We bring in world class guest artists to work with the majors. Being located in New York City, the QCC Dance Program has access to most of the best guest artists in the country. It is important to us that our students receive the same opportunities to work with guest artists as not only BFA programs, but the strongest BFA programs. Students at QCC get to work with these guest artists as 1st and 2nd year students. Students have opportunities to perform the choreography of guest artists, take master classes with guest artists, and experience lecture demonstrations with guest artists. QCC students have performed the work of such notable artists as Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Walking with Pearl. . . Southern Diaries - a Bessie Award winning piece of choreography), Kyle Abraham (MacArthur Genius award), and Paul Taylor. The experience of working with these guest artists and performing their choreography is integral to their training for a career in dance.
For the past 11 years, QCC dance majors have performed the work of Robert Battle, Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The first year Mr. Battle was in residence at QCC him and Erika Pujic set Battlefield. That year, Battleworks, Mr. Battle’s professional company, was in residence at QCC. QCC dance majors opened for Battleworks in the first Guest Artist Concert. Since then, Erika Pujic has set a work by Mr. Battle every year. Ms. Pujic served as a principal dancer in Battleworks and was Mr. Battle’s rehearsal director. Working with Erika, digging into the intricacies, details, and percussive rhythms of Battle’s work has been an integral part of the students’ training and of the program. It is an honor to have this relationship and we are incredibly grateful for it.
In addition to the Battle work, every year, we have a different guest artist come in to work with the students. The guest artist teaches a master class and gives a lecture demonstration or workshop (with support from CDI), sets a piece on the students, and performs with the students opening for that company with the piece that was set on them. (CDI also provides support for the performance). The students are able to work with top artists in the field that are currently working and touring. Being able to perform the work of the guest artist in a concert with the guest artist’s professional company is one of the most transformational experiences our students have as a dance major. This is the best preparation for becoming a professional dancer/choreographer they could receive.
The QCC Dance Program has a partnership with the CUNY Dance Initiative. The CUNY Dance Initiative was created to develop partnerships between CUNY spaces, campuses, and dance programs and working artists in NYC. Artists must apply, and each campus selects 1-2 artists to be in residence for the year. QCC selects two artists each year. We provide the CDI artist with free rehearsal space in our studios, and CDI provides the support for them to offer a master class and lecture demonstration or workshop for our students. CDI also provides partial support for the guest artist concert mentioned above in which our students open for the guest company. Having these artists and companies in residence at QCC and the master classes and workshops they give for our students has been extremely beneficial for our students’ growth. It gives our students a chance to make connections with working artists and to experience different ways of working. They get the opportunity to talk with the artists and ask questions about their lives, their artistic lives, how they got to where they are, their creative process, etc. This is invaluable! We are grateful for our relationship with the CUNY Dance Initiative and the opportunities that they bring for our students.