CityDance of North Bethesda, Maryland, will take more than a dozen dancers from its conservatory to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a two-week exchange program June 23 to July 8.
In preparation for their trip abroad, conservatory dancers will participate in a student-produced choreography showcase, “Creating the Magic,” in CityDance’s Studio Theater at Strathmore on April 13 and 14 at 8:15pm and on April 15 at 2pm and 6pm.
Under the direction of Lorraine Spiegler, CityDance School and Conservatory artistic director, The Brazil Project program was developed to bring highly talented dancers to study, perform, and take classes at notable dance centers in Rio de Janeiro.
While this trip is the conservatory’s first overseas exchange, the project has been developing over the past four years through international guest artist and individual student exchanges between CityDance and Brazil.
While in Rio de Janeiro, the students will study multiple genres of dance and movement, including classical ballet, modern, contemporary, samba carnival, capoeira, danca de salon, and folk dance, in the renowned dance institutions in Rio, including Cia Deborah Colker (choreographer of Ovo for Cirque du Soleil), Escola Maria Olenewa (School of Ballet of Teatro Municipal of Rio), the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Ballet de Anima/Richard Cragun, Focus Cia de Danca (Alex Neoral), XStyle, Samba City, Faculdade Angel Vianna, and the Community of Mangueira. Students will also have the opportunity to perform conservatory repertory at these sites.
For more information about The Brazil Project visit www.citydance.net.
Artistic director Paul Emerson has submitted his resignation, effective June 30, and none of the group’s eight professional dancers had their contracts renewed earlier this year. That’s a huge fall for a company that appeared to have so much going for it: skilled dancers; gorgeous, spacious studios at Strathmore; and a contract with the State Department to perform abroad as a cultural ambassador.
With performances at the Kennedy Center, Sidney Harman Hall, and Strathmore, CityDance seemed like the contemporary version of the firmly established Washington Ballet—except that the latter has been gradually growing its niche and audience for decades. CityDance burst, virtually fully formed, on the D.C. stage in 1996.
“We never really built enough of an audience or donor base to meet our budget,” explains executive director Alexandra Nowakowski. “There has been an impression that CityDance is flush with cash, but every year we’ve struggled.”
CityDance’s dance classes, offered in a conservatory setting and in public schools, will continue. “All of that is thriving and growing,” says Nowakowski. “We have 500 students at the school.”
To read the full story, visit www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/artsdesk/performance-and-dance/2011/06/03/the-end-of-citydance/.