So you think you can dance for Paul Taylor?
Dancers, this could be your chance. Any young dancer who wants to try for a spot in the four-week Summer Intensive offered by Paul Taylor’s acclaimed modern dance company can submit a video of their dancing and be considered.
Through a partnership with Talenthouse, a social media site that offers “life-changing opportunities for the creative community,” two winners will receive scholarships to the Intensive (held in New York City July 5–29) plus a $500 stipend for expenses.
Generally, dancers find their way to the Intensive through recommendations from teachers at university dance departments, often after some experience with Taylor’s choreography. But the Talenthouse competition gives dancers over 18 with all kinds of backgrounds an equal chance to get themselves noticed. They have 90 seconds to strut their stuff and make their case. “Dazzle us with your dance ability and style, or talk about your passion for dance and Mr. Taylor’s work,” the guidelines suggest.
Once they’ve uploaded their video to the site, it’s up to them to encourage votes through Facebook, Twitter or other means. The top 20 vote-getters will be evaluated by a jury led by Taylor himself, joined by senior company members Michael Trusnovec and Annmaria Mazzini, and Matthew Diamond -- a former modern dancer turned director whose resume includes an Oscar-nominated documentary about Taylor as well as numerous television programs, including “So You Think You Can Dance.” The jury may also look beyond those top 20 to other submissions.
“I’m definitely going to be looking for dancers who have some sort of technical ability and training, but I think more importantly, I’ll be looking for that little bit of extra fire, that passion that makes them stand out from the rest of the bunch,” says Trusnovec. “Ultimately it will be Paul’s decision, but I think we’re all going to put our two cents in. I’m excited about being involved in this process -– it’s like nothing I’ve ever done before.”
The project breaks new ground for both the Taylor company and Talenthouse, which has sponsored competitions relating to popular music, fashion and photography but no in dance until now. Trusnovec is enthusiastic about the possibilities. “I wish that something like this had been available when I was in school -– that there had been this connection between social media and the arts like there is now. There are a lot of opportunities -- creative ways to connect the two, and make good things like this happen.
Video submissions are due by April 14; voting takes place April 15-21, with the winners (one male, one female) announced April 27. Detailed information is available here.
-- Susan Reiter
Photo: Paul Taylor. Credit: Maxine Hicks