In 2011, Western Michigan University's Department of Dance developed the National Great Works Choreography Competition to identify and promote emerging choreographers and bring their work to campus. A dance faculty committee narrows the field of submissions to three finalists based on the following criteria: movement innovation, choreographic structure, and subject matter. Works by the three finalists are then screened and voted upon by students, faculty, and members of the community. The winner of the competition is commissioned to create an original work for the WMU dance students that will be performed in the department’s Gala Concert at Western Michigan University, may be chosen to represent the department in regional ACDA adjudication and may also be performed in the department’s NYC showcase.
Brendan Duggan, 2017 Winner
New York-based choreographer and performer, Brendan Duggan, was selected as the fourth NCC winner in spring 2017. Duggan was a Co-Founder and Co-Director of LoudHoundMovement (LHM), a contemporary dance collective based in Brooklyn. Mr. Duggan created HAUNT in close collaboration with fifteen dance students to music by Losciil. “HAUNT” represented the department at the regional ACDA adjudications where it was selected for performance in the conference’s final Gala Concert. It was also performed as part of the department’s inaugural NYC showcase at Gibney Dance.
James Gregg, 2015 Winner
In spring 2015, Montréal-based dancer and choreographer, James Gregg, was selected as the third NCC winner. Gregg was the recipient of the 2015 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award and the winner of Ballet Austin’s 2014 New American talent choreographic competition. Gregg created “Out of the Dark” for six WMU dancer students to an original sound scape by Jordan Moser.
Gabrielle Lamb, 2013 Winner
New York-based choreographer and performer, Gabrielle Lamb, was chosen as the competition’s second winner in spring 2013. Lamb was a winner of the 2009 National Choreographic Competition of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the 2013 Genesis International Choreographic Competition of Milwaukee Ballet. Lamb created “Ritournelle” (2014), a work using a compilation of musical selections from “Ritournelle” by Colleen.
Lauren Edson, 2011 Winner
The inaugural winner of the National Choreography Competition was Lauren Edson. Edson danced with a number of companies, most notably Trey Mclntyre Project, and won the Northwest Dance Project’s first annual Pretty Creative’s International Choreographic Competition in 2009. Edson came to WMU in Fall 2011 and created “Foreground” (2012) to music by Dustin O’Halloran and Grizzly Bear. After its premiere in the Gala Concert at WMU, “Foreground” was selected to represent the department at the American College Dance Association East-Central Conference and was then selected to represent the region at the ACDA National Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.