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Posts Tagged ‘dance company’

Bethesda Region Dance Companies and Choreographers Sought for Dance Concert

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The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is accepting applications for the ninth annual Dance Bethesda Concert, according to The Gazette.

Selected dance companies will be invited to perform in the concert, March 9, 2013, at Round House Theatre, and will receive a $600 honorarium. Auditions will be viewed by the Dance Bethesda selection panel which consists of Dan Joyce of the School of Dance at George Mason University; Elizabeth Walton of the University of Maryland Baltimore County; and Septime Webre, artistic director of The Washington Ballet.

Dance companies and choreographers located in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, are eligible to submit an audition application. All dance genres are eligible. Dance companies must have been in existence for at least two years. Choreographers are not required to have an established dance company. Selected performers must perform the piece submitted on the audition tape.

Auditioning companies and choreographers can apply two ways; apply online at www.bethesda.org or mail in a completed application and DVD including one performance piece that is 8 to 10 minutes in length, a resume including past performances, and a nonrefundable entry fee of $15. Applications must be received by November 16.

For a complete application, visit www.bethesda.org or call 302.215.6660.

To see the original story, visit http://www.gazette.net/article/20121017/NEWS/710179977/1151/dance-bethesda-accepting-applications&template=gazette.

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Beautiful Landscape Speaks to Choreographer in Creation of N.J. Dancework

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DanceSpora

DanceSpora; photo courtesy Newsworks New Jersey

The Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Cadwalader Park—the “Central Park” of Trenton, New Jersey—will be the site for a commissioned dance performance about the land by DanceSpora, the resident dance company of Trenton’s Passage Theatre Company.

Newsworks New Jersey said the company will present “Dancescapes NJ” on October 6 in the park that hugs the Delaware and Raritan Canal, as well as at St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell on September 22. “Dancescapes NJ” was commissioned by D&R Greenway Land Trust, the organization that helped to preserve St. Michaels, and will begin with a choice of three walks focused on nature, history, or poetry through the landscape, along with the sounds of live acoustic music and birdsong.

To choreograph “Dancescapes,” artistic director Heidi Cruz-Austin spent time at Cadwalader Park, finding the right spot, observing the elements of nature. “Dancers will portray Wind, Water, and Vine in a trio,” she says. “Each dancer approaches movement in a different way to convey the character.” There will be a duet of trees coming to life. “It’s the first time they’ve moved,” she says.

In the opening section, Seed, women will be planting and paying homage to the land while a man is fertilizing. Another section, Sun and Moon, will show the male-female balance. DanceSpora performances blend ballet, modern dance, jazz, contemporary movement, hip-hop, and house dancing.

Both performances begin at 2:30pm. Tickets are $20 adults, $5 children. For more information, visit www.passagetheatre.org or www.drgreenway.org.

To read the full story, visit http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local//item/44126-artful-blogger/.

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New Mexico Dance Company Awarded $1 Million from Federal Government

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Keshet Dance Company

Keshet Dance Company; photo courtesy Albuquerque Journal

Keshet Dance Company of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will use an award of $1 million it received from the U.S. Economic Development Administration on Wednesday to create the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Center, featuring an incubator program that will support start-up or struggling arts-related businesses with a variety of resources like development services and access to lending providers.

Shira Greenberg, Keshet artistic director, told the Albuquerque Journal the center will be housed in the future home of the Keshet Center for the Arts, to be located at the former Soundstage 41, 4121 Cutler NE.

When the space is completed, it will have five rehearsal areas, a theater, office space, a shared conference center, and a resource library. “With this funding, we’re more than halfway done with our fundraising campaign,” she said. “We’ll continue to raise funds for the building and are hoping to have the entire center opened by spring.”

Greenberg said the total needed is $3.6 million and the campaign has raised about $2 million.

Since Keshet’s inception in 1996, the goal was always to create a permanent home. “We want to create a supportive environment where businesses can feel comfortable to grow,” she explained. “The more strong arts organizations out there only creates a better arts community and we want to help cultivate that progress.”

The company’s website (www.keshetdance.org) says Keshet’s professional dancers work with the community and with young artists as instructors and mentors. Programs include an annual production season that integrates professional and local artists; an ongoing dance school; an intensive Pre-Professional Training Program; outreach programs that bring dance to low-income, at-risk, homeless, and incarcerated youth; and a program for youth and adults with physical disabilities.

To see the original story, visit http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/09/13/news/dance-company-gets-1m-from-feds.html.

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There’s Something Borrowed and Something New in NYCB Lobby

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New York City Ballet, seeking to furnish the promenade at its theater for pre-performance socializing, has found a cost-effective method—in exchange for featuring the work of three young design firms, it is receiving the free use of their furniture for the season.

“We’re getting this furniture for the comfort of our patrons, and they’re getting the showcase of Lincoln Center,” said Rob Daniels, the company’s spokesman, in the New York Times ArtsBeat blog.

The seating areas will “draw inspiration” from NYCB and from the architecture of the David H. Koch Theater, a news release said. The three designers chosen by the company are based in Brooklyn. They are Egg Collective, made up of Crystal Ellis, Stephanie Beamer, and Hillary Petrie; Asher Israelow, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design whose studio is in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; and Token, whose principals are Will Kavesh and Emrys Berkower.

To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/quid-pro-furniture-at-city-ballet/.

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Controversial Dunham Ballet Resurrected for Denver Performances

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Southland

Southland rehearsal with Susan Richardson and Edgar Page; photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post

Dance legend Katherine Dunham’s controversial Southland ballet has never been seen on American stages—or anywhere else since its short run in the early 1950s.

Thanks to its uncompromising subject matter and censorship by the U.S. State Department, Southland became one of countless American dance pieces lost to the eroding currents of time, according to the Denver Post. So the quest to bring it to life in Denver has not only been about gathering the funding and goodwill to perform such a polarizing work, but being able to reconstruct it at all.

“This has been a difficult process because you’re working with documentary materials and just piecing things together,” said Theo Jamison, a choreographer and former Dunham company member helping to restage Southland for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

The two-act ballet traces the story of a black field hand accused of raping a white woman—and one scene unflinchingly depicts the lynching of that man, making it a potent, pre-Civil Rights movement protest piece. Initial performances in 1951 in Chile were shut down by the U.S. Embassy. Its only other showing was a short run in Paris in 1953.

Denver dance maven Cleo Parker Robinson’s mission to revive Southland kicked into overdrive in spring 2010 when she won $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to exclusively restage and tour Dunham’s works, including Southland and 1941’s Rites de Passage.

Robinson was a friend, student, and supporter of the late Dunham, the great 20th century activist, anthropologist, and black dance pioneer who died in 2006 at the age of 96. He will introduce Southland onstage at Gates Hall at Denver University’s Newman Center for the Performing Arts September 14 to 16.

To read the full story, visit http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_21484254#ixzz264p3ittX.  For performance details and tickets, visit http://cleoparkerdance.org/.

 

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Ririe-Woodbury Artistic Director Bids Farewell as the Company Hits 50

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 After a decade as artistic director of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Charlotte Boye-Christensen has announced she will step down at the end of the 2012-2013 season to take on more choreography work, although she doesn’t plan to move out of state, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.

The amicable parting leaves Ririe-Woodbury with big shoes to fill on the advent of the company’s 50th anniversary. Boye-Christensen is only the company’s second artistic director since its founding in 1964 by Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe, whose philosophy—which includes fostering the Alwin Nikolais repertoire—remains at the core of the company’s artistic vision to this day.

The decision to leave was difficult, Boye-Christensen said, and it comes with a change in her personal life: she plans to marry Nathan Webster within the year. Webster is an architect who has collaborated with Boye-Christensen on several projects, most impressively the 2010 work Touching Fire.

“I call this the year of surprise decisions,” Boye-Christensen said. “I do want to be clear that it is very painful for me to leave the dancers. I care very deeply for them. And I am so appreciative that Joan and Shirley gave me the opportunity to develop this company—their company.”

Managing director Jena Woodbury said there’s no heir apparent. The Salt Lake City, Utah, company will immediately begin a worldwide search and set up an advisory committee, although Woodbury will have the last word on the new hire.

Job requirements of the company’s artistic director position (to begin June 1, 2013) are posted at http://www.ririewoodbury.com.

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Ailey Dancers Gear Up for Second Season under Battle’s Leadership

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Robert Battle with Ailey dancers

Robert Battle with Ailey dancers. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will launch its second season under artistic director Robert Battle with holiday performances at New York City Center from November 28 to December 30, followed by a 21-city U.S. tour ending in May. 

The upcoming season will include:

  • Another Night, a world premiere by rising young choreographer Kyle Abraham with music composed by Dizzy Gillespie and recorded by Art Blakey 
  • Petite Mort, the first work by renowned European choreographer Jiří Kylián to appear in the Ailey repertory
  • From Before by Garth Fagan, the Tony Award-winning choreographer of The Lion King, to a score by Grammy winner Ralph MacDonald
  • Strange Humors, a duet by Battle set to John Mackey’s score for strings and African drum
  • Grace, Ronald K. Brown’s landmark work, created for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1999
  • “Ailey Classics,” an anthology of highlights from founder Alvin Ailey’s 30-year career, including audience favorites and classics such as Cry, Love Songs, and For ‘Bird’ With Love, culminating with Revelations performed in its entirety

Tickets starting at $25 go on sale September 4 and can be purchased at the New York City Center Box Office, through CityTix® at 212.581.1212 or online at www.alvinailey.org or www.nycitycenter.org

For further information about the Alvin Ailey New York City Center season, visit www.alvinailey.org.

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Lythgoe’s New TV Show Seeks to Create a Dance Company in 28 Days

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Choreographer-turned-reality TV powerhouse Nigel Lythgoe will produce a new competition series in which a dance company is created in 28 days, reports the L.A. Times.

Nigel Lythgoe (Photo courtesy L.A. Times)

A Chance to Dance follows choreographers and former London Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt as they audition dancers from different disciplines in three cities: Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, and Austin, Texas.

The seven-part series, which premieres August 17 on the art-centric Ovation network, follows dancers from tryout through training and will culminate with a live performance in New York.

Lythgoe, who was instrumental in launching Fox hits American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, will co-produce the series with his son Simon Lythgoe, a TV game-show host in Australia.

Other dance-focused Ovation reality shows include Dance School: Juilliard, which follows dancers through their three years at the prestigious school.

To learn more and see a video clip, visit http://ovationtv.com/events/a-chance-to-dance/.

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Philly Dancer’s New Company Combines Jazz Dance and Soul Music

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Roger Lee Dance, a new company by Lee, an original member of the Good Day Philadelphia hip-hop dance team on Philadelphia’s WTXF (Fox 29) television station, will hold its inaugural season April 20 and 21 at the Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lee, 23, a current member of SHARP Dance Company, has studied dance at Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. He is a graduate of Ursinus College, where he spent three seasons directing the student-run dance company, Escape Velocity, and will receive a master’s in arts administration from Drexel University in June.

Roger Lee (Photo by Liora Kuttler)

Joining Lee on stage will be Chrysta Norelle Brown, Kathleen Corrigan, Angelique Harden, Michael Melian-Velez, Sara Emily Mohler, and Marlene Post. The program combines contemporary jazz dance with soul music in five pieces by Lee, including Mind Games, set to original music from local beat maker Danny Horowitz, and Tell It to God, performed in honor of the late Whitney Houston.

Roger Lee Dance performances will be held April 20 at 8pm and April 21 at 6 and 8pm. All tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.danceboxoffice.com/product_details.php?item_id=27

For more information, call 215.833.6961 or visit www.rogerleepr.com.

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Night of Revelry Benefits L.A. Program for Under-Served Youth

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Los Angeles’ CONTRA-TIEMPO, an urban-Latin dance company, will hold a charity gala on April 3 to raise funds needed for arts education and dance residencies for 10 under-served public schools.

The seventh annual event, with a fundraising goal of $60,000, will feature dancing, food, drinks, a silent auction, and live music from Bobby Matos and his Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble. It will run from 7 to 11pm at the La Fonda Supper Club, 2501 Wilshire Boulevard.

CONTRA-TIEMPO is a non-profit activist dance company, founded and directed by Ana Maria Alvarez, that uses the power of dance as a catalyst for change. CONTRA-TIEMPO delivers programming yearly to more than 25,000 students designed to uplift, unite, and empower, along with the goals of helping students become more comfortable with their bodies, learn about the beauty of cooperation, and develop self-esteem.

Tickets are available at http://contra-tiempo.org/events.html.

 

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Ajkun Plans Ambitious U.S., International Touring Schedule for 2012

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Leonard and Chiara Ajkun, artistic directors of Ajkun Ballet Theatre in New York City, have announced the company’s schedule of 2012 performances:

  • “Women Thru History,” a collaborative project honoring the lives of three prominent women (Anne Hutchinson, Abigail Adams, and Eleanor Roosevelt), in March at St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site, Mount Vernon, New York; for information and tickets, call 914.667.4116.
  • La Bayadère, U.S. premiere, April in New Rochelle, New York, and May in New York City.
  • Red—The Passion of Tango, world premiere, May 23 to 25 at the MMAC Theater, 248 W 60th Street, New York City; and June, Tirana National Ballet Opera House, Albania.
  • Dance in Italy Festival, La Bayadère and Red—The Passion of Tango; July in Italy, info at otherlanguages@ludt.org, or by telephone: (+ 39) 0376.396824.
  • Don Quixote, August 11, The Egg Performing Arts Center, Albany, New York; and August 17, Hostos Center for Arts and Culture, 450 Grand Concourse, New York City.
  • The Face to Face Series, August 15 and 16, info and tickets available in April.
  • Leonard Ajkun Mixed Bill, September, Australia; tickets go on sale in June.
  • World premiere, title TBA, October, New York City; tickets go in sale in June.
  • Legacy, The Odyssey of Albania, November in Boston, tickets go on sale in June.
  • The Nutcracker, “An Afternoon with the Sugar Plum Fairy,” December, New York state, tickets go on sale in June.

Ajkun Ballet Theatre, founded in 2000, performs for thousands of audience members during its annual 48-week schedule of residencies, plus national and international tours.

Ranging from full-length ballets with an orchestra of 65 to smaller chamber productions performed to recorded music, the company’s touring element varies from 45 dancers (52 people, with production personnel) to 8 dancers. Ajkun artists regularly appear as guests in productions assembled by AjkunBT Partners in Dance.

Tickets for most U.S. performances can be purchased at www.SmartTix.com or by calling 212.868.4444 (type Ajkun into “find”). More details are available at www.ajkunbt.org.

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Film Featuring Rhode Island College Dancers Hits the Road

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Members of the Rhode Island College Dance Company will receive national attention when a film featuring the troupe is shown at the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema in Boulder, Colorado, next month, according to the Providence Journal.

But local fans and friends can catch “Year, Make & Model” August 22 at 7pm at Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island, where it will be shown as part of an evening of dance shorts hosted by Newport’s Island Moving Company. The free event takes place in the Antone Center for the Arts on Leroy Avenue.

Created for the RIC dancers by New York-based choreographer Marta Renzi, the film premiered at the company’s 2011 spring concert. It was shot in a car repair shop in Johnston, a space transformed by the students into a dance hall.

Appearing in the film are RIC students Jamie Arnold, James Burgis II, Naysh Fox, Lauren Huggon, Cassie Murdock, Victoria Murno, and Joey Nicastro.

To see the original story, visit http://www.projo.com/lifebeat/content/go_weekend_sampler_0818_08-18-11_POPPJ7U_v12.4dbe8.html.

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Internships Available With Urban Bush Women

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Urban Bush Women, a dance company based in Brooklyn, New York, that seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance, is looking to fill several internship positions.

Urban Bush Women is happy to host high school, undergraduate, and graduate-level interns for a short or extended period of time. Interns may work in a variety of areas, such as administration and office management; marketing and communications; media production, and artistic research and assistance.

Anyone interested in an internship opportunity can send a resume with cover letter to Pia M. Murray, program manager, at pmmurray@urbanbushwomen.org. Urban Bush Women aspires to ensure continuity by strengthening and expanding the dance community via ongoing professional education, development of new audiences, nurturing young talent, and presenting bold, life-affirming dance works in a variety of settings. For more information, visit www.urbanbushwomen.org.

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‘Bacchae’ Explores Dynamics of Dance, Acting, Puppetry, and Music

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The dance company Morphoses this October will unveil resident artistic director Luca Veggetti’s multi-disciplinary production Bacchae as part of The Joyce Theater’s fall season.

Veggetti uses Euripides’ tension-fraught tragedy as the focal point for an exploration of how dance, music, acting, puppetry, and sound technology can interact onstage, with the aim of creating a meaningful new work that challenges the boundaries of dance. Artists involved include Italian composer Paolo Aralla, lighting designer Roderick Murray, dramaturg Luca Scarlini, and flautist Erin Lesser.

Performances are set for October 25 and 26 at 7:30pm, October 27, 28, and 29 at 8pm, and October 30 at 2pm. Tickets start at $10 and can be arranged through JoyceCharge at 212.242.0800 or at www.joyce.org. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street. Visit www.morphoses.org for more information.

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Hubbard Street, Alonzo King’s LINES Mark Beginning of Collaboration

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Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will conclude its season with the company premiere of Following the Subtle Current Upstream, choreographed by LINES Ballet artistic director Alonzo King and marking a new collaborative relationship between Hubbard Street and LINES.

The company’s Summer Series, scheduled for May 19 to 22, will also feature the return of choreographer Jirí Kylián’s 27’52” and a revival of Untouched, created for the company by choreographer Aszure Barton.

Hubbard Street artistic director Glenn Edgerton initiated the coming together of the two very different companies—LINES Ballet’s neoclassical focus and Hubbard Street’s contemporary style—as part of Hubbard Street’s mission to collaborate with other artists, as well as expand the artistic experience for both dancers and audience.

In January, Hubbard Street received a $50,000 award from The Joyce Foundation to support a multi-year collaboration. The partnership will be launched with Hubbard Street’s performance of Following the Subtle Current Upstream, set to music by Indian tabla master Zakir Hussain, South African singer Miriam Makeba, and composer Miguel Frasconi.

Edgerton and King will work to set up a series of opportunities during the next two years for the dancers of both companies to share their talent and technique with one another, culminating in a new work by King in 2012 and performed by both companies on stage together.

The Summer Series program will be held at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago, with performances set for May 19 at 7:30pm, May 20 and 21 at 8pm, and May 22 at 3pm. Summer Series single tickets, priced from $25 to $94, are available by calling 312.850.9744, at www.hubbardstreetdance.com, or at the Harris Theater box office. Group discounts are available.

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Kansas Professional Modern Company Calls it Quits After 25 Years

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A professional modern dance company that has toured throughout Kansas for nearly 25 years is giving its final full performance this week, reported Jan Biles in the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The Lawrence Arts Center recently announced the 940 Dance Company, formerly known as the Prairie Wind Dancers, would be disbanding because of financial difficulties. Since its founding in 1987, the company has performed in more than 100 Kansas communities, eight Midwestern states, and Mexico. More than 100,000 people have seen its performances.

The six-member company will present its final concert, “Red,” on April 14 and 16 at 7:30pm at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire Street, in Lawrence, Kansas. The company will end its season with performances for children and a collaborative, site-specific program with University of Kansas dance students on May 7 at 7pm at the Wakarusa Valley Heritage Museum near Clinton Lake.

The 940 Dance Company has its roots in the Prairie Wind Dancers, founded in 1987 by Candi Baker, dance program director at the Lawrence Arts Center. It has performed at community and college concerts and festivals and taught and performed in hundreds of schools.

To read the full story, visit www.cjonline.com/life/connected/2011-04-09/modern-dance-company-disbands.

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Twyla Tharp Returns to Hubbard Street to Set New Work

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Choreographic legend Twyla Tharp has returned to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to create a new work for the company, which will debut during the company’s fall series engagement at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park, October 13 to 16.

Twyla Tharp (Photo by Marc von Borstel)

After 15 years, Tharp is returning to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, where she was instrumental in creating and setting a repertoire of work on the company. Hubbard Street’s audiences last saw Tharp’s work performed in 1995 with the world premiere of I Remember Clifford. Other works produced by Hubbard Street were Fait Accompli in 1995, Nine Sinatra Songs in 1992, The Golden Section and Baker’s Dozen in 1991 and 2007, and The Fugue and Sue’s Leg in 1990.

Tharp will receive Hubbard Street’s Spotlight Award for her creative vision and unique role in American choreography and her history with the company at the company’s annual Spotlight Ball, set this year for June 3 at the Hilton Chicago. The Spotlight Awards recognize individuals and companies that have made an impact on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the arts, arts education, fitness, and youth development in the Chicago area.

A complete roster of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s season will be announced later this month. Four-program subscriptions range in price from $75 to $282 and go on sale May 1. For more information about the company’s 2011-12 season and subscriptions packages, call the Hubbard Street ticket office at 312.850.9744 or visit www.hubbardstreetdance.com. Single tickets go on sale in August. For more information about the Spotlight Ball, call Paula Petrini Lynch at 312.850.9744 x164.

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EditorSpeak

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by Cheryl Ossola and Karen White

Pigeonholes Are for the Birds
In this issue we asked dozens of people to share their thoughts on how to define that ever-elusive dance form, contemporary. But the fact that we even try to put parameters on an art form got me thinking. Human beings like labels. We like having a figurative drawer in which to place the things in our lives, all neat and accounted for. Compartmentalizing (which is what a definition does) helps us keep our mental and physical lives in order.

But labels can be misleading and limiting, if they coerce us into thinking about something in a certain way. For example, for years I took a class pegged as modern jazz, which was a pretty accurate way to describe it—it was essentially jazz, but with major influences from Horton and lesser ones from Graham and Limón. But at times you could see underpinnings of ballet and even some hints of salsa. It’s not that the label of modern jazz was wrong; it was a good nutshell description. But it didn’t quite tell the whole story.

It’s important to recognize our inclination to label things because such narrowness in thinking allows—even encourages—us to limit ourselves. If we define something, or ourselves, in a certain way for long enough, we start to believe that’s all there is to it, or us. But going beyond our self-definitions allows us to discover the fullness of whatever lies within. I experienced this recently when I challenged myself to write a piece of very short fiction, when my preferred form is the novel. Not only did I have a fabulous time doing it, but I learned a few things about myself as a writer (including the need to resist pigeonholing myself).

Like any art form, dance is always evolving. No doubt when Michel Fokine’s Five Principles, written in 1904, found a home at Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and forever changed the course of classical ballet, some people (at the Maryinsky, for example, which rejected his ideas out of hand) shook their heads and called it an outrage. But in today’s world, we would have described his new approach to ballet as contemporary—something based on tradition that sets off in a new direction.

We’re not going to give up our tendency to stick labels on things. But let’s do it with the idea that they’re a convenience, a way to allow us to grasp the essence of something, and remember that there’s more to it, whatever it is. And then go after it with every ounce of creative juice we can muster. That’s how art lives. —Cheryl Ossola, Editor in Chief

A Very Good Century
There is something very sad about Merce Cunningham’s decision to disband his company (see FYI, page 28). For two years the company has been touring the world, but after one last show on New Year’s Eve 2011, the unitards will be put away for good.

It was Merce’s own decree, announced shortly before his death in 2009. There’s a touch of the pharaohs in it—“If I must die, you, my faithful servant, are coming with me.” But I am sure he also realized that a company willed into life by a single-minded vision couldn’t just become a shadow of itself, dancing the same dances over and over. If the company were to stay alive it would have to grow without him, and perhaps that was too much for him to bear.

And so I say farewell to Merce’s company, feeling a bit melancholy. I don’t want to be a Grumpy Gus, looking back on the past as good times that will never come again, but really, when will we ever see the likes of him again, or of a Balanchine, a Graham, a Tudor? Books are still being written about the beauty and importance of their dances. But these choreographers did far more than just put steps together—they believed fervently that dance was art, and they led their dancers into unexplored territory with the courage of conquistadors.

And oh, the stories that swirled about them! Balanchine shunning his beautiful, crippled wife for his latest star, Robbins tearing dancers to shreds with his tongue, Duncan strangled with her elegant scarf. Graham, bone-thin and aging, clinging to her performing career. They were divas at the barre—and, believe me, I say that with utmost affection.

Certainly past centuries had their geniuses, and there are plenty of creative dancemakers still creating. But the 20th century? Let’s just say it was a very, very good century for choreographers. —Karen White, Associate Editor

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Mark Morris Dance Group Holds Dancer Auditions

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The Mark Morris Dance Group is holding auditions for two female company dancers, to start April 25, as well as for two male dancers to dance with the company in L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato from April 25 to May 9.

Women’s auditions are set for March 13 to 18, with open call by appointment only on March 13. Open call for male dancers by appointment only will be held March 11. Pre-registration is required to secure all audition appointments.

For information on how to pre-register, visit www.mmdg.org/auditions or email auditions@mmdg.org.

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Gala Event Marks World Premiere of ‘Fable and Faith’

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A post-performance gala reception will mark the world premiere of choreographer Robert Moses’ Fable and Faith on February 18 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

Robert Moses’ Kin dancers in Fable and Faith (Photo by R.J. Muna)

Ticket holders will share champagne and artisan desserts with Moses, the dancers of his Robert Moses’ Kin company, and artistic collaborators, and receive premium seats for the night’s performance. Individual tickets are $75. RSVP to cwilley@robertmoseskin.org.

Fable and Faith explores the power of myths to shape and transform imagination and identity through the metaphor of children’s fables. Created by Moses with playwright Anne Galjour and film/visual designer Elaine Buckholtz, Fable and Faith features the Grammy-winning San Francisco Boys Chorus directed by Ian Robertson.

Fable and Faith and The Cinderella Principle (2010) will run February 18 to 20 at 8:00 p.m. at the YBCA, 701 Mission Street. Tickets are $25 to $35, with discounts for students and seniors. Tickets are available online at www.ybca.org or at 415.978.2787. More information on Robert Moses is available at www.robertmoseskin.org.

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BalletMet Seeks New Members for Professional Company

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BalletMet Columbus has announced audition dates for male and female dancers in New York and Columbus, Ohio, for its professional company for the 2011-12 season.

The company offers a 36-week AGMA contract with year-round benefits. Trainee positions are also available. BalletMet annually presents more than 60 performances at home and on tour through five different repertoire programs and its production of The Nutcracker.

“BalletMet’s diverse repertoire requires that dancers have a strong classical technique coupled with a good aptitude for contemporary movement,” says artistic director Gerard Charles. “Interested dancers must demonstrate the strength to be a soloist and also the willingness to fully participate in corps de ballet work.”

Since its inception in 1978, BalletMet, an innovative regional company, has added more than 150 company premieres to its repertoire and produced more than 120 world premieres.

Audition dates and times:

  • February 27, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., New York City Center Studios, 130 West 56th Street, New York; doors open at noon.
  • March 6, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., BalletMet Dance Centre, 322 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, Ohio; doors open at 12:30 p.m.

Men 5-foot-8-inches tall and above and women up to 5-foot-7-inches tall are asked to bring a resume and a dance photo. Women should wear pointe shoes. Auditions will consist of a short barre (be warmed up to begin), center work, repertoire, and partnering. For more information, contact Rebecca Rodriguez-Hodory at 614.586.8623 or rrodriguez@balletmet.org. For updates on audition schedules, visit www.balletmet.org.

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NYCB Returns to Tradition of Touring with Small Professional Ensemble

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New York City Ballet is creating a small and nimble touring ensemble in the hopes of broadening its appeal around the country and the world, according to The New York Times.

While the company’s stars often perform elsewhere on their own, establishing an official spinoff is a departure for the company. Performances by the new group, called New York City Ballet Moves, will also replace work days lost when the company shortened its summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center to two weeks from three weeks several years ago.

Ballet master in chief Peter Martins said the small works that Moves will perform can easily be accommodated by more modest sites, like university auditoriums. A rotating group of dancers will make up Moves, and will include members from every level of the company. The first season roster includes principal dancers Jared Angle, Joaquin De Luz, Robert Fairchild, Sterling Hyltin, Maria Kowroski, Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar, Daniel Ulbricht, and Wendy Whelan; soloists Adrian Danchig-Waring, Erica Pereira, and Rebecca Krohn; and corps de ballet members Chase Finlay, Anthony Huxley, Lauren Lovette, Brittany Pollack, and Taylor Stanley.

Moves’ first performances will be at the Vail International Dance Festival July 31 and August 1 and 2, followed by August 5 to 7 at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, Wyoming. The new program is a return to City Ballet’s history of touring, especially its frequent travels in the United States in the 1950s through the early ’80s.

To read the full story, visit www.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/arts/dance/07nycb.html?_r=3&src=tptw.

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World-Class World Dance

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Born 2 Dance redefines what a suburban school can be

By Jennifer Kaplan

When Azin Mahoozi Shalan was growing up, dance classes were forbidden to her. Yet today, as director of her own dance company and a dance studio owner, Shalan has overcome cultural and religious impediments to reshape her life while opening up a world of dance—literally—to her students in Vienna, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC.

Azin Mahoozi Shalan’s early love of dance shocked relatives in her native Shiraz, Iran. (Photo by Saeed Nazeri)

A onetime specialist in information systems at eTrade who holds a BS from James Madison University, Shalan uses the jargon of her former profession when she says she re-engineered her career, moving from a high-stress job in finance to one she loves: teaching, choreographing, and running a growing dance studio.

“Culturally I come from a conservative background,” 31-year-old Shalan says. “I’m Persian and lived in [Shiraz], Iran, with my family until I was 8.” There was no such thing as a public dance class for women and girls, who, following the toppling of the shah in 1979 and the Islamic Revolution, were required to cover themselves with scarves and robes whenever they appeared in public.

And yet, Shalan couldn’t help herself. Dance called to her. Whenever music played at a family or religious celebration, she couldn’t keep still. “I would always start moving, to the point where my grandfather would say to my mother, ‘Please, stop this girl.’ I always loved dancing, but I could never do anything about it.”

After her family’s move to Springfield, Virginia, Shalan spent the rest of her childhood in a typical, traffic-clogged American suburb where shopping malls were the town squares and high school weekends included football games and homecoming dances. There she found an outlet for her love of dance and a way to identify with her Persian culture. She created the first Persian dance club in her Northern Virginia high school and later did the same at James Madison University. For both groups, she created dances and rehearsed other members for performances, which were typically offered at international nights and other school events. But dance remained a hobby for Shalan.

After graduation, her job in the corporate world didn’t take. “During two years I learned that corporate life was definitely not for me,” she says. “To relieve some stress I went to Gold’s Gym to work out. The director was an alumnus of JMU and she saw me dance at international nights.”

Soon Shalan was asked to teach her unique style of Persian belly dance. She became a certified fitness instructor and taught a single class at Gold’s Gym. Within a few months she was teaching 10 classes a week, in addition to working 40-plus hours at eTrade. (The DC region can’t seem to get its fill of belly dance classes, which are offered in dance studios, fitness centers, spas, and community centers.)

After two years and a three-month belly dance study trip to Egypt, Shalan left the day job behind. She taught classes throughout the region in spas, gyms, and other venues. She also began a Persian dance company, Born 2 Dance, with a few of her most dedicated students. With invitations to perform with some of the best-known Persian touring artists who stop in Washington, DC, for shows, Shalan’s company has danced at prestigious venues like the Kennedy Center, Warner Theatre, and DAR Constitution Hall.

In 2007 she took the plunge and opened her own studio, also called Born 2 Dance—the name, of course, was inspired by Shalan’s own inborn love of bodies in motion. But she took an unusual approach by not offering the staples: ballet, tap, and jazz. Her focus, international dance, is well suited to the cosmopolitan DC metropolitan region, with its eclectic mix of embassies, international nonprofits, and universities that attracts an educated, well-traveled clientele. At Born 2 Dance Studio they can partake of classes in 14 styles or genres from African to Zumba, salsa to samba, belly dance, Bollywood, break dance, capoeira, exotic dance, flamenco, hip-hop, hula hoop, Polynesian hula, and Persian dance.

“I would always start moving [as a child in Iran], to the point where my grandfather would say to my mother, ‘Please, stop this girl.’ I always loved dancing, but I could never do anything about it.” —Azin Mahoozi Shalan

Shalan insists on hiring only highly experienced instructors; most of her 33 teachers are professional dancers who also enjoy teaching and choreographing and exhibit expertise in their genres. That means, for example, that flamenco teacher Estela Velez directs one of the region’s locally renowned flamenco companies, Furia Flamenca; while Bollywood teacher Kajal Mehta founded the area’s premier South Asian Bollywood dance company, Dhoonya Dance Performance Company. Nikki Gambhir, a hip-hop instructor, previously danced with Cirque du Soleil and currently performs with DCypher Dance and other area troupes, and salsa teacher Abdul Al-Ali, with more than a decade of experience, danced with Salsa Fuego before founding his own Conga Beat Dance Company.

Born 2 Dance differs from most suburban studios in another way: its primary clientele is adults. In fact, only 10 percent of the studio’s students are children, though Shalan predicts that number will increase in coming years as her adult students begin to put their children in world dance classes for the same reasons they take them.

Shalan began with 60 students three years ago; since she opened her doors in August 2007, more than 600 students have taken at least a workshop or an 8- to 12-week session. She describes her typical student: “A lot of them come in because they want to learn something new. They’re tired of the traditional treadmill workout at the gym. They want a community. They want something exciting, something fun to go to. They want to release the stress from their daytime jobs and their worries. They’re all ages, but most of our students are young professionals.”

To attract that young, professional crowd, Shalan keeps course registrations simple and the sessions short. Each class typically meets in 10-week sessions and most dance styles are offered in both technique and fitness formats. The fitness classes are simpler and geared toward a workout, while technique, of course, concentrates on mastery of a specific range of motion, set of steps, and style. Some classes are available on a drop-in basis, but others require registration for the full 8 to 12 weeks.

“We also do a lot of fusion dance styles,” Shalan says. In fusing two styles, she will put two instructors together; for example, a belly dance teacher and Bollywood teacher. They work out choreography and offer a workshop called, in this case, “Belly Bolly.” They’ve also offered belly (hip) hop and tried a few other fusion forms, and many students enjoy the additional challenge of assimilating a new style.

All of Born 2 Dance’s technique classes offer a performance opportunity at no additional charge, the semi-annual “Awaken the Dancer Within” concert. Shalan rents an auditorium for the full-evening performances. She doesn’t charge an extra performance fee, and rehearsals take place in addition to the class time, so students who choose to perform actually dance more by attending separate rehearsals. The studio also provides a take-home DVD that contains the steps and choreography to help with off-hours practice.

For the past three years, the audiences have grown so much that Shalan has had to find bigger auditoriums. The performances benefit not only the students but also the studio by attracting new students (often friends of the performers who are ready to take the dance plunge) as well as enticing current students to try a new genre. A salsa dancer, she explains, might decide to add a session of belly dance after watching what she describes as the “internal muscular and rhythmic permutations” that emanate from the dancers’ cores.

Shalan runs the studio with her husband, who has a background in finance. In her first year she taught up to 27 classes a week, but now she spends more of her time choreographing and directing the performing company; she’s down to teaching about 10 Persian and belly dance classes. In the next three to five years, she hopes to open two more locations in Northern Virginia while also developing her unique Persian-influenced belly dance method to the point where she can release a video on her teaching technique.

As for her parents and their long-ago objections to dancing in public? They’ve come around. “I never thought this would be the case,” Shalan says, “but they’re very proud. They’ve been to every single one of my performances. My mom always said, ‘If you’re going to do this, do it in a respectful way.’ Belly dance is not about the [revealing] costume; it’s a style of dance that is very internal, focusing on the isolations of the belly becoming the dominating part of the body.

“Belly dance doesn’t have to be too provocative or too exotic, to the point where you’re revealing too much,” Shalan adds. “My mom always insisted on that and I have followed her advice. I’m glad I did.”

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Idaho Dance Theatre Gala Remembers Music of the ’60s and ’70s

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Idaho Dance Theatre’s gala, “Dancing Through the Decades,” a night of ’60s and ’70s music and dancing, will be held February 26.

Tickets include live and silent auctions, buffet dinner, no-host bar, celebrity dance competition, and dancing until midnight to the music of High Street.

Idaho Dance Theatre is the first professional dance company to be founded in Boise, and it is the only Boise arts organization still being directed by its original founding artistic directors. The company, now celebrating its 22nd season, has engaged over 100 Idaho dancers and numerous guest choreographers, musicians, actors, and designers.

Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. Idaho Dance Theatre is located at 405 S. Eighth Street, Suite 363, Boise, Idaho. For information, call 208.331.9592 or visit www.idahodancetheatre.org.

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San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Auditions in January

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Auditions for the 2011 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival will be held January 8, 9, 15, and 16 at Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley.

A wide array of dance styles are welcomed at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.

The festival was founded to present the diverse ethnic dance companies in the Bay Area. Over the years, it has expanded its reach to include performers from throughout Northern California and has presented over 600 dance companies from over a hundred different genres. During its rich history, the festival has celebrated and fostered appreciation for the diverse cultural communities in the Bay Area and Northern California, through an annual performance season that has included classical, sacred, vernacular, social, and folk dance performances.

All auditions start at 10:00 a.m. and will be held January 8 until 6:00 p.m., January 9 until 7:00 p.m., January 15 until 7:30 p.m., and January 16 until 7:00 p.m.

The 33rd San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival is scheduled for June 3 to July 3. More details are available at www.worldartswest.org or by calling 415.474.3914.

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Winter Customs of Other Countries Celebrated by Presidio Dance Theatre

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The School of Presidio Dance Theatre will present “Beyond the Land of Sweets, Holidays Across Cultures,” on December 19 at 5:00 p.m. at the Herbst Theater, San Francisco.

Presidio’s adult and youth companies will perform divertissements from The Nutcracker and use dance and narration to showcase the winter customs of other countries. Choreographers include Sherene Melania, Carlos Carvajal, Ahmet Luleci, Norberto Martinez, Ronit Tanir, and Tina Banchero.

Tickets are $35, $50, and $100, and $20 for children under 12. Visit the City Box Office at www.cityboxoffice.com to purchase tickets. More information on Presidio Dance Theatre can be found at www.presidiodance.org.

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Take the Plunge

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Setting up a performance company can pay off—but do your homework first

By Melissa Hoffman

Performing—it’s what dancers do. And if your students need more than an annual recital and maybe a holiday show, it’s time to think about starting a performance or competition company. The benefits are numerous, from providing your dancers with more opportunities for artistic growth (and fun) to your own joy and pride as you watch your students show off their technical skill and love of dance.

A performance team gives these junior-level dancers at MHDC many opportunities to learn and grow as artists. (Photo courtesy Melissa Hoffman Dance Center)

Forming a performance team or troupe is not a step to be taken lightly. Be prepared to face a flurry of decisions: what kind of team, how many students to include and which ages, and where they will perform. And then there’s the extra work: selecting music and costumes, choreographing and rehearsing, booking performance venues, filling out competition entry forms, and making travel arrangements.

Still, if handled properly, starting a company offers many rewards (not necessarily awards!), not only for yourself and your business but also for your students, teachers, and dance families.

Be realistic
Step one is assessing your own motivation. Is the chance to perform more often something you really want to offer your students, or are you reacting to something happening at the studio down the street? I started with two companies—a younger and an older group—and over the past 18 years, that number has grown to where I now have enough interested students for eight competition and performing companies.

Recently, I was shocked to discover that they use about 70 percent of my studio space, yet bring in only about 45 percent of my monthly income, an inequity I plan to address by combining groups for technique classes. (I also want to make sure my recreational students don’t feel they are being shortchanged because company dancers are hogging the studio space.)

But you can’t gauge the importance of companies by looking at numbers alone. A studio can benefit from the good press and good feelings generated for its performance at a community fund-raiser, for example. If your performing companies are exciting and fun, both students and parents will want to be a part of them, helping you not only retain students who might otherwise leave but bring in new students as well. Those sorts of intangible benefits might add more to your bottom line than a look at the month’s receipts would suggest.

Once you’ve decided to go ahead, you should settle several key questions first:

  • How will the company be chosen?
  • What will the class and rehearsal requirements be?
  • Should the company consist of one or more groups? Should they be split by age, dance level, or dance genre?
  • What expenses will participating dancers face?
  • What are the guidelines and rules for company members?
  • What kinds of performance or competition opportunities will you offer?

Fielding the company
You can select company members by audition or invite students to sign up. Signups are effective if your company will include dancers of mixed ability or will be split based on ability, and perhaps if your focus is on performing rather than competing. This is a wonderful way to give recreational dancers additional opportunities to perform.

If you hold auditions, decide who will serve as judges—yourself, your staff, or outside teachers? Jennifer Rienert of New Hampshire School of Ballet in Hooksett brings in dance experts from outside her studio to judge her dancers based on a numerical score. This score also determines who will receive solos or be featured in other choreography.

You can always create your own performance opportunities. Get out in the community; plan a benefit. Doing so is a great way for your dancers to perform plus help their community at the same time.

Rienert’s process offers the advantage of objectivity; however, be aware that it might exclude dancers who are strong but have a bad audition, or include dancers who have behavior issues or a poor work ethic.

There is a third method: teacher recommendation. At our studio, teachers can recommend that dancers in our youngest ballet classes (ages 6 to 9) attend an “Intro to Company” four-week summer course. During the course, we note how quickly the dancers pick up choreography and consider their technique, performance quality, and overall attitude. Dancers who excel may be invited to join a similar session in the fall. Eventually, new competition and performance members are selected from students who have gone through this process and received a positive recommendation. I only hold auditions for our dance ensemble, a team of older dancers (13 and up) focusing on dance as a career.

Explaining expectations
It is essential that dancers and their parents understand what is expected of company members. Holding a meeting prior to the beginning of the dance year will help everyone get off on the right foot (though you will still encounter some who don’t quite grasp your expectations). Topics to cover include the following.

  • Required classes for each group.
  • Dress code.
  • Expected classroom behavior.
  • Rules of behavior for parents. Yes, you read that correctly. More and more, I have found that adults need to be reminded that they are not at a sporting event when attending a performance or competition.
  • Financial commitment. This is big. Include any anticipated costs beyond tuition such as costumes, choreography, entry fees if competing, and any team apparel. Be very clear about payment policies. For company members, I charge an annual assessment fee of $50 per family to defray costs related to performances, such as teacher compensation and the time I spend filling out entry forms.
  • Anticipated travel and travel expenses.

It is a good idea to list all rules in a handbook. Go through the policies during the meeting and send a handbook home with each family, so that when questions arise you can refer them to it. Insist that parents and students consider all expectations before choosing to participate.

Time commitment
Fielding a company means that the dancers, the studio owner, and the staff all make a commitment to the additional time and effort needed to make this new endeavor a success.

For our team members, our technique requirements ask that younger dancers spend six to eight hours a week in class, with older dancers studying about eight hours a week. In addition, dancers must attend three two-hour rehearsals to learn choreography. Because so much class time gives the dancers strong technique, the choreography can be taught quickly—which helps prepare dancers for auditions or professional careers—and less cleaning time is necessary. After that, rehearsals are held once or twice a month, generally on a Friday night or Saturday.

This can be a lot, especially for older dancers preparing for college, so our company class requirements provide some flexibility. Dancers who want to compete only in tap or hip-hop, for example, can take fewer technique classes, and we encourage all company members to limit their weekly schedule to required classes only. I also make sure older teens have at least one or two days a week when they do not have to be at the studio, to allow time for school activities and studies.

While I do much of the planning and organization for both the competition and performance teams, my teachers run rehearsals and handle choreography. They are compensated through “choreography fees” charged to team members.

Filling out competition entry forms is another time-consuming job. In the past, an office person did the work and then I double-checked it. But since not all competitions have the same requirements for levels and dance styles, I have decided that it’s more efficient for a teacher (paid at the office rate) to handle the entry forms.

Performance opportunities
My school’s company dancers attend competitions and dance in a minimum of three benefit performances each year. We also hold an annual benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which the recreational dancers may participate in. Any recreational dancers who sign up are required to attend three rehearsals and the show. Including non-company dancers helps with ticket sales and allows students who love to dance (or are passionate about helping others) an additional chance to do so.

Every four years my students perform at Walt Disney World—a favorite of even dancers who have extensive performing experience. While it’s an additional expense, families have told me how amazing it was to see their children perform at Disney, or how much they enjoyed the family vacation aspect. (While it’s not mandatory, generally about 95 percent of company members attend.) Planning for a trip of this scope should be done well in advance.

Many prestigious performance opportunities exist, such as participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or dancing in halftime shows at college football bowl games. Look around. You may find other performing opportunities closer to home, such as at local amusement parks or during events of area Triple-A baseball teams or professional basketball teams. Companies have sprung up that arrange performing tours of Europe. In any case, do your homework. Some events require an audition process or ask you to sell a certain amount of tickets in exchange.

If all that seems too extreme, you can always create your own performance opportunities. Get out in the community; plan a benefit. Doing so is a great way for your dancers to perform plus help their community at the same time.

Competition awareness
It’s also a good idea to be selective when choosing competitions. Viewing an event in advance (by yourself or with your dancers) is always a good idea, as is asking fellow dance teachers for recommendations.

Be clear with parents about cost and time before committing. Explain that since competitions don’t always provide schedule details in advance (such as when solos will run), they will have to set aside the entire weekend until the information arrives (generally less than one week prior to the event). Compile a schedule for the coming year, including a schedule of payments due (costumes, rehearsal time, entry fees) for parents.

The payoff
Until you start, you may not realize how much of a time commitment it is to field a competition or performance company. Though the extra work can be taxing at times, I couldn’t put a price on the enjoyment I derive from watching my dancers onstage and the satisfaction of knowing that I give them many opportunities to learn and grow as performing artists.

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U.S. Debut for Göteborg Ballet

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Göteborg Ballet, a Swedish contemporary dance company, makes its American debut August 18–22 at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts, with 3xBoléro, a full-length production of three diverse works, each inspired by Maurice Ravel’s classic score, “Boléro.”

The three works showcase 20 of the company’s classically trained dancers and three leading European choreographers in pieces that employ a wide range of dance vocabularies, in musical styles ranging from minimalist electronica through full-scale orchestral recordings.

Walking Mad, choreographed by Johan Inger in 2001 for Nederlands Dans Theater, features a traditional rendition of Boléro spliced with Arvo Pärt’s Fur Alina. In OleroB, by Finnish choreographer Kenneth Kvarnström, the steady thrum of Ravel’s composition sits in the background of Jukka Rintamäki’s electronic score. Episode 17, a work for 19 dancers by Alexander Ekman, is a collection of solos, duets, trios, and ensemble dancing, set to a score incorporating spoken word with traditional renditions of Boléro, a Boléro-inspired piece by jazz composer Nat Simon, and samples of “Rock ‘n’ Flamenco” by Jan Davis and the Spain Gang.

Tickets range from $58 to $63. To buy them, visit jacobspillow.org or call 413.243.0745.

Göteborg Ballet artistic director Johannes Öhman will discuss 3xBoléro in a PillowTalk session at 4 p.m. August 21. Admission is free.

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New York Premiere in July for roadkill

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Johannes Wieland, artistic director and choreographer of the resident dance company of the State Theater in Kassel, Germany, will present the premiere of his roadkill July 8 to 11 at New York’s Dance Theater Workshop.

In addition to choreographing roadkill, which starts with dancers stranded in a plane on a runway, Wieland has created the set, costumes, text, and lighting. The sound score to the hour-long piece is by the Australian-born composer Ben Frost.

Tickets are $15, with students and seniors paying $12. To order, call 212.924.0077 or visit www.dancetheaterworkshop.org.

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Massachusetts Dance Festival Extends Deadline

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The organizing committee of the Massachusetts Dance Festival has extended the application deadline to May 1 for student, emerging, and professional dance companies that want to perform in the festival. Teachers who want to lead a dance class or presenters who want to teach a method or plan helpful to dancers have the same extension of the original April 15 deadline.

The event will be held in two locations on two successive weekends. Boston Ballet will house the eastern festival on August 21 and 22, while the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will house the western festival on August 28 and 29.

About 15 Massachusetts-based dance companies in the genres of modern, ballet, hip-hop, jazz, tap, flamenco, and more will perform on Saturdays, with college and other student dance performances on Sundays. Master classes will be held each day.

For application forms and more information, visit http://massdancefestival.org/festival.html.

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Chicago’s Dance Center Unveils Its Season

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The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago has announced these dance artists for its 2010-0011 season:

Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance, October 7 to 9: The Native American choreographer will present The Thank-you Bar, an evening-length performance/installation of dance, live music, storytelling, and visual images.

Yasuko Yokoshi, October 28 to 30: Yokoshi’s Tyler Tyler—a piece inspired by The Tale of the Heike, a12th-century Japanese epic of warring clans—will be performed by two U.S. dancers, a U.S. musician/singer, and three Japanese dancers/actors.

Joe Goode Performance Group, February 3 to 5, 2011: Goode’s troupe will perform Wonder Boy, his collaboration with puppeteer Basil Twist, and 29 Effeminate Gestures, an exploration of the paradox of gender language.

Robert Moses’ Kin, February 24 to 26, 2011: The San Francisco-based company will present The Cinderella Principal: try these on, see if they fit, a collaboration with playwright Anne Galjour that looks at identity formation within non-traditional family groupings, and other works to be announced later.

Same Planet Different World, March 10 to 12, 2011: Artistic director Joanna Rosenthal’s Grey Noise, inspired by film noir of the 1940s and ’50s, focuses on the complexity of relationships, the need for self-preservation, and the effect of violence and aggression. It will be performed with Carl Flink’s HIT and To Have and To Hold, choreographed by Joanie Smith and Daniel Shapiro.

Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, March 31 to April 2, 2011:
The Good Dance – dakar/brooklyn reflects Wilson’s collaboration with Congolese choreographer Andréya Ouamba and his Senegal-based company. The evening-length work explores the influence of Central African culture on world performance forms and its parallels with Mississippi Delta culture.

Single tickets go on sale July 1 at The Dance Center. For information, call 312.369.8330 or visit www.colum.edu/dance_center/performances.php.

In addition, The Dance Center is collaborating with Chicago’s Harris Theater and MCA Stage to present Sankai Juku on October 20 at the Harris Theater. The butoh troupe will perform Hibiki: Resonance from Far Away, one of founder Ushio Amagatsu’s signature pieces.

The Dance Center will mark 10 years at its current location, 1306 South Michigan Avenue, with a free, daylong celebration September 25. The event will showcase regional dance artists and ensembles, with workshops, classes, and site-specific performances and installations.

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Shen Wei Dance Arts in Orange County

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Shen Wei Dance Arts will present the West Coast premiere of Re- (Parts I, II, II) April 16 through 18 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, California.

The piece is based on travels to Tibet, the Angkor Wat ruins in Cambodia, and China by the company’s Chinese-born founder, Shen Wei. According to the Los Angeles Times, it
“serves as an informal retrospective of the choreographer’s favored motifs, such as East-West fusion and a painterly sense of visual composition.”

Tickets are $11 to $56. To order, visit www.ocpac.org/home/Events/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=958&NavID=86&ps=y.

The New York-based company, marking its 10th anniversary this year, will also present Re- (Parts I, II, II) April 29 and 30 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. For tickets, visit www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/?fuseaction=showEvent&event=DKDSD

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Merger Plans for Bill T. Jones Troupe?

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Final negotiations are under way that would lead to a merger of the 28-year-old Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop, Crain’s New York Business reports.

While the merged group would have a new name and a new mission, Jones plans to move his company into DTW’s space in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, Crain’s says. The full story appears on www.crainsnewyork.com.

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Full Lineup for Hubbard Street Dance

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Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will launch its 2010-11 season with the Fall Series, September 30 to October 3, featuring a world premiere by RUBBERBANDance Group founder Victor Quijada; the Chicago premiere of Nacho Duato’s Arcangelo; and Tabula Rasa by Ohad Naharin, artistic director of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company.

Hubbard Street Dance’s Winter Series, December 2 to 5, will see a sixth premiere by Alejandro Cerrudo, its resident choreographer; the return of Jorma Elo’s Bitter Suite; Petite Mort by Jirí Kylián; and a world premiere work (details to be announced), set on Hubbard Street 2.

The Spring Series, March 17 to 20, will feature two world premieres: the first choreographed by Naharin and the second by Sharon Eyal, Batsheva’s resident choreographer.

The Summer Series, May 19-22, will offer the Chicago premiere of Alonzo King’s Following the Subtle Current Upstream and the return of Kylián’s 27’52.

Four-program subscriptions range in price from $75 to $282; single tickets go on sale in August. To learn more, call Hubbard Street Dance’s box office at 312.850.9744 or visit www.hubbardstreetdance.com.

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Premiere for Carol Fonda & Company

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BodiBalance @ Dance Forum will present Carol Fonda & Company in the premiere of Fonda’s Ascending Order on April 15, 16 and 17 in New York. Fonda will be joined by members of her troupe, including Milan Agnew, Jamal Berkenkotter, Lauren Bratton-Kearns, Ryoko Goto, Leigh Schanfein, and Daniel Zapata.

A gala honoring Cesar Rennert, a longtime supporter of BodiBalance @ Dance Forum and co-founder of the BodiBalance/Dance New York PLUS English program, will follow the final performance. Part of the performances’ proceeds will support classes for women and children who have survived domestic abuse. Another beneficiary will be the Cesar Rennert Scholarship Fund for dancers who want to train in and become certified to teach the BodiBalance movement methodology.

BodiBalance @ Dance Forum is located at 20 East 17th Street on the second floor. Tickets are $20; for the performance and gala, $75. To buy tickets or learn more, visit www.bodibalance.net or call 212.633.7202

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S.F. Ballet School Commissions New Work

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Shaun Amyot, who teaches contemporary repertoire, improvisation technique, and musical theater at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, has been commissioned to choreograph a new work for the San Francisco Ballet School.

Amyot has danced with Nederlands Dans Theater and Ballett Frankfurt and has appeared on Broadway in Ragtime, Annie Get Your Gun, Chicago, and Cabaret. His Improvisation AI09A was performed last November at the Assemblée Internationale, a week-long student choreographic festival hosted by the National Ballet School.

Lola de Avila, associate director of the San Francisco Ballet School, saw the piece and invited him to create a work for her school. The currently untitled piece will debut during the school’s annual spring performances May 26 to 28 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. For tickets, visit www.sfballet.org/balletschool.

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Dancer Seeks the Sweet Smell of Success

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After 11 years with Pacific Northwest Ballet, corps de ballet member Jordan Pacitti says he will retire from the Seattle-based company at the end of this season to take up a new career—perfumes.

Pacitti began his Jordan Samuel Fragrances in 2007, creating and selling room fragrance dispensers, bath and body oils, candles, and fragrances. He will enter the esthetics program at Seattle’s Gary Manual Aveda Institute in September.

“Though I am sad to leave, the time has come to move on,” Pacitti said in a PNB press statement. “Thanks to PNB’s Second Stage program [which helps dancers make the transition to post-performance careers], I have been able to start and grow my company.”

Pacitti, who trained at the School of Cleveland Ballet and the School of American Ballet, joined PNB as an apprentice in 1999 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2000. “He may be retiring, but he’s got an invitation to return next December as Drosselmeier” in The Nutcracker, said the company’s artistic director, Peter Boal. “We can’t imagine PNB without him, so we won’t.”

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ABT II, Ailey II, and Taylor 2—All in One Spot

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The second companies of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company will team up for the 1.2.3. Festival at New York’s Joyce Theater from April 13 to 22. Ailey II, ABT II, and Taylor 2 will share the stage on opening night.

During the run, Ailey II will perform Judith Jamison’s Divining; Carlos dos Santos’ Proximity; Thang Dao’s Echoes; and Christopher L. Huggins’ Essence. ABT II will present Jerome Robbins’ Interplay and world premieres by Roger Van Fleteren and Edwaard Liang, while Taylor 2 offers four works by its namesake: Aureole, 3 Epitaphs, Company B, and Esplanade.

For tickets and more information, call JoyceCharge at 212.242.0800 or visit www.joyce.org or the websites of the troupes’ parent companies.

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Stephen Petronio at VCU

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DSL Dance WireThe Stephen Petronio Company will perform its namesake’s latest work, I Drink the Air Before Me, at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on March 16 as the company makes its 25th anniversary tour. I Drink the Air premiered at New York’s Joyce Theater in April 2009.

The performance, presented by the university’s Department of Dance and Choreography, will be the seventh event of the VCU Dance 2009-2010 Season of concerts, film screenings, master classes, and more.

Tickets are $20 ($10 for VCU students) and can be reserved beginning February 22 by calling 804.828.2020.

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New York Premiere for A Wagner Matinee

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DSL Dance WireLaura Diffenderfer/Oh Dear Dance Theatre will present the New York premiere of A Wagner Matinee, an evening-length multimedia work based on Willa Cather’s short story of the same name from 1904, at the Merce Cunningham Studio on April 3, 10, and 11. 

A Wagner Matinee is the story of a homesteader’s journey from Nebraska back to Boston, her hometown, where she attends a concert and is reminded of her abandoned dream of becoming a concert pianist, leading her to ask: “How do I go back?” It will be performed by Laurie Berg, Sevin Ceviker, Maya Krishnasastry, Josh Rowe, and Alicia Weill.

The piece will include recordings of music by Clara Schumann and Richard Wagner, as well as original music by Matt McBane, performed live by McBane and Michael Cassedy. The dance will also include video by Drew Blattman and Jessica Lacombe and photographs by Michael Farrell.

Tickets, at $12 to $20, can be purchased at the door or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/97178. To learn more about the troupe, visit www.ohdeardance.org.

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Ballets Russes: The Celebration Continues

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DSL Dance WireThe editors of The Ballets Russes and the Art of Design will appear together at 7 P.M. February 24 at the Kenmore Square Barnes and Noble bookstore, 660 Beacon Street, Boston, to discuss the book, a collection of essays published last year as part of the worldwide observance of the centenary of Serge Diaghilev’s revolutionary dance troupe.

The book, published by Monacelli Press and available through Amazon, was edited by Alston Purvis, Peter Rand, and Anna Winestein and is illustrated with images, many of them rarely seen, from museum and private collections. In addition to essays by Purvis, Winestein, John Bowlt, Sarah Woodcock, Eric Zafran, and Lynn Garafola, the book contains a conversation between Nina and Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky, among the leading private collectors of Ballets Russes artwork.

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Discount on Mark Morris Tickets

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesThe Mark Morris Dance Group is offering a 30 percent discount on tickets to the opening-night performance of its February 23-27 run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The program includes the world premiere of Socrates, the New York premiere of Looky, and Behemoth.

Tickets with a full value of $20 to $70 can be purchased for $14 to $49 by using the promotion code 12232 when ordering online at www.bam.org, through BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or in person at the BAM box office. The offer expires February 21 and can’t be combined with any other offer; prior purchases aren’t covered. There’s a four-tickets-per-household limit.

Dance lovers can hear Morris in conversation with Bevil Conway at 7 P.M. February 17 at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, in New York as part of “Brainwave 2010: Why Does Movement Move Us?” (visit the museum’s website, www.rmanyc.org, for details). He’ll also talk with Mario Batali at the BAM Rose Cinemas at 6 P.M. February 25 (admission is $10; $5 for Friends of BAM); visit BAM’s website to learn more.

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Synthesis Dance Project Plans Summer Intensive

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesThe Synthesis Dance Project will hold its Summer Intensive workshop in intermediate and advanced dancers August 2 to 6.

Tracie Stanfield, artistic director of Synthesis Dance, other company members and outside teachers will lead classes in contemporary, lyrical, ballet, jazz, and progressions. Master classes in partnering, theater performance, improvisation and more are scheduled throughout the week.

The intensive is meant to bridge the gap between dance student and dance artist. Audition is via DVD, online video submission or live audition in Stanfield’s class at New York’s Broadway Dance Center. Tuition is $600. Application information and further details are available at www.SynthesisDanceProject.com.

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A World Premiere for Wolfgruber

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesThe world premiere of “Sacred Things,” a dance evening by Wallie Wolfgruber & Company, will be presented March 5 and 6 at New York’s Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street.

Wolfgruber, formerly of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and eight other dancers will perform Dream Support, Ingress, and the choreographer’s signature solo, Hatch (danced by Gabrielle Lamb). Photographs by Wolfgruber and Lisa Gillette will be on display.

Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors); to reserve them, call 212.352.3101 or visit www.theatermania.com.

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Dancers’ Menu: Pork and Onions

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesWhat’s on the mind of Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida? These days, it’s dancing pigs and mischievous onions.mail-8

Dancers from the Fort Lauderdale-based troupe will be on hand at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Aventura, Florida, at noon February 27 to act out the story of Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig as a storyteller reads the children’s book aloud. The book by David Ira Rottenburg, who will be on hand to answer questions and sign books, tells the story of a pig who longs to dance but lacks a ballerina’s grace.

The dancers also will perform a brief show, highlighting dances from Chipollino, an all-ages ballet choreographed by the company’s artistic director, Vladimir Issaev, that will get four Florida performances in March. Chipollino’s title character is a naughty green onion whose misadventures are popular in Russia; Issaev has adapted the story for an American audience.

The troupe will perform Chipollino on March 13 and 14 at  the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale and March 20 and 21 at the Julius Littman North Miami Beach Theater in North Miami Beach.  For details and ticket information, visit wwww.balletartstheatre.org.

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Master Class With Adam Parson

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesSanta Rosa Junior College in California offers master classes February 11 with Los Angeles-based contemporary choreographer and teacher Adam Parson. His classes in intermediate and advanced jazz from noon to 2:00 P.M. and beginning jazz from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. will be held in Tauzer Room 951 at 1501 Mendocino Avenue on the Santa Rosa campus. Admission is free to SRJC students but registration is mandatory; contact lbranen@santarosa.edu.

Students also will have the chance to audition from 10 A.M. to noon February 12 for the piece Parson will be choreographing for the college’s annual spring dance concert.

Parson will conduct another Santa Rosa master class for intermediate and advanced dancers from 7:30 to 9:00 P.M. February 11 at The Dance Room, 2921 Santa Rosa Avenue. The cost is $25. For information on these classes, contact michelecamozzi@gmail.com or Helen@TheDanceRoomSantaRosa.com.

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A First for Boston

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesKelley Donovan & Dancers will present the Boston-area premiere of Made of Paper on February 7 at The Dance Complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts, two months after its first performance in New York City.

Donovan studied choreography with Mark Morris and Bessie Schönberg, and her company is devoted to “the gray area between the extremes of purely classical modern dance and theatrical narrative,” according to its website, http://kddcompany.wordpress.com, which has ticket information.

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Oregon Ballet Theatre’s New Season

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesOregon Ballet Theatre will present the world premiere of  artistic director Christopher Stowell’s choreography for its new The Sleeping Beauty, to be performed from October 9 to 16 as part of the company’s 2010-11 season, OBT announced Jan. 29.

Other season highlights for the Portland, Oregon, company:

* The Stravinsky Project, a new work set to Stravinsky’s music and performed from February 26 to March 6, 2011. It will be jointly choreographed by Anne Mueller, OBT’s artistic coordinator and also a principal dancer; Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, the artistic directors of BodyVox, a Portland-based multimedia dance troupe;  and Rachel Tess, co-director of Rumpus Room Dance, a company based in Portland and Sweden that focuses on site-specific work.

* A Holiday Revue, choreographed by Stowell to a range of popular holiday tunes and created in collaboration with Portland-area musicians and singers, including singer Susannah Mars and pianist Richard Bower. It will be performed December 11 to 18; its run will coincide with OBT’s Nutcracker.

* Revivals of Stowell’s Rite of Spring and Trey McIntyre’s Speak.

Season tickets go on sale February 5, with four-program subscriptions starting at $64. Contact the OBT box office at 503.222.5538 or 888.922.5538, or visit www.obt.org. Individual performance tickets are available only to subscribers until July.

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Shoppers’ Special at PNB

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesPacific Northwest Ballet has a shopaholic’s special timed for its Sleeping Beauty performances February 4 to 14 in Seattle, Washington. Visitors to Pacific Place, a downtown shopping and entertainment center, can enter a drawing for one of three Sleeping Beauty Dream Weekend packages, simply by visiting participating stores in the center. (They don’t even have to buy anything, but entrants are limited to one entry per store per week.)

The prize packages include two tickets to Sleeping Beauty on Saturday, February 13, including a backstage tour; two nights’ stay at a downtown hotel that weekend; a spa package for two; haircut and color at a Pacific Place salon;  and a $100 Pacific Place gift card.

Also, shoppers who present the Pacific Place concierge desk with $100 in same-day receipts from the center’s stores will receive one free Sleeping Beauty ticket, plus a 20 percent discount on additional tickets.  (Limit one free ticket per person.)

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Eight Works for $8—Such a Deal!

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DSL Dance Wire for PagesThe perfect Craigslist rental posting for emerging choreographers might look like this: Wanted: a space big enough for presenting new work, cheap enough for a starving artist’s budget, and in a part of town where I won’t have to wear body armor (last condition is negotiable).

Choreographers in the San Francisco Bay Area have responded to the space crunch with 8x8x8, a program in which eight choreographers present eight new works in alternative venues, such as punk clubs or pubs, for an $8 ticket price. It’s a chance to try new styles of presentation and develop new audiences, as well as a quest for creative elbow room.

Bay Area dance lovers can check out an 8x8x8 show February 4 at the Starry Plough, an Irish pub at 3101 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. The artists involved are Duniya Dance & Drum Company/Joti Singh, Kimiko Guthrie, Rebecca Johnson, Mutt 49, Navarette x Kajiyama,  Nina Haft & Company, project agora/Kara Davis, and Vitali Kononov.

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