About Freespace Dance
Freespace Dance is a contemporary modern dance company renowned for creating emotionally driven work with a bold, athletic signature style. Comprising exceptionally strong and seasoned performers, this vibrant company continues to create humanistic works. Artistic Director Donna Scro Samori, a former principal dancer with the Nikolais/Louis Dance Company and a founding member of Sean Curran Company, has been described by Robert Johnson of the Star-Ledger as “a dancemaker that seizes an audience’s attention and pulls viewers into her space with works that can be gentle or physically aggressive, but are always profoundly sexy.” Whether bodies fly through the air in full company works or women slowly circle one another in duet, critics have noted that, “in all of Donna Scro Samori’s pieces, a recognizable human element surfaces wordlessly and goes straight to the heart.”
Freespace Dance’s annual seasons at Danspace Project/St. Mark’s Church, The Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Dance Theatre Workshop, and its own The Space never fail to sell out. Each season brings the premiere of new choreography by Ms. Scro Samori. Her most recent works have included I Know You (2016), Honey (2015), I Am (2015), Stumbling Blocks Stepping Stones (2014), Breath and Beat (2014), Subtext (2013), and One Constant Change (2012), about which Nicholas Birns of Dance Insider commented,“Donna Scro Samori has the ability to think and feel at the same time - rare for any artist.” Past works include Brethren (2011), From This and Before (2010), and Scro Samori’s signature piece Butt Rock (2009), where she plays wildly with prolific
technique to the sounds of hard rock music by Dream Theatre.
Collaborating with other artists is central to the Freespace mission. Past collaborations include the use of live music and guest performers such as Brian Sanders of JUNK and Gaspard Louis of Pilobolus Dance Theatre. With the support of New Music USA, the company has partnered with violist Brett Duebner, pianist Amanda Harberg and most recently, Grammy Nominee 13Hands/Daniel McBride along with singer Katherine Oakes. Throughout a long-standing partnership, Freespace has staged works with Peter Kalivas of the PGK Dance Project in San Diego.
The 2017 season brought new venue and educational opportunities for the company. Presented by Jersey City Theater Center, Freespace performed for a sold-out audience at Merseles Studios, and the company launched a seasonal four-week modern technique class series for experienced dancers. Freespace continued to present their Arts in Education programs to over seven school districts throughout New Jersey.
In 2016, the company appeared as the sole modern dance company in the Triple Threat Showcase at the South Orange Performing Arts Center and was featured in the renowned Brooklyn Dance Festival at BAM. Freespace Dance has appeared for eight consecutive years at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center and in bi-annual performances at Rutgers University and Raritan Valley Community College. The company has also enjoyed regular performances at festivals such as Dance on the Lawn, Dance NJ’s Show Up and Dance and Jersey Moves! at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Further afield we have participated in the Dancenow Festival, Downtown Dance Festival, Dancers Responding to AIDS: The Remember Project, International Dance Festival, DNA’s Raw Material, DUMBO Dance Festival, Cool New York Festival. Freespace Dance has had the honor of appearing as a guest company for Soulphonic Soundscape by Daniel Bernard Roumain featuring DBR & The Mission and holds TV credits that include choreography for Playhouse Disney’s “Choo Choo Soul” video and an appearance on the Professor Predicts series for mtvU. National touring has included performances at Jacob’s Pillow, San Diego State University, SUNY Purchase, Wells College, Southern Utah State University, the American College Dance Festival, University of Maine and the Kaplan Theatre in Houston, Texas. In Summer 2010, the company made its European debut, with the Edinburgh Press declaring our choreography as “the pinnacle of technique in partnering” and The Edinburgh Spotlight recognizing the company’s “prowess in technique and welcome feel of connected emotion and dancing
from the heart.”
In addition to these performance credits, the company is at the forefront of modern dance education in New Jersey, conducting lecture-demonstrations and residencies throughout the state via its own Dance Inspirations program, and through Young Audiences New Jersey, Arts Council for the Morris Area. In the
past four years we have worked directly with students in communities as varied as Bloomfield, Montclair, Verona, Glen Ridge, Glen Rock, Maplewood, Summit, Short Hills, Paterson, Newark, Plainfield, Flemington and Riverdale. Freespace was one of two companies chosen to pilot the Dodge Foundation initiative Dance to Learn, reaching over 400 students over the past four years. Freepsace regularly sets company works on aspiring dancers and creates original works for them at schools including Montclair High School, Morris Academy for the Performing Arts, Hudson County Technical School, Glenfield
Middle School and Raritan Valley Community College.The company hosts a popular annual three-week Summer Festival for high school and college dancers featuring classes in modern, jazz, yoga, ballet and repertory.
In 2014 Freespace took the bold step in opening The Space as a permanent home for itself and a forum for other regional performing artists through a partnership with Yoga Mechanics. With significant support from the Hyde & Watson Foundation, the facility has been transformed into one that can easily be converted from a yoga and rehearsal studio to a professional performance venue. The Space has become the perfect intimate setting for the presentation of completed works as well as those still in progress. In addition to holding its own annual season here, Freespace curates series by other choreographers and artists of other disciplines. The extremely popular annual “40+” event highlighting choreographers and performers over forty years old has sold out each of the last two years. The company intends to add teen and emerging choreographers’ showcases, workshops and master classes. Freespace has received grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The New Jersey Cultural Trust and The American Music Center/New Music USA. Artistic Director Donna Scro Samori is the recipient of a 2008 Fellowship from New Jersey State Council on the Arts for excellence in choreography. Currently, Freespace Dance is on the Guest Artists roster of Jodi Kaplan & Associates, a boutique agency that represents top dance companies throughout the nation.