Sydney Schiff

Interview Highlights
Q: Using the idea of “worldmaking” how do you imagine the performing arts world after the pandemic?
There is so much more access to teachers. My first online classes were with my high school teachers, people who made me feel home and brought magic into my living room “studio.” There hopefully will be a lasting impact and those who build a good online following will continue the models they develop. I have learned I can now teach from anywhere in the world. This allows me complete flexibility and allows me to provide a service to people who cannot physically be present with me whether they live in Europe or have other commitments.

Q: What has been your professional dance journey?
...On March 11th, I excitedly announced a new program of weekly drop-in Zouk classes scheduled to start up the following week, Trump announced his European travel ban, and events started shutting down. In less than 24 hours I had to postpone my new venture. Two days later I made a group and made a post sharing an idea of how to do a daily drop-in Brazilian Zouk solo training class online. Within 5 hours, 250 people joined my group. A week later, I had over 700 members receiving updates...I’m rather proud it took nothing short of a pandemic for our community to stop coming together and I really hope that the students who depend on the artists to create the experience they crave continue to support them so they can be available to them on the other side of this catastrophe.
Read full interview here

Originally from Washington, D.C., Sydney is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Dance with a focus on Choreography and a Certificate in World Performance Studies at the University of Michigan. She received her bachelor's degree in History of Science and a Certificate in the Program in Dance from Princeton University. While pursuing her New York City-based performance and choreographic career, Sydney was a 2012-2013 Arts Fellow at Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and a 2014 resident artist at Dance Omi International Dance Collective. She has presented work at numerous venues including Princeton University's Richardson Auditorium, Dixon Place, Manhattan JCC, Center for Performance Research, Congregation Ramath Orah, The Tank, and Judson Church. Since January 2016, She has traveled throughout North America and Europe to study Brazilian Zouk dancing and pedagogy, teach workshops, and DJ. I co-organized the Zouk Dance Club at U-M where she teaches and DJs weekly. Her MFA thesis explores Brazilian Zouk as a convergence of partnered social dancing, concert dance, and performance in everyday life through multimedia collaboration.