Laura Ward, Choreographer
by Chase Collum
Oct 01, 2014 | 0 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you asked Laura Ward's friends about her, they might tell you she's a dancer or they might tell you she is a conceptual artist who uses dance as a tool. That's because while she has been a dancer her whole life, her approach to choreography is one that involves drawing heavily from an alternative, sometimes irreverent view of the world around her. Ward says that as a movement analyst, she looks at dance not just as an art form but as a method of communicating complex ideas. “People get intimidated by dance because they want to understand it. If you go to see modern art, or any kind of art, your response is whatever you feel,” she says. “My inspirations are very broad. It's not just the dance world.” Since 1999, Ward has been working with students from the Long Island City School of Ballet, and at the end of the month students from that class, along with her Octavia Cup Dance Theater troupe, will be performing their latest piece “Maps” at the Maximalist Dance Theater in Manhattan. Ward hopes that her latest piece will challenge audiences to think about where they've come from and where they are heading as a member of modern society. She is well known in the dance world for her nontraditional style, with its sometimes purposefully choppy movements not typical of classical ballet, which she uses to add an element of accessibility to her work. “I think that ballet can be something that you can watch, but if you don't have any connection to that movement then you're not going to be interested,” Ward says. “The way that we move and connect everything together, it's not to be seen as a story but more of a collage and social commentary from a mock-serious perspective. “We have original music in the show and we also have - it's not just all skinny ballerina bodies - it's very diverse,” she added.
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City needs to go further to reduce income inequality
Oct 01, 2014 | 0 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation raising the living wage in New York City to $13.13 per hour, and that's a good thing. No grown adult in this city should be expected to work for less than $12 per hour, and while the increased wages will have their consequences they represent an acceptance of modern reality by the administration. And before people start fretting over the detrimental effects this will have on small businesses, the law only applies to employees who work for companies that receive subsidies from the city, so it's only right that more of that money should go to the employees. In fact, they already make $11.90 per hour, so it's not a huge jump. Still, the new law doesn't go far enough. As stated before, only workers who don't receive benefits and are employed by commercial tenants receiving a minimum of $1 million in city subsidies will be affected. A similar living wage law was passed by the mayor's office in 2012, and only applied to 1,200 jobs once exemptions were taken into account. So we are reasonably cautious about celebrating this latest push to raise wages despite projections that roughly 18,000 employees will receive a boost. Now, if the mayor succeeds in tying the minimum wage to the living wage through legislation as he plans to do, there will be much more cause for celebration. With the cost of living on a galloping rise across the city, the need to establish income minimums that allow residents to hold on to what they've got is more pronounced than ever. We hope this new living wage law will be at least as effective as the administration projections suggest, and that it will spark the movement to reduce the rate of income inequality at the root of so many of our current economic woes. Because let's face it, until we're all doing alright, nobody's doing great.
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