The dance season winds down just as summer heats up, but based on performance opportunities this weekend dance is not exiting quietly! See great dancing and support an important cause at the same time! Proceeds from the Cincinnati Ballet's second annual Beyond Ballet gala performances Saturday go toward funds to aid retiring company dancers as they make inevitable career transitions. We know they dance beautifully, but it's a rare opportunity for audiences to also see Ballet's dancers' original choreography. Look for an assortment of seven original works under the artistic direction of longtime Ballet dancer (and presenting choreographer) Jay Goodlett, whose Praise piece features music from Purdue University's all-female singing group the Purduettes. Some celebrated former Cincinnati Ballet dancers have been drawn back to the stage for one-off appearances: Benjamin Wardell (who will be performing a solo work he created) and Meridith Benson (performing choreographer, also a former principal with Chicago's renowned Joffrey Ballet), among other faves. Silent auctions and receptions will follow the 2 and 7 p.m. performances at the Mickey Jarson Kaplan Performance Studio (1555 Central Pkwy., Over-the-Rhine), with all proceeds going to Beyond Ballet: Career Transition Fund. Tickets: 513-621-5282.
Grab your tickets; they're going fast for Choreographers Without Companies, the premier showcase for the area's best contemporary dancers and choreographers, er, without companies. Friday and Saturday evenings' concerts mark the annual culmination of Contemporary Dance Theater's Guest Artists Series.
The dance season winds down just as summer heats up, but based on performance opportunities this weekend dance is not exiting quietly! ..
Grab your tickets; they're going fast for Choreographers Without Companies, the premier showcase for the area's best contemporary dancers and choreographers, er, without companies. Friday and Saturday evenings' concerts mark the annual culmination of Contemporary Dance Theater's Guest Artists Series. This year six diverse new works will grace the Jarson-Kaplan stage (including a few choreographers also performing in the overlapping Cincinnati Fringe Festival), plus a reconstruction of Cheryl Wallace's 2004 CWC duet, Fading Now, in celebratory memory of the local choreographer/dancer. Fanchon Shur, a longtime Cincinnati dance community fixture, presents a monumental and timely work for 26 dancers, All That Breathes, set to an original orchestral score from her accomplished composer husband Bonia Shur. Both musical and choreographic elements arise from a potent amalgamation of socio-political, ethnic and religious tolerance found in early medieval times -- specifically, Hebrew, Moorish (Arabic), Gypsy and early Christian Spain. Tabards and capes with symbols double as props. In one section a child dreams of unlikely unions that would be deemed impossible in real life. In another section, a pilgrimage involving Judaism, Islam and Christianity is explored. Sounds ambitious and intensely provocative -- if not controversial -- but no doubt Shur's choreographic passion will keep it stirring for all. Other presenters include CWC regular Susan Moser, who offers Deeper Shade of Blue featuring a nostalgic foray into a bluesy nightclub of yesteryear with human connections and dramatic flair. In Columbus-based Alfred Dove's Urban Plight, a duo of women's card playing becomes a metaphor for the "hands we're dealt" in life. Recent Ohio University grad Whitney Jacobs merges her appreciation for West African and modern dance styles in Cemented in My Senses. Holly Price and Rebecca Parker explore aerial dance in their surreal collaborative work, Opening. Paige Cunningham, a former dancer with the esteemed Merce Cunningham Dance Company, presents No Relation, with a titular spoof from her days with the company -- referencing her constant clarification of her and Mr. Cunningham's shared name. At a recent dance talk she supplied an enlightening quip in response to a question of how dancers might receive greater recognition for their athletic prowess, in ways more akin to their highly-paid sports celebrity counterparts: "Put (87-year-old dance pioneer) Merce (Cunningham) on a Wheaties box!" Food for thought, eh? Tickets: 513-621-ARTS. ...
I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but no timely dance column would be complete without lamenting the loss of a legend. On May 21, at age 96, Katherine Dunham passed away, leaving behind a legacy of revolutionizing dance from the 1930s onward. An award-winning dancer, choreographer (African, Caribbean, Balanchine, Broadway and modern dance), anthropologist, educator and scholar, Dunham has been credited with bringing the beauty of black dance (and its roots) into the foreground, pioneering new movement aesthetics across multiple disciplines.
Contact Julie Mullins: jmullins(at)citybeat.com