The Choreographers of Color Award was created to "recognize promising young minority choreographers whose diverse perspective will ignite creativity in the field of dance." The national call for artist submissions began in August 2012.
Each of the three selected choreographers was given a minimum of 30 rehearsal hours to set a new work on Joffrey Academy Trainees. The recipients also received a $2,500 stipend apiece and were granted the opportunity to work directly with Joffrey Academy artistic directors, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik.
Winning Works begins at 4 PM at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago. Rounding out the artistic talent on the 2013 program is fashion designer LaQuan Smith, who conceptualized and designed the costumes for McQueen's piece.
The Winning Works program also includes a world premiere by Kremnev titled Carnival of the Animals. The piece includes Camille Saint-Saens's music score, costumes from Gabriel Hanson and performances from a cast of dancers from Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Australia, France, Japan, Korea and the U.S.
"It is important that we actively seek and nurture these very talented choreographers," said Ashley C. Wheater, artistic director of The Joffrey Ballet, in an earlier statement. "Dance in America is as rich and diverse as its people, and we are confident that Choreographers of Color will showcase some of our most creative spirits. New work provides an opportunity for choreographers and dancers to explore and grow." Cong started his career at the Beijing Dance Academy training as a Chinese Classical dancer before he joined the National Ballet of China in 1995, then Tulsa Ballet in 1999. As a choreographer, Cong has created original works for Tulsa Ballet, Houston Ballet, BalletMet, Ballet Florida, Smuin Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Ballet Nouveau Colorado and Ballet Des Moines, among others.
McClellan is currently an MFA candidate in the Department of Dance at University of Michigan. He was principal dancer and resident choreographer for 10 years for the first and second Dayton Contemporary Dance Companies (DCDC/DCDC2) in Dayton, OH. He has created ballets for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and the Cincinnati Ballet and has received recognition for his choreography from the Ohio Senate.
McQueen appeared in the first Broadway national tours of Wicked and The Color Purple in addition to the New York City and national touring companies of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. McQueen, a 2008 graduate of The Ailey School/Fordham University, has presented his works throughout New York City, including the seventh annual Dance From The Heart concert presented by Dancers Responding to AIDS, the Young Choreographer's Festival held at Symphony Space and the Dance Gallery Festival.
The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is located at 205 E. Randolph Drive in Chicago, IL. For more information, visit Joffrey.org/Academy.