RepEtude-based programming is offered through the Repertory Etude Campaign.
Click below on each title to read more about and link to videos of each Repertory Etude in the current Collection:
- Battleworks Etude by Robert Battle
- Buraczeski Etude by Danny Buraczeski
- Bushasche Etude by Pearl Primus
- Ecce Etude by Danny Grossman
- Limón Etude by Carla Maxwell, after José Limón
- Parsons Etude by David Parsons
- Rainbow Etude by Donald McKayle
- Rooms Etude by Anna Sokolow, arranged by Lorry May
- Village Etude by Deborah Friedes, inspired by Sophie Maslow
Choreography by Robert Battle, arranged by Erika Pujič
This powerful tour de force includes movement elements from four of Robert Battle’s signature works—Flock, Jewel Lost, The Hunt, and Rush Hour—representing the early years of Battleworks Dance Company (2002-2010). This RepEtude, which can be staged as a solo or for groups of all sizes, challenges dancers to express a range of emotions while executing bound, strong, unrelenting movement.
Robert Battle was born in Miami, Florida. He was interested in dance from an early age and his high school years were spent studying dance at an arts magnet program. He then moved on to The Juilliard School where he met his mentor Carolyn Adams. After graduation, Battle danced with the Parsons Dance Company from 1994-2001 where he also began choreographing his own works.
Battle’s own Battleworks Dance Company premiered in 2002 and proceeded to tour the United States. He has also restaged his works and created new pieces for various companies and universities around the world including Hubbard Street Repertory Ensemble and Ballet Memphis. His movement ranges from flowing and expressive to sharp and hard-hitting, but a quiet power always drives his choreography. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has honored him as a “Master of African-American Choreography.” In July of 2011, Battle was named the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He is only the third person to head this famous company.
Choreography by Danny Buraczeski
Buraczeski Etude is comprised of three short duets based on stylistically different dances from Danny Buraczeski's repertory—Fission, Blue on the Moon, and Swing Concerto. These energetic and at times humorous excerpts explore partnering, space, style, and musicality. The RepEtude can be staged for one or more couples.
Danny Buraczeski grew up outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania and received a degree in Japanese Studies from Bucknell University. His early dance career was spent on Broadway where he performed with Angela Lansbury in "Mame" and Liza Minelli in "The Act." In 1979, he formed the original JAZZDANCE based in New York City, and the company proceeded to tour the United States, the Carribean, and Europe. In 1989, Buraczeski relocated to Minneapolis/St. Paul and reformed JAZZDANCE to be based in the Twin Cities.
For over three decades, Danny Buraczeski has devoted himself to investigating jazz music, basing his movement off of the sound of early pioneers as well as present-day innovators. While he is mainly considered a jazz choreographer, his dance vocabulary incorporates elements of ballet and modern and his movement is always rhythmically complex. Buraczeski has created works for the Boston Ballet, Ballet Memphis, various theater productions and repertory dance companies, and has been the recipient of multiple fellowships and awards. He is currently a faculty member at the Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts and continues to be sought after for his original voice.
Choreography by Pearl Primus
Based on a traditional dance from Zaire, Bushasche Etude is a dance of peace in which the participants call up the gods of war and defeat them. Pearl Primus once expressed the desire to have every high school student in the United States learn this piece...and now they can. This 4-minute dance has been staged for as few as 4 and as many as 35 and is adaptable for dancers of different ages and abilities.
Pearl Primus (1919-1994) was born in Trinidad but raised in New York City. Primus attended Hunter College as a pre-medical student focusing on biology and even entered graduate school at New York University to continue her studies. She was assigned to the National Youth Administration’s dance group for work, but she found that she had natural abilities as a dancer. Primus quickly enrolled at the New Dance Group where she began experimenting with choreography that expressed social protest and explored ethnic material.
Primus’ works combined educational sociology, anthropology, and dance training. She began researching African dance and worked to promote it as an art form as respectable as classical ballet or modern dance. In 1979, after spending time in West Africa doing firsthand studies and receiving her PhD in anthropology, she founded the Pearl Primus “Dance Language Institute.” She continued to teach and choreograph, and in 1991, was presented with the National Medal of Arts. Her works are remembered for bringing knowledge of African culture to American audiences and making a dignified statement to the Western world.
Choreography by Danny Grossman
This 5-minute trio is an excerpt from Danny Grossman's larger work, the masterful Ecce Homo. Performed to Bach music and inspired by the paintings of Michelangelo, Ecce Etude provides dancers with an understanding of Grossman's unique physicality and audiences with his signature aesthetic.
Born in San Francisco to a Polish-Hungarian Jewish father and an Irish Catholic mother, Danny Grossman grew up in a strongly politicized household in California. He walked his first picket line when he was 10 and as a student took part in the historic Berkeley demonstrations of the 1960s. His upbringing provided a background of committed social awareness, an influence that can be seen in the humanistic concerns that animate much of his work. As a creative artist, he began studying and performing modern dance with Gloria Unti in 1960 and 1963 joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company, where he danced for 10 years.
In 1973, David Earle, co-founder of the Toronto Dance Theatre, invited Grossman to Toronto. Grossman joined the faculty of York University and worked with the Toronto Dance Theatre as a guest artist and choreographer. In 1977, he formed the Danny Grossman Dance Company, following the tremendous success of the premiere of "Higher," which would become his signature work. Danny Grossman created a repertoire of more than 50 works for his Company which have been performed across Canada and internationally. In 2008, the Danny Grossman Dance Institute was launched as a means of preserving, reconstructing, and licensing his repertoire.
Choreography by Carla Maxwell, after José Limón
The beautiful Limón Etude, choreographed by Carla Maxwell is a celebration of the musicality, breath, emotions, and use of space that are signature elements of Mexican-born choreographer José Limón's repertory.
José Limón (1908-1972) was born in Culiacan, Mexico. His family later moved to Los Angeles where Limón graduated from high school and attended UCLA as an art major. At the age of 20 he relocated to New York City to study at the New York School of Design. In 1929, he joined the Humphrey-Weidman Company where he would spend the next twelve years working closely with Doris Humphrey and dancing and choreographing for Broadway.
In 1946, Limón attained his American citizenship and formed the José Limón Dance Company. With Humphrey as artistic director, he developed his repertory and established his signature technique. The Limón technique is known to emphasize the natural rhythms of fall and rebound while exploring concepts of weight and weightlessness. His signature piece is “The Moor’s Pavane” based on Othello, but he choreographed many other renowned works. He received honorary doctorates from four universities, two Dance Magazine awards, and the Capezio award and was appointed artistic director of the American Dance Theatre in 1964. Limón is remembered for being an influential choreographer, advocate for modern dance, and breath-taking dancer.
Choreography by David Parsons
The energetic 4-minute Parsons Etude is a medley from David Parsons' repertory. It highlights principles and elements of his style and can be staged as a solo, a duet, or for larger groups. Parsons Etude has also been staged as a jam, incorporating less experienced dancers and/or the audience.
David Parsons was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. He was a leading dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1978-1987 until he founded his own Parsons Dance Company with lighting designer Howell Binkley in 1987. He also has a long list of television appearances having presented his own works, performing in televised programs, and choreographing for film projects.
As artistic director, Parsons has created over 60 works for his company in addition to the countless other pieces he created for festivals, workshops, and other dance companies. He is loved for being “one of the great modern-movers,” and his talent is sought after around the globe. Parsons is heavily involved in education outreach, appearing at workshops, lectures, demonstration events, and master class venues, and he continues to share his knowledge with new dancers.
Choreography by Donald McKayle
The powerful 4-minute Rainbow Etude is based on Donald McKayle's signature work, Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder and is a masterful distillation of the quintessential elements of the larger work. Rainbow Etude can be staged as a solo or for groups and can be adapted to accommodate dancers of different levels.
Donald McKayle was born in and raised in East Harlem, New York City. From an early age, he was interested in exploring the social issues and racial prejudices prevalent in segregated American society. In 1947, he witnessed a performance by Pearl Primus which sparked a passion for social dance. He auditioned for the New Dance Group where he was granted a scholarship. McKayle eagerly took advantage of the formal dance training provided by the company, and was soon choreographing his own pieces.
McKayle has choreographed for Broadway and film, and his works are still performed by the likes of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Cleveland San Jose Ballet, the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Theatre, and the Limón Dance Company. His works are known for exploring the human condition and themes of unity through emotional movement and dramatic characterization. He has received countless awards and accolades including a Tony Award in 1974 and the 2004 Heritage Award from the National Dance Association, and continues to be known today as an influential figure in the dance world.
Choreography by Anna Sokolow, arranged by Lorry May
Based on Anna Sokolow's masterpiece, Rooms, this 6-minute RepEtude, arranged by Lorry May is a study in character and intention and provides dancers with many of the tools of the actor. Rooms Etude is staged for 6 or 12, but can be adapted for different size casts.
Anna Sokolow (1910-2000) was born in Hartford, Connecticut and spent her early years at the Neighborhood Playhouse with Martha Graham and Louis Horst. In the 1930s, she danced with the Graham Dance Company and began developing her own choreographic voice. She soon formed her own dance company and began choreographing and performing both solo and ensemble pieces. Sokolow worked with her own company, but also choreographed for Broadway, major dance companies in Israel, and the Mexican Ministry of Fine Arts. She is also remembered for her work with the New Dance Group where she choreographed works that addressed the growing troubles of Jews in Germany.
Sokolow’s works are known for their dramatic imagery that comments on the human experience and social justice. She taught what she called “method dancing” at The Juilliard School from 1958-1993 and combined dance and drama to create moving narratives. While her original company was dispersed in 2004, its former co-artistic directors have formed Sokolow Now!, the archival performing dance company, and the Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble, the contemporary and repertory teaching group, to ensure that her legacy remains alive.
Choreography by Deborah Friedes, inspired by Sophie Maslow
Inspired by Sophie Maslow's The Village I Knew, Village Etude, choreographed by Deborah Friedes, combines elements of Maslow's choreography, Israeli Folk dance, and mime. The circle version of Village Etude can be performed by any number of dancers of varying ages and levels. There are also two performance versions for more experienced dancers.
Sophie Maslow (1911-2006) was born in New York City to Russian-American parents. She began training with Blanche Talmud at the Neighborhood Playhouse School where she learned from Martha Graham and Louis Horst. Maslow was a member of Martha Graham’s Company from 1931-1940, and the beginning of her dance career coincided with the Great Depression and the labor movement of the 1930s. Her early years were also spent with the Workers’ Dance League and the New Dance Group.
Maslow’s work with the New Dance Group was inspired by the hardy physical labor of the working-class and she stated that her socialist printer father instilled in her the ability to work with a group. In 1943, Maslow formed the Sophie Maslow Dance Company and continued to use dance to make social and political statements—reconciling classical dance forms with folk dance. She went on to become a founding member of the American Dance Festival and the New York City Center Dance Theater. Maslow continued to perform and travel even in her eighties, and is remembered for preserving folk traditions and the spirit of modern dance.