close

Chautauqua School of Dance alumni return to Amp, taking center stage for All-Star Dance Gala

Isabella LaFreniere and James Gilmer perform the world premiere of “Of The Night”, choreographed by Sasha Janes, during the All Star Dance Gala on July 5, 2023, in the Amphitheater.
Carrie Legg / Daily file photo
Isabella LaFreniere and James Gilmer perform the world premiere of “Of The Night”, choreographed by Sasha Janes, during the All Star Dance Gala on July 5, 2023, in the Amphitheater.

The annual All-Star Dance Gala will welcome dancers from across the country back to the grounds for one night this season.

Brooks Landegger and Taylor Naturkas rehearse Tuesday in the Carnahan Jackson Dance Studios for the annual All-Star Dance Gala, curated by the Bonnefoux McBride Artistic Director of the Chautauqua School of Dance Sasha Janes.
Dave Munch / photo editor
Brooks Landegger and Taylor Naturkas rehearse Tuesday in the Carnahan Jackson Dance Studios for the annual All-Star Dance Gala, curated by the Bonnefoux McBride Artistic Director of the Chautauqua School of Dance Sasha Janes.

At 8:15 p.m. tonight, a selection of Chautauqua Institution’s School of Dance alumni will leap onto the Amphitheater stage for a night specifically dedicated to showcasing the program’s former students. 

For those wanting to start the evening earlier than that, the Chautauqua Dance Circle hosts a Dance Preview at 7 p.m. in Smith Wilkes Hall.

Sasha Janes, the Bonnefoux McBride Artistic Director of Chautauqua School of Dance, looks forward to bringing the dancers’ talents every year, and is especially looking forward to tonight. He said the repertoire for the program has “a bit of everything” — from the Black Swan Grand Pas de Deux, to two Balanchine works and a Janes-choreographed piece with music from Sufjan Stevens — and he believes it will be a very exciting evening.

Many dancers who have performed in past years are set to return tonight, in addition to a few newcomers from Pacific Northwest Ballet and Miami City Ballet.

Janes said that among the dancers taking the stage tonight are alumni Daniel Ulbricht, Brooklyn Mack, SeHyun Jin and Angelica Generosa. 

In 2017, Janes curated the inaugural alumni showcase, and in the following years, the showcase has grown into the All-Star Dance Gala and welcomes a varying array of alumni who come back to the grounds to participate each year. This year, the performance will not have an intermission. Janes said he believes that the one-hour program will allow for continued momentum and will result in a more energetic, dynamic and “jam-packed” performance.

Chautauquans can expect to see a slightly more classical repertoire tonight than in years past, and the evening will feature a number of classical solo and pas-de-deux pieces.

Janes added that the repertoire this year includes a premiere of a piece choreographed by Twyla Tharp, which he is thrilled to bring to the stage. According to Janes, the 13-minute solo was choreographed specifically for Ulbricht, who is a soloist and principal dancer at New York City Ballet.

He hopes that Chautauquans will take the opportunity to see the alumni take the stage and demonstrate the culmination of their Chautauqua training and talent that landed them in the country’s leading professional companies.

“I just think it’s a great way to see what an important influence that Chautauqua’s School of Dance is having on the community of dance worldwide, or at least nationally,” he said.

“To see some of these dancers come back who are going on, having these amazing careers, and they spent a summer or two here — the fact that they want to come back, they’re eager to come back — tells them how consequential their Chautauqua experience was when they were younger dancers and training,” Janes said.

Tags : All-Star Dance GalaballetChautauqua Dance CircleChautauqua School of DancedanceSasha Janes
blank

The author Julia Weber

Julia Weber is a rising junior in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in art history. Originally from Athens, Ohio, this is her first summer in Chautauqua and she is thrilled to cover the theater and dance performances. She serves as the features editor for Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, a student-run radio station and media hub, and she is a former intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. Outside of her professional life, Julia has a newly adopted cat, Griffin, and she is an avid fan of live music and a dedicated ceramicist.