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New York Dance Festival - Overview

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Published on Jun 23, 2016

Executive Produced by American Choreographer Sean McLeod: The New York Dance Festival is a two-week cultural festival of performing arts that takes place each summer in Auburn, Geneva, Syracuse, Rochester, Saratoga, and New York City. The Festival is hosted by one of the Finger Lakes Regions only African American-led performing arts organizations. The Festival has become one of the nation's most novel cultural expressions and brings the world-class arts scene of New York City, and the world, to Upstate New York. The New York Dance Festival runs for three weeks in July, and includes the New York Summer Dance Intensive, the New York Drum Festival, the New York Musical Theatre Project, the Carmen De Lavallade Awards for Dance, the Thommie Walsh Song & Dance Man Gala, Fellowships, Residencies, and a World Class Concert Series.

The precursor to todays New York Dance Festival began at the New York Dance Studio in Auburn, NY in the winter of 1990. During that time, SUNY Purchase alumni Thomas Warfield and Roxanna Young were brought to the Finger Lakes Region of New York by their classmate, Sean McLeod, Aristic Director of the Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre, to teach the classic styles of modern dance and ballet they learned while studying at the Purchase Conservatory of Dance, 40 minutes outside of New York City. In the early years, Kaleidoscope Dance Theatres Artistic Director Sean McLeod forged a partnership with Cayuga Community College, Director of Student Services Joy Shortell, and past college President Dr. Larry Poole, along with Purchase Conservatory of Dance alum to create this artistic platform. Additional guest artists invited to join the faculty included; Laurie Lubeck (American Ballet Theater) and Sheryl Woodmansee (Washington Ballet) to teach in sessions twice a year (known as the Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre Winter and Summer Dance Intensives). In 1999, the name was changed and the New York Dance Festival was established.

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