A Closer Look at SAB’s 2023 Student Choreography Workshop


A highlight of each winter term and a cornerstone of SAB’s annual programming is the Student Choreography Workshop, designed to support and cultivate the next generation of choreographers. This month, SAB hosted the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Evening for Female Choreography, allowing five female-identifying students who created original works in the fall Choreography Workshop to continue developing their pieces and participate in a showing for donors and guests.

Photo: Rosalie O’Connor

In the fall, students started this process by working with music teacher and SAB alumnus Aaron Severini to select a piece of music. Then, they assembled a cast of their peers to begin creating their original works. As they navigated the choreographic process, NYCB Resident Choreographer and SAB alumnus Justin Peck guided students as an advisor, supporting them with meetings and feedback on their works.

Following the fall showing, female-identifying students could continue honing their craft by revising their pieces over a more extended period of time, concluding with another chance to present their works. NYCB dancer Emily Kikta served as the first-ever Female Choreography Fellow for this process, providing mentorship and feedback to students as they refine their pieces.


Emily Kikta participating in the 2010 Student Choreography Workshop. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor

Throughout the year, Kikta organized visits with prominent female choreographers in New York City, connecting students with emerging leaders in their field. A highlight of the program was attending Lauren Lovette’s debut work as the Resident Choreographer for Paul Taylor Dance Company and other premieres at New York City Ballet.

Reflecting on this year, Kikta feels “honored to have been chosen to lead this inaugural mentorship program to help broaden the student choreography workshop by including opportunities to speak with working female choreographers, increasing the ability to attend live performances of new works, and by offering more feedback for these young choreographers as they explore this new medium of creativity.”

Made possible by support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the Female Choreography Project aims to support the development of aspiring female choreographers, providing them with valuable experience and exposure to a traditionally male-dominated field. By allowing students the time and space to explore their creativity in a supportive environment, the program empowers students to pursue choreography beyond their time at SAB and join the ranks of other renowned choreographers who began their journeys at the School.

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