Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 12:00 PM
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – We should all look so good at 60 as DanceCleveland did Saturday night at Cain Park.
Kicking off its diamond jubilee season a bit earlier than usual with a series of events in honor of National Dance Day, including a pre-concert dance sequence open to the public, the esteemed series evinced all the vitality and joie de vivre of a freshly minted startup.
And yet it also displayed more › great wisdom and good sense. In selecting Parsons Dance, one of its most popular guests, for the occasion, DanceCleveland virtually guaranteed, and indeed provided, a fun, rewarding experience on its first show at Cain Park in 10 years.
Fun, in fact, was how the night opened and closed. With the new "Whirlaway" and 1990's "Nascimento," two bright, spirited works by Parsons, the eight-member company welcomed and sent home its fans in a festive mood.
A crisp setting of New Orleans-style R&B, "Whirlaway" lived up to its name with flowing, rhythmically precise dance laced with twirls and spins of every sort. Attitude and energy were as abundant as the pastel colors in the costumes.
The backdrop to "Nascimento," meanwhile, was the lively music of Brazilian singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento. No less colorful than its predecessor, this early work delighted the eyes with unison or tightly symmetrical moves and a host of frolicsome, devil-may-care exchanges. A stately exploration of arm gestures in the middle provided thoughtful respite.
Shorter but weightier were two works by well-known choreographers other than Parsons: Trey McIntyre's "Hymn" and "Train" by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater director Robert Battle.
Stunning in its cool intricacy, the former entailed movement for dancers Ian Spring and Omar Roman De Jesus that was breathtakingly close but not exactly intimate. "Train," by contrast, was anything but cool, a wild, ritualistic tirade full of floor work set to fierce, relentless drumming. If that vehicle had a destination, it was ecstasy.
But if there was one piece in which music and dance melded perfectly, it was Parsons' "Kind of Blue." There, loose but highly intentional choreography for four black-clad dancers dovetailed seamlessly with Miles Davis' "So What?," and even conveyed some of the music's improvisational aura. Like DanceCleveland itself, the artists saw free space, and filled it beautifully.
Parsons Dance Audience Participation
in celebration of National Dance Day, the audience at Parsons Dance Saturday at Cain Park prepared and performed a routine in hopes of being televised on "So You Think You Can Dance."
The Plain Dealer, Zachary Lewis
RELATED COMPANY: Parsons Dance
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 12:00 PM
DANCECleveland and Cain Park Co-Sponsor World Renowned David Parsons Dance to Celebrate The National Day of Dance on July 25
CLEVELAND (June 23, 2015) – Exceptional musicality, precise movement and finesse, New York City- based David Parsons Dance will kick off DANCECleveland's 60th Anniversary Season with dancing that the whole family can enjoy. The summer performance, co –sponsored by DANCECleveland and Cain Park will take place at Cain Park's Evans Amphitheater, owned and operated by the City of Cleveland Heights, July 25 at 8 p.m. The beloved David more ›
Parsons Dance performance will also be surrounded by various events before and after the performance for audience members to take part in including picnic options, wine tastings, free ballroom and line dance classes, and the chance to see local dance students perform "The National Day of Dance Routine" before the show.
A favorite of Northeast Ohio, and known throughout the world since 1985 as a family-friendly uplifting dance company, Parsons Dance will perform a variety of contemporary dances with stunning dancers and effortless movement. Named "one of the great movers of modern dance" by The New York Times, the company will bring top quality dance to the stage. Parsons Dance is best known for their large repertory of works by Artistic Director David Parsons, as well as commissions by well-known and emerging choreographers. The company has performed in more than 350 cities, 30 countries and 5 continents at some of the most well-known theaters and festivals worldwide, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Maison de la Danse, Teatro La Fenice and Teatro Muncipal. From 1978-1987, David Parsons was a lead dancer with Paul Taylor Dance Company and has gone on to enjoy a remarkable career as a choreographer, teacher, director, and producer of dance that continues today.
To celebrate The National Day of Dance, the performance will be surrounded by events for dancers and non-dancers alike to take part in. Advanced dancers over 16 years of age can participate in a free dance master class in the morning with David Parsons himself at 11 a.m. on the Evans Amphitheater stage. RSVP is required by emailing email@example.com. Limited space is available.
Dance lovers of all ages can arrive early at Cain Park to enjoy free beginner ballroom and popular line dance "classes" in the Colonnade, with music and more. Audience members over 21 can also take part in a wine tasting at 6:30pm hosted by Cain Park and The Wine Spot. Wine tasting tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advanced at www.cainpark.com or in person at the Cain Park Ticket Office. Concession options are also available for those who wish to bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic during the summer performance from the lawn seats. Visit www.cainpark.com for boxed dinner and concession information.
Making the day even more of a celebration, dancers from beginner to advanced are encouraged to learn the National Day of Day of Dance official 2015 routine and arrive early to "perform" together on stage alongside Parsons Dance dancers. Started in 2010 by "So You Think You Can Dance" co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe, The National Day of Dance is an annual celebration that encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and fight obesity. Those interested should learn the routine in advanced by watching it online at www.dizzyfeetfoundation.org or on DANCECleveland's facebook page. The updated choreography video will be released in late June and features different versions so that dancers of all abilities can take part in the fun. Then, on the day of the performance, participants should arrive at 7pm. to perform it with others on stage and be videotaped as a group. DANCECleveland will send the recording to The Dizzy feet Foundation for a chance for the tape to be shown on televisions' popular show So You Think You Can Dance!
A 60th birthday party for DANCECleveland, a national celebration of dance and a return to Cain Park after a ten year hiatus with a phenomenal summer dance performance, the day will mark an event not to be missed!
TICKETS: Performance tickets range from $20- $25 and are now on sale at www.dancecleveland.org, or call 216-371-3000. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Cain Park Ticket Office, or by visiting www.cainpark.com. Discounts for groups of five or more are also available by calling DANCECleveland at 216-991-9000.
For more information on the David Parsons Dance, visit:
www.parsonsdance.org and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJIoArCB5g4
For more information on Cain Park, visit:
ELECTRONIC PHOTOS AVAILABLE FROM SARAH HRICKO AT 216-991-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit, is one of a handful of presenters nationally that is dedicated solely to the presentation of modern and contemporary dance. Started by visionary heights area women in 1956, DANCECleveland, originally known as Cleveland Modern Dance Association, has grown into one of the oldest dance-only presenters in the United States. The centerpiece of the organization's programming is its annual performance series. The performances are surrounded by an array of educational outreach events including artist-run master classes, residency programs, student matinees, pre-performance lectures and post-performance Q&A sessions, designed both to break artistic boundaries and provide community access to the dance aesthetic and dance luminaries that DANCECleveland brings to Northeast Ohio. For more info, visit www.dancecleveland.org.
Cain Park is a summer performing art park owned and operated by the City of Cleveland Heights. No ordinary City park, Cain Park begins where most leave off: an outdoor, intimate, covered theater similar to a mid-sized off-Broadway space (Alma Theater); an outdoor covered amphitheater (Evans Amphitheater); an air-conditioned art gallery (Audrey & Harvey Feinberg Art Gallery), and outstanding programming that includes professional theatrical productions, a nationally recognized Arts Festival, cabaret series, professional dance companies, children's programming, and concerts featuring national, regional, and local performers. For more information on Cain Park, visit: www.cainpark.com.
DANCECleveland is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
The Ohio Arts Council helped fund DANCECleveland with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
Monday, May 18th, 2015 12:00 PM
National Center for Choreography to Launch in Akron $5 million investment to attract world's finest dance makers
AKRON, Ohio (May 14, 2015) – The University of Akron and DANCECleveland announced today that they will launch a new organization; The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron. This center for choreography – only the second in the nation – is where the country's finest dance professionals will create new work. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will provide $5 million to support the more ›
center, under an agreement being finalized.
"The next generation of great American choreographers needs space and time to develop the craft and to explore the full potential of the creative process," said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. "The new National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron will fill that need, building on the resources of northeast Ohio to create the works that inspire tomorrow's audiences."
The new center, to be located on the university's campus, will select national choreographers and dance companies through a rigorous curated process, providing them full access to the world-class facilities of the university's Center for Dance and Theatre. The advanced technology available in seven dance studios and in E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall will provide dance makers with a full array of resources, from studio space to on-stage rehearsal time to create new work. In addition, University of Akron students will benefit from the presence of professional artists on campus through creative and intellectual exchange.
The center builds on the success of the University of Akron and DANCECleveland's long-standing partnership, which offers one of the strongest dance residency and performance programs in the country. Since 2006, they have provided extended campus and community access to acclaimed professionals and companies, including BalletX, Paul Taylor Dance Company, LINES Ballet, MOMIX and others.
"Dance makers in the United States are sorely underserved and lacking in resources," said Pamela Young, executive director of DANCECleveland. "If dance is to thrive, it's essential to have residency spaces coupled with a full range of support for choreographers. We first envisioned northeast Ohio with its enormous cultural, research and physical space resources, and The University of Akron with its state of the art dance studios, as having the potential to fill this gap. It is thrilling to see this vision take shape and help answer a critical need in the dance ecosystem."
"Our resident artists will be able to tap into a wealth of resources not only at The University of Akron, but also region wide to support the creation of new dance works," Young said.
This effort follows the recommendations of a Knight-funded Blue Ribbon Panel, and a subsequent feasibility study both led by DANCECleveland that addressed an industry-wide challenge: Where and how will the dances of tomorrow be developed? With significant input from the northeast Ohio community, The University of Akron and DANCECleveland have agreed to a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a center that seeks to strengthen the dance ecosystem of the northeast Ohio region and the nation. Knight has agreed to pledge $5 million to support the center once it is created.
UA President Scott L. Scarborough has committed the university to preparing students for the working world through career-focused, experiential learning. The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron complements that vision by providing UA students the opportunity to interact with professional companies and learn first hand about the process of creating dance works.
"The University of Akron is already known around the nation and the world for its excellence in areas including polymer science and engineering," Scarborough said. "With the addition of the choreography center, we will become one of few institutions with a national presence in both the sciences and the arts."
DANCECleveland, now in its 60th year, is one of eight stand-alone, dance-only presenters in the nation. It has presented performances by more than 200 dance companies, conducted more than 1,000 workshops and master classes and produced seven commissioned works.
Monday, May 18th, 2015 12:00 PM
You enter a theater and take your seat. The house lights dim, the curtain goes up and a dance performance by a national touring company begins to unfold. The talented dancers, stunning lighting, exquisite costumes, inspiring music and standing ovation during the final bows create an evening to remember.
Though the beautiful memory will linger, you will likely not think of the struggles that the choreographer overcame to bring the performance more › to the stage.
The fact is choreographers in the United States are sorely underserved and lack the resources to create and rehearse their craft. If dance is to thrive and endure nationally, dance makers need rehearsal time and space, the bodies to move through that space, and community resources to bring their works into the public domain.
Over the past decade of collaboration to offer one of the strongest dance residency and performance programs in the country, DANCECleveland and The University of Akron have discussed the possibility of creating a new national center for choreography to help meet these needs. Knight Foundation asked if we had an idea that could be transformative, and this concept piqued their interest.
Now, with Knight Foundation's $5 million pledge in support, both time and space will be provided to the most creative dance makers around the nation. The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron will engage the rich cultural resources of northeast Ohio. This will be only the second such center in the U.S. – the other is the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University. The nation needs this new center. In France, there are 19.
The new center, which will operate as a stand-alone, non-profit organization, will select national choreographers and dance companies for residencies. Choreographers chosen for residencies will receive stipends and access to the rich academic and creative resources of a comprehensive university including the world-class facilities of the university's Center for Dance and Theatre, and the 3000-seat E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.
Choreographers can also take advantage of the rich cultural climate of northeast Ohio, perhaps using spaces at other colleges and universities in the area and at Cleveland's Playhouse Square, the largest U.S. theater complex outside of New York City. They can tap into the creative energy of the region, engage students in their craft and take the work they accomplish back to cities around the country for performances.
The opportunities for students at The University of Akron are exciting. They will reap the benefits of having prominent choreographers on campus and in the studios. Student choreographers will increase their knowledge of the business side of their craft – understanding how to effectively communicate and work with presenters and venues, creating opportunities for peer review of work in progress and advocating for the presentation of new dances.
While the center is launching, dance making is already underway, with three pilot residencies at The University of Akron already in the works with selected choreographers John Jasperse (New York City); Carrie Hanson/The Seldoms (Chicago); and Camille A. Brown & Dancers (New York City).
The vision is taking shape and talented choreographers are arriving to create those dances that will likely be seen on stages throughout the country in coming years and create lasting memories for audiences far and wide. We look forward to joining in the applause.
Scott L. Scarborough, PhD, President of The University of Akron, and Pamela Young, executive director of DANCECleveland
Friday, May 15th, 2015 12:00 PM
AKRON, Ohio – Akron and Northeast Ohio generally are about to leap to national prominence as a hotbed for dance.
Fast-tracking a plan to turn the region into a generator of new work, the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has given $5 million to establish a national center for choreography at the University of Akron.
The grant, several times larger than expected, moves the project forward rapidly – at more › last reporting, planners were conducting a feasibility study – and sets up Northeast Ohio as only the second area in the nation dedicated to dance creation.
"This is stunning news in the dance world," said project member Pamela Young, executive director of DanceCleveland, recalling that she lost her breath when she heard it. "The whole thing has been a little magical."
Like its predecessor, the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University in Tallahassee, the dance center coming to Akron will not be a physical space so much as a network of facilities and resources.
Choreographers and dance companies, many of whom struggle for studio time, will apply for access and then be granted space in which to create and perform in the school's well-stocked Center for Dance and Theatre. The artists also will paid for their time, and be positioned to seek inspiration and do research all over Northeast Ohio.
"In a lot of ways, the center will be like a matchmaker," said Young, pointing to a recent test of the idea with Camille A. Brown & Dancers. "The whole region can be an incubator. We have all the right stuff. It's all right here."
Two choreographers already have been selected to inaugurate the new center, Young said.
Carrie Hanson, Chicago-based director of The Seldoms, will be the first, in July, and John Jasperse, artistic director of a troupe in New York, will be in residence next April. The former, Young said, plans to do research at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, while the latter will avail himself of videographers at the University of Akron.
Whether or not these artists complete anything while here -- and what becomes of that work -- remains to be seen. Still, the very presence of cutting-edge artists living and working on campus in Akron and the ideas the choreographers will carry away should prove to be worthy ends in themselves, said Neil Sapienza, associate dean of fine arts and humanities at the university.
"[W]e look forward to having many prominent choreographers in our studios, on our campus, on a regular basis, year after year. For our students, having that national presence is just enormous."
The greatest impact, though, is likely to be on the public, on the region as a whole. Some works conceived here, for instance, are bound to appear later on a DanceCleveland program. Others will yield insight on the creative process and thereby serve to advance understanding of the art.
Northeast Ohio, meanwhile, will only step further into the spotlight. Like the best of dance partners, the new center will elevate and hold up the region as a destination for creative souls.
"I think this puts Northeast Ohio squarely in the high beams of national attention for dance," Young said. "The whole system of dance in Northeast Ohio will be the better for it."
The Plain Dealer, Zachary Lewis