Thursday, December 13th, 2018 12:00 PM
DANCECleveland Elects Officers and Adds New Board Member
CLEVELAND (December 13, 2017) ‚Ä" DANCECleveland, northeast Ohio‚Äôs premiere dance presenting organization is excited to announce the 2019 Officers and newly appointed members to the Board of Directors.
The 60-year-old nonprofit organization‚Äôs board officers for 2019 consists of:
John E. Jenkins ‚Ä" President, CPA and Senior Manager at Bober Markey & Fedorovich
Dmitriy Berkovich ‚Ä" Treasurer, Senior Tax Manager at Apple Growth
Andrea Daloia ‚Ä" more › Secretary, Counsel at Thompson & Hine
Joanne Tsevdos ‚Ä" VP, Co-Chair of Programming, Senior Business Systems Analyst at PNC Financial
Jennifer Goings Smith ‚Ä" VP, Co-Chair of Programming, Director of Information Technology at Eaton Corporation
Rena Vysnionis ‚Ä" VP, Chair of Marketing, Director of Marketing at C.C. Hodgson Architectural Group
David Wittkowsky ‚Ä" VP, Chair of Development, Chief Administrative Officer at Planned Parenthood
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‚Äôs 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.
Recently appointed, Manju Gupta, is employed at Ulmer & Berne as counsel where she concentrates her practice on complex business litigation, with a particular focus on federal contracting counseling and dispute resolution. She is a graduate of both Cleveland State University and John Carroll University.
‚ÄúI am delighted to serve on the board of DANCECleveland‚ÄĚ says Gupta, ‚ÄúIt is an organization whose purpose and mission, of bringing world renowned dance companies to Cleveland, truly enriches the city‚Äôs culture and offerings for performing arts.‚ÄĚ
ELECTRONIC PHOTOS AVAILABLE FROM SARAH HRICKO AT 216-991-9000 OR EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 12:00 PM
Playhouse Square‚Äôs Ohio Theatre
November 10-11, 2018
Reviewed by Steve Sucato
Co-presented by DANCECleveland and Cuyahoga Community College, Ballet Hisp√°nico‚Äôs triple-bill of works by Hispanic female choreographers struck all the right chords Saturday, November 10 at Playhouse Square‚Äôs Ohio Theatre.
The New York-based company, last in Cleveland in 2009, showed its versatility and popular appeal beginning with Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa‚Äôs ‚ÄúSombrer√≠simo‚ÄĚ (2013) performed for the first time by an all-female more › cast.
Set to a soundscape that included howling winds, creaking doors and dogs barking along with music by Italian folk group Banda Ionica, Ballet Hisp√°nico‚Äôs sextet of women made the work, usually performed by an all-male cast, their own. In doing so however, they also made it a noticeably different work.
Performed by Ballet Hisp√°nico in nearby Akron at the 2014 Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival with an all-male cast, the women Saturday night essentially danced the same choreography as the men but gone was the machismo and swagger that defined that original version. That was replaced by an alternate beauty and fierceness that the women brought to the piece.
Sporting bowler hats they flipped and tossed about throughout the work, the women were energized and technically clean in performing Ochoa‚Äôs somewhat acrobatic choreography. Evoking surrealist imagery from Belgian artist Ren√© Magritte‚Äôs bowler hat paintings, Ochoa also infused a bit of humor into the work. In one scene, all of the women‚Äôs hats were piled high onto the head of one of the dancers who comically collapsed under their weight while another struggled mightily to drag her prostrate body off stage.
While ‚ÄúSombrer√≠simo‚ÄĚ felt like a different work than the original, the all-female version proved a gratifying opener to a program that celebrated women as dancers and choreographers.
Next, Michelle Manzanales‚Äô ‚ÄúCon Brazos Abiertos‚ÄĚ (2017) also used humor but this time to disguise pain. The Mexican-American choreographer created an entertaining and poignant work about multi-cultural acceptance that was inspired in-part by New York poet Maria Billini-Padilla‚Äôs heartfelt poem Con Brazos Abiertos.
Danced to an eclectic mix of music from Julio Iglesias and a rendition of Radiohead‚Äôs ‚ÄúCreep‚ÄĚ to recorded film dialogue, the work for over a dozen dancers followed a central female figure danced by Melissa Fernandez who, while a part of both Mexican and American cultures, felt like, or was made to feel like an outsider.
Delivered in alternating dance sections that showcased Mexican folkloric themes and contemporary dancing, all was not as it seemed in many of them. For instance, in a festive section with all the dancers donning sombreros, Manzanales had the dancers angle their heads as to appear if the hats were atop headless bodies. This perhaps speaking to a feeling of being anonymous or perhaps playing into the stereotypical insult of members of an ethnic group all looking the same. It was a powerful statement. So too was an audio clip from 1980‚Äôs Cheech and Chong‚Äôs Next Movie of Cheech Marin singing ‚ÄúMexican Americans love education so they go to night school and take Spanish and get a B‚ÄĚ. A self-deprecating bit of humor many in the audience laughed at, but the reference was also twinged with sadness as was Edward James Olmos recorded dialogue from the 1997 movie Selena saying, ‚ÄúWe have to be more Mexican than Mexicans and more American than Americans.‚ÄĚ
With ‚ÄúCon Brazos Abiertos,‚ÄĚ Manzanales walked that fine line between audience-pleasing entertainment and social commentary brilliantly, delivering on both counts.
The program closed with Mexican choreographer Tania P√©rez-Salas‚Äô gem ‚Äú3. Catorce Diecis√©is‚ÄĚ (2017). A reference to ‚ÄúPi‚ÄĚ (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter), the work, in the program notes, is said to reflect on the ‚Äúcircularity of movement through life.‚ÄĚ
Set to music by Vivaldi and other Baroque composers, ‚Äú3. Catorce Diecis√©is‚ÄĚ opened on five men and two women in white dancing stylized contemporary dance movement to harpsichord music. With dark atmospheric lighting and an approach akin to a dance piece one might see by Dutch giants Nederlands Dans Theater, the work had a sophistication and quality to it quite unlike the others on the program.
The visually stunning work also contained more than a few surprises in it like a section where two women in long black dresses (one in front of the other) began a unison dance in which a hidden dancer behind each of them reached around women to instantly tear off their black dresses revealing a red one underneath. The gasp-worthy effect was one highlight in a work chock full of memorable moments including an angelic scene of a trio of women that appeared heaven sent.
Throughout, P√©rez-Salas‚Äô technically rich choreography big on line, had the dancers moving through a variety of turns, jumps and floor work that brought beauty and mystery to the piece that bordered on genius.
Next on DANCECleveland‚Äôs 63rd season is Beijing Dance Theater, Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3 at Playhouse Square‚Äôs Ohio Theatre. For information and tickets visit dancecleveland.org.
Friday, November 2nd, 2018 12:00 PM
Ballet Hispanico was founded in 1970 in New York City by Tina Ramirez, because she saw an artistic gap for people of color, specifically Latino performers.
It's now considered one of the premier Latino dance organizations in the country.
"It seemed servants were the only available roles for people of color," said Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director and CEO of Ballet Hispanico, by phone from New York. "Fifty years down the line, we more › are still struggling. Although it's better," Vilaro said. "This organization has always been an advocate for people of color and the need to have advocacy in our world."
The troupe will dance its way into Cleveland Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 and 11, at Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre. The shows are being co-presented by Cuyahoga Community College and DanceCleveland.
Vilaro, 54, started dancing with the group back in the 1980s under the tutelage of Ramirez. Since 2009, he's led the organization and is the only one to have held that position other than Ramirez.
Ballet Hispanico hasn't rested on its laurels. The troupe has 700 students a year enrolling in its New York City program that nurtures young artists, most of them through scholarships. The program has been expanded to other cities such as Houston and Los Angeles.
Vilaro hopes to expand to more places. "We serve our community by giving access," said Vilaro.
"Since our organization is based in New York, we offer more programs here. We also work with the New York City schools' artistic programs. We teach dance and social appreciation."
Since the dancers in the group are also trained teachers, they often, when on tour, scout out dance workshops and residencies in the community to form partnerships. It's really how things started as a repertory company that spoke about the Latino community, Vilaro said.
It looks as if Northeast Ohio will benefit as well. Dancers will spread throughout the community visiting the dance programs at colleges and universities including Cleveland State University, Kent State University and Cuyahoga Community College on Friday, Nov. 9.
Vilaro promises Playhouse Square audiences will be entertained by music that goes from Latino to classical. That will be accompanied by powerful yet fun performances that look at what all immigrants among us go through.
A lot of the choreography is done by women. Each show includes moderated pre- and post-show talks with performers and producers. The Sunday matinee will also feature family activities before the show.
What: The New York City company has a two-day stand in collaboration with Cuyahoga Community College and DanceCleveland.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10; 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11.
Where: Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland.
Tickets: $25-$45 at playhousesquare.org or by calling 216-241-6000.
Greg Burnett, The Plain Dealer
RELATED COMPANY: Ballet Hispanico
Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 12:00 PM
University of Akron‚Äôs E.J. Thomas Hall
October 6, 2018
Reviewed by Steve Sucato
Having followed Kyle Abraham‚Äôs career since he was a teen in Pittsburgh, his talents and potential as a dancer and choreographer revealed themselves early on. Seemingly in short order, the dance world began taking notice of those talents lauding him with accolades and awards including being named one of Dance Magazine‚Äôs ‚Äú25 to Watch‚ÄĚ in 2009 and becoming the more › youngest recipient of a MacArthur ‚ÄúGenius‚ÄĚ Grant 2013. And while Abraham‚Äôs individual career continues to skyrocket, the trajectory of his namesake New York-based company, Abraham.In.Motion (A.I.M), founded in 2006, has been on a more gradual incline.
For those unfamiliar with A.I.M and Abraham‚Äôs work, their Northeast, Ohio debut at the University of Akron‚Äôs E. J. Thomas Hall this past Saturday, October 6, showed rather emphatically that it the company is primed to run with dance‚Äôs big dogs.
Presented by DANCECleveland in collaboration with The University of Akron‚Äôs Dance Department, A.I.M‚Äôs mixed repertory program began with a company first, a dance work created on them by someone other than Abraham.
Choreographer Andrea Miller‚Äôs lush, atmospheric trio for women, ‚Äústate‚ÄĚ (2018) had the look and feel of a Beyonc√© music video taken to even further artistic extremes.
On a stage barely lit by rear floor lights dancers Kayla Farrish, Catherine Ellis Kirk and Marcella Lewis in silhouette with their backs to the audience, shuffled side to side grooving to Pittsburgh-native Reggie Wilkins‚Äô electronic chill vibe hip hop music.
Miller, the artistic director and vision behind New York‚Äôs Gallim Dance, is best known for her Israeli-style contemporary dance works. In working with the dancers on ‚Äústate,‚ÄĚ Miller acted more as a director/editor taking movement generated by them and assembling it into a brilliantly unexpected piece that wrapped around the dancers like a cozy sweater.
Performed on an earth-tone square of dance floor with the dancers costumed in muted colored tops and shorts with shiny gold painted patches on their knees and fingers, the contemporary dance work infused with African, hip hop, Israeli folk and other dance styles, looked ritualistic at times as well as exalting of the women. Parceled into sections reflecting various states of being both emotionally and attitudinally, the dancers moved mostly in unison throughout the work, rocking, bouncing and swaying in simple-looking yet slick choreography.
Where the work‚Äôs opening section had the trio of women appearing goddess-like, its second section with its sparse and somewhat ugly movement that had the dancers crab-walking and lying on the stage floor in fetal positions had a troubled feel to it.
The work then shifted moods several more times as it progressed with one section showing off the dancers in mini-solos before returning to its infectious opening groove to end the piece.
Keeping with the theme of states of being, Abraham‚Äôs latest solo for himself ‚ÄúINDY‚ÄĚ (2018), at over 20-minutes is perhaps his longest to date. Like avant-garde jazz or the music of bands like the Pixies and Nirvana that abruptly switch from hard to soft passages in the same song, Abraham‚Äôs signature movement style moves abruptly from sinewy smooth, calm phrases to frenetic, hyper-speed riffs that have his arms circling and darting about, hips swiveling and torso twisting in the blink of an eye and back again. In ‚ÄúINDY,‚ÄĚ Abraham came right out of the gate in that full-on frenzy mode, a flurry of hands and arms clearing the air and space around him as if cloud of hovering bees descended on him from above; the activity sending the fringed back of his all black costume into violent motion.
Set to an original score by Cleveland-native and Juilliard faculty member, Jerome Begin and in front of a target-like circular patterned backdrop, Abraham strutted and moved about the stage in various states of confidence. From rounded shoulder, arm-swaying machismo to vogue-like prancing, the schizophrenic solo was a microcosm of Abraham‚Äôs signature movement style. Toward the end of the solo, Abraham slowed the piece to a halt. As an audio recording of his college graduation ceremony played in the background, Abraham stripped off his costume and with it all of those states of confidence. The brief, vulnerable and revealing moment was a reminder of the fragile human beneath the stage fa√ßade. Donning his fringed shirt again, this time with the fringe in the front, Abraham returned to the virtuosic solo this time adding the silent screams and the pleading of someone whose confidence had been replaced by fear and doubt.
While ‚ÄúINDY‚ÄĚ showed off Abraham‚Äôs major talents as a dancer, his new group work for the company, ‚ÄúMeditation: A Silent Prayer‚ÄĚ (2018), revealed a choreographer at the top of his game in craft, theatricality, and having the pulse of the world he lives and works in.
Danced to somber music by Craig Harris with haunting text and voiceover by Carrie Mae Weems, ‚ÄúMeditation: A Silent Prayer‚ÄĚ was a heart-wrenching statement on black lives lost to police violence.
Performed in front of Titus Kaphar‚Äôs masterful yet eerie projected portraits of a trio of layered faces containing images of those being honored in the work, the blurred faces along with Weems‚Äô stark roll call of their names, ages and familial titles including Cleveland‚Äôs own Tamir Rice, put into laser focus the injustice of those lives tragically cut short by police violence.
A gut check on our collective humanity, ‚ÄúMeditation: A Silent Prayer,‚ÄĚ stands as one of Abraham‚Äôs finest works to date.
Switching gears, the final work on the program, Abraham‚Äôs ‚ÄúDrive‚ÄĚ (2017) featured all eight of A.I.M‚Äôs dancers (sans Abraham) in an up-tempo tour de force that Abraham describes as an abstract statement on unity in the face of societal ills.
Set to pulsating electronic hip hop music by Theo Parrish and Mobb Deep, the work with its city traffic lighting effects, was an invigorating non-stop showcase for the dancers who performed it brilliantly and an apt closer for A.I.M‚Äôs stellar program.
Next on DANCECleveland‚Äôs 63rd season is Ballet Hispanico, Saturday, November 10 and Sunday, November 11 at Playhouse Square‚Äôs Ohio Theatre. For information and tickets visit dancecleveland.org.
Steve Sucato is a former dancer turned arts writer/critic. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Dance Critics Association and Associate Editor of ExploreDance.com.
RELATED COMPANY: A.I.M
Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 12:00 PM
When Abraham.In.Motion (A.I.M.) makes its Ohio debut Saturday night in Akron, audiences can expect to see a style of dance that‚Äôs not quite like anything they‚Äôve seen before.
Artistic director Kyle Abraham, who founded the predominantly African-American company in 2006, uses movement to delve into personal identity, race and social justice issues. Abraham, who has a hip-hop and classical music background, also uses visual art in his choreographic collaborations. In 2013, more › he was the youngest person ever to become a MacArthur Fellow ‚Äúgenius‚ÄĚ for his fearlessness in tackling weighty subject matter through his choreography.
‚ÄúKyle is so unique right now in the dance world,‚Ä≥ said Pam Young, executive director of DanceCleveland, which is presenting A.I.M. in its single Akron concert.
She stressed that his work looks through a social and political lens.
‚ÄúI think a lot of artists across all genres are feeling the need to create work that challenges what‚Äôs going on in our society. ... Kyle has always done that, and he has a very distinct kind of style.‚ÄĚ
Among the four works the nine-member company will perform at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron is Abraham‚Äôs ‚ÄúMeditation: A Silent Prayer,‚Ä≥ an original dance about police violence against young black men. The dance references the lost lives of African-Americans Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown and others in a recorded poem by artist Carrie Mae Weems. The piece is accompanied by a visual of faces layered over one another on a scrim as well as music by Craig Harris.
‚ÄúI just felt we needed to bring that piece here,‚Ä≥ said Young, who said this work inspired her to bring A.I.M. to Northeast Ohio.
Abraham doesn‚Äôt normally tour with his company unless he‚Äôs performing his solo ‚ÄúIndy,‚ÄĚ which he‚Äôll do in Akron. Young saw it in New York and described as a ‚Äúvery personal-feeling about relationships.‚ÄĚ
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St., University of Akron
Information: 330-972-7570 or www.dancecleveland.org
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs playful in it. You sort of see his personality and then he sort of dissolves in sort of a high level of distress and sadness and sort of comes back out of it,‚Ä≥ she said.
Other works will be Israeli choreographer Andrea Miller‚Äôs new dance ‚ÄúState‚ÄĚ for three women and the high-energy ‚ÄúDrive‚ÄĚ by Abraham, which was highly acclaimed when it premiered in New York last year.
‚ÄúThe dancing is all out,‚Ä≥ so it‚Äôs a pretty amazing closer,‚ÄĚ Young said.
Tied to the company‚Äôs performance next weekend, A.I.M. will be on the ground starting Monday with a full-week residency at the University of Akron Dance Program, with company members taking over all of the modern and ballet classes for the week. It‚Äôs the 13th year that DanceCleveland has kicked off its season in Akron in conjunction with the professional performing company conducting a residency with UA students.
Through both formal and informal interactions, the students learn from these pros not only artistically but also about what it‚Äôs like to have a professional dancer career. UA‚Äôs upper-level modern and ballet students will get to take modern classes from Abraham himself. And students also will get to observe Abraham at work in rehearsal with his company members Wednesday afternoon.
He also will offer a pre-performance discussion at 6:45 p.m. and the company will take part in a question-and-answer session after the show. Company member Tamisha Guy also will conduct a free contemporary master class for advanced dancers ages 16 and up from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Guzzetta Hall. Reservations are required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aim-dance-master-class-tickets-50129745418?aff=efbeventtix.
Here‚Äôs the full DanceCleveland season schedule:
‚ÄĘ Ballet Hispanico, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 and 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, in collaboration with Tri-C. The New York company, led by artistic director Eduardo Vilaro, will perform three works by Latina choreographers.
‚ÄĘ Beijing Dance Theater, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and 2 p.m. Feb. 3, 2019, Ohio Theatre, in collaboration with Tri-C and the Cleveland Public Library. The mixed-repertory company will make its Ohio debut.
‚ÄĘ Vertigo Dance Company, 7:30 p.m. March 9, Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square. The Israeli contemporary company, making its first trip to Ohio, will perform the sensory piece ‚ÄúOne. One & One,‚Ä≥ in which the performers lay soil down in rows and then dance across it, spreading it out over the stage. The piece is a new work by artistic director Noa Wertheim.
‚ÄĘ Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, 8 p.m. April 26-27, 3 p.m. April 28, State Theatre, Playhouse Square, presented by Playhouse Square in collaboration with DanceCleveland. One of the greatest dance companies in the world, Alvin Ailey is returning to Playhouse Square for the first time in three years.
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or email@example.com. Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or www.facebook.com/kclawsonabj.
RELATED COMPANY: A.I.M