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Liz Gerring, Pam Tanowitz, and Michelle Dorrance, photographed by Matt Karas.

At City Center, what you see onstage is just the beginning. Behind the back wall of the theater is a hive of creative activity: nine stories of rehearsal rooms, offices, and dance studios that were inaugurated by Balanchine in the 1940s. You might find the likes of Twyla Tharp, Wendy Whelan, and Kyle Abraham rehearsing there on a given afternoon. This season, three acclaimed choreographers will take up residence, thanks to City Center’s Choreography Fellowship program: Liz Gerring, Pam Tanowitz, and Michelle Dorrance.

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October 13, 2016 by New York City Center

When you’re compelled to dance for a living, you make all sorts of sacrifices. Even so, Stanton Welch may be the only contemporary choreographer who spent a year working at Kentucky Fried Chicken. (His wages paid for a ticket to America, where he studied at the San Francisco Ballet School; he is now the artistic director of the Houston Ballet.) Welch’s deep-fried work ethic is reflected throughout the dance world. “They’re not there for the money,” said choreographer Stephen Petronio of his dancers. “They’re not there for the benefits. Because it’s modern dance. The gold is the movement, and that’s what they’re there for.”

On October 6, 2015, Welch and Petronio were joined by dance critic Nancy Dalva for a Fall for Dance conversation that touched on just about everything: working with Lou Reed, being inspired by Nureyev, and why leading a dance company is like being the head of a family. “I’ve been there long enough that it’s all my…fault,” said Welch, laughing.

New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival continues through October 11.

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October 9, 2015 by New York City Center
Silas Riener & Rashaun Mitchell

Damian Woetzel, Silas Riener, and Rashaun Mitchell, photographed by Christopher Duggan.

On June 2, 2014, dancer-turned-director Damian Woetzel created a Studio 5 event focused on the work of City Center Choreography Fellows Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener; the pair spoke about choreographing in cubicles, performing before pig roasts, and what it was like to dance in Merce Cunningham’s company. “I didn’t know what I was doing for a while,” recalled Mitchell. “But I intuitively knew that if I could just do the choreography with conviction, that it would work, that Merce wouldn’t necessarily know that I wasn’t doing the right steps, until I could catch up. I think it worked.”

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March 6, 2015 by New York City Center