Just Launched! Mastercard Priceless Cities Program: Observe a private rehearsal by Valerie Green

Valerie Green / Dance Entropy is thrilled to announce our participation in Mastercard’s Priceless Cities program!

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Available exclusively for Mastercard members, the Priceless Cities program provides access to unforgettable experiences in cities around the globe! 

 

The Experience

Get a behind-the-scenes look at a working dance company as you join Dance Entropy for a private rehearsal. Witness the magic as the dancers prepare for their next performance in their Long Island City studio. When the rehearsal's over, dancers will stick around for a Q&A session and a photo opportunity. Want to try it yourself? Take a semi-private 30-minute lesson with one of the dancers. Exclusively for Mastercard® cardholders.

 

What's priceless®

 Taking a behind-the-scenes look at a professional dance company's rehearsal with your friends.

 

The highlights

 ·         Attend a two-hour private Dance Entropy rehearsal

·         Chat with the dancers and company director during a 10-15 minute meet-and-greet and photo op

·         Receive a souvenir T-shirt

·         Take an optional 30-minute dance lesson

 

For a full list of dates, see our calendar: https://www.danceentropy.org/calendar

For all the details, and to snag your tickets, check out our Priceless page: https://www.priceless.com/arts-and-culture/product/146100/sit-in-on-a-professional-dance-companys-private-rehearsal

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Kind words from Laurie Hockman by Valerie Green

Valerie Green / Dance Entropy is delighted to share this recent feedback from Laurie Hockman!

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“I am an independent choreographer and have been a renter [at Green Space] since the studio's inception and have not only greatly benefited from access to a spacious, beautiful rehearsal space at an affordable price but have also been afforded valuable performance opportunities through the various programs offered by the studio. Green Space has consistently been attentive to the two needs of choreographers and dancers - having a place to make work and having an opportunity to show work.

Having lived in and worked in New York, for over thirty years, it has been painful to watch the sometimes devastating impact of rising real estate prices on the dance community. Very few of the studios where I studied and rehearsed are still in existence and many of the spaces that are as high quality as Green Space are prohibitively expensive, particularly if one wants to rent on a regular basis. Such access is vital to dance artists. Ms. Green has worked hard to maintain the space and keep it within reach of everyone. Not an easy task in this environment.

As if providing rehearsal space were not enough, Green Space's performance opportunities are equally significant. Given the number of dance artists in New York and the logistics involved, finding a forum to show work, whether it is in process or fully completed, is challenging. With Fertile Ground and Take Root, Green Space answers the need for both. I have had the great honor to participate in Take Root. After having gone through all the travails of self-producing at many spaces, the performance I was able to do through the Take Root was truly a dream come true. All of my technical needs were met and I was completely free to concentrate on what mattered most, the dance. That is a gift to any choreographer, young or old. I would note also that I have also self-produced at Green Space. The performance packages were always reasonable and the experiences were both pleasurable and seamless.

Ms. Green creates powerful, refined and relevant work for her company while providing meaningful outreach and education to communities in Queens and further afield. It has been an inspiration to watch the growth and development of the company both artistically and structurally and to witness its continued commitment to take its work to new audiences.

In closing, I can hardly be more effusive in my praise and appreciation to Dance Entropy and Green Space for nurturing the dance community in New York and how much these demonstrate a comprehensive vision for addressing that community's needs.”

Dance Intensive Diaries by Valerie Green

Dance Intensive Diaries

By Sarah Awad

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Day 1: Finding it Again

A recreational dancer and insecure about my age, I entered Green Space excited, but also a

touch apprehensive. This was quickly alleviated by Valerie’s immediate trust in us. Day 1 was

set up in a way that effortlessly shook out the nerves, thoroughly established the context of

movement, and clearly set up the expectations for the cohort. I appreciated her want to

understand me further, and she treated me like a “real dancer;” the freedom she gave me to

express my creativity through our choreography exercises and in collaboration on the final

performance piece were vulnerable but incredibly important experiences for me. It gave me the

confidence to step up and speak up more so in our collaborator throughout the week.

Day 2: Yin and Yang

Back-to-back Ballet Barre and Modern Dance Technique really pushed me to harmonize with

my biomechanics and really challenged my understanding of all the nuances of foundational

movement. I loved feeling the opposition between both practices, and I think it is important and

powerful to be reminded of our body’s versatility and ability to flow through different languages

of movement; it was a very important challenge for me. A former ballet dancer, it was both

nostalgic and joyful to return to the barre after so long, and I plan on reintroducing it to my

personal practice.

Day 3: Digging Deep

Really feeling the aftermath of barre today, but any soreness was dissipated by Hanna’s

beautiful and poignant modern technique class. I always struggled with the direct connection

between how I feel in the act of dance, and what I visibly convey in my face and body- I could

be totally immersed in the world of the performance, yet my natural stoicism is the only

“emotion” that reads. Hanna was so kind, and I was eager to open up to her. Her class helped

me further access the emotional sweet spot necessary for my choreographed phrase.

Day 4: Tough Mudder

The day of reckoning; I felt like my insides were sun-burned, the pores of my brain closed up.

Barre was a blur and taking in the technique phrases in both classes was proving impossible. I

started to fall into myself, and began to question if I could successfully perform our final piece.

This lack of confidence felt strange for once, and I knew something in me had changed- I have

grown nonetheless.

Day 5: Settling into Place

Choreography refinement and critiques with Jonathon were the hands that pulled me out of the

hole I dug Wednesday. Spending time working on my own phrase allowed me to tap into those

day-before feelings in a more productive way, and with Jonathon’s guidance and Hanna’s class

on the brain, I could feel myself clearing a wall, and that gave me the energy to really fight

through our rehearsal and get it right.

Day 6: Restored and Rehearsed

Yoga was much needed, and its results were clear in my confidence and ability to loosen up

during our final rehearsal. Pre-performance jitters were manageable, and I couldn’t wait until

tomorrow. A well balanced day for body and mind.

Day 7: Showtime and Final Reflections

Our last day went by fast! Modern dance technique class in the morning felt fully integrated,

and I was thrilled with my performance in our dress rehearsal. Getting ready for the

performance was a bit emotional for me- my goal of returning to performing was happening, and

I could feel all I learned in the week flowing through me. I felt new.

Later that day, I came across a paper where I had written down goals for myself this year, so

this week was punctuated with crossing off “perform again.” The whole week was amazing, and

I returned to my nine-to-five sad that it was over, but feeling uplifted.

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Dance Entropy in Poland! by Valerie Green

Our Polish Collaboration continues with Zawirowania Dance Theatre, and today we arrived in Poland!

“We are happy to be a part of that special collaboration between two countries America and Poland. It was amazing experience and fascinating cultural exchange. The process of creation was a great opportunity to share ideas and movement with artists from across the ocean, a chance to inspire and get inspired by others. It was exciting to seek and finally find the unique movement language which was created through
the diversity of dancer and the dialog between them. For each of us it was memorable
journey and enriching experience.” -Zawirowania Dance Theatre 

"Right Now" Repertory Performance

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Valerie Green/Dance Entropy performs at Zawirowania Dance Festival their program of 5 Repertory Works which include: Hinge, Kindred, Echo of a Trace, Right Now and Womb.

Poland Premiere of "Everything"

Monday June 24th, 2019

EVERYTHING A dance performance installation evoking the ever-expanding universe, transforming the performance space into a constellation of stars and human bodies in various states of formation and explosion. Inspired by astrophotography, string theory, interconnectivity and meditations on space and time. The new dance work weaves together a visual, physical and emotional translation of the cosmos.

The work began as a cultural exchange and collaboration in progress between Valerie Green/Dance Entropy and Zawirowania Dance Theatre spanning NYC/Warsaw in 2019. It has since expanded into a transportable, movable collaborative concept that is process focused.  The work is intended to travel for collaboration, replicating the long distance and cross cultural exchange process, culminating in a different performative result each time. With an emphasis on collaboration, the work also utilizes local musicians and dancers.  The creation process includes visual prompts, improvisational methods, scientific research which is done both via virtual/technological collaboration and then in person by gathering the movement pallet and inserting into a set story board configuration at rehearsals. The work is transformative and engaging for both science and cultural performing arts communities & organizations. 

"Everything evokes many kinds of dynamics and interactions from physics in a clever way; the ideas are integrated in the choreography such that the piece is interesting as dance on its own. As a physicist it continuously inspired thoughts about physics and about dance as well."  -Walter Polkosnik, Ph.D. Physicist

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Photos by Alex Lopez

Photos by Alex Lopez

Behind the scenes with our SU-CASA residency by Valerie Green

Valerie Green/Dance Entropy has been doing an exciting SU-CASA residency series, bringing dance & movement to Senior Centers across Queens. 

We wanted to share some thoughts and updates from two of our teaching artists.

From Arleigh Rothenberg:

I'm having a wonderful experience teaching the Su Casa Classes at Queens Community House. 

The participants seem to be having a wonderful time, and they each took a moment to write about their experience in my class!

"I'm dancing to exciting music with our fabulous dance teacher who is patient- showing us how to keep dancing, moving our bodies to stay fit -n- positive.  Can't wait until we have our dance at our center."  -Patricia

"Great class.  We should spend more time practicing for the show.  We will shine for sure!" -Oveida

"Terrific class - great choreography - music out of this world - Staying Alive!"  - Reynold

"This class is very entertaining and fun.  I enjoyed every class.  Thanks to our instructor." -Etty

"In this class, I learned to relax, rhythm and various steps.  The teacher is very patient." -Yanick

"I love and enjoyed the class.  It makes me very happy.  The class is very amusing and instructional."

- Michelene

 

From Nicole Kadar 

In March I started teaching a residency at Kew Gardens Community House. The community of seniors, who participated the first day, surprised with their spry coordination and eagerness to move. In every class we move to different music, learn sequenced steps, and engage in creative task tasks while building a sense of community.

Dance brings joy to its participants. I have been reflecting on how this joy is different between young children and senior citizens. (The majority of my teaching work is with young children.) For children the joy is immediate and all encompassing; they are dancing, they are excited. At the end of class they are done and that joy settles down; then they are newly excited about seeing their parents/caregivers. For the elderly there is a slow build as we build in movement and feeling of community. By the end of class that joy transforms into gratefulness. They leave standing a little taller, physically connected to their body and socially connected to the other participants.

Dance is not simply about learning steps. The physical movement stimulates mind-body connections and creative components encourages spontaneous decision making and social interaction. These are life skills to practice at every age.

I feel grateful to do this residency and be a part of their community.

 

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Arleigh Rothenberg

Arleigh Rothenberg

Nicole Kadar

Nicole Kadar

Meet Theresa Magario, Looking Back by Valerie Green

When I started working at Dance Entropy Inc it was operating out of a modest apartment one quick bike ride away from Green Space.

Theresa Magario

Theresa Magario

I remember the home cooked meals. And the two cats.

I also remember being terrified that someone had actually took a chance on me- and I had no idea what I was doing- and that I would disappoint with my glaring dearth of experience in not only the non-profit sector, but also in the world of dance.

I came on as an intern, struggling to learn the ways of the city; trying not to be terrified by the enormity of the choice that I made to live in New York. So even while merely sorting press kits spread all over the living-room floor I was quiet and awkward; a mess inside.

Yet fate had delivered me to this particular non-profit. Though way out of my comfort zone, I trusted that this would be a beneficial opportunity. Certainly, the least I could do was show up and try.

In my trying, I gained the experience that comes from being on a two-person team. My skill set suddenly included doing a bit of everything from marketing, design, website maintenance, accounting, sound and lighting, even dealing with customer service in India.

But my personal growth wasn’t the sole reason for staying on. I also believe in what Valerie was, and, through diligent work, is still doing in Queens.

Just like there is a need for jazz clubs, and painting classes, and clown schools there needs to be places to dance and for dance to be made. All the arts are so very vital to everyone’s wellbeing. Even if they don’t consciously acknowledge it. For this larger picture I showed up and tried. And continue to do so from three time zones away. 

Art non-profits are fragile things; especially ones run by artists. They don’t always have the staying power that they deserve. 

With that ever in mind, I felt if I were one more willing pair of hands ready to do the work for a quite literally home-grown non-profit, Dance Entropy Inc would somehow have a better chance at navigating through the occasionally wild changes that have come along.

Changes, wild or not, weren’t always bad things: In time, Valerie was able to secure an office and greenroom right next door to her studio. We finally got to have proper desks and computers instead of sharing a lap top at the kitchen table. Dancers could have a proper offstage space. More staff members were able to come on board to share the workload.

But the real growth of Dance Entropy Inc isn’t in the size of the staff or square footage of the space, but in its ever increasingly meaningful impact on the NYC performance community.

I feel encouraged when I see signs that its’ roots are going deeper. And there find the ability to thrive; to find greater and greater opportunity to reach out, connect and collaborate.

Melissa Moore talks about VG/DE's High School Residency by Valerie Green

Valerie Green/Dance Entropy has been partnering with the NYC Department of Education and providing a High School Dance Program. Meet one of our teaching artists and hear about her experiences:

Dance Experience Teaching at a High School Residency.

Academic life isn’t easy. Prepping for exams. Reading assigned chapters. Designing presentations. Writing essays. Meeting deadlines.  Even coping with a social life. This kind of regimented schedule leads to a buildup of pressure, with no release.

 Mix that with a bowlful of hormones gone haywire, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. So what’s the solution?  Dance!

Coming from a professional dancer background, I was given the opportunity to teach at the Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts. 

Teaching at Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts high school has slowly shown me how important building a community through dance is created.  I was able to see students developing long-lasting bonds, Improving existing relationships, learning group accountability, all while being physically active and engaged.

Starting the residency in October many of my students were very shy, resistant to moving their bodies, and for some taking a dance class was very new to them.

I had to not only have a strong detailed lesson plan, but I also had to take my time with the students knowing that everyone was on different levels.

One common factor at the beginning of class, everyone was in their own shell and felt uncomfortable to open up to not only dancing but dancing among their peers.

I had to relate to the students, and one way was by playing music that would not only get them moving but music that will also break down the barriers to reveal themselves and to get them moving. Releasing the happy endorphins.

I developed fun and simple exercises, drills, and combinations with repetition and over time,  dance somehow slowly broke down the barriers and I was able to see how every student was unique and at the same time all in the same boat together.

As the students put their bodies in sync with the music and each other, dancing helped to stimulate powerful bonds, all while also increasing overall mental and emotional well being. I was able to notice right before my eyes a boost of self-confidence amongst the group and their peers.

Smiles emerged, connections were created, and people who rarely  spoke were amazing movers compared to those students who were very outspoken. Students worked together and equally to achieve a mutual, agreed-upon goal.

Dance is a hidden language that brings people together.

I am proud to offer a curriculum, as a part of the residency, that sparks students’ intellectual interests and fosters their physical well being at Brooklyn Institute for Liberal Arts high school.

Melissa Moore
www.miss1moore.weebly.com 

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Meet Three of our Fertile Ground Choreographers by Valerie Green

We asked our Fertile Ground and Take Root performers to tell us about their work and rehearsal process for their upcoming showcases. Today we hear from three of our Fertile Ground Choreographers

É tude de Mains
By Gina Bonanti

When I was a young dancer I made small solos about one or another thing that was dear or troubling to me. I would write poetic imagery and it would make its way into my dance and the solo dance would make its way into my writing, into my poetry. Dancing and poetry became a twin understanding and even, expression. Once I spoke of it with a group of writers and one of them went into such a fantastic state of alarm that I stopped talking about it, but I did not stop experiencing it. Now I am talking, making solo dances, and writing around its curious issues again.  In this particular etude, I find myself magnetically oriented in the dancer’s hand. The outward rotating wrist alike to the heel and outward rotation those of us who study ballet understand, especially those of us who study with the Corvinos: the opening of the door by the graceful and immediately accessible doorknob instead of by the bulky innards of its hinges. This is academic, but a study of the hand is more immediately poetic. At least my study of the hand is a poetic study. In a class this year with Andra Corvino, she spoke of dancer's hands so eloquently and in many ways this is what got me going toward this study I'm now in the sweet turmoil of. At some point I might go spiraling into a study of heel, but hands have the advantage of being in air and unburdened by the weight of the rest of the dancer. They are anchors in other ways. They curve and modulate curves in the rest of the dancer, in the dancer’s wing-like shoulders and experiences of flight. When I was a child I thought that like baby birds, we children could also learn to fly, by practicing. I led my friends in hours of flapping and flying off sensibly small and low surfaces, certain that one day we would have ability. With patience, as baby birds must have patience. Otherwise we would break before we are flown. Instead, I as a grown dancing human, instead of an imaginary bird, have, at the very least, épaulement.

Someone Else, Somewhere Else
Choreographer/Dancer:  Jiali Wang

“Someone Else, Somewhere Else” explores the personal monologue of myself. It is a question about myself in relation to the female issues of age, ability, and class. As a Chinese and a feminist, I have been feeling the transformation and influence of my personality, opinion and culture, since I have been in this country. I am listening to myself and perceiving the silence from my spiritual world where emotions, anxiety and fear coexists within my female body. With all the issues of age, ability and social class that I have encountered, I have no words to say anything. In this dance, moving my body in the silence strengthen the power of my mind, so I just flow into a short moment to listen, talk and to be myself.

Black
Sofía Forero Correa


My most recent piece, "Black", explores the dark side that we all have, and how this one is necessary in order to highlight the light that we all have within.

I started this piece by selecting the music and listening to it over and over again, until the movement became clear in my mind. This is different from my other pieces, in which I wanted to break away from the ballet esthetic. In “Black”, I use it to enhance the delicacy of movement even in the faster moments. It’s a piece that blends different dance techniques including Ballet, Graham, Horton and Taylor technique, with gesture movements. 

The process from this piece was completely different than what I’m used to as well. Before getting in the studio with all my dancers, I played and came up with a lot of different phrases varying in styles, rhythms, and speed. Once I taught all the phrases to everyone, I started playing around with them (their fronts, levels, speed, quality). Being in the studio with everyone and being able to collaborate with everyone is the best part of my week and fills me with joy.

etude de mains

etude de mains

Jiali Wang

Jiali Wang

Sofía Forero Correa

Sofía Forero Correa

Meet January's Take Root Choreographers by Valerie Green

We wanted to take a moment to offer insight and inspiration from our January Take Root Artists.
Meet Brianna Taylor and Marion Spencer. Their work can be seen JANUARY 25 & 26, 8pm
You can learn more about their upcoming projects here

From Marion:
'WOLF' is a dance that has grown from living in different spaces, and it has also been profoundly shaped by those spaces in the past. Green Space is no exception to this. Green Space has been home to 'WOLF's process for several weeks now, and the space has already changed the dance and helped it to continue finding its truest self. The buttery wood floor, the large windows looking out to a beautiful and complicated skyline, the hissing radiators, the warm air. The personality of the space has infiltrated what 'WOLF' has become for its fullest version at the Take Root Festival on January 25 and 26th. 'WOLF' is a dance that is raw and wild and leaves nothing hidden, and it finds its strongest voice when it is supported by safe spaces to work and share. I am grateful to Green Space for the opportunity to make and share my work here this weekend! - Marion Spencer   www.marion-spencer.com

From Brianna:

Yesterday in what felt like a split second, my backpack that contained my laptop, wallet, all the random things a dancer/yoga teacher carries around in her bag on a workday, and my journal was stolen from one of my places of work. A place that feels like one of my homes here in NY, that has provided me with community and love. I believe it was taken by someone who came in not intending to take a yoga class, and in a breath walked out with it. I choose to believe that person really needed it, and am practicing sending them love. Needless to say, that sucks, and is stressful... and besides all the annoying logistics of canceling credit cards, etc., what almost feels the hardest is losing that journal with all my rehearsal notes, inspirations, visions...so much....

I include this information in this blog post, about my upcoming performance work at Green Space, because the timing is impeccable, and the support I feel from my community, my family, has deeply touched my heart. Feels like one of those moments that puts things into perspective, in the sense that these are material items, and thank goodness no one was hurt, or that it wasn’t a worse case... I was reminded of all those who lost their homes in the California fires... then I think of the fires in Oregon the last few years, so close to home for me... then I think of so so many, who don’t have a home... or a family... or a laptop... or a journal... I am reminded how blessed I am. And of the way that people come together to support each other in challenging moments.

When I walked into rehearsal this morning, my friends and collaborators were all love and support, and one of them brought me a new journal she had. When I checked my email this afternoon, there was a thread from fellow yoga teachers who were offering to pitch in a little to help me cover costs of stuff I lost. Others offered items that they had. Those dear to me reminded me that what was lost in those journals and on my laptop is still in me, and what I need to come back to will come through with new meaning.

I am reminded of the importance of family... blood family, and families we create. How family can show up for each other...

My upcoming work is about lineage. I’ve been so grateful to be in artistic process with some amazing humans, as we have been investigating stories and memories of our ancestors in movement, sound and spoken conversation. I have had to ask myself, again and again, why this particular work? Why keep looking into my lineage, why with other artists? What is important about this conversation right now? For me the answer I keep coming back to is a feeling, a desire to know my people better and to really listen to the stories that live in my memories, in my cells, and to be in conversation with others who are doing the same. Perhaps as a vehicle to allow their stories to be heard, allow them to be seen in a way they never could have been. Maybe for a small possibility for healing... I've realized this has also been a lens for me to look more closely at my whiteness, and how I can continue to be better and work more for and with racial justice. It is a desire to understand more fully, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the very ugly stories of my ancestral history, so that perhaps I can learn from their mistakes, make choices to move forward with humility and love, and take any steps I can to make their mistakes right...

The process of this work has been a long one for me. It’s been a solo work (that never really was a solo because, my ancestors, and the audiences), and it’s been a few group iterations. The peeling back of layers of my stories, of our stories, has been deep, and loving, and challenging, and has brought about so much deep learning around collaboration and family. I am so humbled by my collaborators Emily Aiken, Aleta Brown, Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, Andre Ignacio Dimapilis and Nora Fox joining me on this journey. I am so humbled by the ways we’ve shown up for each other. How we’ve listened, supported, discovered, and PLAYED together!  As preparing for a performance can often bring with it stress of many administrative, financial and creative details, I have moments where I have to remind myself why I continue on this path of being a dance artist… and then I walk into the studio and it is always clear… the creative process, being in community, moving and imagining and breathing life into ideas with other beautiful humans… It is an understanding deep in my bones that we NEED this. Humans have moved and made music and art and danced together since the beginning of time. So I remind myself of how healing this can be, for those creating, and those collaborating in community through witnessing and experiencing a work. We need art, and we need each other to share it! So thank you, for reading this, for your support, be it through the ethers and interwebs or in person… I appreciate you, and your appreciation of the importance of art, in all of our lives. 

With Love and Gratitude,
Brianna

Brianna Taylor Photo credit Andrew Ribner.

Brianna Taylor Photo credit Andrew Ribner.

Marion Spencer Photo credit: Whitney Browne Photography

Marion Spencer Photo credit: Whitney Browne Photography

Utopia – A Breakout Performance by Valerie Green

Utopia – A Breakout Performance

By Board Member Katie Garcia

What is Utopia? Is it a physical space or a state of being? How does the outside world encroach on this ideal? These are the questions that Dance Entropy’s “Utopia” sought to address.

From December 13 to 15, “Utopia” made its Manhattan debut at the historic modern dance venue at St. Mark’s Church. Entering a room billowed with smoke, I could feel the suspense in the air as the audience waited for the performance to begin. Massive, painted poles were assembled along the floor. And then, as the music began, the dancers emerged on stage and the audience was taken on a journey of finding balance amidst unsteadiness, peace amidst disorder, calmness amidst chaos.

Now, although I have served a member of the board of Dance Entropy for nearly two years, I have little background in modern dance. My dance experience has centered around a different dance style. However, every time I see the incredible dancers who make up the Dance Entropy company, I am astounded by their endurance and their abilities.

Throughout “Utopia,” dancers maneuvered and hurdled poles, sometimes twice their size, dodging other dancers and the changing stage. The performers pulled the audience into the eerie environments they were creating, asking us to traverse a changing, complex world and to somehow find the guiding light that could lead us out of the chaos. It was spectacular, to say the least.

While I may not be fluent in the modern dance form, if success is measured by whether or not a performance inspires the audience to consider big questions and reflect on their own ideals and assumptions, then “Utopia” was nothing short of an unprecedented success for this ever-growing dance company. 

Photo By Stephen De Las Heras

Photo By Stephen De Las Heras

Meet long time student Mei Ling! by Valerie Green

Meet Mei Ling, studying dance at Green Space since 2014.

Coming to Green Space for modern dance classes over the past few years has done me a lot of good, health-wise, mentally and physically.  You know, it’s modern dance; besides moving around, one has to put emotional work into the dance.  

I came to the studio as a beginner to modern dance, and am still very green, but Valerie's classes in LIC serve as a fertile ground for me to explore and learn something I totally hadn't dreamed of.

Those who are up to an innovative way of tapping into their limits while having fun should come to the lessons.

I hope to see you in class!

Green Space Classes

  • Valerie Green/Dance Your Frame: modern technique classes

    • Beginner/Open Level: Tuesdays 6:30-8pm, $20 drop in rate - NO CLASS August 28 or September 4, 2018

    • Intermediate/Advanced: Wednesdays 9-10:30am, $15 drop in rate - VIDEO SAMPLE

  • Germination: Green Space Community Class, donation-based: Fridays 1:15-3pm

  • Space for independent teachers to rent and lead their classes

Click to find out more about Green Space

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A note from Artistic Director Valerie Green by Valerie Green

“A fictional state where humanity lives in harmony. A place with total equality – without hate, discrimination, poverty or hunger. Where I feel completely accepted in community. A state of being. Right here, in front of our eyes. A sense of perfect joy, perfect peace, and perfect love. A world where people aren’t afraid to keep their hearts open, share their gifts, and experience joy.”

These are just some of the answers we have received to question, “What does Utopia mean to you?” This is the question at the heart of Dance Entropy’s new original work, Utopia, premiering in Manhattan just a few days from now.

During this performance, we ask our audience and our dancers to reflect on what Utopia is – an external, physical space or an internal sense of being. We also challenge both the audience and performers to examine what makes us feel unsafe, both externally and internally, and how we can achieve a sense of safety amidst perpetual motion and seeming chaos.

This very tension around finding safety in chaos is part of what I explore in my work with communities and groups across Queens – whether they be trauma and abuse survivors, veterans, immigrants and refugees, elderly people, young students, and people living in underserved communities. We have also explored this tension through larger international cultural exchanges in place like Cuba, India, Armenia, And Azerbaijan. Lifting up these diverse voices is fundamental to Dance Entropy’s mission to create a platform for multicultural understanding through dance. That is why, in the past twenty years, Dance Entropy and Green Space have become part of the fabric of the New York City community, known for bringing people a space for reflection, physical liberation, healing, and joy.

As we perform Utopia across Queens and New York City, we do not attempt to reveal the path to finding the ever-elusive utopia so many of us long for. Rather, this piece is simply part of the process of asking these questions about safety and perfect community, and how to find hope and transformation through the chaos around us. Dance Entropy has been a part of this transformation for many within the New York City community, and with your help we can continue to be.

I hope you will support Dance Entropy by attending our premiere of Utopia!

December 13-15 at Danspace Project @ St. Mark’s Church

If you are interested in supporting Valerie Green/Dance Entropy you can make a donation here

Valerie Green

Artistic Director

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Inside the rehearsal process with Kristin Licata by Valerie Green

I have been working with Valerie for 10 years and the rehearsal process of creating Utopia has been a very different one:  collaborative, challenging, tedious, and rewarding.   Utopia's collaborations of visual artist,  Keren, musical score composer, Mark, Valerie, 5 dancers (then 7) and 5 ten foot poles (and then 10) is probably the biggest collaborative work I have ever been a part of.  Today, I thought I would share a little bit about what I have been feeling throughout this process.

For me personally, the most difficult collaborative partner has been the pole I am dancing with.  The poles just have a mind of their own.  They are inconsistent and no help at all.  They fall, they waiver on the break of falling, they hit dancers, walls, ceiling and floor (basically anything in a 10 foot radius).  The challenge has been to become one with the pole and make it an extension of my own movement.  Now that I am on a friendlier terms with the poles, it has almost become fun (still a little nerve wrecking).  The inconsistency of dancing with these inanimate objects has given me an artistic license to be creative, problem solve and react to the unexpected making each run thru a completely different experience and hopefully in the end a successful performance.


Besides the challenges with the poles, Utopia has an added element of creating an environment.  Artistically, this has been challenging because it is not just executing movement and it's not the intention in which you put behind the movement.  It is something more than that.  It has been a process to find a way to provoke certain moods of sections so the audience can join me on this journey to finding utopia.  I want them to feel the internal and external stresses, struggles, minor achievements and failures I encounter on the pathways to attaining utopia.


We have been in the studio working for over a year, and at a certain point there is a sense of monotony with doing the same thing every rehearsal.  The struggle of keeping the movement fresh, and continuing to dig deeper and find new ways to layer all aspects of my performance has been a continual process.  With this being said, I think I have been working really hard to keep exploring.  I hope with this continual searching whatever is exposed in my movement and self expression in the performances makes the audience feel something that evokes an emotional response within them.  As well as, grabs their attention and keeps their interest to come along with me on my journey to finding utopia.  


I always find that a performance after a long rehearsal process is so rewarding.  There is a sense of attaining a goal, closure, wishing I could have done something different, or better, a sadness that it is over, and how am I going to improve on my performance when we revisit this piece in the future.  In the end, I hope that all of this work culminates into a strong technical, emotional and artistically stimulating performance for myself and the audience.  


After writing all of this, I am realizing these performances are my personal utopia.  This rehearsal process, has been my journey leading up to the perfection I have been striving to create and attain in performance.  While I am sure every night will be different, with good and bad moments, mistakes, and unexpected situations, I hope each night to come closer to that perfect performance.   I hope you can all attend the show and share in my experiences of this rehearsal process (journey) as you see them in the premier of Utopia!

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Photo Credit Elbert Mills

Creating Utopia by Valerie Green

Reaching into my memories of the development of this piece, I’m thinking of the creation of each of the solos that appear in the work. These solos are intentionally personal to our lives, our struggles, and our styles of perseverance. Prior to the rehearsal when each solo was created, Valerie asked us to think about what we perceive Utopia to mean as fuel for personalized choreography and intention. I shared with Valerie that, for me, Utopia is a state of mind that I aim to reach and maintain: a state of peace, mental stability, and recognition of what is needed to sustain a healthy perspective within the struggles of my life. As I see it, Utopia is not a place, but a space in my mind where I have time, energy, and patience enough to recognize my spirit and feed it accordingly.

I’ve carried this sentiment with me throughout the development of the rest of the work, specifically in relation to the character that I have become within the piece. If I could describe that character, I would say she is anywhere from softly aware to actively concerned about the shifts happening around her. She is anywhere from a heartfelt observer to a bubbling participant. She is anywhere from innocently curious to emotionally rambunctious. She is anywhere from independently assured to destructively upset. She is a struggle of dualities. To me, this is the path toward and through Utopia. The struggle to find the mental state that will carry me through to the receiving of light, balance, and peace. A personal journey of emotional regard and physical action, of carrying and maneuvering all that there is to manage on the journey, of wrestling with content in order to find peace within it.

At the same time, it is the acknowledgment of the commonality of individual journeys running simultaneously throughout time and space. Even within the sometimes-isolating search for my mental Utopia, I am surrounded by companions who are struggling and succeeding in their own ways, within their own characterizations, and on their own timelines. Yet, we are together. We check in on each other. We push, pull, maneuver, knock down, restore, and shift each other’s emotional and physical material along the way. We sometimes change or complicate the journey for each other because of the incompatibility of the struggles on our individual pathways, but, more so, we could not make the journey alone.

In thinking of Utopia as a mental state, it can be easy for my character (and my person) to feel isolated and busy within my own head, like a tempest in a teapot. However, my character is challenged along this journey to reach outward, connect, see, feel the presence of others, and embrace the strength gained in exposing fragility. This is the take away that touches me most inside my interpretation of the piece. Even when we have to move our own baggage or struggle through our own scenarios, we are not alone if our friends are near, even as they fight their own fights. In this way, I am reminded that Utopia is found together as an equal reflection and causation of what is happening within. The sense of Utopia is alive and energetically cyclical, ebbing and flowing based on the state of our minds and our communities.

When performing my solo in the piece, I feel the presence of my company members, and my character feels the presence of her surrounding companions. At no point do I feel alone, even as I am the only one dealing with my personalized battles. In my life, I agree with the dance. I see myself successful within myself when I am connecting outside of myself. I see my Utopia appearing when I am reaching equally inward and outward. I see myself balancing the carrying of others and being carried by others. I see myself reaching milestones with others, never alone, yet with deep consideration and consciousness of a healthy inner me that only I can summon and create. 

Let’s create Utopia together, reaching in and reaching out. 

-Emily Aiken

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Photo Credit:  Nomi H. Rave

Photo Credit: Nomi H. Rave

A New Role and a New Face at Dance Entropy! by Valerie Green

Hi! My name is Akia, I’m the new Company Manager here at Dance Entropy.

It’s a new role for the company and it’s very exciting to be lending a hand to help shape what this position means for Dance Entropy.   Valerie and I are working together on focused growth for the project, and I look forward to sharing what’s in store with all of you in the months to come.

In the meantime, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself.  

I originally come from a Dance background, having started studying movement and dance at the age of 4.  A 2nd generation dancer I studied with my mother’s ballet master Mila Gibbons at the Aparri School of Dance in Princeton, NJ and went on to studying & performing with the Princeton Ballet Company.  As a teenager, I discovered a love for theatre, and began studying at the New York Conservatory for the Arts in Upstate NY, studying all forms of dance, theatre and voice.   I moved to NYC and after a few years of freelancing, I landed at Blue Man Group where I spent 10 years working as their Company Manager, where I wrangled Blue Guys, laughed and learned a whole lot.   I’m also a freelance stage director, intimacy director/choreographer, and advocate for anti-harassment & safe spaces in creative work places.

Most of all I look forward to seeing the World Premiere of Utopia in December and hope to see all of you there!

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Whitney's Introduction blog post by Valerie Green

Hello! My name is Whitney Janis. I am a professional dancer based in New York City, and I am thrilled to be working as the new Programs Manager at Green Space.

I admire how Green Space brings dance to the wider community by offering public classes, discounted studio space, and high-quality performances each month. I look forward to helping Green Space continue to make dance accessible to artists, students and the general public.

A little bit about me: Born and raised in New York City, I began taking ballet classes at Ballet Academy East when I was six years old. During high school I trained on scholarship at The Ailey School, the official school of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 2011, I received my undergraduate degree in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. After moving back to New York, I worked as the Gifts Coordinator and the Administrative Assistant of Institutional Giving at the New York Philharmonic from 2012-2016. I later completed two years of professional training at Ailey through the Independent Study program, and am now happy to be working with three modern dance companies in New York.

I look forward to seeing you at a class or a performance at Green Space soon!

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Gardens of Babylon, Chinese Scrolls and the Eternal Quest for Utopia by Valerie Green

Visual Artist Keren Anavy on the Making of Utopia's Pillars

Tell me about your background as an artist?

I got my bachelor degree in history of art at Tel Aviv University, and then I studied MFA at Haifa University, so my whole education was in Israel. I’m a painter and I do drawings, but mostly I present site specific installation that I create from all kinds of materials. I came to New York two years ago and did the NARS Foundation residency for six months in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I started to research local artists and one of them was Valerie Green from Dance Entropy, which was an amazing experience.

How did Valerie broach this project with you?

We did a collaboration in the Flux Factory two years ago. It was a good experience that we had, and we saw that we both have interest in lots of similar topics: Landscape as a metaphor for example, and the relationship between people and communities through arts. So we decided to do something from scratch together.

Keren Anavy's scroll paintings

Keren Anavy's scroll paintings

I was in the middle of research about botanical gardens in New York and thinking about how nature is like small pockets in the urban city of New York. I was also in the process of making new paintings that has lots of influence from Chinese painting scrolls.

We had this idea that the paintings look like hanging gardens. I painted them on Mylar, which is a transparent material. So when the paintings hang in my studio it looks like hanging gardens of Babylon. They were considered to be one of the wonders of the world, but they never really existed. So after Valerie saw this painting, we started talking about this utopian situation: a perfect place that doesn’t really exist but we all the time kind of aspire to. Then she responded in her way with choreography. So it was like a dialogue through art.

What’s been the most challenging part?

You should ask the dancers! But my challenge is to think about all kinds of technical issues. The company needs to move from place-to-place in the future in order to show this piece. But the challenge is that this technical issue will not affect the art. How we can do it without giving up elements that we really want in and are important? We don’t want to compromise.

What does Utopia mean to you?

It’s very dreamy, it’s very nice. But it’s also trying to control the future, trying to control the reality. We do this with the social media trying to control how we look…I think that utopia for me, I would want it to be something peaceful so we don’t have to be changing all the time. Then you can take your mind off struggling. And you can see it in the choreography because there is all the time this struggle. They kind of build something and then destroy it.

Don't miss the premiere of Utopia with Danspace Project at St.Mark's Church: Thursday, December 13, 2018!

Green Space Gets a Makeover by Valerie Green

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IT'S HERE!

Last month, we rolled out VG/DE's snazzy new website. This month, its Green space's turn. It's green, it's bold, it's got upcoming season tickets, classes galore and more!

Some new things of note:

Please explore, reach out and tell us what you think. And as always, happy dancing!

Like the design? We highly recommend Olivia Palacios and JAMpress Management for their thorough and inspiring work!
 

Valerie Green/Dance Entropy Has Upped Its Web Game! by Valerie Green

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The New Website is Live!

If you’re new to Valerie Green/Dance Entropy, welcome. If you’re one of our longtime friends, welcome back to our brand new website! We’ve been hard at work all summer redesigning and reorganizing all that VG/DE has to offer. Now our repertoire archive, touring programs, educational outreach workshops, classes and far more have a snazzy new home in the big wide web.

·         Find out about our upcoming performances

·         Check out photo galleries and videos of VG/DE works

·         Come to our classes held at VG/DE’s home studio Green Space

·         Get in touch and subscribe to our mailing list

And later this month, don’t miss…drum roll please…the reveal of Green Space’s own splashy new website – Stay tuned!