Nimbus History

Since Nimbus’ inception in 2005, the organization has pioneered a vision for dance and community impact. Engaging diverse and wide-ranging audiences in concert dance by reflecting their experiences onstage while expanding their world view, and by introducing youth to the life-changing possibilities afforded by quality arts education.

Nimbus’ story is implicitly intertwined with its hometown, Jersey City, a fast-growing urban area. The company’s first performances took place at Grace Church Van Vorst. A progressive, meeting point for artists and community members for decades. Grace Church provided a space for rehearsals and performances for the company for its first five years. After achieving 501c3 nonprofit status in 2008. Founding Artistic Director Samuel Pott, developed an after school dance program called JC Grooves, where Nimbus dancers and middle schoolers from Jersey City’s MS.4 performed for every seventh grader in the district. During that inaugural presentation, it became clear that Jersey City had numerous talented young dancers in need of locally available training options. Inspired by his students’ hard work and interest, and motivated to create opportunities for local youth. Mr. Pott began to lay the groundwork for establishing a school of dance. In 2010. Nimbus established an office and studio location at the Barrow Mansion, shifting company rehearsals to this location and beginning to offer regular dance classes. Jersey City Nutcracker, Nimbus’ full-length, re-envisioned version of the holiday classic, incorporates the city’s rich history and diversity into its storytelling premiered in 2011.

The following year, Nimbus was profiled in The New York Times as a rising company intent on representing its hometown’s scrappy spirit. Responding to the surge of attention, Mr. Pott opened The School of Nimbus in 2012 to provide rigorous yet inspiring dance training to students aged 2-18. Since that time the school has grown to over 300 students. Offering generous need and merit-based scholarships to students to ensure access to quality dance education regardless of their economic circumstances. The school features the Junior Youth Ensemble, Pre-Professional Program, and Nimbus Youth Ensemble. Nimbus’ community engagement initiatives serve over 7000 children annually through in and after school movement-based programs: Dance to Learn and JC Grooves. The School of Nimbus students are regularly accepted into many of the most competitive high school and college programs in the region.

Established in 2015, NimbusPRESENTS. The company has supported the career development of emerging choreographers through the OFFLINE concerts. In its five years of operation, Nimbus has produced over 100 diverse dance-makers. Outstanding figures from the dance field are selected as curators, including Arthur Aviles, Keith Thompson, and Joanne Robinson-Hill, the former Director of Education of The Joyce Theater. Five choreographers have received choreographic commissions and three OFFLINE choreographers have gone on to receive commissions to create new works for Nimbus and Nimbus2.

Presenting diverse voices that speak to Nimbus’ ever expanding audiences-while proving that inclusion does not mean watering down excellence-generating community engagement platforms that celebrate Jersey City’s rich heritage and creating pathways to dance in underrepresented communities, are Nimbus’ operating guidelines. The Company has received numerous accolades for this vision, including being hailed by The Huffington Post as one of 2016’s Best Dance Performances’ and “defining the American experience” by The Star Ledger. Most recently Nimbus was selected as a grantee of DanceNYC’s 2020 Dance Advancement Fund for its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. These tenets are not only reflected in Nimbus’ programming and educational work. but in its operations as well with a leadership team that comes from all over the world of dance and from numerous cultural

backgrounds. This diversity is also reflected by the wide range of choreographers who have contributed to the 30 ballets in Nimbus’ repertory. Nimbus Dance tours throughout the Tri-State area and nationally, impacting over 16.000 audience members each year. After moving into and outgrowing 3 subsequent locations in Downtown Jersey City, Nimbus begins an exciting new chapter with the grand opening in September 2020 of its permanent home: the Nimbus Arts Center at The Lively, located in Jersey City’s Powerhouse Arts District.