythm was innate. She grew up listening to her father’s tabla. Stories about her late grandfather abound, she was always amidst doyens of Indian classical music. Her intense Kathak training under her Guru as well as the maestro, Pandit Birju Maharaj and coaching she received in rhythm and rhythmic cycles from the tabla maestro Pandit Suresh Talwalkar led to her obtaining a master’s degree (Alankar) in Kathak, several accolades, titles like ‘Singarmani’ and ‘Nrityangana 99’ and performances at prestigious events in India and in the US.
Her recent debut performances at Lincoln Center, NYC in David Geffen Hall and Carnegie Center were remarkably splendid and were well appreciated by audiences. She has received a National Award from New Delhi, India, as an extraordinary talented dancer in all Indian classical dance category and was only the woman awardee chosen. Pallavi has recently been recognized as a 2020 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Choreography fellow, as a member of the International Dance Council – CID, UNESCO, and a Hon Abdul Kalam Bharat Puraskar 2021 awardee.
She has been training students for a few decades in both India and the US and is also in-charge of Bharati Vidyapeeth’s New Jersey examination center for all five streams (Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Vocal, Instrument, and Percussion).
Tsai Hsi Hung graduated from Taipei National University of the Arts 2010. In 2009, she travelled to Australia as an exchange student for the Dance at Queensland Technology University Dance Department. She has worked with the Australian Dance Theater, Tasdance, Expressions Dance Company, and Chunky Move Dance Company Dancers.
In 2020, Hung received a Choreography Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Shortly after, Hung’s work was selected by the Joffrey Academy of Dance for their Spring 2020 Winning Works performance in Chicago. Hung was invited to Taipei National Dance Theater to perform new work this July 2020. Hung’s most recent work will be featured in Ballet X’s 2020-2021 season. In 2021, Hung won Western Michigan University’s National Choreography Competition and will premiere a new work in 2022.
In 2012, Hung wrote the choreography for the Beijing TV show Passion for Dance. Meimage Dance commissioned her to choreograph a solo piece entitled Bluebeard, which Hung performed throughout Taiwan in the summer of 2016. Her choreography was also featured at Baruch Performing Arts Center’s REVERBdance series in 2017.
In June of 2018, the MET Dance company performed Hung’s work IO for 12 dancers at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston, Texas. In 2019, Hung’s piece DOUBLEND was performed at the NU VU Festival at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Centre, Martha Graham Studio Theater and NYU Skirball Center. Her most recent work, Brushstroke- X2, was performed at the 2020 APAP Peridance Showcase in New York.
Hung teaches the open class at the Peridance Capezio Dance Center and is the director of the Queens Ballet Center/QBC Company in New York.
Robert Mark Burke – Currently a company member of 10 Hairy Legs and Megan Williams Dance Projects, Robert has been teaching and performing professionally since 2010. Formerly an apprentice with Doug Elkins, he has worked with Meagan Woods and Company, Bryn Cohn and recently finished touring the historic legacy work of Lucinda Childs around the world. Burke has been a guest choreographer and instructor at Rutgers University, Montclair State University and Rider University. He has taught professional and collegiate workshops both nationally and internationally, including South Africa and the Cayman Islands.
As a choreographer, Burke has presented his work across the US, including the wild project, Dixon Place, Paramount Theater (Boston), Hofstra University, Rutgers University, Rider University, Dance New Amsterdam, Jersey City Theater Center and New Jersey Performing Arts Center. His choreographic accolades include the 2015 Dance on the Lawn Emerging Choreographer Grant (under the direction of Charmaine Warren), the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Jersey (New) Moves Fellowship (2015 and 2017), the 2016 CoLab Arts Space Grant, and the 2017 Eryc Taylor Emerging Choreography Grant. In 2020, Robert was awarded the New Jersey State Council of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in Choreography, which has allowed him to continue working with his dancers virtually during the pandemic.
Barkha Patel – Born in India, and brought up in New York, Barkha Patel stays deeply connected to her cultural roots through her artistic practice as a kathak dancer, choreographer and educator for both youth and adult students. She has trained in kathak both in India and New Jersey for over two decades with renowned kathak maestros and has a Masters degree in Performing Arts from Kalidasa Sanskrit University.
A touring artist, Barkha creates works that reconcile the dichotomies of her Indian heritage with a contemporary mindset. Two recent works examine the contrast between Indian society’s deification but simultaneous oppression of women and Hinduism’s traditional embrace of transgender individuals with its modern rejection. Mukta, A Woman Liberated, was developed in residency at the Center for Flamenco Arts and has been presented at numerous festivals in New York City. Barkha has completed a choreographic fellowship with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), received a 2020 Fellowship with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and is Dance/USA Institute for Leadership mentee.
Acknowledging the lack of community for kathak dancers in New York City, Barkha co-founded a kathak meetup group as an inclusive space for kathak dancers to practice and discuss crucial topics to the art form.
Nai-Ni Chen has been creating dances professionally for over thirty years in the US. She has built a diverse repertory of over 80 original works and toured to major venues in the US and international festivals in 12 countries around the world. A cross-cultural choreographer who aims to bring audience across the cultural boundaries, she has developed her unique movement and choreographic styles that reflect the grace and splendor of the Chinese cultural traditions she studied in Taiwan since youth and the dynamic spirit of modern dance that she acquired in New York from luminaries such as Mary Anthony, Bertram Ross, Doris Rudko and Patricia Rowe.
Nai-Ni Chen has received multiple years of Choreographer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She has been a principal affiliate of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and was a resident artist of the Harlem School of the Arts.
Commissioned dances include Peach Flower Landscape for the Lincoln Center Institute, Qian Kun for the Joyce Theater Foundation, Unfolding for Dancing in the Streets, The Three Riddles of Turandot for New Jersey Ballet, Unconquered Warriors for Dancing Wheels, and Water and Tiger Lily for BalletMet, The Way of Five for Towson University; Dragons on the Wall, a collaboration with Nobel Literature nominee Bei Dao and internationally acclaimed composer Joan La Barbara for the Alternate Roots Festival curated by Baraka Sele of New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She has set her choreography at Case Western Reserve University, Alvin Ailey School professional development program, and Long Island University. In New York, she has taught at Mary Anthony Dance Studio, Peridance and NYU, where she received her MA in Dance and Dance Education.
For her contribution to the Chinese American culture, she has received awards from the New Jersey International Institute, the Organization of Chinese Americans, and Chinese American Chamber of Commerce. As a life-long dance educator she is the recipient of The Distinguished Service to the Field Award from the Association of Teaching Artistes in 2020. She has also served on Dance related panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, The NY State Council on the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.
Made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is proud to be part of the South Orange-Maplewood community and to be supported by the arts-centric Township of South Orange Village as well as the nonprofit management entity of the village’s Special Improvement District, the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA).
SOPAC is an accessible cultural destination located in the heart of downtown South Orange that presents world-class artists in an intimate and welcoming environment. The mission of SOPAC is to enrich individual lives, and to engage and serve the community in South Orange and beyond, through arts experiences that inspire and transform.