The New York Times extols, “There is yearning in her dancers’ taut muscularity that reaches to the back row.”
Founded in 1981, Elisa Monte Dance (EMD) was an immediate sensation on the world stage as winner of the 1981 International Festival de Dance de Paris. The following year, the company repeated that success with its premier New York City season as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. The company has gone on to tour throughout the United States and in more than 40 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. EMD has been a featured performer at such prestigious festivals as Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the Spoleto Festival (US and Italy), as well as on television programs broadcast in Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.
Always drawn to exploration of unfamiliar cultures, Monte found her work attracting dancers from diverse backgrounds—Asian, Caribbean, Latin American, African—whose perspectives as individuals and as artists intensified the energy of the company’s performances.
EMD attracts renowned cross-discipline artists’ attention, support, and collaboration on a wide range of projects. The company’s repertoire features works completed in partnership with composers David Van Tieghem, Glenn Branca, Richard Peaslee, architects Tod Williams, Billie Tsien, photographer Roy Volkmann, and lighting designer Clifton Taylor.
The late Alvin Ailey championed Monte’s work from its beginnings. He brought her first choreographic work, Treading, into his company’s repertoire and also commissioned Pigs & Fishes. The two companies have maintained a strong link ever since. Judith Jamison’s support of EMD has extended that tradition with the commission of Mneumonic Verse.
A student of George Balanchine and Martha Graham, Monte cherishes the traditions from which her own artistry emerged. She and the company are bringing that legacy forward to the next generation of dancers and dance audiences. EMD continues to create new works and tour domestically and internationally. In addition, the company continues to incorporate an educational component to its work. Its educational outreach initiatives are designed to foster an appreciation of dance in young people, just as EMD has always sought to develop and encourage talented young dancers.