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DanceBreak is an annual showcase of emerging musical theatre choreographers presented to Broadway industry professionals and the New York community.
Out of a pool of applicants, six choreographers are selected to showcase their work with an eye to advancing their careers towards a Broadway choreographers job. Our selection committee is often comprised of theatre’s foremost talents including – but not limited to – Tony Award winners Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blond), Kathleen Marshall (Grease), Rob Ashford (Promises, Promises), along with director Larry Fuller (Evita), Robert La Fosse, Michael Grief,Jack Viertel, Andrew Lippa, director Jack O’Brien (Coast of Utopia), producer Kevin McCollum (Avenue Q, 9-5), composer Stephen Schwartz (Pippin,Wicked), and the legendary dancer/choreographer Marge Champion.
The DanceBreak Foundation’s overarching goal is to promote and advance the art form of musical theatre dance while creating a broader audience for rising musical theatre artists and their work. DanceBreak aligns with this goal by providing the financial, administrative, and technical support necessary to develop new choreographers who are diverse in their ethnicity, training, style and background. By promoting emerging choreographers and their work, we will enrich the Broadway community, the dance community, and the arts in New York City.
Starting August 1, the preliminary applications, in the form of resumes and a link to one of your works, will be accepted from anyone, anywhere, with the exception of someone who has previously held a Broadway choreographer’s contract. Please use the online form on this page to submit your resume and link to your work, and afterward, pay the application fee. If you pay the application fee first, please remember to submit a resume and link to your work using the form on this page. The application fee is $100. This transaction will be processed through our storefront, please use this button:
All the resumes and links submitted will be screened. Although it is not possible to give detailed feedback for every applicant at this stage, all submissions will be look at. After this initial screening, a list of semi-finalists is sent to the DanceBreak advisory committee to approve or disapprove. Semi finalists will then be notified.
The deadline for these first resume/link submissions will be September 30th.
The next round is the submission of a proper 5 minute reel, probably in mid November, along with a letter of recommendation from someone you have worked with.
Finalists will be chosen. Probably about 15-20. We will continue to work with these finalists to tweak their reels to get them into the best shape for the Full Selection Committee to look at.
This usually takes place in mid December, with the showcase in February. In most years, 6 choreographers are chosen, but that number may vary, depending on what we are seeing.
Reels: “What do I put on my reel?”
This is a musical theater program and so story telling is paramount. We want to see that you can tell a story through dance. It does not have to be complicated or profound, but tell us a story. Don’t just create a mood…tell a story.
What is not helpful is a solo. It does not show enough and there is the issue of how much of that is your work and how much of that is the input of a fantastic dancer that could sell just about anything. Also of minimal help, are cool “class combinations” performed by dancers all doing the same steps, even if they are “really hot.” And “killing it.” Some duets are also tricky. Not all, but some. Two fantastic dancers that are basically engaged in some quasi sexual back and forth does not tell us much either. Especially if that is all there is to the duet. Its a mood rather than a story.
We want to see how you think. And your esthetic. Not everyone gets to do a new show with all original choreography, but if you could, what would you do? We present that at the showcase and the original pieces are the most telling and the most popular. Someone hiring you will want to know how you think, as a choreographer.
Show us range. Send a few short pieces rather than one long one.The final reel should be no more than 5 minutes. It can be less, but do not make it longer.
If you have footage of a show you have done, include that. Sometimes a very popular piece that has been done all over the world (I use Music Man’s Shipoopie as an example, probably far too often. Newsies is coming up on that list) can help. Yes, these pieces do have to include certain expected elements, and have definitive parameters, but maybe you made it more interesting, or gave it a different twist when you did it. Show us that.
It does not matter if it is shot on your smart phone or with a more sophisticated devise. We have seen it all and it has never sealed the deal one way or the other. We are looking for choreographers, not videographers. In fact great videography, editing or beautiful location shots have, at times in the past, been a hindrance.The ability to shoot beautiful video and edit it masterfully is not what DanceBreak is about, not what will be on that stage in Feb. and not what we want to see in order to make our decisions. We are looking for Broadway choreographers, not video of film choreographers.
Sizzle? Sure. Not compulsory, but if it helps us to see you..hear your voice and better understand your artistic choices, then by all means. But don’t do it just for the sake of a lot of fancy editing. For the first submission process, a short clip of something you have done is fine, but with the final 5 minute reel we do want to see atleast 1 minute or so of a completed piece. If you get to this stage, we will talk a lot more about that. You will have our undivided attention.
Take chances. We are looking for the next big deals and new ideas and taking chances are going to be part of that. Don’t play it too safe.
If you have further questions…contact us. It is never a silly question, you are not wasting our time, and it will not be held against you. We want you to succeed and we are here to help you get there.This process can be very confusing. We understand that.
If you submitted last year and are considering doing so again and would like a quick assessment of why you did not make the cut…ask rather then just submit the same material again.
So: From August 1 to Sept 30…. all resumes and a link to a short piece. Application on this website.
End of October: Semi finalists full five minute reels.
Feed back and tweaking for finalists submission to Selection Committee. Mid Dec. Announcements before Christmas.
Showcase: Feb 10..
We look forward to seeing what you submit.
Founder and President of the Board of
The DanceBreak Foundation
Before creating DanceBreak, Melinda was a professional dancer, a choreographer, a theater producer, and a director. She graduated of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts with a degree in philosophy.
She has served on the Board of Directors for the Self Family Arts Center, Juggernaut Theater Company, The Elizabeth Foundation, The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, and the New York Music Theater Festival.
Melinda started her career in musical theatre as a dancer and then moved onto choreography. She was awarded The Best of Boston Award for Choreography for her High Hot Moons shown on Boston’s PBS station, WGBH.
She later directed and produced an original musical adaptation of Loves Labors Lost at the Hasty Pudding Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
She moved to Africa in 1986 where, for six years she ran an indigenous carpet-making business that employed over 40 people. She also funded several wildlife projects, including the preservation of endangered rhinos and the protection of migrating elephants, an initiative that was recognized for merit by the region’s British High Commission.
She also funded the construction of several primary schools in extremely rural communities while also creating scholarship funds to ensure that top students would have the chance to attend secondary school. Since 1992, nearly 1000 students have earned this opportunity, many going on to receive their university degrees.
After returning from Africa, Melinda worked at The Manhattan Theater Club’s (MTC)
Musical Theater Program. While there, she realized there were no programs for the development of musical theater choreographers. She set out to correct this problem and, in 2002, DanceBreak was born.
Melinda has also produced four all dance musicals for NYMF: Common Grounds, Platforms, Wild About Harry and Andy Warhol Was Right, all choreographed by DanceBreak Alumni.
She is Jake Atwood’s mother and the Grandmother of Hayden Atwood.
She is also the author of three books.
Founder and President of the Board of
The DanceBreak Foundation
See Separate document **What is this separate document you speak of?
Producer for New York Music Theater Festival
2006 – 2009
Co-Founded the ‘Born at NYMF” program and subsequently produced four original all dance musicals.
‘Born at NYMF’ was an opportunity to create a fully danced through theatre piece specifically for the Festival, that was written, composed, scored, recorded, choreographed and presented all within a four month time frame. All the work was original and was choreographed, collaboratively, by multiple choreographers.
These four works were, Common Grounds, 2006 (Award for Excellence in Direction, and Choreography) Platforms, 2007, (Award for Excellence in Choreography), Wild About Harry, 2008, and Andy Warhol Was Right, 2009.
Jambo,Mama. Memories of Africa; A Bunny in Britain; An Elephant’s Tale.
Jambo,Mama, currently in its third printing, is a memoir of Melinda’s six years in Kenya. A Bunny in Britain and An Elephant’s Tale are both children’s books.
On-line Application Form:
DanceBreak 2020 showcase will be in early February.