On July 9, 2023, the Pasadena based Nancy Evans Dance Theatre will be holding an audition for new company members at Pasadena Dance Theater from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. The audition will include a class, improvisation, and learning movement sections from the company’s repertory. Those selected with perform with the company for its 2023/2024 season with rehearsals on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Those selected will be W2 employees, receiving an hourly wage for rehearsals and performances. There is no audition fee. Please RSVP and send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 5, 2023.
Founded in 2009, the Nancy Evans Dance Theatre is led by artistic director and choreographer Nancy Evans Doede with associate artistic director Ashleigh Doede and executive director Jenn Logan. Nancy Evans Doede trained with and danced for modern dance pioneer, Hanya Holm, and later performed with the Minneapolis based Nancy Hauser Dance Company under the direction of Nancy McKnight Hauser. She was an original member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, where she was an actress and the company’s first female director. Here in Los Angeles Evans Doede was an assistant director at the Taper, Too, and a directing intern at the Mark Taper Forum New Works Festival. She also was Managing Director, producer, director and actress with the Actors’ Company, as well as a founding member of Outpost Theatre Ensemble where she also wrote and produced her own plays. Evans Doede’s accomplishments also include being a producer of the Children of the World Project which received a Grammy nomination in 1985.
Evans Doede channels her vast experience as a dancer, actor, choreographer, and director, as well as her extensive knowledge of music into her dance theater works for her company. She is looking for dancers with a strong technical base, improvisational skills, and those who process and project their own individuality.
In her review of Evans Doede’s “Legacy” concert in 2022, Beth Megill wrote: “Evans’ choreography has all the compositional integrity, expressive narrative and shape based technique of the modern dance era, and her story telling through movement still resonates for today. This is the great dance that is happening right here in greater LA. This is the dance that makes you think, makes you stop and wonder about what you value and how you want to be in the world. Evans’ musicianship (as seen in others pieces as well) is embedded in her craft. Music, dance and expression all as one.”
In an interview with Evans Doede I asked if she was looking for specifics such as number of dancers, their gender and/or their experience. 2023/2024 is a milestone for her company, marking its 15th season and is still developing in her mind what that will look like and stressed how the dancers in her company help her decide if she will present works from the past, from the present, to create new works, or to do all of that.
“I’m open to any and all,” she said. “Age is not a restriction for me. Sometimes I think when people are more established in what they do with their lives, then they have that experience to bring to something that is a creative outlet for them.”
Evans Doede went on to talk about this as being very different from someone who is new and looking for their first professional dance job, but that she feels that her company is one that can provide a place for both the experienced and those new to the business to coexist. She stated that what she has created over the years is a familial ensemble.
“I’m not interested in creating a family that hangs out together all the time,” Evans Doede continued, “It’s first and foremost important to me to have the person. Yes, I want dancers with a strong technique because I don’t have time to teach that.” Evans Doede mused about how as a dancer matures, there is a tradeoff. “You trade off some of that bravado with the ability for a more grounded, centered, and experiential life.”
“As a dancer,” she added, that is valuable to me because it brings a dimension to the work that I rather enjoy.”
She also enjoys working with young dancers too because they bring a different kind of energy to the work and to the company. She spoke about wanting to provide a place for young dancers to try it out. To experiment, to mature and to ask themselves “Is this what I want to do? Is this experience going to help me further down the road?”
In 2015, LA Dance Chronicle’s Mary Pat Cooney stated: “The work of this company honors a choreographic heritage of deep artistic merit. The dancers have a broad range of training and have embraced the aesthetic of the German school.”
After volunteering a few positives of working with her company, Including being part of the creative process and possibly having the opportunity to choreograph a new work for it as did Jenn Logan, Ashleigh Doede and others, I asked Evans Doede to state in her own words what the strengths are for a dancer to work with the Nancy Evans Dance Theatre.
“It is that (creative opportunity), and that’s the risk I take because that risk was taken with me,” she said. “I’m passing down an experience that is not normal because I was given that chance.” It was an opportunity that led her to her creative path, one that she left for many years, but came back to. “So yes, I want dancers to have personalities. I want them to be able to inspire me with the way that they move, in the way that they sense space, and then to encourage them to use that in choreography and bring an idea to me.”
Evans Doede stated very strongly that she is willing to take that dancer’s idea and to put it onstage to succeed or not. She refuses to have a choreographer create a new work only to say no. She wants to provide a platform for that person to have an opportunity to show their work, even if it fails. “Part of a dancer’s creative process of becoming a choreographer is to take a chance,” she stated. “So, if I am going to take a chance on inviting a dancer to choreograph, I’m investing my trust in that dancer to take that chance and hopefully, people will see that this is an extension of the company. They will see that this is the way the creative process actually works.”
More recently LA Dance Review guest writers Kostromin and Gabe Valentine wrote: “Saturday, February 11th, 2023, art sprang to life on the stage of the Norton Simon Museum, thanks to the masterful work of Nancy Evans Dance Theatre.”
WHAT: Audition for new company members of the Nancy Evans Dance Theatre.
- Audition will include a class, improvisation, and company repertory.
WHEN: Sunday, July 9, 2023 – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
WHERE: Pasadena Dance Theater – 1985 E. Locus Street, Pasadena, CA. 91107
Please RSVP and send resume to email@example.com by July 5, 2023.
For more information about the Nancy Evans Dance Theatre, please visit their website.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: NEDT – Imprints – L>R Jacob Schmeider-Hacker, Katrina Amerine, Ashleigh Doede, Tara Aghaian, Marco Tacandong in “Seeing Red”, choreography by Nancy Evans Doede – Photo by Noel Dilworth