National Choreography Competition

  • The National Choreography Competition commissions rising choreographers to create a premiere work for WMU Dancers.

  • a photo of "HAUNT" choreographed by Brendan Duggan
  • WMU dancers performing "Ritournelle" by Gabirelle Lamb


 2017 Winner  is brendan duggan


Mr. Duggan is co-artistic director of LoudHoundMovement (LHM), a New York City-based contemporary dance collective he co-founded in 2012. Often collaborating directly with the performers, LHM researches the representation of emotional experiences presented on stage through a contemporary movement vocabulary. He has had the distinct pleasure of working and performing with Deganit Shemy & Artists, Gallim Dance, Jonathan Royse Windham, KB & The Artists, Danaka Dance, Loni Landon Dance Projects, ChristinaNoel Reaves & The Creature, Danielle Russo Performance Project, Emily Terndrup, and currently performs with Third Rail Projects in their newest immersive work, The Grand Paradise.

Brendan’s work he created for SALT, “Comes the Night,” premiered April 1, 2016.



2019 Application information



In 2011, Western Michigan University's Department of Dance developed the National Choreography Competition to identify and recognize emerging choreographers and bring their work to campus. Students have the opportunity to work with the winning artist on the creation of a new dance. In the first year of the competition, 73 choreographers from 24 states entered the competition. A dance faculty committee narrowed the field to three finalists. Then students, faculty, and members of the community were invited to view samples of work by three finalists and vote for their choice. Innovation in movement, dance structure and subject matter were the criteria the faculty committee used to select the three finalists. They also selected finalists who would bring something new to Western Michigan University and audiences from southwest Michigan.

The winner in the inaugural year was Lauren Edson. Edson came to campus in fall 2011 to create a new work and presented her original dance titled "Foreground" at the 2012 Department of Dance Winter Gala Dance Concert. "Foreground" was also presented at the American College Dance Association East-Central Conference in March 2012 where it was selected for the gala concert. Adjudicators also selected the dance to represent the region at the American College Dance Association's National Festival where it was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  Watch excerpts from "Foreground":

In the spring of 2013, Gabrielle Lamb was chosen as the second competition winner. Gabrielle Lamb is a New York-based choreographer and performer. She is a winner of the 2009 National Choreographic Competition of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the 2013 Genesis International Choreographic Competition of Milwaukee Ballet. In the fall of 2014, Gabrielle Lamb created a new work, "Ritournelle", for the students at Western Michigan University. Her dance premiered to public acclaim at the 2014 Winter Gala Dance Concert. Watch our documentary on the staging of "Ritournelle":

Montreal-based choreographer, James Gregg, was selected as the 2015 competition winner. He has set choreographic works on Danceworks Chicago, Ballet X, Northwest Dance Project, Nashville Ballet's Emergence, Springboard Danse Project Montreal, River North Dance Chicago, Elements Contemporary Ballet, and also L’Ecole Superieure de Danse de Quebec. Most recently, James won Ballet Austin's 2014 New American talent choreographic competition.

He was also was the winner of the International Choreographic Competition at Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur.  As a performer, James worked with Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Aszure & Artists, Rubberband Dance, and River North Dance Chicago. In January of 2016 he came to Western Michigan University for a residency in which he created "Out of the Dark" on WMU dancers. Watch this interview on Gregg's creative process at WMU: