In 2011, Western Michigan University's Department of Dance developed the National Choreography Competition to identify and recognize emerging choreographers and bring their work to campus. Students then had the opportunity to work with the winning artist to create a new dance. In the first year of the competition, 73 choreographers from 24 states entered the competition. A dance faculty committee narrowed the field to three finalists. Then students faculty and members of the community were invited to view samples of work by three finalists and vote for their choice. Innovation in movement, dance structure and subject matter were the criteria the faculty committee used to select the three finalists. They also selected finalists who would bring something new to Western Michigan University and audiences from southwest Michigan.
The winner in the inaugural year was Lauren Edson. View Edson's biography. Edson came to campus in fall 2011 to create a new work and presented her original dance titled "Foreground" at WMU's annual Winter Gala Dance Concert 2012. "Foreground" was then taken to the regional American College Dance Festival in March 2012 where it was selected for the gala concert and was one of two dances selected to be sent to the national American College Dance Festival where the dance was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In Michigan, her current projects include choreography for Grand Valley State and Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. Excerpts from "Foreground" are available on YouTube.
In the spring of 2013, Gabrielle Lamb was chosen as the second competition winner. Gabrielle Lamb is a New York-based choreographer and performer. She is a winner of the 2009 National Choreographic Competition of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the 2013 Genesis International Choreographic Competition of Milwaukee Ballet. In the fall of 2014, Gabrielle Lamb created a new work, Ritournelle, for the students at Western Michigan University. Her dance premiered to public acclaim at the 2014 Winter Gala Dance Concert. View Lamb's website.
Applicants must be 21 years of age or older and a U.S. citizen.
What to provide
- YouTube or Vimeo link of one complete work
- YouTube or Vimeo link of a minimum of two consecutive minutes of one additional work, no choreographic reels please
- One $20 money order made payable to WMU Department of Dance
- One-page description of the work you would like to create
- Choreographic resume
- Contact information (email address, USPS mailing address, phone numbers)
- The deadline for submissions for the third biennial National Choreography Competition is February 13, 2015. Applicants will be notified of the decision by April 1, 2015
- Applications should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include "National Choreography Competition" in the subject line
- The winner will create a new work for WMU dancers and receive the $5,000 prize
Department of Dance
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5417
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Review of applications
Entries will be reviewed by WMU Department of Dance faculty who will select no more than three finalists. The Kalamazoo and Western Michigan University communities will have an opportunity to vote for the winner. For additional questions, email Whitney Moncrief at email@example.com.