Monday, April 18th, 2016 12:00 PM
DANCECleveland Announces 2016-17 Season of Dance Featuring Five World-Renowned Dance Companies From Iconic to Innovative
CLEVELAND (April 12, 2016) –Northeast Ohio's premiere dance presenter, DANCECleveland, will launch its 2016-2017 season of dance beginning October in Akron and continue its season in the newly renovated Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square. With dance companies ranging from iconic to innovative, the season will celebrate the creative spirit of widespread cultures, embrace the story-telling abilities of dance and bring energized cutting edge artistry to Northeast Ohio stages again for more ›
its 61st season of world class dance.
The season will include the legendary Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, which opens the season with a Sunday matinee performance at 3 p.m. on October 9 at The University of Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall. Then on Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m., one of the hottest new dance companies in America, Los Angeles-based BODYTRAFFIC, will come to the Ohio Theatre in Playhouse Square. Amazing audiences with their contemporary approach to ballet, the iconic Dance Theatre of Harlem, will make their DANCECleveland debut with two performances Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The beautiful artistry of Jessica Lang Dance will return to the Ohio Theatre with her newest works at 7:30 p.m. on March 4, 2017. Concluding the season with a magical tale of Cinderella like you've never seen it before, Ballet Biarritz from France will astonish audiences with their hilarious and remarkably creative rendition of the tale with two performances; April 1 at 7:30 p.m. and April 2, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
Pam Young, Executive Director of DANCECleveland, shares that for the upcoming season the idea of storytelling became a central theme.
"Dance is a language that can be understood across cultures and races, across continents and time periods. This season we are bringing together a series of performances that include amazing dance makers that share their artistry through the lens of story-telling. As we finish DANCECleveland's 60th Anniversary, we have been deeply imbedded in our own history and story so it seemed appropriate to flip the page into our 2016-2017 season with the presentation of choreographic storytellers. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane tells the story of his mother-in-law, a young Jewish girl during World War II in Analogy/Dora. Dance Theatre of Harlem will dance a new piece by Cleveland native and esteemed choreographer Diane McIntyre who shares both history and strength of women of color. Jessica Lang will share the story she created with War Veterans in her moving work, Thousand Yard Stare and Ballet Biarritz will tell the timeless tale of Cinderella with a modern twist. Putting together each season is a bit like writing a book, and we can't wait to share DANCECleveland's next chapter with northeast Ohio."
Recognized as a leader and innovator of modern dance, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company has performed throughout the world with a wide array of exquisite and powerful repertory. Winner of two Tony Awards and recipient of a MacArthur "genius" Award, Jones has continually expanded the possibilities of dance. The Company has received numerous awards, including New York Dance and Performance Awards ("Bessie") for Chapel/Chapter at Harlem Stage (2006), The Table Project (2001), D-Man in the Waters (1989 and 2001), musical scoring and costume design for Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land (1990) and for the groundbreaking Joyce Theater season (1986). The Company was nominated for the 1999 Laurence Olivier Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Dance and Best New Dance Production" for We Set Out Early... Visibility was Poor. The Akron performance at E. J. Thomas Hall will include Analogy/ Dora, a remarkable work that blends theater and dance together on the subject of a Holocaust survivor and her family. Featuring live music, spoken word and raw emotion, the performance is a special tribute to Jones' mother-in-law, Dora, who inspired the work through her memories of life as a young Jewish girl during World War II. Company member and dancer, Antonio Brown, who is a graduate of The Cleveland School of the Arts will be returning to his home state to perform the work with the company of nine dancers. Both illustrative yet abstract in movement, the story of Dora will make for an unforgettable afternoon in Akron. Seating for this show will be on the floor level only for a more intimate experience.
"Like a dream, people and words come into focus and blur out; history becomes a deep well of associations." – Anna Reguero, Rochester Arts
Founded in 2007 by two influential women, Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berrett, BODYTRAFFIC is helping to establish Los Angeles as a major center for contemporary dance. Deemed "the company of the future" by The Joyce Theater Foundation, and listed as one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch in 2013, BODYTRAFFIC is making waves from coast to coast with its universal appeal to new audience members and dance lovers alike. BODYTRAFFIC has performed for sold-out audiences at prestigious theaters and festivals throughout North America, including Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, New York City Center's Fall for Dance, Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver, Laguna Dance Festival, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, and World Music/CRASHarts in Boston. Gaining international recognition for its works by choreographers, including Kyle Abraham, Sidra Bell, Alex Ketley, Hofesh Schecther and among others, BODYTRAFFIC will perform an evening of mixed repertoire from the hottest choreographers today. Additionally, in 2013 choreographer Loni Landon was awarded a Choreography Fellowship with BODYTRAFFIC from the Princess Grace Foundation. The versatile and technically gifted dancers of BODYTRAFFIC will provide a contemporary performance that will bring the west coast style of L.A. to Cleveland!
"It's not everyday that, even before a company finished the first piece, I think: 'And now I have a new company to love.'" -Susan Broili, The Herald Sun
Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered "one of ballet's most exciting undertakings" (The New York Times, 1971). Shortly after the assassination of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children in Harlem, the community in which he was born, the opportunity to learn about dance. Now in its fourth decade and headed by Virginia Johnson, Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multi-cultural dance company that has achieved unprecedented success, bringing innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression to audiences in New York City, across the country and around the world. Known for thrilling performances that challenge preconceived notions, Dance Theatre of Harlem performs an eclectic repertoire including treasured classics, neo-classical works by George Balanchine and resident choreographer Robert Garland, as well as cutting edge contemporary works. The January performances in Cleveland, co-presented with Cuyahoga Community College, will include several works including a new piece by Cleveland native and renowned modern dance choreographer, Dianne McIntyre that will carry a message of empowerment and beauty through the movement of contemporary ballet that can be enjoyed by audience members of all ages!
"One thing that Dance Theater of Harlem seems to understand is how to please its public. At City Center on Friday, as the troupe presented the second program of a four-show return to a theater that had long been its home, a receptive audience expressed its approval enthusiastically and with increasing intensity through each of the four works." -Brian Seibert, The New York Times
Jessica Lang Dance (JLD) will return to Cleveland after a standing ovation and rave reviews in Cleveland in 2014! The New York City based dance company, under the direction and vision of Jessica Lang, is dedicated to the creation, production and performance of dance works including choreography associated with music, opera and mixed media compositions. Often working together with mixed media artists, videographers, architects and musicians, Jessica Lang Dance embodies what it means to collaborate across art forms to create stunning contemporary dance works. Since its inception in 2011, JLD has garnered significant attention and acclaim, performing at The Joyce Theater Foundation's 9/11 commemorative event, New York City Center's Fall for Dance Festival, New York's Fashion Week and University of Richmond's Modlin Center for the Arts. JLD made its full company debut in July 2012 at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival's 80th Anniversary Season. The company recently expanded and opened a new dance center in Long Island in September 2016. The March performance will include several works including Thousand Yard Stare, a piece that debuted in 2016 set to Ludwig van Beethoven's late string quartet. Ms. Lang met, listened to and worked with veterans in order to create this deeply meaningful work. With continued growth and drawing "encores" from around the world, Jessica Lang Dance has become a leader in contemporary dance.
"One admirable aspect of Jessica Lang Dance's program is her awareness of space and her interest in altering it through scenery, costumes, and props. She doesn't use these as decoration or mood enhancers but as elements that shape the choreography." – Deborah Jowitt, Arts Journal
Ballet Biarritz cannot be discussed without focusing on Thierry Malandain, its founder, leader and, by all accounts, heart. Thierry Malandain has crafted numerous works for the French dance company that blends classic ballet and contemporary dance along with completely original works in perfect harmony. Using iconic stories, such as Romeo and Juliet, Malandain puts his own special mark on the story through his remarkable choreographic eye, quirky humor and imaginative mind. Co-presented with Playhouse Square, the spring performance of "Cinderella" includes dancing mannequins, hilarious step-sisters, and superb contemporary ballet dancers to produce the fairytale of Cinderella like you've never seen before. It is sure to close DANCECleveland's 2016-2017 series with a blockbuster performance!
"Wonderfully danced, with magnificent sensuality and exhilarating accelerations, Malandain's Cendrillon is a true success." -Chateau de Versailles Spectacle
SUBSCRIPTIONS: Season subscriptions packages, starting at $128, are now on sale at www.dancecleveland.org. Call 216-991-9000 or visit www.dancecleveland.org to purchase season tickets or request a brochure. Single tickets will go on sale August 15th, 2016.
For more information on the dance companies, visit:
For more information on DANCECleveland's presenting partners, visit:
ELECTRONIC PHOTOS AVAILABLE FROM SARAH HRICKO AT 216-991-9000 OR EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit, is one of a handful of presenters in the nation that is dedicated solely to the presentation of modern and contemporary dance. 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.
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.
Friday, April 1st, 2016 12:00 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Everything you know (or think you know) about tap dancing is about to be invalidated.
Whatever stereotype, whatever past experience, whatever old image of tap you're cradling in your mind: Dorrance Dance, the latest offering on the 60th anniversary season of DanceCleveland, is certain to dash it.
Tap, proclaimed company namesake Michelle Dorrance, is not only America's oldest original dance form. It's also, she added, "so misunderstood.
"People have no more › idea. It has such a dynamic range. Anything is possible. Any stylistic form can be a part of tap."
Even the way Dorrance talks about tap is different. Where others speak of steps and choreography, Dorrance, by phone from the troupe's New York home, frames tap as a kind of music, referring to her feet as instruments.
Steeped in dance practically from birth, the North Carolina native and former New York "Stomp" cast member said she gravitated to tap and went on to found her own company in 2011 because tap aligns with her innate senses of rhythm and melody. Never mind that tap is unusually hard on the body, especially the feet and ankles, or that longevity hinges on being "obsessed" with "maintenance."
"I think that's why I excelled in it," Dorrance said. "I fell in love with it as a musical dancer. There's so much to explore with our two feet and bodies. There are always ways to innovate."
Evidence of that truth will be front and center at Cleveland Public Theatre, where Dorrance Dance will appear April 7-9 as a first-time co-presentation by DanceCleveland and DanceWorks 2016.
Whether or not the company performs its latest, still-in-the-works creations remains to be seen, Dorrance said. At a minimum, though, she said, the troupe will present two works from its touring rep: "SOUNDspace" and "Myelination."
The former, a long work calling for the full touring company, explores that very notion of tap as music. With help from at least one live musician, the troupe will combine various shoes and surfaces and tinker with the elements of music to create a work as that's both composition and dance.
The other, "Myelination," is both shorter and more theatrical, Dorrance said. Employing the full complement of musicians traveling with the troupe, the piece expands on the tap-as-music idea but also unveils tap's rich emotional and humorous dimensions. One prominent review of "Myelination" said the piece "showcases a bit of everything" and "pushes the boundaries of tap."
What makes tap uniquely American, Dorrance said, is its individual nature. Every performer has his own style, and improvisation plays a central role.
But it isn't just the dancers who exemplify individuality. The audience does, too, at least in Dorrance's case.
"Everybody has their own favorite parts of the show," Dorrance said. "I love it."
Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer
RELATED COMPANY: Dorrance Dance
Friday, April 1st, 2016 12:00 PM
In the world of dance, tap has long been treated as the bastard stepchild. Someone looking to not only correct what she feels is an injustice but also redefine the style for future generations is Michelle Dorrance.
The New York City-based tap dancer, performer, choreographer, teacher and director brings her Bessie Award-winning company, Dorrance Dance, through Northeast Ohio for performances as part of DanceWorks '16. DANCECleveland, in collaboration with Cleveland Public more › Theatre, presents Dorrance Dance April 7 through 9 at Gordon Square Theatre.
"Dorrance Dance is basically a tap dance company, but a lot of my dancers do multiform dance," said Dorrance, calling from outside of New York City. "There's a great tap community in Cleveland but we are interested in bringing a much deeper and more dynamic respect for the art form to the entire country.
"It's the first American art form. There's a much larger agenda outside of just choreography and composition. What I love about tap is it's both music and movement at the same time. I think one of the reasons we're really excited is because we get to connect with audiences surrounding our passion for the form."
While tap dance is one of the first styles performers are introduced to as young children, this wasn't always the case. Dorrance said a bias towards tap is tied to derogatory racial stereotypes from a century ago involving African-American and Irish immigrant street performers.
"Eventually, Vaudeville and movies showed tap, but people saw it as just entertainment and not necessarily artful," Dorrance said. "That's another thing we aim to deconstruct."
For most folks, tap dance begins and ends with Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines. Dorrance offers perspective on their importance to the medium.
"Sammy (was) truly an incredible tap dancer and Gregory (was) a revolutionary," said Dorrance, who was recently named a MacArthur Fellow and was a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award. "People don't realize Gregory revolutionized the rhythmic sensibility. He was the first one to bring in funk. He was a funk drummer in a band at some point, but he really changed the way we dance. He's the reason why we dance the way we dance now."
Dorrance Dance doesn't shy away from presenting a new tap aesthetic, which draws on street, club and experimental dance forms, as well as a variety of music. The visionary's love of tap began as a child. Mentored by Gene Medler, she grew up performing with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble while studying dance at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill.
As far as audience members attending the upcoming Dorrance Dance performance, the choreographer promises they will leave feeling wowed.
"You can look forward to some bad-ass improvisation," Dorrance said. "One thing I value when it comes to choreography is tap-dance improvisation. That's the crux of creation. Every single one of my dancers improvises at least a little bit in the show, and I like to feature some of the more creative improvisational dancers.
"That's something I love. Seeing that improvisation juxtaposed with choreography is also something audiences never get to see. There's also exciting rhythmic composition. I love tap dance as dance, but I also love it as music. We hope audiences leave a show saying, 'Oh my God, it's music.'"
When: 8 p.m. April 7 through 9.
Where: Gordon Square Theatre, located at 6415 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland.
Tickets: $12 to $30.
Info: 216-631-2727, ext. 501 or cptonline.org.
John Benson, The News Herald
Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 12:00 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio – If dance should be dazzling and entertaining, then the performance last weekend by Malpaso: A Cuban Dance Project was a home run, another success on the 60th anniversary season of DanceCleveland.
If, however, dance should also nourish or impart some meaning, then the evening, the first Cuban act in DanceCleveland history and the launch of a US tour, came up a bit short.
This was the fundamental tension Saturday more › night in the Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square: relishing Malpaso's physicality and dynamic energy while also feeling strangely unsatisfied, yearning for greater substance.
"Ocaso," the opening work, came closest to covering all bases. Emotionally touching, visually captivating, and intriguing choreographically, the duet by artistic director Osnel Delgado Wambrug was the lone complete package.
Circular patterns predominated. In addition to a broad cycle of unison and solo movements, breaking apart only to end up embracing or back arm-in-arm, Wambrug and dancer Beatriz Garcia Diaz also traced smaller circles in the form of lyrical, looping motions and fluid, interlocking arms, all the while modeling intensity and elegance.
Rarely has a dance couple behaved so realistically. Performing to minimalist string music on a bare stage, the pair embodied the intimate give-and-take that is the essence of every relationship.
Such conclusions are harder to draw from "Por Que Sigues" ("Why You Follow") and "24 Hours and a Dog," the other two pieces on the program. Though much longer, and inviting in their ways, they amounted primarily to dances for the sake of dancing.
That's not such a bad thing, of course. "Why You Follow," a four-scene work by Ronald K. Brown, of Evidence fame, was plenty engaging, if a bit homogeneous, set to rhythmic dance-club music and stocked with wave upon wave of movement recalling African tribal dances. If the title of the work were a question, the answer by Malpaso Saturday would have been simple: because it's fun, and who they are.
"24 Hours and a Dog," a collaborative creation, had the added benefits of live music and a storyline. Thus, even when the work overstayed its welcome, one had the basic gist of a day in the life of a Cuban dancer and the vibrant, brassy wailing of Arturo O'Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble to fall back on.
The structure may have been hard to follow, but the spectacle was a delight. Through an enormous variety of movement alternately literal and abstract, somber and playful, rigid and fluid, the picture emerged of a profession defined by extremes.
In "24 Hours," the limitations of life in Cuba and the tedium of exercise and rehearsal contrasted sharply with the highs of performance and the perks of dance company membership. Often, the dancers seemed mostly to be reveling in their own highly-developed physical abilities and celebrating Malpaso's expanding freedoms as a troupe. As a work of art, "24 Hours" wasn't deep, but as a dance, it was a joy.
Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer
RELATED COMPANY: Malpaso: A Cuban Dance Project
Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 12:00 PM
We've seen just about every Cleveland performance of Momix, Pilobolus and (remember them?) ISO. These troupes of dance-illusionists have much in common with Cirque du Soleil, and dance critics are often dismissive. So, when we read reviews of Momix's latest production, Alchemia, we weren't surprised that two out of three were negative.
But, like every other Momix/Pilobolus/ISO performance we've attended, Clevelanders turned out and approved. The Connor Palace was packed with more › over 2,000 people on Saturday night, more than twice the audience of any other DanceCleveland presentation in recent memory.
"We love Momix! Yes we do!" enthused DanceCleveland's Pam Young in her curtain speech. "Whoo!" cried the audience right back.
And neither the general audience nor your two faithful dance critics were disappointed by what followed. Alchemia has a thematic through line – something about Fire and Water, Lead and Gold - but you really don't need to pay attention to that.
Like every other show by Momix, Alchemia is 21st Century vaudeville, one spectacular vignette after another arranged in ascending order of magnitude, each vignette built around a prop or a special effect.
The first and weakest half of the program was most vulnerable to the usual criticism of Momix, that each prop or special effect is exploited, exhausted and discarded to no lasting effect. In the first vignette, the columns the dancers danced around became pipes they manipulated; they rolled them like logs, blew into them like alpenhorns, and used them to corral one of their number. Then the pipes are gone and two men variously run with and lift a woman across the stage. They are joined by a second trio and then … A thunderclap and a flying red apparition appears. What is that? How do they do that? Then we recognize that it's a large piece of cloth, brilliantly lit and jerked about by thin sticks held by the dancers like Balinese puppeteers.
And so it goes throughout the first half of Alchemia. Dancing is incidental to props and effects. We're entertained but disappointed that this very capable group of dancers doesn't get more of a chance to do what they probably do very well, dance.
The second half of Alchemia presents the black-lit dancers running in place and undulating. They're apparently supported by frames rendered invisible in the black light. Just another prop, perhaps, but entertaining long after the mystification fades. Then we see one and later two women flown by wires. Flips, spins, and travels put other theatrical flying to shame. Yes, we see how it's done, but it's done very well indeed.
Then there's another black light number, a woman surrounded by mysteriously floating balls. The dancers manipulating the balls are almost entirely invisible. Then tinkling keyboards and three triptychs of mirrors; many women dance in front of the mirrors, pacing and flipping their hair – oh, wait, it's only three women and a multitude of reflections.
Too soon the main curtain lowers and the final projection, "Fin." Applause. People start to hurry back to the 'burbs. But there's more. The curtain goes up on a pair of large metallic "U" shapes. Dancers variously rock and position the props while other dancers support themselves inside them. Wow! That tops everything.
With video design attributed to Woodrow F. Dick III and artistic direction from 67 year-old Moses Pendleton, Momix has done it again. Gimmicky, yes. Too little actual dancing, true. But oh so entertaining and we'll be back next time.
DanceCleveland has more in store. Malpaso: a Cuban Dance Project at the Ohio Theatre on 2/27. Dorrance Dance 4/7-4/9 at Cleveland Public Theater. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 4/29-5/1 at the State Theatre. Get tickets and learn more here.
[Written by Elsa Johnson and Victor Lucas]
Victor Lucas & Elsa Johnson, Cool Cleveland
RELATED COMPANY: Momix