013: Modern Choreography, With Juel D. Lane
Michelle chats with modern choreographer, dancer, teacher and filmmaker Juel D. Lane on Episode 13 of the The Cultured Podcast. Together, they dig at the roots of what it takes to choreograph a piece of modern dance that sparks dialogue while making hearts flutter.
Juel clues us into his latest moves, including being one of two choreographers with a featured piece (“Touch & Agree”) in Ailey II’s world tour (#NBD). Juel tells us what it was like to work with such an iconic company, which is known as a cultural ambassador to the world because of its global influence. Spoiler: When he got the call, he almost dropped the phone.
And there’s no question, dance transformed Juel. Once burdened with severe anxiety that left him twitching and stuttering, Juel’s discovery of dance in high school healed him and set him on his path to becoming the world-class talent that he is. Because he uses dance as an extension of himself, Juel is able to connect with audiences in a way that triggers conversation and leaves onlookers in awe.
He gives us an inside look at what goes into his pre-performance rituals and how he conceives of his pieces. Whether he’s paying homage to an old-school Atlanta dance called “yeek” or giving a voice to the LGBTQIA community, Juel’s creative vision offers an extraordinary glimpse into the mind of an artist whose preferred tool is the human body.
What starts out as a conversation about the intricacies of dance and choreography soon turns into a deep discussion about the search for love and how that quest influences the artistic process.
About Juel D. Lane, Modern Dance, Choreography and Filmmaking
Juel D. Lane is celebrated as one of the most gifted and innovative new voices in American dance.
Lane’s serendipitous encounter with dance occurred while he studied theater in Tri-Cities High School’s Visual and Performing Arts magnet program. After receiving elite training from Tri-Cities High School and the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, Lane earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a focus on Contemporary Dance.
Lane pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance through choreography that “strips labels and shows humanity,” as he puts it. Whether he examines political concepts, gender roles, or his own intimate experiences, Lane stays unapologetically true to his singular perspective.
Lane’s exceptional repertoire has landed him on the cover of Dance Studio Magazine and on Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” list.
Currently dancing with Bessie Award-winning Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Lane made history in 2012 as the first local and independent black choreographer to have his work commissioned by the Atlanta Ballet. From there, he participated in the 2015-2016 Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab, and collaborated with dance legends across the United States.
In 2010, he began incorporating multimedia into his performative work. His film projects, “Just Another Day,” “How to Kill a Ghost,” and “When The Beat Drops,” showcase the complexity, playfulness and creativity within this dynamic choreographer’s mind.