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National Choreographers Initiative: NCI Discovery

Sat. July 30, 2022 at 8pm

Presented by Irvine Barclay Theatre and National Choreographers Initiative

Be there for the birth of four new ballets created as part of the intensive 3-week process of National Choreographers Initiative. Artistic Director Molly Lynch invites four choreographers, as well as 16 professional dancers from ballet companies across the country, to participate.

Founded by Molly Lynch in 2004, National Choreographers Initiative is a Southern California project with national influence. Many of the pieces begun here have gone on to be performed elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad.

The project culminates in a public performance that showcases the excitement of new creation. Audiences may join us live for the in-person showing at the Barclay or may opt to purchase the livestream option for viewing.

Meet the 2022 NCI Dance Ensemble

Participating choreographers: Emily Adams; Leiland Charles; Jennifer Hart; Gina Patterson

  • Emily Adams
    Emily Adams

    Emily Adams is originally from Newtown, Pennsylvania. She trained at the School of American Ballet before joining Ballet West II in 2005 and the main company in 2007. She was promoted to principal artist in 2015. Career highlights include Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Aurora, Lilac Fairy and Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty; Cinderella and Fairy Godmother in Ashton’s Cinderella; Juliet and Lady Capulet in Smuin’s Romeo and Juliet; Diamonds Pas de Deux in George Balanchine’s Jewels; and featured roles in ballets by William Forsyth, Jiri Kylian, Val Caniparoli, Nicolo Fonte, Matthew Neenan, Edwaard Liang, and Helen Pickett, among others.

    Emily began choreographing as a student, participating in the New York Choreographic Institute’s Spring Session 2004. She has created six ballets for Ballet West. Her most recent work, The Thing with Feathers, features an original score by Sundance Institute Fellow, Katy Jarzebowski. Emily was awarded the Utah Arts Festival’s Choreographic Commission in 2017. Her creation, Laden, is now included in Ballet West II’s repertoire. In August 2019, she collaborated with The Way of the Rain, Sibylle Szaggers Redford, and composer Tim Janis to create Earth Movements: A Symphony for Ballet. The ballet was performed by Ballet West and presented at the UN 68th International NGO Conference.

  • Leiland Charles
    Leiland Charles

    Leiland Charles is from Columbia, Maryland. Leiland first stepped into a dance studio at the age of three with The Howard County Ballet in Ellicott City, Maryland under the direction of Kathi Ferguson. Leiland furthered his artistic training at The Juilliard School under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes where he received his BFA in the spring of 2014. While at Juilliard, he performed works by Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexander Ekman, and many others. Upon graduation, Mr. Charles joined Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Canada, where he worked for three seasons, dancing many roles, including Benvolio in Jean Grand-Maïtre’s Romeo and Juliet and Red Couple in Jiri Kylían’s Forgotten Land. Leiland joined BalletMet as a company artist for the 2017-2018 season. Some of his favorite roles/ballets with the company include In Creases by Justin Peck and Cacti by Alexander Ekman. Leiland is also an up-and-coming choreographer and has created works including Passages for Alberta Ballet and most recently Figurines for BalletMet and Togetherness for BalletMet2. Leiland is in his 5th season with BalletMet.


  • Jennifer Hart
    Jennifer Hart

    Jennifer Hart, whose work is hailed as “not only inventive but heart-rending,” has choreographed for Ballet Austin, Ballet Austin ll, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, The Walker Art Center’s Momentum Series, The McKnight Fellowship for Dancers, Metropolitan Ballet Project, University of Kansas, University of Massachusetts (including selection for the National College Dance Festival), Lawrence Ballet Theatre, Halcyon Dance Project, Merrick Strategies for its production of Leonard Bernstein's Mass and Icons of Broadway Holiday Spectacular, and Mobile Dance Film Festival. She has been awarded a New York City Ballet Fellowship and won third place at the Saint-Sauveur International Choreography Competition. She received second place at Ballet Nouveau Colorado’s choreography competition, and was one of three winners of the University of Kansas’ competitive choreography competition. She was chosen three times to present work at Ballet Builders, New Choreographer’s on Point in NYC. In 2014, she formed Performa/Dance with Ballet Austin dancer Edward Carr. Her work for Performa/Dance was awarded four Austin Critic’s Table Awards for Best Short Work, Best Choreographer, and Best Dance Concert.

  • Gina Patterson
    Gina Patterson

    Gina Patterson is a 2021 Bogliasco Fellow, and has won such honors as the Choo San Goh Award, a nomination for an Isadora Duncan Award, the Hubbard Street 2 National Choreographic Competition, New Choreographers on Pointe, and the National Choreographers Initiative. Her dances appear in the repertoire of companies across the U.S. and have been presented internationally in Italy, Croatia, Germany, Slovenia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Spain. Dance Magazine says “Patterson has a voice, that ever-elusive thing, and whatever the future of ballet may be, choreographers like her will always have a place in it.” She danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Ballet Austin, Ballet Florida, and as a guest artist in North America and Europe.

    She educates through creativity workshops and multi-disciplinary collaboration with young artists, working with University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Mercyhurst University.

    Advocating for empathy and compassion as a creative artist, she searches to uncover the authentic and vulnerable – the voice within. She uses her art to examine our humanity and interconnection, believing in the art form’s power — to heal; and through the creative process, build unity and community.