wassaic-project-red-block.jpg

CHARMAINE WARREN

Dance Director

 

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I love dance. I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. After performing for many years with major New York dance companies, I joined the internationally known, New York-based, dance/theater company david rousseve/REALITY in 1989 - 2000. I teach a movement class based on a melding of modern dance, contemporary styles and yoga. I am also a faculty member at Hunter College and Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Kean University, and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I love to engage students in dance through discussions/lectures on western dance history, the Black tradition in American dance, Jamaican dance and contemporary concerns in dance. To get to where I am now, I was able to study and work with many in the field that I respect. I hold a Ph.D. in History from Howard University, a Master’s Degree in Dance Research, Reconstruction and Choreography from CUNY - City College, and two Bachelor’s Degrees: one in Speech & Theatre/Dance, and the other in English from Montclair State College.

I am the founder/producer and artistic director for "Dance on the Lawn: Montclair's Dance Festival." I have been a co-curator for Harlem Stage's dance series, EMoves for 11 years, and the lead curator for Dance at Wassaic Project's summer festival for six years. I currently write on dance for The New York Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine, and other magazines and journals

 

How did you arrive here?

I met the Zunino family (Sally and Bowie first, then later Tony and Damien), while I was teaching at the GO Project/Grace Church School’s summer program. Bowie was my lovely assistant and because I was pregnant, she was also a big comfort. When our daughter, ‘Ashe, was born the following summer, Bowie helped; in a way she was an assistant, but also a babysitter—I was so lucky. Our daughter, now 17 years old, babysits Bowie’s children whenever we are at Wassaic!

 

What motivates you to do this?

Besides wanting to help keep and make Wassaic a serious destination for the arts, I love dance and have a self-imposed will to continue giving a platform to choreographers and dancers. Wassaic is a gem and I want a lot of people to come to know and love what we do there, all in support of the arts!

 

What new understandings, relationships, and opportunities have come as a result of this?

I totally tell Bowie, Eve and Jeff that I started and run my festival, “Dance on the Lawn: Montclair’s Dance Festival," because of working with them, learning from them, and being motivated to do more for artists.

 

What does The Wassaic Project mean to you?

It’s corny to say that being a part of the Wassaic team is being with family—but there, I said it. Whenever we make our way to Wassiac for any event, we go as a family. I curate, Tony Turner (my husband) photographs, and ‘Ashe babysits, but she has also performed among the art and taught children’s dance class.

 

How would you describe the magic of this place to others?

There is a special thing about being there and working there that can only be experienced when there. The people and the place breathes love and support in art making. I often sign off with these same words in emails to prospective artists, and to friends too.


 
 

It’s corny to say that being a part of the Wassaic team is being with family—but there, I said it.
— Charmaine Warren