Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 12:00 PM
Keigwin + Company members Ashley Browne, Matthew Baker and Ryoji Sasamoto dance Larry Keigwin's "Triptych," which will be part of the New York contemporary dance company's program Saturday at Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall.
Ravel's "Bolero" has been haunting the world since 1928, when the French composer's orchestral crescendo was first danced at the Paris Opera. Early in the 21st century, the piece began to haunt Larry Keigwin.
The New York choreographer was more › listening to a recording of "Bolero" when he realized he might capture it in movement with his troupe, Keigwin + Company, and a stageful of guests.
"It's 15 minutes with climaxes at the end," he remembers thinking. "So I thought, 'maybe a large amount of people.' What can compete with that music?"
Keigwin evidently found a good answer. The first result of his explosive exploration was "Bolero NYC," which squeezed 50 performers onto the stage at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C. It soon became a big hit at the Joyce Theatre in New York using the idea of urban pedestrians as the unifying theme.
Since then, Keigwin has tailored his exuberant and whimsical "Bolero" for other cities and regions, devising "Bolero Colorado" (Denver), "Bolero Santa Barbara" and "Bolero Suburbia" (White Plains, N.Y.).
And now comes "Bolero Akron," which the eight dancers of Keigwin + Company and dozens of Akron-area residents will perform Saturday at E.J. Thomas Hall on a program featuring other Keigwin works.
Keigwin, whose dance career has taken him from MTV to the Metropolitan Opera, relishes the chance to get to know and portray various communities through his "Bolero" creations.
"I try and find some hook," Keigwin said during an interview early in the rehearsal period last week in Akron. "The movement vocabulary hopefully is inspired by the location. I try to keep the creative process interesting."
In Colorado, the piece embraced such local themes as sustainability, hiking and climbing. Surf, sun and the solstice – with the cast in bathing suits – were the hooks in Santa Barbara.
The Akron version will include references to tires, roller derbys, inventors and sports, with movement inspired by the rock group Divo and '80s music videos.
At the open audition last week at the University of Akron, 44 people showed up to try out for Keigwin, who was so taken with the enthusiastic group that he invited everyone to take part.
"It's quite a challenge for someone who has absolutely no dance background," said Marci Paolucci, an actress. "But they said no dance experience was necessary."
The participants comprise young people and "six or seven of us who are age 50-plus," said Paolucci.
One of the youngest is an actual dancer, 10-year-old Daniel Birchfield, who studies at the University of Akron's Dance Institute. His mother, Sandra Bolt-Birchfield, is also taking part.
"Larry is working to create a celebration of exactly the kinds of things Daniel and I enjoy about Akron," said Bolt-Birchfield, a registered nurse who minored in dance at Akron U. "So when someone watches this dance they'll recognize all of those wonderful opportunities that have built and made Akron."
Keigwin's describes his "Bolero" endeavors as "orchestrating human traffic. Each group is different." Some of the pieces in the dance puzzle show up in every version, though the choreographer said he makes sure that the distinctive personality of each community comes through.
He expects his next version will be a video, "Bolero 62," which Keigwin plans to set in the pool of a retirement community. It will have hints of Busby Berkeley and Esther Williams films, with aerobics and water balloons providing local color.
"It's endless!" said Keigwin of the "Bolero" possibilities. "Oh, my God – 'Bolero Bollywood,' 'Bolero Luau.' Of course, we're picking places we want to go."
Keigwin, a native of Wading River, Long Island, has been going places through dance since he was 16, when he became a regular on "Club MTV." He freelanced in many companies until he created his own in 2003.
Keigwin + Company, which is admired for energetic and uproarious artistry, spends up to 30 weeks a year rehearsing, performing and teaching. Its appearance in Akron is part of a residency that includes classes at Akron U and a master class in Cleveland.
In addition to "Bolero Akron," the company Saturday will dance four Keigwin works: "Love Songs," a series of duets for three couples set to pop songs; "Air" and "Wind," which portrays the elements to music by Jim Webb and Philip Glass; and "Triptych," an abstract work danced to a score by Jonathan Melville Pratt.
Keigwin calls his dance aesthetic "very athletic, with a theatrical sensibility of wit, style and heart. Sometimes I think choreography is just a process of collecting and editing.
"In my own company, the canvas is very blank. We do what we want to do."
RELATED COMPANY: Keigwin+Company
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 12:00 PM
Rolling tires, throwing them onstage and frolicking among them was the thing of the day for volunteers at Wednesday's rehearsal of Bolero Akron at Guzzetta Hall.
About 50 community volunteers this week have been building the dance that will celebrate Akron's past and present with choreographer Larry Keigwin and members of Keigwin + Company. On Wednesday, a group of 16 rehearsed a section to Ravel's Bolero, standing on top of their more › tires, miming driving race cars while standing inside them and skittering around while holding them at hip level.
Caris Collins, 6, cutely crawled through a tire and later, her mother, Crystle, boogied alone at center stage with a tire around her waist.
It will be 12 days of fun and hard work for the Akron-area volunteers - many of whom have no previous dance experience - before the premiere of the Akron-centric piece at 8 p.m. Oct. 2 at E.J. Thomas Hall.
Expect everything from Soap Box Derby cars to Harley-Davidson motorcycles onstage for this celebration of community.
Keigwin + Company is still actively recruiting volunteers to join a flash-mob
portion of the dance, which will segue into a choreographed bow set to Whip It by Akron's own Devo. All ages are invited, and no dance experience is necessary.
Flash mobbers will rehearse 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday at Guzzetta Hall, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Oct. 1 at E.J. Thomas Hall, and a dress rehearsal from 2 to 5:30 p.m. the day of the performance. For more information, see Bolero Akronon Facebook or send e-mail to BoleroAkron@gmail.com.
The rest of Keigwin + Company will arrive Sunday to conduct a week of dance classes at the University of Akron, plus company rehearsals and ongoing Bolero Akron rehearsals.
For UA dance students Sara Barbuto, Catie Huff and Lianne Zydowicz, serving as student dance captains for Bolero Akron has been a chance to work with a professional New York company. Longtime local actress Marci Paolucci was drawn to working on a dance that's ''all created in the moment.''
''It's E.J. Thomas Hall. When else am I gonna be on the E.J. Thomas stage?'' she asked.
Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 12:00 PM
Auditions for the World Premiere of Bolero Akron!
The electrifying New York City dance company Keigwin + Company to cast world premiere dancework.
Come to an open call audition for the world premiere of Bolero Akron, founder and Artistic Director Larry Keigwin's take on iconic elements of Akron past and present. Set to the well-known score by Ravel, the piece will include 50-75 area residents to celebrate the city in dance more › and theatrical movement. This work will follow in the footsteps of Keigwin's Bolero NYC, which The New York Times praised as "a joyful and breathtakingly clever celebration of the city and its people." Other site-specific Bolero pieces have been set in Denver, Santa Barbara and Connecticut.
No dance experience necessary!
You don't need to be a performer, you just need live in the area and want to move on stage. Rehearsals will take place in the evenings from Tuesday, September 21st through the performance on October 2nd. Flexible and accommodating with schedules. Cast members will each receive two free tickets to the performance, plus discounts for additional tickets.
Auditions will take place on Monday, September 20th from 5:00pm-8:00pm. Please arrive at 5:00pm and dress in comfortable clothes suitable for movement. You should plan to stay for the whole three hours. Auditions will be held in the Albrecht Studio of The University of Akron's Center for Dance and Theatre at Guzzetta Hall, 139 E. Buchtel Ave.
Reservations for the casting call are optional but encouraged.
Call 330-972-7948 or email@example.com for information and to make reservations.
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 12:00 PM
Those who want to be a part of local dance history are invited to help create an Akron-specific dance, Bolero: Akron, with New York choreographer Larry Keigwin, beginning with an open casting call at 5 p.m. Monday at the University of Akron's Guzzetta Hall, 139 E. Buchtel Ave.
No dance experience is required to be a part of creating this world premiere piece reflecting the personality and energy of the Akron more › community. It will be performed as part of the Keigwin + Company performance Oct. 2 at the University of Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall.
Keigwin is seeking 50 to 100 volunteers to take part, and promises to utilize any special talents auditioners may reveal. He visited earlier this summer to brainstorm with community arts and cultural leaders about themes to anchor his Akron piece.
After mulling things over, here's what Keigwin said in an e-mail: ''Community is always an overall theme of Bolero but with Akron I'll also look at themes of campus and career. Tire industry and reinvention.''
Auditioners are asked to dress in comfortable clothes for movement. Reservations are encouraged by calling 330-972-7948 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who participate will be required to commit to 10 rehearsals Sept. 21-Oct. 2, including tech and dress rehearsals.
Cast members will each receive two free tickets to the Keigwin + Company performance Oct. 2. Plus, if past renditions of Bolero in other cities are any indication, they'll forge memories of a lifetime.
Keigwin has created city-specific dances to Ravel's famous composition in New York City; Purchase, N.Y.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Denver. His 2007 commission, Bolero: NYC was described by the New York Times as ''a joyful and breathtakingly clever celebration of the city and its people.''
He's considered a hot young newcomer on the New York dance scene, having founded his company in 2003. Known for his showbiz flair, Keigwin formerly danced on Club MTV and was an associate choreographer for the Radio City Rockettes and the Off-Broadway musical The Wild Party.
Also on the program Oct. 2 is Keigwin + Company's performances of Air and Wind, Love Songs and Triptych, all choreographed by Keigwin.
Keigwin + Company's Akron performance kicks off DanceCleveland's 2010-2011 season and is the third year the Cleveland dance presenter has collaborated with E.J. Thomas Hall and the University of Akron. Also on the DanceCleveland season are:
• Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nov. 6 at Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre, co-presented by Tri-C Presents. Since its beginnings in 1977, Hubbard Street has attracted nationally known choreographers, including Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Margo Sappington, Daniel Ezralow, Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian and Twyla Tharp.
• FLY: Five First Ladies of Dance will perform Dec. 3-4 at Oberlin College, Hall Auditorium Theater. Co-presented with Oberlin College and Conservatory Theater and Dance Program, FLY features performances by influential contemporary dancer/choreographers Germaine Acogny, Carmen de Lavallade, Cleveland native Dianne McIntyre, Bebe Miller and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. In Cleveland, each woman will perform a solo work.
Senegalese and French, Acogny is considered the mother of contemporary African dance. Zollar, who studied in New York with McIntyre, founded Urban Bush Women in 1984. De Lavallade danced with the Metropolitan Opera, American Ballet Theater and New York City Opera before founding PARADIGM with Gus Solomons Jr. McIntyre's accolades include a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography. Miller, who has been making dances for more than 25 years, formed the Bebe Miller Company in 1985.
• Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Jan. 29, 2011, at the Ohio Theatre, co-presented with Tri-C Presents. The men-in-drag ''Trocks,'' who have become an international dance phenomenon since the 1970s, blend a full range of ballet and modern dance styles with a comic approach.
• RIOULT, April 2, at the Ohio Theatre. Founded in 1994, the modern dance company creates and presents the works of Pascal Rioult. Born in France, Rioult is a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. The Cleveland performance will include Rioult's bold interpretation of Ravel's Bolero and Wien, set to Ravel's La Valse.
• Parsons Dance with The East Village Opera Company, June 11 at the Ohio Theatre, co-presented by Opera Cleveland. Remember Me is a mix of contemporary American dance, opera and rock music that combines the athleticism of Parsons Dance with live vocal performance by EVOC in a modern retelling of a classic story of tragic love.
For single tickets or season subscriptions, see http://www.dancecleveland.org or call 216-991-9000.
RELATED COMPANY: Keigwin+Company
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 12:00 PM
Elsa Johnson & Victor Lucas