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National Center for Choreography Creates 'Dance Laboratory' at University of Akron

In order to create, a choreographer needs more than just a room of his or her own.  Time, money, and even technology are necessary for the choreographer to act when the inspiration for a new dance strikes.

Now Northeast Ohio has all of that with the creation of one of only two centers for choreography in the nation, located at the University of Akron.  It's the National Center for Choreography and its first executive-artistic director is Christy Bolingbroke. 

"So the idea behind locating the center within a university environment is to also create some space for research," Bolingbroke said.

Choreographers chosen for residencies at NCCAkron won't have the burden of presenting a high-pressure performance at the residency conclusion.

Bolingbroke knows that's not always the case.

"You raise whatever small amount of funds you possibly can to get together.  Then you have three or four weeks and you're like 'great we're going to make the work.'  But then there's this expectation that it's got to be great," Bolingbroke said.

Bolingbroke wants the center to function as more of a dancing 'laboratory' where visitors can view the work in progress in a more informal setting.

"It's like watching a chef work in a kitchen or getting to have a site visit at a research laboratory," Bolingbroke said.

She praises Dance Cleveland and, specifically, its executive director Pam Young for making the National Center for Choreography a reality.

Bolingbroke says that the people of the Knight Foundation asked Young if she had any big dreams for the local dance community.

Young apparently did and according to Bolingbroke said, "We only have one national center for choreography in the country.  France has 19.  I think it's time we had a second one and I think it should be in Northeast Ohio."

Now as the first executive artistic director for the National Center for Choreography located at the University of Akron, Bolingbroke has the curatorial job of selecting who receives a residency.

That significant role landed her on Dance Magazine's 2017 list for the "Most Influential People in Dance Today."

Bolingbroke was honored by the selection having grown up reading Dance Magazine as a young dancer.

"If you could've told me then when I was 12-years-old that I would get in as a dance administrator, I wouldn't have believed you," Bolingbroke said.

In September, the National Center for Choreography hosts its next 'dancing laboratory' at the University of Akron featuring the Los Angeles-based dance company BODYTRAFFIC.


Listen to the entire interview:  


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