Founded by choreographer, educator and artistic director Molly Lynch, at 8 pm on July 27, 2024 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, the internationally recognized National Choreographers Initiative (NCI) will be celebrating 20 years of presenting new ballet works by inspiring choreographers. The dance artists selected by the distinguished NCI Advisory Committee to present their works are Charles Askegard, Cherice Barton, DaYoung Jung, and Donna Salgado. Tickets for NCI 2024 start at just $20 and are on sale now.

National Choreographers Initiative 2019 - Photo by Dave Friedman.

National Choreographers Initiative 2019 – Photo by Dave Friedman.

Lynch has over 40 years of experience creating, producing, and presenting dance. She was the artistic director for Ballet Pacifica from 1988-2003 and is currently a Professor and Chair of the Dance Department in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine. During her tenure with Ballet Pacifica, Lynch worked with numerous choreographers, premiered more than forty new ballets and restaged classics works by renown choreographers including George Balanchine, Antony Tudor and Choo San Goh.

The performance on July 27th will be the culmination of a three week residency on the University of California, Irvine campus during which each choreographer will with a group of highly trained professional dancers. The works created have the potential of being performed elsewhere or simply becoming the outline for a future work by the choreographer.

A Little About the Choreographers

Click on their names to read more about each artist.

Charles Askegard - Photo courtesy of NCI.

Charles Askegard – Photo courtesy of NCI.

Charles Askegard has had a long and distinguished career as a dancer, director and choreographer. He joined the American Ballet Theatre under the tutelage of Mikhail Baryshnikov, where he performed leading roles in major full-length ballets and worked with legendary choreographers Twyla Tharp, Glen Tetley, Natalia Makarova, and Agnes de Mille to name a few. After ten years with ABT, he joined the New York City Ballet to further his artistic goals. He performed there as a Principal Dancer for fourteen years where he had the opportunity to work under Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins and dance a large number of the classic Balanchine ballets in the repertory. Upon leaving the New York City Ballet, he formed a company, Ballet Next, whose mission focused on producing new work.

Cherice Barton - Photo courtesy of NCI.

Cherice Barton – Photo courtesy of NCI.

Cherice Barton, an accomplished choreographer, director, and educator, currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Following a decade-long tenure as a contemporary ballet dancer, Cherice rose to prominence as the resident choreographer for Franco Dragone’s Le Rêve Cirque spectacle in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the years following, Cherice followed her curiosity which led her to develop a choreographic portfolio spanning a diverse array of projects, boasting collaborations with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, The Grammy Awards, America’s Got Talent, Lucasfilm Animation, Dancebreak Broadway Showcase, Rosin Box Project, and Spotlight Grand Finale at the Music Center LA, among others.

DaYoung Jung - Photo courtesy of NCI.

DaYoung Jung – Photo courtesy of NCI.

DaYoung Jung, a former Principal Dancer and current Rehearsal Director at Oklahoma City Ballet, is from South Korea. Jung trained at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy and graduated with honors with a specialist degree in ballet pedagogy. Throughout her career, Jung performed the title roles of many of the great classics, such as Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as works by George Balanchine, Jirí Kylián, Septime Webre, Twyla Tharp, Michael Pink, Robert Mills, and many others.

Donna Salgado - Photo courtesy of NCI.

Donna Salgado – Photo courtesy of NCI.

Donna Salgado is a dancer and choreographer working in New York City and is the founder and directing artist of Continuum Contemporary/Ballet. As a performing artist, she’s worked with the José Mateo Ballet Theatre, Eglevsky Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Sierra Nevada Ballet, Thomas/Ortiz Dance, David Fernandez’s Some Dance Company, Deborah Lohse’s ad Hoc Ballet, and Marika Brussel, among others, and has danced in works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Geoffrey Holder, Edwaard Liang, Gabrielle Lamb, and Juanjo Arques. Continuum Contemporary/Ballet aims to expand the role of creativity in ballet by engaging in processes that encompass experimentation, collaboration, new vocabularies, and design.

To view photos from NCI 2023, please click HERE.

WHAT: National Choreographers Initiative 2024
WHEN: July 27, 2024 at 8:00 PM.
WHERE: Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, California 92612.
TICKETS: Starting at $20,for NCI 2024 Event Information & Tickets click HERE.

For more information about the National Choreographers Initiative, please visit their website.

For more information about the Irvine Barclay Theatre, please visit their website.

Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle from information provide by NCI press release.

Featured image: National Choreographers Institute – Photo by Dave Friedman.