Monday, August 3, 2009
NEA grant awarded to OU's "dance company in residence"By Katie Land, news editor
An artistic grant from the National Endowment for the Arts is sending fresh funding to Oakland University’s “dance company in residence,” the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble.
|EDE dancers performing onstage. Advanced OU students have the opportunity to perform professionally with them.
Since its inception in 1991, EDE has rehearsed, performed, taught workshops and created choreography in collaboration with the OU dance program. Advanced student dancers often have opportunities to perform with the professional company.
The company applied for an American Masterpieces grant through NEA that supports projects to keep master works of choreography alive. EDE will recreate the dance "Escargot" by the late choreographer Louis Falco, who choreographed the movie musical "Fame" before dying of AIDS at an early age.
“This grant supports our artistic work,” said Laurie Eisenhower, founder of EDE and professor of dance at Oakland. “Receiving an artistic grant from the NEA is a great feeling and a validation of the high quality work the company does.
|Many of EDE's professional dancers work with students as professors in Oakland's MTD department.
This is the second grant the company has received from the NEA. The first was for the educational Healthy Kids Project, created in collaboration with Troy Beaumont Hospital to address the childhood obesity epidemic.
It debuted in the Pontiac School District with EDE dancers conducting creative movement workshops and teaching students about healthy lifestyle choices. The success of the program and the amount of weight lost from participating students has been astounding, Eisenhower said.
Many of EDE’s professional dancers also are members of Oakland’s faculty. This interplay between the university and company offers real perspective and a chance for students to learn how to make a successful living in the field.
“For any student, we want to give them a diverse background in dance styles and a professional performing experience,” Eisenhower said. “The mentorship of OU dancers with EDE professionals is an important part of their training and provides opportunities for them that other university programs do not.”
Oakland and EDE have a mutually beneficial relationship, she continued. The university has been a great supporter and the company’s dancers are eager to work with students. Together they work to provide unique dance opportunities to the Metro Detroit area.
For example, last year the OU Repertory Dance Company performed in “Motown in Motion” at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts with EDE. Dancers from the company teach some of the technique classes in ballet, modern and jazz dance, as well as choreograph dances for student companies.
For more information about Oakland’s dance program, visit the Department of Music, Theater and Dance Web site.