AND THAT’S A WRAP! Thanks to everyone who put so much energy and talent into our 10th presentation of MIXED NUTS, especially our dancers — from the youngest to the most experienced.
Former Studio 3 Faculty to head New York Theater Ballet.
Former Studio 3 Faculty to head New York Theater Ballet.
“Dance entered Steven Melendez’s life when Diana Byer met him at the shelter where he was living as a child. Now he runs the company she started – New York Theatre Ballet.
Against the odds, Melendez became a professional dancer, joining New York Theater Ballet at 14, and going on to dance for companies in Argentina and Estonia. After retiring as a dancer, he directed LIFT for a year, before becoming the artistic director of the Albuquerque programming for NDI New Mexico, an organization that provides after-school arts education for children.
His goal now, he said, is to apply the same principles of inclusivity and access that animate LIFT and NDI to New York Theater Ballet. He intends to do this through TED Talk-like events in community spaces, marketing that speaks to people beyond the traditional dance audience, and by speaking, at performances, about the meanings behind the works.
“The important thing is to contextualize,” he said. He pointed to the company’s coming performances, which include Tudor’s 1937 ballet “Dark Elegies,” about a community in mourning after a disaster that has brought about the death of its children.
“I want to tell the audience member who has never seen dance, ‘Are you having a hard time understanding what’s happening in Ukraine right now?’” Melendez said. “Here is a dance, made 100 years ago, that shows you what these people are going through.”
In the coming months, Melendez will also begin commissioning new works. His first, multiyear commission will be a series of dances about men and their relationships to their fathers. He calls it “Letters to My Father,” and it will include a work by Melendez. “I never knew my father,” he says. “So I want to reflect on, what does it mean not to have a father?”
None of this will be easy. The company is small, funding is tight and its East Village studio is cramped and hampered by columns that get in the dancers’ way. (Melendez is looking for a larger, column-free space.)
But Melendez is not cowed. The drama will be contained to the stage. “This transition isn’t tumultuous or dramatic,” he said. “It will be a series of small course adjustments that will come together, over time, to reveal a new way.”
INTERVIEW: Studio 3’s Founder Diane Shumway On “Mixed Nuts,” A Holiday Classic With An “Alice In Wonderland” Twist
Diane Shumway took a few minutes of rehearsal time to talk about Studio 3‘s Mixed Nuts, “a classic holiday Nutcracker with a Twist.” The show is a myriad of dancing disciplines – with over 25 dancers ages 6 through 18 featured. It is being produced at the Bay Street Theater from Friday, December 13 through Sunday, December 15, 2019.
Shumway has been teaching dance for 25 years. She founded Studio 3 in Bridgehampton in 2005. Shumway began her formal training with Genevieve Manning in New York and has studied with Charles Kelley, Raymond Lukens, Mark Santoro, Steve Sirico, Davis Scala and Louis Kavouris. She holds advanced teaching certifications with Dance Educators of America in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern dance and is a certified Leap ‘N Learn instructor. She has created and produced over a decade of Studio 3 dance productions, including Dance Galaxy, Days of Peace and Dance, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, The Art of Dance, The Adventures of Alice, Turning Pages, The Notes She Wrote, Motion Pictures, Love and nine seasons of Mixed Nuts.
As Shumway explained it, “I start working on my vision of next year’s show pretty much a year in advance. So, last year at this time, I already knew we were going to be combining The Nutcracker with Alice in Wonderland for this year’s show.”
For the 2019 iteration, the story of this dance production goes like this, “It’s late afternoon and twilight is descending on a chilly Christmas Eve. Alice and her sister Abigail are taking a brisk walk in the woods when a white rabbit dashes down the trail, dropping a key as he hastens by. The sisters pick it up and follow him through a clearing to the home of The Mad Hatter, who is hosting an afternoon tea party. The sisters knock on the door and are greeted by guests, who confuse them for housekeepers arriving late for work. After the confusion clears, The Mad Hatter makes it up to them by presenting special gifts. Twilight becomes darkness and madness becomes magic. As the story unfolds, snow begins to fall. Alice slips down a rabbit hole through the hall of doors into Wonderland.” She noted that the actual preparation for the show starts when the school year starts in September.
When I asked Shumway how do the two stories come together, she said, “I am surprised how well the two stories line up and come together so amazing well. Alice in Wonderland is very similar to The Nutcracker with the evil Red Queen… you think the story of Alice in Wonderland is nothing like The Nutcracker, but for some reason it lines up really well and works. Our dancers are so special, they are all great students and hard workers, they inspire me during every rehearsal.” She said, “In the show, besides ballet, there will be tap, and hip-hop, and contemporary, and jazz as well! We weave back and forth in the traditional [Nutcracker] story. All of the teachers [Thomas Gallo, Jenna Miller, Meredith Shumway] are involved in the choreography. It’s roughly about an hour and half long, with an intermission.”
Shumway admitted her dancing passion started very early in her life, noting, “I am a life-long dancer, probably starting when I was 5.” She is a Long Island girl – growing up in Glen Clove, New York. Her first teacher was a former Radio City Rockette who lived nearby. She insisted I mention that besides her being the Artistic Director/Choreographer, the other Choreographers are Thomas Gallo, Jenna Miller, and Meredith Shumway. The Technical Director is Meredith Shumway with Lighting Design by the Bay Street Theater. Graphic Design is the handiwork of Jen Van Arsdale Design, while Thomas Kochie photographs the productions and Jason Nower serves as videographer.
The dancers of this year’s Studio 3’s production of Mixed Nuts are the following: Mya Davis, Abigail Corish, Eli Mccleland, Kelly Seitz Evelyn Berkoski, Mia Borland, Scarlett Borland, Maggie Glanz, Liya Hourani, Campbelle Kinney, Zoe Leathers, Caitlin Ortiz Sullivan, Safia Rahmouni Vidal, Addison Stevens, Maggie Glanz, Thomas Gallo, Brooke Bierfriend, Avery McCleland, Atlas Geirsson, Jackie Gluck, Elizabeth Gluck, Bianca Hommert, Amanda Koszalka, Maya Leathers, Hudson Nugent, Nettie Rattray, Kelly Seitz, Nicky Seitz, Vivian Denny, Gigi Jordan, Dylan Kelly, Isabella Ortiz, Ambar Reyes, and Emma Reyes.
Mixed Nuts can be seen on Friday, December 13 at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 14 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 15 at 1 p.m. Don’t miss it!
Bay Street is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, visit dancestudio3.com.
From Hamptons.com by
WELCOME BACK TO STUDIO 3!
Steven Melendez Joins NDI New Mexico
STUDIO 3 NEWS: Steven Melendez, former Principal of New York Theatre Ballet and ballet teacher at Studio 3, Joins NDI New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM, June 25, 2019: NDI New Mexico announces Steven Melendez as the new Hiland Artistic Director in Albuquerque. Melendez will be responsible for directing the afterschool program at The Hiland Theater. A masterful ballet dancer and teacher, Melendez will be leading the NDI New Mexico team of inspiring and professional instructors offering classes in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip hop, and musical theater.
“I am thrilled to welcome Steven to the NDI New Mexico team, and so excited to introduce him to the Albuquerque community,” said Liz Salganek, Artistic Director of NDI New Mexico. “Steven brings a remarkable talent for teaching, both highly demanding and precise, while at the same time inspiring, fun, and motivating. I know he will bring the highest quality teaching to our programs, welcome students from all over Albuquerque and inspire them to achieve their full potential as dancers and as young people.”
Melendez was introduced to ballet through an outreach program that found him in a New York City homeless shelter. As a Principal in the New York Theatre Ballet his professional dance career spans challenging performances across the globe.
“It was a chance encounter that led to my career in dancing and later teaching around the world,” said Melendez. “Now I am honored to be taking the reins as The Hiland Artistic Director at NDI New Mexico. NDI New Mexico is a nationally recognized leader in youth development and arts education, and my vision is to continue to grow The Hiland Program until it is known asThe Place For Dance.”
Studio 3 welcomes Sebastian and Quincy Jane at the LOVE curtain call
(Mom’s Miss Meredith and Miss Jenna too!)
AND THAT’S A WRAP! Thanks to everyone who put so much energy and talent into our spring show, LOVE, especially our dancers — from the youngest to the most experienced.
Another great opening of another show! Studio 3’s “LOVE” – Miss Diane with a show fan!
Our Spring Dance Concert, LOVE, opens Friday, May 10th at 7PM. Come see these Hip Hop I dancers and more! Our matinee is Saturday, May 11th, at 2PM. All shows are at the Southampton High School. Tickets: $25.00.
Steven Melendez joins the Studio 3 Faculty
Guest Soloist roles include Carmen (Alonso), Don Quixote (Baryshnikov), Symphonic Variations (Ashton) and Borodin(Ariaz), Onegin (Medvedjev), The Nutcracker (Isberg), Giselle (Feco) and Peter Pan (Titova). The leading male role in Par Isberg’s Uinuv Kaunitar (Sleeping Beauty) as well as the title role in Ruslan Stepanov’s Kevade were both choreographed on him.
“The members of New York Theater Ballet gave gracious, down-to-earth performances…with an unforced charm exemplified by the leading couple: Elena Zahlmann as Cinderella, and Steven Melendez as the Prince…Between looking for and losing each other amid the whirlwind of guests, Ms. Zahlmann and Mr. Melendez made an elegant pair.” – New York Times, 3/3/14
Studio 3 welcomes our newest ballerina – Quincy Jane!
Congratulations to Miss Jenna and Connor.
AND THAT’S A WRAP!
Over 500 people attended our 2018 production of MIXED NUTS at the Bay Street Theatre. The Nutcracker/Wizard of Oz mash up was an audience favorite. Congratulations to all the dancers, teachers and crew! See you next year!
A View From The Booth
We opened! Mixed Nuts 2018 – a mashup of The Nutcracker and The Wizard of Oz – officially opened on Friday, December 14th at the Bay Street Theatre. I loved this audience. Cheers, applause, hoots, and even a standing O. From my POV in the booth the 200 people who attended were with the dancers all the way to the curtain call. Tonight at 7PM the Saturday/Sunday Cast makes their debut. Don’t miss our 8th presentation of Mixed Nuts at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor.
– Donna Kaz, Mixed Nuts Tech Director