(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Dance on the Lawn will return to the front lawn of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (73 South Fullerton Avenue) in Montclair on Saturday, September 10 from 3:00pm-5:00pm. The free outdoor dance festival includes live performances by Nai-Ni Chen and Company, Maxine Steinman & Dancers, Sharron Miller's Academy for the Performing Arts and more. Also included in this year’s program will be an original work by William Ervin, winner of Dance on the Lawn’s 2022 “Emerging Commissioned NJ Choreographer” award.
Dance on the Lawn, celebrating its ninth year, serves as a showcase and mentoring launchpad for NJ and NY’s finest choreographic talent. The yearly DOTL Festival offers Montclair residents and neighboring communities a sneak peek at emerging and established artists from New Jersey and the New York area.
Founded by Montclair resident Charmaine Warren in 2014, Dance on the Lawn hopes to increase New Jersey’s exposure to dance by bringing professional and emerging companies, plus students of dance from around the state, together to perform in a community setting. In addition to offering presentation opportunities, Dance on the Lawn created an “Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer” and mentor program to help support young, emerging artists.
This year's Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer is William Ervin. He says he explores the relationship between Afrofuturism and the synchronistic through dance. Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and the reimagining of a future filled with arts and technology through a Black lens. For something to be synchronistic, two or more events must exist or occur at the same time. In dance, synchronistic experiences occur all the time because the choreography itself (as an idea) exists in parallel to the history of every performer—both their learned and unconscious movement languages.
“We are so fortunate to again be able to feature Nai-Ni Chen and Company at Dance on the Lawn. We were lucky to have been colleagues with Nai-Ni, who tragically passed away in Hawaii this past December. Nai-Ni always said to us, ‘I am happy to help.’ We are so honored to have shared so many precious moments,” said Charmaine Warren, Founder/Artistic Director and Laura Marchese, Managing Director of Dance on the Lawn.
DOTL’S EMERGING COMMISSIONED NEW JERSEY CHOREOGRAPHER
NEW YORK PROFESSIONAL:
MORISATO / Mikaela Morisato
Charmaine Warren, DOTL founder, is also the founder/artistic director of Black Dance Stories. She was named the 2021 “Bessies Angel” and won a 2017 Bessie Award for "Outstanding Performance" as part of The Skeleton Architecture Collective. She is also winner of the Dance NJ’s JETÉ AWARD, in honor of founding the Dance on the Lawn Festival. Dance NJ is the service organization committed to advocating the excellence of dance and dance education in the state. Ms. Warren, together with Laura Marchese, DOTL Managing Director, are the guiding force behind "Dance on the Lawn: Montclair's Dance Festival.” Ms. Marchese is a recipient of a NJ Governor's Arts in Education Distinguished Teaching Artist Award, as well as an Artist of the Year Award. In 2018, Ms. Marchese received national recognition as a Master Teaching Artist in Dance by Young Audiences Arts for Learning.
The New Jersey State Arts Council has given four awards to Dance on the Lawn artists: Nancy Turano, Artistic Director, NJ Dance Theatre Ensemble, DOTL artist since 2014-2018; Kyle Marshall, DOTL 2016 "Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer" recipient; Lauren Connolly, DOTL 2017 "Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer" recipient; and Hillary-Marie, Choreographer/Director FutureSTEP Tap Company, DOTL 2017 participating artist.
Dance on the Lawn also acknowledges the support of dance company 10 Hairy Legs, which donated their net assets to DOTL following the company’s dissolution. The 10HL funding specifically supports the annual DOTL NJ Emerging Commissioned Choreographer award.