Young Choreographers Program
Young Choreographers Workshop (YCW) and Initiative (YCI) were established in 2016 as a platform for students, ages 13-21, to create works that give voice to the issues affecting their generation, connect with community members outside of Pulse, and address important topics such as anxiety, body image, and isolation.
Young Choreographers Workshop
Open level, ages 13+
This class offers students an opportunity to expand their own movement vocabulary while deepening their skills in spatial design, dynamics, rhythm, and form. By honing improvisational and collaborative skills, students craft dances in solo and group forms—discovering how movement and space can be both personal and political. One additional technique class (Modern 2 or Modern 3) is required to participate in this class.
Young Choreographers Initiative
Open to those who have completed 1 year of the Young Choreographers Workshop
The Young Choreographers Initiative (YCI) is an empowering ongoing project for graduates of our YCW program that builds confidence, inspires collaboration, encourages creativity, and allows free expression. The YCI experience consists of weekly dance making classes, annual performances of choreography in progress, and collaborations with other artists/organizations. This program culminates in a Senior Choreography Project and a performance showcase.
YCI began in 2016 during the Summer Dance Intensive when a group of young students explored the craft of choreography in classes with teaching artists Susan Quinn and Ian Spencer Bell and wanted to learn more. YCI has since expanded to include weekly dance making classes, annual performances of works-in-progress, collaborations with area artists and organizations, and special workshops with renowned choreographers.
In past years, the YCI has focused on a variety of areas, including movement and activism and collaborating with artists in other mediums. In 2020, YCI choreographers Rubielle Nejaime and Cecilia Kittross created The Body Project, an intergenerational piece with other teen students and adult dancers from the community about body image. They received an Amplify! grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support presenting their work at St. James Place. The YCI also participated in a project led by teaching artists Tom Truss and Susan Quinn called Moving Life Stories sharing culture and history at an evening of words and movement with Volunteers in Medicine clients. When the pandemic started, the YCI switched gears and met online with YCI alumni to create a video work moving from inside of their respective homes to the outdoors. In the Spring of 2021, they created a quartet and collaborated with composer/musician Jackson Whalan about the isolation of COVID and the joy of being able to dance together again.
In 2019, YCI’s piece Untitled about sexual assault was selected from 1 of 10 works across the nation to perform at the National Youth Artist Summit in Austin, TX. At this conference organized by teens for teens only, the YCI also led a workshop on sexual assault and consent. Other collaborations have included connecting with artists in Arts in Recovery for Youth (AIRY)–a suicide prevention and peer support program based in Pittsfield–and developing choreography based on their paintings for a fundraising event. YCI has also partnered with Kimball Farms (the retirement community in Lenox) on The Moving Life Stories Project where they were matched with senior residents to create pieces that combine poetry, prose, and dance to tell the seniors’ life stories.