New York dance group inspires local collaboration – The Sopris Sun

By Myki Jones

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

Founder Nicole von Arx, who goes by the name NVA, will be joined by Michael Greenberg, David Flores and Caitlin Taylor. Von Arx’s resume 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.

During their stay, NVA will not only rehearse new and repertoire dances, but will also organize workshops, lessons and discussions leading up to the performance. Similar to other scheduled events, NVA was accepted to Dance Initiative for the 2020 season, but due to the pandemic had to reschedule their residency to a later date.

“I was excited about the type of content she was working with as well as her aesthetic and the physicality of her dancing,” said Executive Director Megan Janssen of Dance Initiative. “And just talking to him as a human – I really appreciated that. She has a really adorable humility,” Janssen continued. “She is very playful and sometimes takes more difficult concepts and makes them playful and engaging for the audience. It should be really fun to have him here.

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

“It’s really magical and special to see real professionals practicing their craft; kind of being a fly on the wall and watching it come together. It doesn’t cost anything and it’s a great way to engage with artists,” she said.

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

“We are a physical dance company so we do a lot of physical work. It includes a lot of floor work, partnerships and, over the past two and a half years, working to mix our work with theatrics,” she explained.

“We’ve created some cool stuff that I’m excited to share in Colorado. Michael, Caitlin and I have worked with ideas that need an audience; so we have to test them 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 been unable to do residency work for nearly two years due to the pandemic, he shared von Arx’s sentiment of being happy to do so again.

“Just being in this creative arts space is something that really excites me; interact with new people, new environment and share what we have created,” he said. “I think this whole experience is what I’m looking forward to.”

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

“TACAW is great at producing live performance art. However, they are still learning the dance landscape and that relationship developed naturally between us,” Janssen said. “For Ryan Honey, Executive Director, and Kendall Smith, Director of Programming at TACAW, I am able to help them with production planning, creating dance performances and helping them leverage what they already provide to the community.For all of us, it’s a wonderful reciprocal relationship.

“It really is an exciting adventure for all of us and I really hope it goes off without a hitch and everyone involved benefits,” Janssen concluded.

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

To buy tickets for the last visit of the show: www.tacaw.org