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Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Company opened its season with Contemporary Choreographers  — celebrating the incredible contributions women have made to dance by featuring work from all female choreographers, including Amy Hall Garner, Martha Nichols, Pearlann Porter and Yin Yue. 

“We were proud to honor these four talented women as they spearheaded this year’s Contemporary Choreographers, and we are honored to have had the opportunity to expose our students to such talented teachers,” said Garfield Lemonius, M.F.A., chair of dance.

Kaitlyn Downs, a senior B.F.A. in dance major who attended Southern Alamance High School in Graham, N.C., said it was an honor to have guest choreographers at Point Park. 

"I feel so blessed to have worked with these notable artists. Each choreographer had a different process, which allowed us to explore what types of movement felt best," Downs said. "Additionally, this opportunity gave us the chance to make connections before we enter the industry."

"Working with Martha was a life-changing experience hearing her knowledge about dance and life in the industry," said Cecilia Benitez, a senior B.F.A. in dance major from New World School of the Arts in Miami, Fla. "Guest artists typically come to set the work and leave, but these choreographers deeply cared about the work and us, and I am forever grateful."

Meet the Choreographers and Learn About Their Work

“Cadences” by Amy Hall Garner

“Cadences” is a new work created for the dancers at Point Park. It is a non-narrative piece that uses a considerable amount of classical ballet vocabulary weighted with contemporary musicality and phrasing. This choreography challenged the dancers to combine their technique, theatricality and artistry. Garner is an internationally known choreographer based in New York City creating works in the ballet, modern and theatrical genres. A graduate of The Juilliard School, her work has been commissioned by numerous schools and companies including Ailey II, Collage Dance Collective, The Juilliard School, The Ailey School, Barnard College, The University of the Arts and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

“The decline from a sound and prosperous condition” by Martha Nichols

"The decline from a sound and prosperous condition” premiered during Contemporary Choreographers. Nichols invited the audience to experience dance along with the performers and presented a physical, emotional, energetic and spiritual experience. She has an impressive resume, having performed at MTV’s VMAs, The American Music Awards, The Oscars, and alongside notable artists, such as P!nk, Rihanna and Madonna. She teaches master classes all over the world and is currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center (NYC), The Dance Teacher Summit, and tours with NUVO Dance Convention.

“NOW: Playing” by Pearlann Porter

“NOW: Playing” is an excerpt from Porter’s full-length work, The Pillow Project, which will premier in December at The Kelly Strayhorn Theater. A part-time teacher at Point Park for 20 years, Porter defines her artistry by creating different ways to experience dance by finding unusual spaces for dance and seeking uncommon tools and methods to tell stories through movement. She founded her company, The Pillow Project, in 2004, and has since directed and produced 11 full-length works, and performed in New York, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Dublin.

“Citizen” by Yin Yue

“Citizen” is a physically demanding ensemble piece. Its dynamic and expressive movement, together with dramatic musical scoring, explored the intensity of the times we are living in now, the challenges we face together and the political environment that surrounds and influences us. The dancers and their movements celebrate our common sense of hope and determination. Yue, artistic director of YY Dance Company, is internationally recognized as a versatile performer and choreographer. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, she trained rigorously in technically-demanding and highly-structured Chinese classical and folk dance, as well as classical ballet technique at Shanghai Dance School.

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