“If someone isn’t your typical dance audience, or if someone is seeing dance for the first time… how do you take that and make sure it isn’t intimidating?” –Owen Scarlett
Earlier this year, JUNTOS introduced our first emerging choreographer of the year, Kate Ladenheim, who traveled with the dancers to Mexico in January 2018. Not only did she choreograph an eight-minute piece on the students (within about 5 days!), she also served as a mentor to JUNTOS participants and a contact within the New York dance community.
With summer around the corner, and three more abroad trips coming up, we are excited to introduce Owen Scarlett, our next emerging choreographer selected to travel with our first JUNTOSAbroad trip to Guatemala at the beginning of June.
Owen Scarlett is an artist of many mediums: he “designs with no direction” in the realms of photography, visual art, film, dance, and choreography. He graduated from Point Park University, after which he performed with companies such as Visceral Dance Chicago and created works for Danceworks Chicago and Dance in The Parks, amongst others. He strongly believes in collaboration, whether that is with his most recent client, or the dancers he is working with in the studio.
It was his experience choreographing for the Dance in The Parks, an organization that brings free professional dance performances to accessible venues and inner city parks of Chicago, that led him to reach out to JUNTOS. He saw the impact and the value that something like this could have on people that don’t really see dance or art, which led him to want to do it on a larger, more global scale.
Owen will be taking this idea–making art more approachable to all communities– into the new work that he will be choreographing for JUNTOS. Through his experience with outreach, he has come to believe that some dance pieces can be more alienating and less accessible, thus his goal is to make the work feel inclusive, welcoming and lighthearted, “for all walks of life.” By incorporating some of the common questions that audience members often have (for example, things like decor or costuming), he wants the piece to be something that people can relate to, even if they haven’t seen much or any contemporary dance.
Owen has recently moved to LA to pursue his interest in graphic design. You can find out more about him by checking out his website, which also features a series of line-drawn designs and framed works for sale (all proceeds go towards those impacted by the California wildfires). You can also find Owen performing in Beauty and The Beast at The Hollywood Bowl on May 25th and 26th 2018.
We are definitely excited to see this new piece which will be added to the JUNTOS rep (stay tuned for videos). Other choreographers for summer JUNTOSAbroad trips are Dante Brown of Warehouse Dance and Tanya Chianese of ka·nei·see | collective. Look out for posts about their work, coming soon!