By Vincent Mallory
In the brief span of time since dancer-performer Aurélie Garcia arrived in New York, the ambitious young talent has distinguished herself as a significant force—appearing with some of the most celebrated dance troupes (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico) at several of the city’s most prestigious venues (Lincoln Center, Apollo Theater). The French born Aurélie’s sterling reputation and stunning capability has expanded her resume to include stints with pop stars (rapper-model Montana L. Jacobowitz), experimental dance companies (Ann Nuo Spiritual Dance) and at special, high profile events.
A prime example was her work at the 2018 Newburgh Illuminated Festival where Aurélie‘s distinctive style enabled her to not only perform with the acclaimed Ntrinsk Dance Movement company, she was also invited to showcase her craft via two performances of an additional piece which Aurélie herself had choreographed.
Aurélie’s approach is characterized by a rich mix of cerebral sensitivity and instinctive physicality, an elemental amalgam that produces a nuanced, dynamic impact which has become her signature.
It’s an impressive, innate skill, one which is practically part of her DNA. As a child in Southern France’s Côte d’Azur, Aurélie was inculcated in the art form early on.
“My mom was always was passionate about dance,” she said. “She never danced professionally but really loves it—I guess she transmitted it to me through her blood. She saw the love of dance in me even before I realized it myself and showed me how to follow my dream. This was what I was born for.”
Aurélie’s soul-deep drive characterizes all of her work, a natural capacity which her training at the Alvin Ailey school elevated to stunning heights and allowed her, in short order, to rise to prominence in New York’s highly competitive dance world.
The Illuminated Festival, which takes place in a gorgeous upstate setting on the banks of the Hudson river, afforded her a welcome break from the hectic urban life.
Partnered with the esteemed Ntrinsk Movement, an emerging African-American troupe founded in 2014 by dancers Kenya Joy Gibson, Freyani Patrice, Michelle Isaac and Anastacia Julian, Aurélie found herself in an engaging, creatively charged position.
“Their choreography mixes African and Contemporary dance,” she said. “I’m the only non-black dancer in the company and it was somewhat challenging, as I don’t have a West African dance background, but my versatility helped me to adapt to their style.”
That characteristic versatility, as the women of Ntrinsk Movement recognized, lends Aurélie a tremendous interpretive advantage and all eagerly anticipated the festival.
“We had to drive few hours to get there but it was worth it,” Aurélie said. “We performed on an outdoor stage. with a beautiful landscape, even though we hand to handle the heat. It was inspiring to dance in such a peaceful place.”
“I performed two different pieces with Ntrinsk Movement,” Aurélie said “‘Legacy,’ choreographed by Freyani Patrice, and ‘South of Lenox’ by Kenya Gibson. The biggest challenge, when dancing, is the pressure that you put on yourself—there are a lot of people in the audience, who are there to see what we have to tell them, and you have to find the balance between being your own self as a dancer and staying true to the work.”
Aurélie needn’t have worried—both pieces were enthusiastically received, and the next performance was her own ‘It Isn't The End,’ an intimately personal meditation on her father’s death.
“The piece starts with announcement of the ‘bad news,’” she said. “I represent people running to help or say goodbye but who arrive too late. It was created in honor of my dad’s memory but I wanted to open it up to reflect other people’s life experience.”
Aurélie‘s ability to channel and depict such wrenching emotion and concurrently examine the psychological nuance of grieving—on a universal scale—reflects the profound depth of Aurélie’s artistry. The piece was a sensation at the Illuminated festival and demonstrates, once again, her boundless gifts as an interpretive dancer.
Passionate, dedicated and quickly gaining a professional reputation as an unsurpassable force, Aurélie’s lives and breathes dance, and she is constantly seeking to elevate and improve herself as an artist.
“I think growing as a dancer—always interested in learning different styles—has helped me enhance my own repertoire,” she said. “I keep myself open to [gain] more creativity, quality and inspiration in my dancing. And when you do that, it becomes a beautiful experience for you, your coworkers and most importantly, the audience.”