Sunday, November 27, 2011

Italian Dance Competition for New Choreographers

The Alto Jonio Dance Company from the town of Villapiana, Calabria, is coming to NYC looking for emerging choreographic talent. On December 26 and 27, 2011, a competition will be held at New York City Center Studios, 130 West 56th Street in Manhattan for the best of the best.

The competition will consist of 2 separate pieces for each contestant: a solo and a trio or duet. Performances will take place on December 26 with callbacks on December 27.
The winner will be flown to Villapiana during its annual dance Festival in July, 2012 and be awarded the title of Alto Jonio Dance – Emerging Choreographer, as well as free room, board and tuition to study and perform during the Festival. Visit for full details and registration information.

The jury panel for the New York competition will include Antonio Fini, Michael Mao, founder and Artistic Director of Michael Mao Dance Company, Kevin Alpert and Nicola Iervasi, respectively the Executive Director and Artistic Director of Mare Nostrum Elements Movement Theater, Virginie Maecenas, former first dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company and now Director of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and Noa Guy, internationally renowned musician and composer.

The Alto Jonio Dance Company is the latest endeavor by its artistic director, Antonio Fini, and is already making a name for itself. Its premier festival held in Villapiana last summer featured dance luminaries such as Donatello Iacobellis, choreographer with the MOMIX dance company, one of the world’s most famous companies.

While At The Table No One Grows Old

“You must visit Nonna. She lives in the village and seldom has visitors, but she absolutely makes the best dolci!” An enthusiastic endorsement like this prompted many journeys for Francine Segan, food historian, author and speaker, in her search for the very best Italian sweets. These treasured recipes are now in her latest book, Dolci, Italy’s Sweets.

Ms. Segan wanted to collect not only the recipes from generations past but also the ones served today in contemporary Italian kitchens. She met with famous chefs, contacted infamous Italian bloggers and visited the kitchens of Italian grandmothers. Her book guides us through Italy’s hills and valleys, nooks and crannies, as she cooks, tastes and records these luscious desserts.

Ms. Segan celebrated the launch of the book at The National Arts Club in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan on November 10, 2011. Always an engaging speaker, she recounted stories of her latest trips to Italy and her search for divine desserts. She told of one Nonna who kept Francine in her kitchen for 6 hours until she “got the recipes right”. Still, I can think of worse ways to spend a day than in a warm cucina filled with aromas of chocolate and fruit.

The book is beautifully illustrated and the recipes are taken from all over Italy. Chapters are devoted to after-dinner liqueurs and special coffees. Ms. Segan includes a smattering of history and folklore among the dolci, as well as some of her favorite Italian food proverbs. For example, instead of an apple a day keeps the doctor away, due dita di vino e’ una pedata al medico (two fingers of wine is a kick in the butt to the doctor). And my personal favorite: a tavola non s’invecchia (while at the table no one grows old).

You can purchase Dolci: Italy’s Sweets at To learn more about Francine Segan, visit