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Progressing the Future of Contemporary Dance

Tue 19 October 2021

Dedicated to deconstructing gender in the classical arts, Mississippi-born Will Byram has begun his MA/MFA in Choreography at Trinity Laban as the Fulbright-Trinity Laban Postgraduate Scholar 2021/22.

Exploring how male fragility and aggression manifest in the body, Will’s degree will culminate in the creation of a movement theatre work with a narrative adapted from a 1999 Human Rights Watch interview on men’s experiences with sexual assault.

Before arriving in London, Will completed his BFA in Dance in 2020 at the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, New York where he choreographed the mainstage production of Purcell’s opera Dido & Aeneas. The first large-scale collaboration between the university’s Conservatories of Music and Dance, the show won second place in the 2020 National Opera Association Competition.

Will’s work has also been performed at Dancers Responding to AIDS, Jazz Choreography Enterprises and most recently, Battery Dance Festival in New York.

Will plans to use his postgraduate training as a foundation to launch a career in higher education that champions access and exposure to the arts in the American South. He also hopes to learn about British etiquette and discover the similarities between his Southern upbringing and culture.

His first project at Trinity Laban will be choreographing opera scenes this December in collaboration with the vocal department.

On joining the Trinity Laban community Will says –

“Trinity Laban has such a distinctive place in the dance history canon. I’m honoured to study at an institution dedicated to innovation and progressing the future of contemporary dance. I’m also excited to learn and absorb all that London’s creative theatre and dance scene has to offer.”

Sara Matthews, Director of Dance, comments –

“Trinity Laban is thrilled to welcome William Byram to the Faculty of Dance as this year’s Fulbright Scholar, continuing a rich tradition of cultural exchange and innovation. The international community Will is joining will help support his development as a change-maker, as he continues to take exciting steps to advance the art form of dance.”

Trinity Laban Principal Anthony Bowne comments –

“Trinity Laban is proud to continue its longstanding partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission by being part of this next stage in Will’s artistic journey. He is an exceptionally talented individual doing extraordinary work that advocates for equity and we are excited to see the transformative impact he will no doubt have on the Conservatoire and wider arts industry over the course of his tenure.”

US-UK Fulbright Commission Executive Director Maria Balinska comments –

“Will is a testament to the Fulbright Programme’s commitment to civically engaged artistic excellence. We’re excited to see the outcome of his creative exchanges with the dance community at Trinity Laban and proud to be partnering for a sixth year with the only Conservatoire of Music and Contemporary Dance in the UK.”

The US-UK Fulbright programme is the only international education exchange to go both ways across the Atlantic and whose vision is a world in which there are no obstacles to learning, understanding and collaboration.

Previous Trinity Laban recipients include US Marines veteran and Artistic Director of Exit12 Dance Company (New York) Roman Baca, who was awarded the Fulbright Association’s Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture Award, and Washington-born pianist Garrett Snedeker who won a Barzun Prize for Youth Engagement to pioneer a music project to engage under-served teenagers in Southeast London.

Find out more about the Fulbright Scholarship, including how to apply for 2022, on our Fees and Finance pages.

Image: Will Byram