The LIVE Center Mentoring Series is a new initiative by The LIVE Center within George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, which connects some of the biggest names in the performance world with students across the country. The first event in the series will feature Tony Award-winning choreographer, director, filmmaker and dancer Justin Peck from 12:30pm to 2:00pm on Monday 25 April 2022.
This event will be produced and streamed live using LIVE Center’s Window Wall projection technology and Zoom National Dance Institute (New York City, NY), to participating students Mason’s School of Dance (Fairfax, VA) and the Baltimore School for the Arts (Baltimore, Maryland). The class will be moderated by Mason Heritage Professor of Dance and LIVE Center founder Christopher d’Amboise. Partly funded by a $10,000 grants for art projects of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), this is the first of three events planned for this series in 2022.
Accompanied by two dancers, Peck, New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer, who has choreographed countless projects for stage and screen, including Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story (2021), will engage in a conversation with students about the differences between choreographing for film versus Live performance and will teach the students some of the vocabulary developed around his choreography for the film.
“The LIVE Center’s mission is to provide students with unique and creative virtual educational opportunities, and having world-renowned choreographer Justin Peck is as exciting as it gets,” says d’Amboise. “He will provide insight and information about his process, experience and the challenges of choreographing for ballet, Broadway and cinema. The LIVE Center Mentoring Series connects today’s greatest artists with the next generation of leaders.”
Justin Pick is a Tony Award-winning choreographer, director, filmmaker and dancer from New York City. He is currently resident choreographer for the New York City Ballet. Peck began choreographing in 2009 at the New York Choreographic Institute. In 2014, after creating his acclaimed ballet Everywhere we gohe was named resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet. He is the second person in the institution’s history to hold that title. As a performer, Peck has danced a vast repertoire of works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Alexei Ratmansky, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Benjamin Millepied, Christopher Wheeldon and many others. Peck has created more than 40 dances – over 20 of them for the New York City Ballet. Peck has worked extensively as a filmmaker. In particular, his focus is on exploring new innovative ways of presenting dance in film. Peck choreographed the feature films Red Sparrow (2016) Starring Jennifer Lawrence and directed by Francis Lawrence; and Westside Story (2021) in collaboration with director Steven Spielberg.
Christopher d’Amboise is currently Heritage Professor at the School of Dance at George Mason University. Born into a family of dancers, he became a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and served as artistic director, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Ballet from 1990-1994. He also has a passion for musical theater and appeared in the Broadway production of song and dancewhich earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.
The LIVE Center Mentoring Series is designed to expand the reach of The LIVE Center’s groundbreaking virtual classroom technology and the connections it enables. It is a new project that offers direct access to exciting courses and talks with world-renowned artists, choreographers and performers. Additional events are planned for Fall 2022 and interested organizations are encouraged to contact the College to discuss potential participation.
About the LIVE Center
LIVE Center (The Center for Live Interactive Virtual Education) is a home of innovative virtual educational solutions for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In 2019, Dance Heritage professor Christopher d’Amboise recognized a need for video conferencing that would enable full-body, life-size interaction. Hence the concept of the Window Wall: a teacher in a remote location could be projected live and life-size onto a studio wall, while a live feed of the students is projected for the teacher. This concept became the basis for the LIVE Center’s flagship initiative. By removing the distance barrier, the window wall expands the possibilities for virtual classes, performances and unique events. https://cvpa.gmu.edu/academics/live-center
About the College of Fine and Performing Arts
George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as discrete disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that are mutually reinforcing. The college prepares students for careers as creators, artists, teachers, scholars, art leaders, and art entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened through regular exposure to the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the college’s professional presentation and production arm, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its Stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a variety of public venues, including a 2,000-seat concert hall. The college is home to the Riva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music, the Schools of Dance, Art and Theater, and the Computer Game Design, Arts Management, and Film and Video Studies programs. https://cvpa.gmu.edu
About George Mason University
George Mason University, Virginia’s largest public research university, enrolls 39,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Based near Washington, DC, Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is known for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. In 2022, Mason will celebrate 50 years as an independent institution. Learn more at www.gmu.edu.
Pictured: (LR Justin Peck; Mason School of Dance students with LIVE Center Window Wall)