Event will feature dances of six winning choreographers and discussion with legendary dancer and artistic director Edward Villella
Kristine A. Brown

The showcase is the culmination of an extensive choreography competition.

Rider University will present an Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase — the culmination of an extensive choreography competition — featuring dances of the six winning choreographers on Saturday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. in Rider University’s Bart Luedeke Theater. The event is open to the public. 

Rider’s Emerging Choreographers’ competition was open to any emerging choreographer in the United States who is in the early stages of his or her personal career. Out of 52 total entrants received from as far away as Arizona and Washington, D.C., 20 were invited to audition their piece in person at Rider in January.  At this audition, each choreographer received critique and 

feedback from the esteemed panel of judges. After the audition, six choreographers were selected by to perform at the May 3 event. 

The panel of judges included Edward Villella, legendary artistic director and often coined as greatest male ballet dancer ever produced in America; Douglas Martin, artistic director of American Repertory Ballet; Kimberly Chandler Vaccaro, professor and chair of Dance at Rider University; and Kerry Gallagher Rowan, Core Network Team Member, American Dance Legacy Initiative. The panel will return to Rider on May 3 and participate in an open discussion about the artistic process with the choreographers, dancers and the audience following the performance. 

At the end of the evening, one of the choreographers will be chosen to set their piece on Rider students to be performed in the following year’s repertory during Rider Dances. 

The six final choreographers include Ted Thomas and Frances Ortiz, Thomas and Ortiz Dance; Alyssa Derling, Derling Dance Arts; Nicole Bugge, Bugge Ballet; Alyson Laury, Alyson Laury Dance Co.; Robert Mark Burke; and Jillian Davis. Their pieces range in style from ballet to modern dance. 

“The Emerging Choreographers competition solicited an impressive array of new pieces from emerging artists throughout the country," says Pamela Mingle, associate director, University Advancement. "The showcase gives aspiring dancemakers a platform to develop their artistic voices as well as an opportunity to present and develop an audience for their work.” 

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.  They’re available online at www.rider.edu/arts or by phone at 609-896-5775.   

View a segment of WHYY-TV's Friday Arts feature about the competition.