Congratulations to MFA Dance alumna Stephanie Miracle ‘14 on receiving a US State Department Individual Grant to collaborate on a dance project in Russia! Stephanie will be working with Anna Shchekleina in Yekaterinburg on a cross-cultural exchange project, with the aim of challenging cultural biases and fostering empathy among the community. She will be in Russia from March 11 - April 4.
“I met Shchekleina over four years ago at the OMI International Dance residency and immediately found a deep artistic connection and kinship. The program, directed by Christopher K. Morgan [TDPS artist-in-residence], is unique in that it brings together ten artists from all over the world and invites them to share, play, experiment and learn from each other through a collaborative process. While at this residency we initiated several new works together including a dance film and an installation performance piece that were met with great enthusiasm by audiences.”
Stephanie first traveled to Russia when she attended the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg with PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER, which is directed by TDPS professors Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig. She reconnected with Anna at this time and she became more interested learning more about Russian culture.
This year, Stephanie finally received the opportunity to pursue her interest in collaborating with Anna on a project in Russia. The US State Department has awarded her an Individual Grant to travel to the Eltsin Center in Yekaterinburg for three weeks. There she and Anna will develop and present their collaboration “Paper Piece” and look for more opportunities to tour their work together in the US, Russia, and throughout Europe. Stephanie will also teach classes in composition and Klein Technique (somatics for dancers) at the university there, as well as improvisation workshops to the local community.
“It is very exciting to me that I have the opportunity to travel to Yekaterinburg not just to work intensively with Shchekleina but also to interact and learn from the people and the environment. An important aspect to my process as a choreographer is meaningful engagement with the community in whatever city I am working in. My work is made richer through sharing perspectives and gaining mutual understanding with local dancers and non-professional artists.
An opportunity for this kind of cross-cultural exchange is especially relevant during these times. Through a deeply personal and artistic collaboration biases are challenged and empathy is formed. These experiences echo out beyond the studio or the theater but into our neighborhoods and larger communities.”
Good luck, Stephanie!
Eltsin Center in Yekaterinburg
Stephanie Miracle and Anna Shchekleina in St. Petersburg, June 2014
By Kate Spanos