Dancing Its Way Into Our Hearts
By Evan Senn
Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company finds love in Palm Springs
Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company will be gracing the Inland Empire with impactful and therapeutic dance programming and performance this week. Nickerson-Rossi Dance is a Long Beach-based non-profit dance company that not only has a long history of dramatic and artistic narrative performance, but aims at helping people to find solace in expression through movement.
Michael Nickerson-Rossi, artistic director for the company, has a strong foundation in dance education, and hand-selects his dancers based on their professional qualifications, making sure all of his dancers have higher education degrees in dance and dance education. Nickerson-Rossi tells the Weekly about what he aims to buildin Palm Springs, a cultural and artistic hub for the Inland Empire. Nickerson-Rossi is looking to create a more permanent presence in the Palm Springs community, and wants to bring his Understand Program to schools and communities in the Palm Springs community as well. “I think I can enrich this wonderful artistic community with dance and dance education,” he says.
The Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company will perform an introductory dance performance on Jan. 15, based on a proposal submitted to the Palm Springs Art Museum (PSAM) helping to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the city of Palm Springs entitled, “DNA.” This dance will be visually and symbolically bridging the gap between the PSAM and performing dance companies, bringing a new kind of life to the museum.
Kate Hutter, the artistic director of L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, has said of Nickerson-Rossi, “Michael’s work as a choreographer is emotionally vulnerable, saturated with rich personal stories and beautiful phrases of unraveling movement. I look forward to seeing him lead his company of talented and generous performers, and become a strong artistic voice amongst the Southern California dance community.”
The aesthetic of Nickerson-Rossi’s choreography is based in personal experiences, growing up as an orphan and trying to balance feelings of loss and grief. He discovered dance; now it is his life. He was able to use dance to not only express the things he felt he didn’t know how to express, but also to help the process of grieving, using dance and choreography as a therapeutic tool. The Understand Program is based on using dance and movement as therapy for at-risk kids dealing with grief and loss. Nickerson-Rossi is hoping to pair up with a school-based art therapy program in the Palm Springs area, bringing creative problem-solving skills to the people that need them most: children.
Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company at Annenberg Theater, 101 N. Museum Dr., Palm Springs, (760) 325-4490; www.psmuseum.org/annenberg -theater. Tues, Jan. 15. 5:30pm. $95-$125.