Ballet Austin

Big Apple scores big with 'NAT/D' 4

Loni Landon and Gregory Dolbashian
Loni Landon and Gregory Dolbashian (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Jones)

Who will be the winner of Ballet Austin's fourth New American Talent/Dance competition in February? Well, this much is certain: It will be someone from New York City. That's because all three finalists hail from the City That Never Sleeps.

Dance-makers from coast to coast submit entries to the company's biennial choreographic contest, but when BA Artistic Director Stephen Mills and company staff made the final cut this year, three New Yorkers were the last choreographers standing: Gregory Dolbashian, founder of the DASH Ensemble; Loni Landon, founder of Loni Landon-projects; and Bradley Shelver, artistic director of Bradley Shelver Contemporary Dance Theater. Each of them will spend 40 hours in residence at Ballet Austin, working with company dancers to create a world-premiere work which will then be presented in the ballet's New American Talent/Dance program, Feb. 17-19.

As in previous competitions, those dances are good for more than win, place, and show ribbons; they can earn their creators cash. More than $24,000 will be awarded to these choreographers, most coming from the jury of noted dance professionals, who this year include Anik Bissonnette, artistic director of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur and of L'École supérieure de ballet du Québec; Molly Lynch, assistant professor of dance in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California-Irvine, founder and artistic director of the National Choreographers Initiative, and former artistic director for Ballet Pacifica; and Zachary Whittenburg, former dancer and current Dance editor of Time Out Chicago. But some of that cash is awarded by you. Audience members at each performance are invited to vote for their favorite dance via text message, and the dance receiving the most votes at that show wins a cash prize. Don't miss your chance to shape the future of dance. For more information, visit

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New American Talent / Dance, Ballet Austin, Stephen Mills, Gregory Dolbashian, Loni Landon, Bradley Shelver, Anik Bissonnette, Molly Lynch, Zachary Whittenburg

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