Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 12:00 PM
It's all too easy in dance to specialize, to dwell on one form at the expense of all others.
But at Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, dabbling in other arenas isn't just permitted. It's encouraged as a means of gaining talent, experience and perspective.
Hence the many company biographies that include not only degrees from world-class dance schools but also appearances on hit TV programs and work alongside the likes of Beyoncé.
"Most people more › feel like they have to do one or the other," said Cedar Lake dancer Ebony Williams, noting the divide between commercial and artistic pursuits. "But it's possible to do both, in a little bit of a potluck."
Williams is living proof of that claim. An eight-year member of Cedar Lake, the cutting-edge, New York-based troupe heading to PlayhouseSquare this week on the DanceCleveland series, she's also one of Beyoncé's "single ladies" and a dancer with pop stars Rihanna, Ciara and Fergie.
But while her days are long and calendar packed, Williams said she loves the contrast. That's why she joined Cedar Lake, in fact, a company that prides itself on choreographic diversity: to be several dancers in one.
She saw eclectic programs like the one headed here – featuring works by Jiri Kylian, Crystal Pite and Andonis Foniadakis – and chose Cedar Lake without reservation over the more famous Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and Cirque du Soleil.
"I go from classical [ballet] to modern [dance], and the next minute I'm with Beyoncé," Williams said. "It challenges me to be schizophrenic, to think on my feet. It helps me grow. I'm known to a wider audience, and I'm not just dancing for dancers."
More widely known still may be Williams' Cedar Lake colleague, Billy Bell. Before joining the company in 2012, he rose to the top five and toured the country with the popular TV show "So You Think You Can Dance." He's also appeared in music videos and launched a collective for aspiring dancers.
Specialization isn't what got him so far. Rather, Bell said he had to be the ultimate chameleon, to be interested in all forms of dance and view every opportunity as a learning experience.
"I just approached all of it as movement," Bell said, recalling his days on TV. "I just kind of mimicked the choreographer."
It's a lesson he still applies at Cedar Lake, the company he sought out post-graduation after witnessing a performance at his Florida high school that opened his eyes to the artistic possibilities of dance.
What's more, it's a lesson he actively tries to teach others at the master-classes he leads when the company tours, and will present here Jan. 24 and 25. Being open-minded and dancing outside the box aren't just fun. They're practically required.
"You can always pick something up," Bell noted. "I find it inspiring. It gives you a different perspective. I think the two worlds really do complement each other."
Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer
RELATED COMPANY: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 12:00 PM
Temperatures have become milder but guests are still invited to "Drive the Cold Winter Away" in a program of ballads from Old England by Apollo's Fire, beginning Wednesday at First United Methodist Church in Akron.
The program, to be held at 7:30 p.m. at 263 E. Mill St., will feature Grammy Award-winning lutenist Ronn McFarlane and soprano Meredith Hall. They will perform haunting laments of John Dowland and Henry Purcell, contrasting more › with hilarious ballads.
Apollo's Fire promises a cozy evening, followed by "fireside" chats with the musicians afterward over hot cider and coffee. The concert runs 90 minutes, and will be repeated Jan. 23-24 at Rockefeller's Restaurant in Cleveland Heights, St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Jan. 25 in Cleveland Heights and Rocky River Presbyterian Church in Rocky River on Jan. 26.
Tickets cost $21. Students may attend the Akron performance for free, thanks to the GAR Foundation. For more information, call 216-320-0012 or see www.apollosfire.org.
McFarlane will give a talk one hour before each concert, sponsored by Friends of Apollo's Fire.
Celebration of the Arts
Supporters of the Akron School for the Arts, the Akron Public Schools visual and performing arts program housed at Firestone High School, are invited to the fourth annual "A Celebration of the Arts" at 6 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Akron Civic Theatre. The event, hosted by Friends of the Akron School for the Arts, will include heavy hors d'oeuvres by chef Jeffrey Winer, desserts, cash bar, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and performances and displays by students.
Billy Soule will emcee the event. Friends Board President George Bozeka said the fundraiser comes at an exciting time, as the Akron School for the Arts looks forward to having a separate wing when the new Firestone/Litchfield Community Learning Center opens in 2015/2016.
Proceeds provide scholarships for arts graduates, support visiting artists and master classes, and help purchase classroom equipment. Cost for the event is $50, $80 for couples. To RSVP, send checks, payable to Friends of the Akron School for the Arts, to Friends of the Akron School for the Arts c/o Sally Childs, 861 Hampton Ridge Drive, Akron, OH 44313. Call 330-865-6975 for more information.
Ballet in Cleveland
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will make its Cleveland debut Jan. 25-26 with two performances at the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. The hot New York City-based company, which was founded 10 years ago, will perform Indigo Rose by Jiri Kylian, Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue by Canadian Crystal Pite and Horizons by Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis. The performances will be presented by DANCECleveland.
Shows will be at 8 p.m. Jan. 25 and 3 p.m. Jan. 26. The evening show will contain partial nudity but the matinee will not. Tickets start at $20. Call 216-241-6000 or see www.dancecleveland.org.
Free pre-performance talks will be given at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 25 and 2:15 p.m. Jan. 26. Moderated question-and-answer sessions with the company also will follow each show.
Local dancers interested in master classes with company members may email email@example.com or call 216-991-9000. There's a teen contemporary ballet master class from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at PlayhouseSquare, and a contemporary pre-professional/professional class from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at Cleveland State University's Middough Building. Company member Billy Bell of So You Think You Can Dance TV fame will lead the teen class.
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, January 16th, 2014 12:00 PM
World class dance will grace the Ohio Theatre stage for two performances on January 25 and 26, when the hot New York City-based dance company Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet comes to town, presented by DANCECleveland.
"This groundbreaking contemporary company will be making its Ohio debut," shares Pam Young, DANCECleveland executive director. "This extremely talented dance company works with some of the best and brightest European dance makers whose work is more › rarely seen in the United States."
Cedar Lake has become a premier company in New York thanks to its roster of technically strong dancers, movement styles ranging from ballet to modern to hip-hop, and renowned work by A-list choreographers. The New York Times calls the company "possibly the country's most innovative ballet troupe."
DANCECleveland has wanted to bring the company to Cleveland for nearly four years but their worldwide touring made securing a date impossible -- until now. The three pieces that the company will perform at the Ohio Theatre will showcase an immense range of contemporary movement from three world-renowned dance makers: Jiri Kylian, Crystal Pite and Andonis Foniadakis, and will highlight the talents of this remarkable company of 16 dancers.
Tickets start at $20 for the 8 p.m. Saturday performances and the 3 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets can be purchased online here. Audiences should be cautioned there is partial nudity in the Saturday evening performance, but not in the matinee.
Prior to both performances company members will conduct master classes. Also, a teen contemporary ballet master class for ages 12-18 will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 24 in the Green Rehearsal Hall in PlayhouseSquare, while a pre-professional master class will be held from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on January 25 at Cleveland State University's Middough Building on the fifth floor. Participants are asked to register in advance by calling 216-991-9000.
"The world has fallen in love with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet -- and now it is Cleveland's turn," Young concludes.
Fresh water Cleveland
RELATED COMPANY: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Monday, January 6th, 2014 12:00 PM
A Cleveland Foundation effort aimed at helping local arts organizations find new ways of drumming up business appears to be working, and the foundation is putting more money behind the initiative.
In 2012, the foundation awarded $15,000 grants - risk capital, if you will - to several cash-strapped nonprofits to experiment with audience-engagement efforts they otherwise couldn't have afforded. Now, the foundation is doling out even larger grants to scale more › the initiatives that have shown the most promise.
Last month, the foundation awarded $200,000 to Cleveland Public Theatre and $80,000 to DANCECleveland for their respective projects, and other sizable grants could be on the way.
"All of these non-attenders, if you will, that we're trying to attract haven't seen the arts as something they participate in," said Kathleen Cerveny, the foundation's director of institutional learning and arts initiatives. "We saw that as one of the biggest challenges of the arts going forward."
This year will mark the final phase the foundation's Engaging the Future initiative, which the foundation quietly launched in 2011 as a way to cultivate new audiences in order to keep arts organizations vital for years to come.
The initial phase focused on providing operating support to the 11 organizations involved and workshops designed to help them adapt their business models to the current economic climate. The second phase was focused on providing seed money for the engagement efforts. Now, the foundation is looking to build up some of those projects.
"What's happening at the Cleveland Foundation around Engaging the Future is incredibly rare, and it's visionary," said Raymond Bobgan, Cleveland Public Theatre's executive artistic director. "One of the biggest problems with the arts across the country is the lack of ability to borrow money for innovation and the entrepreneurial side of things. This allows us to the make the kind of investment a for-profit would already be making."
Cleveland Public Theatre's initiative - dubbed Cultural Engagement Continuum - is a training and outreach program for specific cultural communities. The idea is to grow actors from the community who are of the ethnic population represented on stage.
The prototype for the initiative was Teatro Publico de Cleveland, which cultivated actors from Cleveland's Latino community. The first production, "Cuando Cierras Your Eyes," debuted in November to sell-out crowds. The recent grant will let the theater expand the project, allowing for a full production schedule for its 2014-2015 season, which will expand into highlighting other ethnic communities.
"We have to diversify our audience," Mr. Bobgan said. "We know that people come to see a show because they're being represented or they can relate to what's on stage. We're opening up to a whole new audience."
DANCECleveland's project created a 15-member street team of sorts for the local dance company. The team was comprised of dancers, choreographers, teachers and other dance professionals who worked their own personal networks to publicize DANCECleveland's events.
Besides the latest influx of Cleveland Foundation money, the project attracted dollars from the Doris Duke Foundation to help dance companies across the country replicate it.
"Most people don't have a personal relationship with dance," said Pamela Young, DANCECleveland's executive director. "Our own community of dancers, dance educators and choreographers are so dedicated and any information they share more broadly with the community is going to build a new respect for this art form."
TIMOTHY MAGAW, Craine's Cleveland Business
Friday, December 20th, 2013 12:00 PM
Pam Barr Sarah Hrinko
Barr Communications DANCECleveland
"The company has polish, seriously talented dancers,
and a commitment to the 'contemporary' in its name." The New Yorker
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Makes Cleveland Debut
January 25-26 at PlayhouseSquare Presented by DANCECleveland
CLEVELAND (Dec. 12, 2013) – Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, the hot New York City-based dance company that has captured worldwide attention during its short 10-year history, will come to the Ohio Theatre in PlayhouseSquare for more › two performances January 25 and 26, presented by DANCECleveland.
Tickets, starting at $20, for the Saturday evening performance at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. can be purchased at the PlayhouseSquare ticket office, 216-241-6000 or online at www.dancecleveland.org.
Cedar Lake has become a New York City success story with its roster of technically strong dancers, movement styles from ballet and modern to hip-hop, and its formidable repertory of works by A-list choreographers. The New York Times calls the company "possibly the country's most innovative ballet troupe."
Cedar Lake's two performances in Cleveland will feature three dances from its eclectic repertory. "Indigo Rose," created by choreographer Jiri Kylian for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1998 and first performed by Cedar Lake in 2013, is set to a range of music from J.S. Bach to John Cage. "Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue," created for the company by Canadian Crystal Pite, uses musical selections from the original motion picture soundtrack of "Solaris" by Cliff Martinez. "Horizons" by Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis features music by Julian Tarride. Audiences are cautioned that there will be partial nudity in the Saturday evening performance, but not in the matinee.
The engagement will also include a free pre-performance talk in the theatre at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday and at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday. A post-performance moderated Q&A session with members of the company will immediately follow each show.
Several master classes will be conducted by company members prior to the performances. A teen contemporary ballet master class for ages 12-18 will be held on Friday, January 24 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the green rehearsal hall at PlayhouseSquare. It will be conducted by Cedar Lake dancer Billy Bell, known to many for his appearances on television's "So You Think You Can Dance" program. On Saturday, January 25 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., a contemporary pre-professional/professional level master class will be held at Cleveland State University's studios in the Middough Building on the fifth floor. Participants are required to register in advance by emailing email@example.com or by calling 216-991-9000.
ELECTRONIC PHOTOS AVAILABLE FROM PAM BARR AT 216-932-5060 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Dance Cleveland
DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit, is one of a handful of presenters nationally 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.
Funding for this presentation is generously provided by:
FirstMerit Foundation, Nordson Corporation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, The Cleveland Foundation, The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The John P. Murphy Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council.