Students will dance in a new creative research initiative

“Spring 2020: Dance Today” is the inaugural project of the Yale Dance Lab, directed by Emily Coates. Auditions will be held Monday, Dec. 2 from 6-8 p.m.

“Spring 2020: Dance Today” is the inaugural project of the Yale Dance Lab, featuring newly commissioned work by artists Vicky Shick (at left in collage) and Ni’Ja Whitson (right).

Yale Dance Studies, in conjunction with Theater and Performance Studies, recently announced the launch of a new initiative, the Yale Dance Lab.

Yale Dance Lab, which extends the dance, theater, and performance studies curricula, will promote interdisciplinary research in movement and dance by partnering with a variety of Yale departments and professional schools.

Students will audition to take part in Yale Dance Lab, which will feature an annual spring semester project showcasing newly commissioned works or reconstructions of seminal choreography. This year’s inaugural project is called “Spring 2020: Dance Today” and will feature new choreography commissioned for the occasion. Additional events hosted by Yale Dance Lab throughout the year will include studio-based workshops and professional intensives, as well as talks, screenings, and class visits.

The Dance Lab, which is supported with funding from the Arts Discretionary Fund in Yale College and the Robert Wallace Fund for Dance Studies, emphasizes artistic practice as a form of inquiry and activism. “Dance Lab members will deepen their technical strength and artistry through studio practice, even as they gain insight into some of the most powerful sociopolitical ideas of our time,” said Emily Coates, associate professor adjunct of theater and performance studies and associate professor adjunct of directing, who will direct the new initiative.

Emily Coates
Emily Coates (Photo credit: Michael Marsland)

For the spring project, Coates has commissioned two new works from dance artists Vicky Shick and Ni’Ja Whitson, both lauded artists and educators. Hungarian-born Shick draws intrinsic drama from the simplest of actions, creating exquisite dances for women, which are both fragile and forceful. Whitson, a gender-nonconforming interdisciplinary artist, creates powerful compositions at the nexus of postmodern and African diasporic performance practices on issues of gender, sexuality, race, and spirituality.

Shick and Whitson will each be on campus during a residency this spring semester to work with Dance Lab students. The culmination of their work will be shared with the community in two performances in the Crescent Theater on April 25.

Auditions for Yale Dance Lab are open to any current Yale student, and will take place Monday, Dec. 2, 6-8 p.m. in Rm. 303, 294 Elm St.

For a full project schedule, and for more information, contact

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