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New York dance group inspires local collaboration

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As part of its residency program, Dance Initiative will host New York based performance company NVA & Guests from Jan. 29 to Feb. 7. The residency will culminate with a performance at The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW) on Feb. 5. This collaboration is one of the first to come from a new and budding partnership between Dance Initiative and TACAW. 

Founder Nicole von Arx, who NVA is named after, will be joined by Michael Greenberg, David Flores, and Caitlin Taylor. Von Arx’s résumé includes being a soloist at the Royal Opera House in London. She has also performed with Carte Blanche, Loni Landon and for the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York.

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During their stay, NVA will not only be rehearsing new and repertory dances but will also conduct workshops, classes, and talkbacks up until the performance. Similar to other planned events, NVA was accepted to Dance Initiative for the 2020 season but due to the pandemic had to postpone their residency to a later date. 

“I was excited about the kind of content that she was working with as well as her aesthetic and the physicality of her dance,” stated Executive Director Megan Janssen, of Dance Initiative. “And just talking to her as a human — I really enjoyed it. She has a humility that is just really lovely,” continued Janssen. “She is very playful and will sometimes take harder concepts and make them playful and engaging to the audience. It should be really fun to have her here.” 

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NVA will host rehearsals that are open for public viewing during their workshop period. Open rehearsals are something that Dance Initiative always tries to offer with each residency, but, according to Janssen, few people take the opportunity. She spoke of this as a unique and beneficial activity for the community.   

“It is really such a magical and special thing to watch real professionals performing their craft; sort of being a fly on the wall and watching it come together. It doesn’t cost any money and is a good way to engage with the performers,” she stated. 

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Von Arx spoke about the style of the dance that will be performed during this collaborative residency and how she foresees the community interaction will add to NVA’s final performance. 

“We are a physical dance company so we do a lot of physical work. This includes a lot of floor work, partnering, and, in the past two and a half years working to blend our work with theatricality,” she explained. 

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“We have created some interesting things that I am excited to share in Colorado. Michael, Caitlin and I have been working with ideas that need an audience; so we need to test those with people watching the work,” she continued. “It doesn’t work without them.”

Greenberg, of NVA, also expressed excitement about engaging with the community. Having not been able to perform residency work for nearly two years because of the pandemic, he shared von Arx’s sentiment of being happy to do so again.  

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“Just being in that creative artistic space is something that I am really excited about; interacting with new people, a new environment and sharing what we have been creating,” he stated. “I think that whole experience is what I am looking forward to.” 

Historically, Dance Initiative has held its residency performances at The Launchpad. Janssen mentioned that while that has worked for them — being a fun and intimate space — it’s not the same as having a full stage where there is more room to perform, professional lighting and so on. 

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“TACAW is wonderful at producing live performance art. However, they’re still learning the dance landscape and this relationship has developed naturally between us,” stated Janssen. “For Ryan Honey, executive director, and Kendall Smith, programming director at TACAW, I’m able to help them with production scheduling, creating dance performances, and help build on what they already provide the community. For all of us it is a wonderful, reciprocal relationship.” 

“It is truly an exciting venture for all of us to be taking on and I am really hoping that it just goes off without a hitch and that everyone involved benefits from this,” Janssen concluded.  

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The Launchpad, where the open rehearsals will be held, requires everyone to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. The community is invited to participate in the community dance workshop on Jan. 30, from 10 to 11:45 a.m. and/or the intermediate workshop on Feb. 1, from 6:15 to 8 p.m. For more information on the workshops and performances visit: www.danceinitiative.org 

To purchase tickets for the final performance visit: www.tacaw.org 

Tags: #arts #Dance #Dance Initiative #Myki Jones #Nicole von Arx #NVA & Guests #performance #TACAW
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