Dance on the Lawn Festival

The Dance on the Lawn festival aims to celebrate dance in NJ by bringing together dance companies and students. It's truly something to take part in.

Dance on the Lawn allows everyone to express themselves through the art of dance!

dance on the lawn
Donna Scro of Freespace Dance. Photo courtesy of Tony Turner.

Dance on the Lawn is a dance festival that aims to bring dance to people in the community in a space that is both free and open to the public, and their second year was a great success!

“Dance on the Lawn (DOTL) began because I am part of both worlds: dancer/performer and curator​,” said Charmaine Warren, founder and artistic director of Dance on the Lawn. “We have a film, a jazz and a food and wine festival in Montclair, so why not a dance festival?”

According to Warren, the mission of Dance on the Lawn is to celebrate dance in New Jersey and increase exposure to dance by bringing professional and emerging companies, plus students of dance from around New Jersey together in a community setting that is free and open to the public. In addition to the performance segment of the first annual event, an “Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer” and mentor program will be established to support upcoming dance artists as they continue to grow.

Dance on the Lawn was launched with the help of an Indigogo campaign which helped offset the fees for the artists. “In our ​project description, and to our audience, we asked for volunteers,” said Warren. A group of volunteers organized by Tracy Herrick and Mona Gerdes came through Montclair High School’s School of Visual and Performing Arts, but an equal amount came from asking friends for help.

Aside from the dance festival, there is also a new component that has recently been added: the Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer. Each year, from the pool of applicants, one choreographer is chosen by a panel of established New Jersey choreographers. The 2016 Emerging Commissioned New Jersey Choreographer will be named in January 2016, and will present a work-in-progress four to five months afterwards. The work-in-progress, followed by a Q&A, will be presented during DOTL’s “Open Rehearsal” for invited guests. The final commissioned work will be presented in September at the annual DOTL event, according to Warren.

dance on the lawn
Kathy Costa’s DanceWorks Studio. Photo courtesy of Tony Turner.

​Next year, Warren hopes that they can fundraise more easily so that they can pay more attention to sharing dance for free. Additionally, Dance on the Lawn is looking to add a second component to the festival. “For next year, the third year of Dance on the Lawn, we are looking towards adding an educational component to the festival,” said Laura Marchese, Operations Manager. “We are ‘in progress’ with this, but it could take the form of DOTL providing scholarship opportunity to student dancer(s) in our community, or the addition of master classes or some dance learning environment for our New Jersey dance community.”

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