A Partnership at Porticos Says More Dance Please!

Under the artistic leadership of Nancy Evans Doede, Nancy Evans Dance Theatre (NEDT) has been producing and guest performing since 2009. NEDT is the resident dance company at Porticos Art Space in Pasadena, happily sharing the space with the acclaimed Arroyo Repertory Theatre and Pacific Opera Project. In its fourth season, the partnership has lent to the creation and support of an exciting repertoire for the company of six dancers, and has offered performance and collaborative opportunities to other locally and nationally based dance artists. “Gotta Dance” interviews Nancy about how this collaboration unfolded and how this partnership has created a strong platform for her potent dance company from Pasadena.

KC: Please give us the back story on how the relationship with Porticos and NEDT
began and developed.

NE: When my colleagues at La Salle Preparatory High School decided to convert a gym/stage at St. James Methodist Church in Pasadena, they offered to have NEDT be a resident dance company in the new space. They were completely rebuilding the area, and generously asked me to tell them what I would want in a dance space. We maximized the stage and made what I consider to be an excellent theatre to experience dance.

My husband, James, and me helped as much as we could in the construction of the actual stage build-out, and Jude Lucas-Rynerson and Doug Rynerson (who are the masterminds behind the theatre,) trusted me to order marley for the floor.

NEDT had a donation of some lighting equipment from the Music Center, which we were able to incorporate into side lighting — instrumental in bringing dimension to dancers onstage. NEDT helped to inaugurate Porticos Art Space with our WORKS 2012 concert series in June of 2012.

KC: How has the residence supported the company’s goals and season? What has the space offered NEDT that would not have otherwise been possible?

NE: NEDT has been able to sponsor our annual Friends/Family/Dance/Festival in the theatre, giving us the opportunity to bring many small dance companies from not only the Los Angeles County area, but nationally, as well. We have had more access to the theatre than most companies would have in any dance space anywhere else.

When we have more time during a tech week, it helps to keep the stress level down for all involved. We produce two concert series in a season: usually, our Friends/Family/Dance/Festival is in November, and our WORKS concert series take place in June. This year, however, our F/F/D/F will take place Jan.31 and Feb. 1, 2015.

KC: How have community/organizational partnerships supported NEDT’s tenure and
expanded your audience?

NE: Our tenure has been supported by the residency continuing to be open to us.  We are in the planning stages to expand our outreach to specific areas of the community, such as senior living centers. Our dress rehearsals have been open to students free of charge. Otherwise, our audience comes from our social media efforts and those of our participating festival companies.

KC: What projects are you working on and how we can come see the company?

NE: This is an exciting and productive time for us with several new projects in the works. Sweet Sorrow, choreographed by guest choreographer Leigh Purtill in collaboration with NEDT, is a sequel to Romeo and Juliet (and a zombie ballet, no less) that will be presented in an expanded version in our upcoming Friends/Family/Dance/Festival 2015.

Apartment (working title) is a one-act piece choreographed by all of the NEDT company members using one common set designed for the Porticos stage by architect Richard Logan, that will be premiered in this spring’s WORKS 2015 concert series.

This month, we are performing guests in Awakenings & Beginnings festival by Rubens Rouges Dance Company at Diavolo Dance Space on January 10th, at the Pasadena Dance Festival Kick-off Concert at Lineage Performing Arts Center on January 18th, and then are sponsoring our 4th Annual Friends/Family/Dance/Festival 2015 at Porticos Art Space on January 31st and February 1st.

The F/F/D/F 2015 concert series brings 10 choreographers from 9 different companies to our resident stage, including two companies from Santa Barbara, one from Moorpark, and the others from all around Los Angeles County. Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here.

KC: What advice can you offer other companies and aspiring dance professionals from your experiences with the residence and creating and maintaining a thriving dance company in Los Angeles?

NE: Effective communication is probably the most important thing I can advise regarding working with anyone — whether in a residence, within a company, or in the dance community of Los Angeles. In terms of creating and maintaining a thriving dance company in Los Angeles, I think that comes from the inside — from the individual dancer/artists who work together with whomever is choreographing, bringing their best to the table at every rehearsal, and maintaining the highest level of respect for each other’s creativity. Being in Los Angeles is geographic — and it is a huge city. There are many communities within the Los Angeles area. What we aspire to is to communicate through our dances a common thread between people that is not restricted to a specific community, but universal to all.

Thank you Nancy and YES! More dance please!