SHALEIGH DANCE WORKS in residence with ROSIE HERRERA DANCE THEATRE for the company’s newest evening-length work The In-Between

We were honored to welcome Rosie Herrera, Artistic Director of Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre for a two week residency with SDW from July 2 -12th, 2019.

This residency offered an incredible opportunity for the artistic development of the dancers as well as our newest choreography The In-Between. We workshopped our current material and developed new ways of expression to extend our repertoire of movements, images, ideas, and vignettes. Our newest work began powerfully as something that demanded expression. Rosie helped us dig into its universal themes. She practiced a deep presence with each dancer and every idea. She helped us break open the symbolism in a way that revealed something deeper about the human condition. 

Rosie’s dramaturgical sophistication allowed an intimacy to form with our inquiries and subject matter. She guided us towards moments that would reveal an experience of the layer deeper than our expectations and associations. Through this process, we each discovered a vulnerability and truth that we didn’t know was hidden. She skillfully introduced props as symbolic objects that inherently added the emotion of both laughter and tears simultaneously. We learned so much from her about how to build a deeper connection to working with props. She intuitively was able to expose what was already there in the image of the prop as well as what was in us.  It was as if she set the conditions for our own humanity to emerge. 

Rosie and ShaLeigh have shared a long held admiration and artistic bond since discovering each other at The American Dance Festival. ShaLeigh first experienced Rosie’s work while attending ADF as a scholarship student in 2009. Rosie presented her Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret which was set on students for the Past/Forward program. Rosie first discovered ShaLeigh as a dancer for Elizabeth Corbett’s Forsythe Project that same year.

This pattern of Rosie presenting and ShaLeigh performing continued every summer until Rosie’s first experience of ShaLeigh’s choreography which would be as an adjudicator for Here and Now: NC Dances giving ShaLeigh Dance Works its ADF premiere in 2015. In 2016, Rosie invited ShaLeigh to perform a solo in the world premiere of Carne Viva at ADF. The two also shared a very special relationship with long-time ADF costumer John Brinkman who passed in 2017. He always wanted the two to work more together and this residency would have made him very proud. ShaLeigh and the company hope that this is just the beginning of an incredibly nourishing mentorship and collaboration.

Rosie’s final note to us, “Give yourself and the dancers time to explore and dig deep. Trust yourself!”

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The residency was made possible in part by The American Dance Festival, Ninth Street Dance, Empower Dance Studio, and Living Arts Collective. All photos by Philippe Alexandre

ABOUT: Rosie Herrera is a Cuban-American dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Rosie Herrera Dance Theater in Miami. She is a graduate from New World School with a BFA in Dance Performance. She has been commissioned by The Miami Light Project, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Hispanico, Moving Ground Dance Theater, Houston Met Dance, New World Symphony and the American Dance Festival (ADF) in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016.  Her company has been presented by the Northrop Dance Series, New World Symphony, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Baryshnicov Arts Center, Texas A & M University, Duncan Theater, The Annenburg Center in Philadelphia, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Dance Place, Gotham Dance at Skirball and Focus Dance at The Joyce NYC as well as by The American Dance Festival at the Joyce NYC in 2016.

Rosie is also a classically trained lyric coloratura soprano and performs with the Performers Music Institute Opera Ensemble as well as works as an independent director and creative consultant throughout Miami. With over a decade of experience in both dance and cabaret, she has collaborated on productions with The South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, New World School of the Arts, The University of Central Florida, Six Floor Ensemble, Zoetic Stage and the New World Symphony as well as with the interdisciplinary performance ensemble/avant- garde cabaret Circ X. She has also collaborated with filmmakers Adam Reign, Lucas Leyva, George Echevarria and Clyde Scott to create original short films and music videos.

Rosie is a 2016 USArtist Sarah Arison Choreographic Fellow, a 2010 and 2018 MANCC choreographic fellow, a 2014 Bates Dance Festival Artist in residence, a 2016 Bessie Schoenberg Fellow and a 2011 and 2016 Miami Dance Fellow.  She was awarded a Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship for her work with Ballet Hispanico in 2013.

Visit her website here


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