A Postcard from The New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble
The Company Shares A World Premiere Installation in its New Summit, New Jersey Home
Artistic Director Nancy Turano’s New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble (NJDTE) presented its first public performance in its new community of Summit on Wednesday, July 29 at 7pm as part of the “Sounds of a Summer Night” concert series at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. NJDTE dancers and guest artists from the NYC-based company VIM VIGOR, led by NJDTE Artist-In-Residence Shannon Gillen, brought the natural beauty of the Arboretum gardens to life with a site-specific dance installation that included “After the Rain,” a world premiere choreographed by Turano.
The 60-minute immersive performance experience aimed to, in Turano’s words, “take the viewer on an artistic journey through the gardens, creating ever-changing human sculptural labyrinths amidst the breathtaking natural setting.” The dancers became an integral part of the landscape as they guided the audience through 20-minute installations in three distinct areas of the gardens, illuminating the timeless connection between nature and art.
Gillen added, “Nancy Turano has always embodied a pioneering and joyous spirit at NJDTE, and the Reeves-Reed Arboretum is a spectacular site to share the beauty of nature and dance with the community. I am honored that VIM VIGOR, a contemporary dance theater company, has partnered with NJDTE and am delighted to share our latest research alongside NJDTE’s dancers this month.”
As Reeves-Reed Arboretum’s newest community partner, NJDTE’s collaboration marked the beginning of an exciting new cultural venture. “We are thrilled to merge our two non-profit organizations to create this event and develop plans for a more significant outdoor dance festival in Summit in the future,” Turano said.
NJDTE recently opened its 8,800-square-foot dance training center in downtown Summit as a home to continue its mission of mentoring talented young dancers as they pursue their dreams of a professional career in dance. The Ensemble has also been fostering innovative partnerships with local businesses and institutions in its new home. Most recently, alumnus Samuel Asher Kunzman performed at the Summit Public Art Fest at Twin Maples on June 19. Chef Cheryl Rajewski of Summit’s What A Dish provided catering services for NJDTE’s opening preview event on June 14, and NJDTE dancers were also featured in a live window display at the downtown Summit Lululemon Athletica store. The Grand Summit Hotel, The Hat Tavern and The Meat House will provide housing and meals for dancers during the NJDTE Summer Intensive program July 13-31.
As Turano explains, “This is an exciting time for NJDTE and a natural result of over 45 years of sustaining excellent programming. Over the past few years, we have been expanding our pre-professional opportunities for dancers from New Jersey with tremendous results.”