Hamptons Dance Project returns to the East Hampton stage this summer.
Catherine Hurlin, Aran Bell and Jose Sebastian
Once upon a sunny Southampton Father’s Day, we flocked to the Elgort home—reuniting as we have for the last three summers with Jose Sebastian and friends—to catch up, let loose, dress up, listen to music, play with the grandkids and dance—all for the delight of Father Elgort’s lens.
As I pull into the driveway, Ansel Elgort is on the lawn buffing a meticulously kept 1957 silver Corvette convertible. Ansel just arrived home from Japan for a short break between shooting season 2 of Tokyo Vice, studying for his next role and pursuing the art of Japanese calligraphy. By the time I reach the front door, the sweet scent of Grethe’s homemade chocolate chip cookies drifts through air as the sound of the screen door smacks the frame and the comfort of home washes over you.
By 3 p.m., everyone has arrived at the house—American Ballet Theatre dancers Aran Bell, principal ballerina Catherine Hurlin (who Arthur has photographed since she was 16 years old) and founder/creative director of Hamptons Dance Project Jose Sebastian.
Bell and Hurlin.
Hamptons Dance Project (HDP) was born five years ago while Sebastian was on a stroll through NYC with his mother, Pat Sebastian, a habitual uplifter who you want to learn from and have in your corner. Pat has a make-anythinghappen mentality that can only be fully imagined by a single mother who raised two adopted children in a one-bedroom apartment. If there was one word to explain the purpose and mission behind Hamptons Dance Project, it would be “opportunity.” Though, as we all know, it’s what you do with the opportunities that you create or come your way that makes all the difference. Jose and Pat seize opportunities with grace and humility.
“I learned the importance of that early in life by my mother's example. She placed opportunity in our path as often as possible, sometimes magically,” says Sebastian. “HDP is about placing opportunity on the path. Opportunity for dancers to dance outside their regular repertoire; opportunity for choreographers, both emerging and established, to set their work on ABT dancers; opportunity for audiences to witness the uniqueness and beauty of this.”
The program this season includes dancers and choreographers from near and far. Jorma Elo returns from Vienna to restage a piece set initially on ABT. Gregory Dolbashian, from New York, is creating a solo for Sebastian.
The season V program also includes a pas de deux from Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit and a piece by Melanie Hamrick set to music by The Rolling Stones. Music From The Sole will be welcomed into the program and much more.
This summer, Hamptons Dance Project returns to Fireplace Lodge in East Hampton, set on a stunning 20-acre parcel overlooking Gardiner’s Bay. Aug. 18- 20, 6 p.m., guildhall.org; hamptonsdanceproject.org
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHED BY ARTHUR ELGORT