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Joffrey Academy’s Winning Works Returns To MCA, Features Four World Premieres

The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, presents four world premieres in the culmination of Joffrey’s national call for ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) artists to submit applications for the Joffrey Academy’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition. This year’s Competition winners—Audrey Baran, Joffrey Company Artist Edson Barbosa, Taylor Carrasco, and Derick McKoy, Jr.—each have choreographed an original work created on the Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company. Winning Works returns to in-person performances for the first time since 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Edlis Neeson Theater (220 E. Chicago Avenue) Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 20 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for Winning Works are $30 and available for purchase at joffrey.org/winningworks.

JOFFREY BALLET HEADSHOTS“After the COVID-related cancellation in 2020 and a virtual presentation in 2021, it is especially meaningful thatWinning Works will return in all its glory to the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2022,” said Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “These young, emerging choreographers prove that there is no limit to the level of artistic expression one can possess.”

“It has been over a decade of exceptional work and brilliant artistry for Winning Works,” said Greg Cameron, President & CEO of The Joffrey Ballet. “I am in awe of the creativity presented during the past two difficult years has demonstrated an admirable tenacity among artists. May we celebrate this homecoming to the MCA as a new beginning.”

Joffrey’s Abbott Academy Director Raymond Rodriguez added: “There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the works of rising stars danced by our incredible Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company. Much like our beautiful city of Chicago, the backgrounds of these choreographers and the works they’ll be premiering on stage are diverse, rich, and dynamic.”

About the Program

Audrey Baran
Audrey Baran’s world premiere Porcelain is a contemporary piece that explores the stigmatization of Asian Americans as well as the objectification and fetishization of Asian American women.

Baran is a Filipino-American dance performer, maker, and educator based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University and a BA in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance. She is the founder/artistic director of Baran Dance and apprentice company BD2 and on the faculty of Charlotte Ballet Academy. Baran has presented work through Sites in the City, FEMMEfest, the National Dance Educators Organization Conference, Bill Evans Somatic Dance Conference, the North Carolina Dance Festival, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Triangle Dance Project, Ladyfest CLT, Charlotte Dance Festival and numerous self-produced productions. She was the 2019 UNCC Department of Dance Distinguished Alum, an inaugural recipient of the Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, a selected choreographer for Charlotte Ballet’s Innovative: Direct from the LAB 2021 and has received recognition for her work from the Movies by Movers Festival, Charlotte Emerging Dance Awards, and Carolina Arts & Theatre Awards. Baran is also a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and thrives on sharing her love of movement and mindfulness throughout the Queen City and beyond. 

Edson Barbosa, Recipient of the Zach Lazar Winning Works Fellowship

Edson Barbosa’s world premiere On the Same Boat is a neo-classical piece inspired by the observations he has made of the relationships surrounding him, danced by seven women and seven men.

Barbosa has been a company artist with The Joffrey Ballet since 2014. He was raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and began his training in ballet, jazz, and tap at age 10 at Grupo Cultural de Dança, Ilha, with Patricia Marques. He was voted Best Male Dancer at the Festival de Danca de Joinville in 2012 — the largest dance competition by number of dancers, as documented by Guinness World Records. He received a full scholarship to study at the Miami City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Washington Ballet, The Harid Conservatory, and Princess Grace Academy. He was also a Top 12 finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix in New York in 2010 and 2012, Top 6 finalist at the Beijing International Ballet Invitational for Dance Schools in China, and performed at the Opening Ceremony as a guest artist at the Danzamerica in Argentina.

Barbosa was a prize winner at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, where he was voted the best male dancer of the 40th edition in 2012, receiving a scholarship to be a trainee at the San Francisco Ballet School under the direction of Patrick Armand. While in the school he worked in contemporary workshops with Antoine Vereecken and Wayne McGregor. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to perform lead roles in ballets choreographed by renowned artists in the dance world, such as Gerald Arpino, Val Caniparoli, Alexander Ekman, Jiří Kylián, Parrish Maynard, John Neumeier, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Justin Peck, Myles Thatcher, Helgi Tomasson, Stanton Welch and Christopher Wheeldon.

EDSON REHEARSAL PHOTO
Edson Rehearsal

Taylor Carrasco

Taylor Carrasco’s contemporary piece Not Now, But Now explores the feelings of anxiety people have become accustomed to during this unprecedented time, and how running from and running toward, can often be one in the same.

“When I was three, my sister was six and in ballet like every other little girl,” said Carrasco. “My parents would bring me to her classes and I would try to dance with them from the hallway. They assumed I’d like it, enrolled me in class and I never stopped.” Carrasco trained with the School of American Ballet and New Mexico Ballet Company and has taken summer intensives with Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet Chicago. He joined Cincinnati Ballet Second Company – CB2 in the 2014-2015 Season and was promoted to Apprentice for the 2015-2016 Season. Carrasco was then promoted to Corps de Ballet for the 2017-2018 Season. He has had three of his ballets performed by the main company of Cincinnati Ballet, with two of them being created for the The Kaplan New Works Series in 2018 and 2019. Carrasco’s favorite dancing memories thus far are tied to dancing with his sister. He says that “sharing the stage with family is the best experience.”

TAYLOR REHEARSAL PHOTO
Taylor Rehearsal

Derick McKoy Jr.

Derick McKoy Jr.’s world premiere Road of Flames mixes ballet and contemporary movement to create a piece about pushing towards one’s north star, and the flame that builds when people pursue their passions in love, careers, and families.

McKoy (he/him) originally from Miami, Florida, is a graduate Glorya Kaufman BFA Scholar of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in Dance. McKoy started his official training under Luctricia Welters and after a year, joined her dance company, Jubilee Dance Theater, as an apprentice. He furthered his training at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Arts Umbrella, BalletX, Ballet Hispanico, Springboard Danse Montreal, under scholarships, as well as NW Dance Project’s LAUNCH.

McKoy has performed with Nimbus Dance, directed by Samuel Pott, Jeremy McQueen’s The Black Iris Project, and on seasons 1 and 2 of the hit tv-show POSE on FX.

His choreographic work has been described as “authentic,” “dramatic,” and “important.” His developing collection of works have been performed at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, Ailey Studio Theater, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Ades Performance Space, Youth American Grand Prix, the Nimbus Arts Festival, and the Jamaica Dance Festival.

He has performed works by Alvin Ailey, Matthew Rushing, Crystal Pite, Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Dawn Marie Bazemore, Sharon Eyal, Alejandro Cerrudo, Marco Goecke, Adam Barruch and others.

EDSON REHEARSAL2
Edson Rehearsal

He was also a part of a dance feature of The Ailey School on the talk show Conan. He has also had the opportunity to perform in Ailey’s 2017 Spirit Gala at Lincoln Center at the David Koch Theater and for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Vessel at Hudson Yards.

He started McKoy Dance Project as a way to add his own contributions to the dance. MDP aims to be a strong, but sensitive new voice in the contemporary dance world. The company was founded with five pillars in mind: to create jobs, to inspire and touch, to give purpose, to create leaders, and to heal.

To date, the Joffrey has raised more than $150,000 to support ALAANA choreographers and the presentation of their work for the 2022 Winning Works competition. That number continues to grow, emphasizing the Joffrey’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of dance. The Joffrey is proud of the fact that Winning Works provides complete financial assistance—housing, travel, and work stipend—to all winners. Additionally, the Joffrey does not require an application fee for those interested in applying for the Winning Works competition.

Former winners of the Winning Works competition include Jeffrey Cirio (2016), current Lead Principal Dancer with the English National Ballet, Chanel DaSilva (2020), featured choreographer on the Joffrey’s fall 2021 program Home: a Celebration, Amy Hall Garner (2011), internationally known choreographer based in New York City, Stephanie Martinez (2015), a featured choreographer on the Joffrey’s winter program The Times Are Racing,  and Claudia Schreier (2018), Ballet Master to Juilliard President Damian Woetzel.

Ticket Information
Tickets for Winning Works at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Edlis Neeson Theater are $30 and can be purchased at joffrey.org/winningworks. Performances take place on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 PM, Saturday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 PM, Sunday, March 20 at 2:00 PM.

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