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2014 N.Y. dance festival plans more opportunities for young choreographers

"Ricordare" by Daniel Longo presented at last year's Young Choreographer's Festival 2013
"Ricordare" by Daniel Longo presented at last year's Young Choreographer's Festival 2013
photo by Erin Kasperski

“We have a record number of applicants this year, with a superior level of talent,” reports Emily Bufferd on March 8, Festival Producer of the 2014 Young Choreographer’s Festival (YCF). Now in its fifth year, this New York dance festival is dedicated to presenting works of the most up and coming young choreographers of all dance genres; having doubled in submissions since it first began, the opportunities for participants has also increased.

Originally developed by Bufferd as a way to support the cultivation of young artists, YCF offers a vehicle for young talent to gain the experience and resources needed to aid in the progression of a choreographic career. After four successful years, YCF has increased its exposure, continuing to attract a high level of experienced advisory board members, and is providing participants with even more work opportunities, including commissions with: The Ailey School, Joffrey Ballet Company, Stepps Ensemble, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Fire Island Dance Festival, and others.

Along with additional opportunities to showcase their work, YCFs educational component will also expand for the young choreographers in 2014; advisory board member Maurice Brandon Curry, esteemed choreographer and producer of projects from Burger King commercials to fashion industry’s Michael Awards, as well as tours and videos for performers such as Diana Ross and Prince, has agreed to host the YCF 2014 'Talk Back Panel'. A popular Festival feature, the 'Panel' provides participants the opportunity to ask questions of working producers, agents, artists, and directors in a talk-back style panel discussion.

YCF’s mentor program has also expanded from its original inception. Started for the first time in 2013, each participant is assigned a mentor through YCF, available to lend an ear and/or talk through the many challenges that can arise in the process of bringing a dance work to the stage. “The relationship need not end at the Festival’s conclusion,” explains Bufferd. “The mentors are not obligated, but they have found the experience of helping to guide the next generation of choreographers so rewarding, they have expressed a desire to continue to ‘give back’ by being available to help guide the choreographers through the new challenges they face as they continue on in their careers.”

Much has progressed in Bufferd’s own career since she began YCF; she has become a regular guest teacher at Broadway Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Dance Center, and The Ailey Extension and is now on Faculty for the Joffrey Ballet School Jazz & Contemporary Trainee program. Bufferd's dance company BEings continues to frequently perform, and she is currently preparing to accompany renowned director/choreographer Michele Assaf in April to her World Dance Movement International Workshop in Spain. Bufferd also continues to co-produce the annual Peridance APAP Showcase, which also serves as an avenue for artists to be seen and book commissions in prestigious venues such as the Joyce Theater, Joyce SoHo, and dance festivals such as Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Salad, among others.

A busy girl, what's next for Bufferd? "Eagerly awaiting for the selection committee to determine which choreographers will be chosen for this year's festival! The submission process is anonymous, and we should know who is chosen within a few weeks. Long term, I would ultimately love to travel more and teach. I love to see the international dynamic of dance expressed." Perhaps an international YCF may be something in this young producer's future?

2014 Young Choreographers Festival
Saturday June 14, 8 p.m.
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025-6990
For information: Emily Buffered, Festival Producer
Tickets from $25 -$17, Click to reserve on-line