Young Choreographers Initiative

About the Young Choreographers Initiative

The Young Choreographers Initiative is an empowering project for young people that builds confidence, inspires collaboration, encourages creativity and allows free expression. The program began in 2016 during a summer dance intensive when a group of teen students explored choreography as a craft in two weeks of daily classes with teaching artists Susan Quinn and Ian Spencer Bell. The enthusiasm and interest with which the students met the challenge warranted continuation, and a full school year of offerings was implemented. Today the Young Choreographers Initiative experience consists of weekly dance making classes, annual performances of choreography in progress, collaborations with other artists and organizations in the Berkshire region and workshops on creative process with renowned choreographers, in residence at Pulse and at venues such as Kaatsbaan International Dance Center and Jacob’s Pillow.

Youth today are faced with an economic, environmental and political landscape that leaves many feeling disempowered and unheard. The Young Choreographers Initiative gives young people a voice and a forum to express their viewpoints through movement. Through this project, they become ambassadors of the art form, the process, their generation, and the community in and for which it takes place.

What’s next for the YCI?

Arts In Recovery for Youth (AIRY)/YCI Collaboration:

AIRY is a suicide prevention and peer support program for ages 13-24 in the expressive arts. Based in Pittsfield and serving youth throughout the region, AIRY offers FREE programs for teens at risk or recovering from suicidal experiences. In January and February, Berkshire Pulse Young Choreographers will partner with AIRY artists to develop performance work based on their paintings and poetry. The work will be performed on February 10th at the Colonial in Pittsfield MA, at a fundraising event for AIRY. The goal of this collaboration is to aid in lessoning the stigma associated with suicide and to raise awareness of the issue in teens and young adults both locally and nationally. This is a pilot program.


Kimball Farms/YCI Collaboration: The Moving Life Stories Project:

This Spring 2019, YCI will build on a collaboration started last year with Kimball Farms, the retirement community in Lenox. This unique, intergenerational project matches senior residents with young dancers to create movement pieces that combine poetry, prose and dance to tell the seniors’ life stories. This year, eight writers and eight young choreographers will work together to create pieces. The process will begin with Ian Spencer Bell working with the writers and will continue with Susan Quinn and Bell guiding the process of everyone working together throughout April and May, in preparation for June presentations at Kimball Farms in Lenox and Saint James Place in Great Barrington. This project is an excellent example of the profound benefits that intergenerational arts programs have for all participants. Each generation benefits from the knowledge, creativity, and experiences of the other.


Help us reach our $10,000 goal for YCI 2019 programs and projects by donating today! THANK YOU

2018 Initiative

Young Choreographers Initiative (YCI) & Kimball Farms Collaboration!


Performance Schedule:

Kimball Farms: June 10, 2018; 1:30 PM
235 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240

Berkshire Pulse: TBD

We’ve been working with Kimball Farms, the assisted living facility in Lenox, on a program that matches residents with members of our YCI. They’re creating pieces combining poetry, prose and movement to tell the seniors’ life stories. Performances are planned at Kimball Farms, Pulse’s studios and other area venues late spring/early summer.
To donate funding for this program, click here and write “Kimball” in the notes area.