Artist Profile: India Bolds

FCLC Dance Student Branches Out From Ailey


Published: January 31, 2008

India Bolds was running late for her dance callback.  Very late.

When she arrived at the building on Great Jones St., Bolds, FCLC ’08, raced through the lobby and into the elevator. She yanked off her scarf, pulled off her jacket and shoes, and impatiently waited for the elevator doors to open. Moments later, she ran into the dance studio and discovered that everyone at the callback had already learned the combination.

“I was damn near tears,” Bolds said, her words dripping with a sweet Georgia accent.  “I thought it was over.  I didn’t think she was going to let me audition.”

Bolds, a dance major in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, was auditioning for Elisa Monte Dance and was one of 10 girls who had made it to the first callback.  But because of a problem on the downtown D train, Bolds was 30 minutes late for the callback.  She was not able to explain to Elisa Monte, the artistic director of Elisa Monte Dance, her reason for being late when she arrived, and so she did her best to learn the precise and athletic modern dance combination as fast as she could.

“I sat back and said, ‘This is not a good start,’” said Monte, a former principal with Martha Graham Company, who has worked as a professional dancer since the age of 11.  “I understand the subways, but people lie.  So my ears sort of perked up.”

“I faked my way through the entire thing, and Ms. Monte laughed at me the entire time,” Bolds continued.  “Every time the rest of the dancers went up, I went down and every time they went right, I went left.”

Despite her lateness, Bolds was asked to attend the second callback, which was held the following day.  And later that night, Bolds received a call from Monte asking if she wanted to join the company.

“Yes, yes, yes!” was Bolds’ response.  As she sat on her bed, she reenacted the phone call and a wide smile came across her face.  She bopped up and down, waving her arms over her head with excitement, thrilled that she had landed the job.

“My first impression of her was that she was focused, a serious worker, knew how to listen, observant and certainly a beautiful girl.  And then, later, I saw that she was an extremely talented dancer with great facility,” Monte said.  “I knew from the start that she would make it to the end.”

At the age of three, Bolds, a long, lean 22 year old with muscular legs, began dancing at East Athens Dance Theatre in her hometown of Athens, Ga.  When she was nine, she took her first trip to New York and was exposed to professional dance for the first time.  And from that point, her greatest aspiration was to become a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a world-renowned modern dance company.

Bolds made her debut with the company at The Ailey Citigroup Theater on Jan. 18 and 19 in the Elisa Monte Dance performance of The Premiere: An Evening of Contemporary Dance & Champagne.  Bolds was excited, yet extremely nervous before the show.

“Before I went on stage, I had the ill feeling like I was sick,” Bolds said.  “I had this feeling like I can’t dance.  I actually thought this: I can’t dance.  I felt butterflies everywhere. I was really about to throw up all over the side of the stage.  I was cold even after I had warmed up. But as soon as the lights came up, everything went away.  Nothing else mattered.”

Alice Chapman, FCLC ’08, an Ailey dance major and a friend of Bolds, saw the show and commented on Bolds’ performance.  “India’s a high jumper, a good turner and very charismatic on stage,” Chapman said.  “It was nice to see her doing something slightly different than what she does at Ailey—in a professional performance in comparison to a school performance.”

Bolds is currently enjoying a few weeks off before rehearsals begin for the company’s next performance in Dallas.  Bolds and the company will also be performing in California, teaching dance and choreographing a piece for kids at a school in Brooklyn, and rehearsing for Monte’s latest project, Zydeco, which will debut this October in Louisiana.

“India has a bright future, and she can determine where she goes next,” said Ana Marie Forsythe, the co-director of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program. “She can move onto a large company, perform on Broadway or open her own studio to give back some of the training she has received and share her experience with young dancers.  It’s really up to her to decide.”