She has the attention of dance companies, and she is prepared
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, July 16, 2024

She has the attention of dance companies, and she is prepared
Chalvar Monteiro, front left, and Jacquelin Harris during a rehearsal with the Ailey company on “Century,” at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Manhattan on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. Amy Hall Garner is readying the new work “Century” for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, on the heels of other premieres and with more to come. (Karsten Moran/The New York Times)

by Brian Seibert

NEW YORK, NY.- Recently at the studios of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, choreographer Amy Hall Garner was working on the ending of a new piece, “Century.” In choosing the music for this moment, she had picked a recording from the Count Basie Orchestra with a title that might have a special resonance for anyone who has been following her career: “This Could Be the Start of Something Big.”

It’s not that Garner, 46, is just starting. But “Century” — her first work for the main Ailey troupe, which debuts Friday as part of the company’s season at New York City Center — comes close on the heels of premieres for BalletX, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Miami City Ballet and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. In May, she will debut her first piece for New York City Ballet. Suddenly, she is all over the big leagues.

“I don’t take it for granted one single bit,” Garner said after the Ailey rehearsal. “I feel like this is the moment that I’m coming into my own, and I’m just enjoying it. Timing is divine.”

Garner also credited her recent success to years and years of hard work. “All the tools I have learned in school and as a performer, I take all of that into the studio with me, because I need it,” she said. “All the experiences come with me.”

Those experiences have been unusually broad. Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Garner started private ballet lessons as a young child. She advanced up the ranks of the local “Nutcracker” production, from little sheep to the Sugar Plum Fairy, and for two summers in high school, she studied at the School of American Ballet in New York.

All along, she was also studying tap and jazz. Then, while enrolled at the Juilliard School, she learned the modern dance techniques of Martha Graham and José Limón. The school “stripped you down and built you back up in a pure way so that you could morph into all the genres,” Garner said. “I learned to see how that information was put through the body.”

That skill would eventually help her as a choreographer, but although she made a few pieces at Juilliard, she saw herself as only a dancer. Unlike most of her classmates, she didn’t audition for companies like Ailey or Taylor; she has never been a member of one. Instead, she joined a Broadway show, “Fosse,” and stuck with musical theater, working with figures like Gwen Verdon, Ann Reinking and Susan Stroman in shows like “Contact.” She also danced as a Radio City Rockette.

Then her best friend from Juilliard, Darrell Grand Moultrie, who had become a choreographer, asked Garner to assist him.

“She’s always had an eye,” Moultrie said. “And she’s very musical.” When he choreographed for Beyoncé’s “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour,” Garner helped out, modeling movement and teaching it to the star. Years later, when he made his first piece for the main Ailey troupe — “Ounce of Faith,” in 2019 — Garner was by his side, making suggestions and helping coach the dancers.

“It was about us telling each other, ‘You’re not my assistant,’” Moultrie said. “‘We’re going in as partners, and we’re going to do that because we can all rise together.’”

Garner was also making her own work, mostly for students to start choreographing. She created her first piece for Ailey II, “Virtues,” in 2012. But it wasn’t until she made a dance for Juilliard, in 2019, that she caught the eye of the Taylor company’s artistic director, Michael Novak.

“There was an incredible musicality and a great deal of joy,” Novak said. “I kind of fell in love.”

By the time Novak commissioned Garner to make a dance, it was February 2020. The pandemic caused that plan to be postponed, but Garner did make a virtual work for the Taylor troupe in collaboration with Miami City Ballet that May. And not long after those companies returned to live performance, Garner was creating premieres for them.

By that point, everyone seemed to want her work.

But Garner, Novak said, is ready for the flood of attention: “She has been in so many different creative environments, and so she knows how to get out of dancers what she needs, incredibly fast, while making them excited about the process.”

Matthew Rushing, Ailey’s associate artistic director, said that Garner’s work reminded him of Ailey’s. “There’s a familiar spirit.”

Garner said that aspects of “Century” are in fact a tribute to Ailey and his theatricality. But mainly, for her, the work is personal. It’s a birthday present to her grandfather, Henry Spooner, who turns 100 on Dec. 30.

The musical selections, mostly hard-swinging jazz, are by artists Spooner likes: Count Basie, Ray Charles. Or they speak to his upbringing in Louisiana and his decades of service in the choir of Gloryland Baptist Church.

In all her work, Garner said, music is foundational. “I like to respect the music,” she said. “That genius is far beyond me. It inspires me and tells me what to do.”

Much of the choreography of “Century,” Garner said, responds to the music and the particularities of the Ailey dancers; she leaned into “the things that will make them look good.” But some movement also derives from Spooner’s personal style, and the way he danced with Garner’s late grandmother.

During the first 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic, Garner and her husband, as well as their son and her parents, lived with Spooner. “It was four generations of us in one house,” she said, “and we had a lot of deep conversations that probably would not have happened otherwise.”

With Spooner’s birthday on the horizon, Garner’s mother suggested a party. “And I said, ‘Yes, we should throw him a party,’” Garner recalled, “but why don’t I also make him a work of art celebrating him and what he’s given me?” She wants to give her grandfather what she always wants to give people who see her art: “Something that feels good.”

When Garner told Spooner about her plan, he asked if he would have to do anything. She told him, “No, you just sit and watch.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

December 7, 2023

Miami Art Week: Zachary Balber's Uncensored Secret Performance Stills Can Finally Be Seen

He sold the world's most expensive artwork. Now he's calling it a day.

Turner Prize goes to Jesse Darling, a sculptor of mangled objects

Did the Russians take his family's Tintoretto? He's intent on finding out.

Miami has matured into a cultural capital. What's next?

This artist's muse has four legs, a tail, and barks

Asia Week New York, Zoom in on 'Unintended Consequences: An Overview of Objects of Addiction'

Christopher Paolini wanted a job involving dragons, so he created one

'Hybrid: an Interspecies Opera' comprising film narrating the cutting edge of genetic engineering at Fridman Gallery

A new management structure at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

German artist Hans-Jörg Mayer's first survey exhibition at Martos Gallery in New York

Did that $4 thrift shop painting really sell for $191,000? Nope.

The Fralin Museum of Art announces Karen Elizabeth Milbourne as new J. Sanford Miller Family Director

'Superman' sketch by Andy Warhol top sale at La Belle Epoque Auction on December 2nd

Under pressure, English National Opera will move to Manchester

The world loves corridos tumbados. In Mexico, it's complicated.

Recent works by senior and emerging artists from Yirrkala in 'Sunrise People' at Bundanon

Off-Broadway, a vital part of New York theater, feels the squeeze

'Cabinet of Curiosities' winter exhibition to open at Gerald Peters Gallery tomorrow

'Byzantine Bembé: New York by Manny Vega' is artist's 1st solo museum show

'Laurie Simmons: Autofiction' artist's recent series of image-based AI works at Salon 94

Perrotin Marais in Paris now presenting 'Bauhaus Gal – Theatre' Chen Ke's first solo exhibition there

She has the attention of dance companies, and she is prepared

How to get targeted views on your channel with YouTube View Bots

Revolutionizing Spaces and Cutting-Edge Counter Table Designs

Weinstein Corp Review ( - Learning the Fundamentals of Online Trading from a Legit Broker

Incredible Features Of Online Gambling You Can't Afford To Miss

How Will You Recognize A Reliable Online Casino Site?

Joshua Evans, Mijoshski Founder: Making Strides Towards Diversity and Representation in the Arts

Lab Diamonds for All: Making Luxury Affordable with Production Techniques

Bolivian Latin: Dorian Mendez Presents a Dynamic Genres Infused with Innovations and Cultural Diversity

Online Slots Simple to Play with Immersive Experience

Jamaican Cities & Major Towns: What To See?

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful