About Freespace Dance
Freespace Dance is a contemporary modern dance company renowned for creating emotionally driven work with a bold athletic signature style. Comprised of exceptionally strong performers, this vibrant company uses controlled abandonment in pushing the limits of inventive partnering. 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 surface wordlessly and goes straight to the heart.”
Freespace Dance’s annual seasons at Danspace/St. Marks Church, The Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, and 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 Honey (2015), Stumbling Blocks Stepping Stones (2014), Breath and Beat (2014) performed with live music, Subtext (2013), and One Constant Change (2012) 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 her signature piece Butt Rock, where she plays wildly with prolific technique to the sounds of hard rocking music by Dream Theatre (2009).
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 and pianist Amanda Harberg and most recently, with Grammy Nominee 13Hands/Daniel Mc Bride 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 2016 season brings new opportunities for the company. Freespace is appearing as the sole modern dance company in the Triple Threat Showcase at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. The company will also be featured at the renowned Brooklyn Dance Festival at BAM this Spring. Freespace will continue relationships with venues throughout the region, having performed six consecutive years at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center and bi – annually performances at Rutgers University, and Raritan Valley Community College. The company has also enjoyed regular performances at festivals such as Dance NJ’s Show Up and Dance Festival and the Jersey Moves Festival 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, and 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, The Kaplan Theater 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 Montclair. 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 that age 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.