(Choreographer/Artistic Director) has taught throughout the United States and at festivals in Africa, Asia, Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, and he has been on faculty at Tisch School of the Arts, Bates Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival in Durham, New York, Russia, Korea, and Shanghai. Leichter has created over 25 works for his own company, including Carmina Burana and Rite of Spring commissioned by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Sweetwash with Eisa Davis for The Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach Community College. Recent commissions include The Barnard Project, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, University of The Arts, je danse donc je suis in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and The Chicago Dancing Festival. Leichter has been artist-in-residence and guest artist at many institutions including CSU Summer Arts, Sarah Lawrence College, Hollins University, George Washington University, University of Houston, Muhlenberg College, and Idaho State University. Leichter received the 2006 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University. In 2008, he received a Choreographer Fellowship from NYFA and a National Performance Network/Network of Cultural Centers of Color Artist-of-Color Residency Award at Sacramento State. He received the 2009 Copperfoot Award for Choreography from Wayne State University. Leichter is the 2012 Young Arts Mentor in Choreography.
GESTURES Dance Ensemble
is one of the pre-professional training programs of Boys & Girls Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts. Gestures Dance Ensemble offers young dancers ages 14-19 a pre-professional training model that develops a strong technical foundation through a rigorous schedule of ballet, modern, jazz, African and folkloric styles of dance that support the performance of diverse choreography. This program offers experiences that empower and nurture young dancers, and fosters the creative and artistic spirits in each of them. Nina Klyvert-Lawson is the Artistic Director of Harbor Conservatory, and Prashant Sitarm is a GESTURES alumni, choreographer and Masters candidate at Hunter College Dance Education Program.
SIDRA BELL DANCE NEW YORK
Sidra Bell Dance New York, is a boutique company of prolific movement artists based in New York City that presents innovative, kinetic, and provocative dance theater works. It has continually presented progressive, highly designed, cinematic, glamorous, and elaborate full scale productions to sold-out New York City audiences. Bell is a sought after voice in contemporary dance with a strong female vision creating works that ignite the imagination and explore the complexities of the human condition. She excavates the psyche and themes that are life affirming. The repertoire is unusual, haunting, emotionally transporting, complex, articulate, sensual, and highly physical. The work has become known for atmospheric, unconventional, spectacular, and forward-looking quality that push past dance’s traditional vocabulary, venues, and boundaries. The vocabulary is elegant, fantastical, tonal, and darkly romantic with original themes and larger than life characters. The choreographer enjoys material that is highly textural and graphic. She plays with and mines the natural and unnatural worlds as well as synthetic and organic tones. As a community minded organization SBDNY works closely with its audiences, students, and supporters through engagement activities, internships, and mentorships. The work synthesizes the worlds of design, media, fashion, and spectatorship through creative partnerships with artists of all kinds. SBDNY offers a comprehensive curriculum in contemporary dance practice and thought. With educational partnerships and commissions from the most prestigious institutions for dance and theater in the country and around the world the company is on the forefront of engaging and cultivating the next generation of artists.
UPTOWN DANCE ACADEMY
Since opening its doors in 1996, Uptown Dance Academy is considered the premiere dance school for urban youth interested in making dance their primary focus. The Academy has been dedicated to providing high-quality dance disciplines, training and professionalism for youth ages 3-19. The well-rounded curriculum designed by founder and director Robin Williams exposes children to the diverse world of dance as they prepare for the professional stage.
Uptown Kids Urban Dance Theatre consists of the cream of the crop students in the pre-professional program of the Academy. The students perform about 40 times a year outside of their regular calendar schedule. They train and perform with some of New York City’s top dancers and choreographers, giving them a unique experience not found anywhere in New York. The Academy received a $250,000 gift from the Artist Prince in 2011.
DANCE HARLEM AT MARCUS GARVEY PARK
Every Sunday in the early fall the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance has produced Dance Harlem, a community-based cultural event launched at the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater in 2002. The exciting launch brought the Dance Theater of Harlem, Ailey II and several other Harlem-based companies and New York City artists together for a free afternoon of world class performances before an audience of over 1,000 dance enthusiasts. The annual Dance Harlem has featured renowned choreographers and companies, including Marlies Yearby who received a Tony nomination for choreographing “Rent” and the Philadelphia based Philadanco which performed “Suite Otis” that was choreographed by Dance Harlem emcee George Faison, the Tony Award winning choreographer for the Broadway hit, “The Wiz”.
Dance Harlem reintroduced free outdoor dance performances in Harlem after almost a 35-year hiatus. It brings together on stage, artists from the Harlem community with other New York-based dance makers in a program that presents the pulse, passion and direction of contemporary dance in New York City. In addition to bringing art and community together to provide opportunities for artists, the event builds new audiences for dance.
The annual Dance Harlem festival fills the park’s amphitheater with an audience of more than 2,000. The Alliance expanded Dance Harlem to two days and launched a liturgical dance festival in 2008. This festival included seven liturgical dance groups from local Harlem churches and other churches located in and around New York City.
The Alliance was organized in 1999 to attract capital funds for park improvements, to engage neighborhood stakeholders to work for the revitalization of the park and to attract park programs that increase usership. Since its formation, the Alliance has attracted over $16 million in capital funds, organized numerous community events and park clean-ups, and supported arts and cultural programming that has made the park a popular arts and cultural destination.
The Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater was opened in 1970 and was a gift from American composer Richard Rodgers, who grew up across from the park in the early 1900s. One of the major goals of the Alliance — to attract enough funds to revitalize the Amphitheater – was realized when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that $4 million had been allocated from the Capital budget and $1 million had been donated by the Richard Rodgers Family Foundation for the revitalization of the Amphitheater. Another $2.5 million was donated by the Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Council Person Inez Dickens. This outdoor performance space suffered from vandalism and neglect during a period when the park was under utilized. Events like Dance Harlem, and other cultural events the Alliance has attracted to the park have drawn new audiences to the park and created the demand for a state-of-the-art performance space.