“Everyone’s Story has Value and Movement/Motion” - an original dance film by Renee Robinson

“Everyone’s Story has Value and Movement/Motion” - an original dance film by Renee Robinson

Spring, 2021

Yale Dance Lab has commissioned Renee Robinson, former principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, to create an original dance film with a select ensemble of dancers. Involvement is by invitation. We welcome you to join Ms. Robinson on February 6, 1 pm – 3 pm (registration required - email associate producer natalie.king@yale.edu to register.) Be sure to wear comfortable clothing you can move in. Some prior dance training is required; Ms. Robinson is open to working with a range of backgrounds and levels.


Within one’s story we find rich connections to ourselves and each other.
Our stories move us and others when we share.
How do we articulate our stories when using the body to express the experience?
How can the moving body speak from within?

In the creation of this original dance film, our process will be rich with opportunities to explore, understand, and fine-tune some of the ways in which the human body can speak with clarity and expression. Having an instrument that can articulate with ease a feeling, or emotion, or story can be fun and uplifting, and it can also be very healing.

Every rehearsal will begin with gentle ways to warmup the body, leading to a rich understanding of how it feels to be balanced and centered when it is time to create new shapes and movement phrases together. During the rehearsals, we will share our stories and explore how the smallest or largest gesture/step has the ability to express the tiniest of thought. From this inquiry, the dancers will create phrases that we will incorporate into an original dance film.

I invite you to join us for a deep exploration of storytelling through movement.

Dancers will need access to a recording device (your cellphone or computer will do), as you will need to film and submit to a group folder specific dance phrases throughout the process. We will devote time during our rehearsal sessions to this filming.

Supported with funding from the Arts Discretionary Fund in Yale College and the Robert Wallace Fund for Dance Studies.

Project Schedule

The entire rehearsal and development process will be led remotely

Rehearsals begin with the audition on Saturday February 6, 1 pm -3 pm.

Rehearsals will run February 10 – March 27 every Wednesday (7 pm -9 pm) and Saturday (1-3 pm) through Saturday March 27th (with the exception of March 24, a break day)




Renee Robinson is a lecturer at Yale University where she teaches a course she developed entitled “Embodying Story.” She is guest faculty at The Juilliard School and serves as assistant to Irene Dowd, anatomy/kinesiology faculty. Ms. Robinson is an Irene Dowd Teaching Fellow. Ms. Robinson is also faculty at The Ailey School and Master Teaching Artist with Ailey Arts in Education teaching Ailey dance repertory in, The Ailey School, Italy, and Paris. Amongst the many dance techniques Ms. Robinson teaches, she is a Floor-Barre mentor, and sits of the board of the Zena Rommett Floor-Barre Foundation.

Ms. Robinson spent 30 years as a member of the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT). Her professional career with AAADT is the longest of any female dancer in the company’s history. An iconic dancer and a true legend, she was the last member of the company to have been handpicked by its late founder, Alvin Ailey. During her tenure at AAADT Ms. Robinson performed principal roles in several of Mr. Ailey’s ballets including Revelations, Cry, Memoria, Blues Suite, and others. She danced in works choreographed by renowned choreographers such as Judith Jamison, Robert Battle, Lar Lubovitch, Ulysses Dove, Talley Beatty, Ronald K. Brown, and Matthew Rushing.

Ms. Robinson performed at the White House for the State Dinner in 2003 in honor of the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, and for the Dance Series in 2010. In 2012, Ms. Robinson was honored with the prestigious Dance Magazine Award. In 2017 she was a presenter for the New York Dance and performance award known as the Bessie Award. The same year, she was 1 of 10 artists Good Housekeeping L’ORÉAL Paris honored as an Artistic Powerhouse of her generation. Ms. Robinson’s image is part of the Alvin Ailey collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. She had her choreographic debut with a solo entitled Playing with Presence for the Yale Center for British Art.

Other honors include dancing at the White house under Obama and Clinton, serving as an honorary featured speaker for the Nantucket Project, IADMS 2019 (International Association for Dance Medicine & Science), and Viacom Media Networks, and leading weekend and monthly workshops for the WIL (Women’s International Leadership Program) Weekend at the International House. She is the 1st. Teaching Fellow of the renowned Irene Dowd at The Juilliard School.

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