Performances: EDGEWORKS Dance Theater Presents /CLOSE/R

EDGEWORKS Dance Theater presents /CLOSE/R at Dance Place Saturday, September 15th and Sunday, September 16th. EDT Artistic Director Helanius J. Wilkins conceived and choreographed this work, which he will also perform. I caught up with Helanius to learn more about his latest work. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the Dance Place website. If you’re going Saturday night, look out for me. I’ll be there!

/CLOSE/R is the culmination of your performance work for your MFA program of study. Can you tell me more about your MFA program of study?

I returned to the university setting in summer 2011 to pursue graduate studies, as an extension of my artistic journey. I am a Master’s of Fine Arts degree candidate at the George Washington University. This distance-learning program is specifically designed for professionals working in the field, and is low residency, meaning that it is not a traditional three-year program. Participation in this program requires an 18-month commitment. Among the many things that I appreciate about the program is the exposure and work related to new media and technology as well as the opportunities created for building new networks. Specific to my individual research, I have been exploring the topic of “sensing” which is leading me to a new way of molding movement and expanding my movement vocabulary. I am also being guided by my curiosity about how to validate sensing as a way of knowing. This work has opened up new doors for me to revisit, explore, and engage in authentic movement.

/CLOSE/R marks a shift in your creative process. How does this work compare to your previous work? What inspired you to make this creative shift?

/CLOSE/R is very different on many levels when comparing it to my previous work. Most notable is that I return to the solo form. In fact, this is my first-ever evening length solo project. There is a traditional saying that solo projects are confessionals. LOL… What I will share about this work is that audiences will get to see me in a way that is not typical of my body of work created and performed over the past 10 years.

I am definitely on a journey that is leading me to new places of vulnerability, strength, and discovery. As a result of all this I open myself up to connecting with audiences in new ways, including through humor.

/CLOSE/R as well as my creative shift comes out of the completion of a decade-long research and performance process that unfolded as a trilogy of works (Fearless in 2002, Cold Case in 2006, and Trigger in 2011) examining and exploring issues such as race, sexuality, spirituality, and class from the perspective of African-American men. As this process evolved, it framed a 15-year transformation in my personal life. This transformation has left me empowered to reveal the naked truth, the honest force behind my creations—my art. I find myself in the incubation period of a new definition for dance. I am undoing what I’ve come to know and exploring the possibilities of dance as a means to discover new work that reflects a distinct phase of my journey.

What’s next for Helanius and EDGEWORKS Dance Theater?

Fantastic question! Truthfully speaking, I am doing much reflection and soul-searching on that very question as it relates to all the various thoughts floating in my head – and there are many thoughts. As far as the immediate future is concerned, graduating is just around the corner. I will complete my graduate studies this fall. Along with this big achievement, I am thrilled and excited to be guest artist in residence at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) this fall too. I am equally excited by the activities of EDGEWORKS Dance Theater’s 12th anniversary season, which will begin with the performances of my solo project at Dance Place. The solo project will be touring to Chicago, IL in October and Cedar Rapids, IA in November. In addition, audiences will be able to experience some of EDGEWORKS Dance Theater’s signature group works in mixed repertory performances at the Jewish Community Center Northern Virginia (JCCNV) on November 17th and on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center on June 3rd, 2013. We have a packed season of activities. Whew! That’s a lot! For more information about EDGEWORKS Dance Theater, please visit their website.

Performances: Ballet Folklórico de México at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

Photo Credit: Robert Shomler (Courtesy of Hylton Performing Arts Center)

Centuries of Mexican culture will come to life when the gifted dancers of Ballet Folklórico de México take the Merchant Hall stage at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on Sunday, September 30th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2012, this brilliant company takes audiences on a journey that traces the evolution of Mexican dance from indigenous peoples up through the present. A pre-performance discussion will be held 45 minutes prior to the performance in the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery.

Ballet Folklórico de México was founded in 1952 by celebrated dancer and choreographer Amalia Hernández, who endeavored to research, preserve and honor the richly diverse folkloric traditions of her country – a period spanning from the pre-Colombian era, through Spanish colonization and into the Mexican Revolution. Complemented by radiant costumes and exuberant live music, Hernández’s choreography captures a country with rich and diverse cultural traditions. “Tlacotalpan Festivity” portrays the celebration of the Candelaria Virgin on January 31st. “Revolution” is a dance dedicated to the “Soldaderas,” women who supported their men and even fought during the Mexican Revolution. “The Deer Dance” is based on a ritual performed by the Yaqui people in preparation for a hunt. The performance concludes with “Jalisco,” a dance that celebrates the state of Jalisco – where Mariachis originated – and features a lively fiesta. The program will feature these and many more dances celebrating Mexican heritage. Single tickets for this performance are now on sale. Please visit HyltonCenter.org for more information.

The above information is adapted from a press release received Wednesday, August 15th.

The Deets

  • Ballet Folklórico de México
  • Hylton Performing Arts Center –  10960 George Mason Circle; Manassas, VA 20110
  • Sunday, September 30th at 7:00 p.m.
  • Tickets for Ballet Folklórico de México start at $28. Youth through grade 12 pay half price when accompanied by an adult.
  •  Visit the box office, charge by phone at (888) 945-2468 or visit HyltonCenter.org to purchase tickets.

Events: Dance DC Festival 2012

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is hosting its Ninth Annual Dance DC Festival, August 2012. This festival highlights rich traditions from cultures across the globe! The Dance DC Festival 2012 will present an array of folk and traditional music and dance performance groups from Washington, D.C.!

Schedule of events:

Friday, August 24, 2012
6:00 p.m. – The Drum
Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002

This performance salutes the staple that connects every culture around the world; The Drum. Enjoy an evening of rhythmic percussive foot performances from countries across the globe! Also featuring a multicultural marketplace. Featured performers include Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, Grufolpawa, Fiddle Puppet Dancers, Flamenco Aparicio, Lesole’s Dance Project, Just Tap, and Nana Malaya.

Saturday, August 25, 2012
Let’s Get Physical! A series of interactive workshops.
Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
1:00 p.m. – Bharatanatyam, Dr. Janaki Rangarajan
2:00 p.m. – Pontitango, Argentine Tango
3:00 p.m. – International Capoeira, Angola Foundation Capoeira

6:00 p.m. – Dance Asia 2012: Asia in Maskquerade
John F. Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20566

Revel in the mystery and enchantment of Asian Maskquerade. The jovial, the forbidden, the divine, the sanguine, mask are significant elements in many folk and traditional ceremonies, rituals & traditions and are often of an ancient origin. Witness the vivacity of movement and partake in the dance.

7:00 p.m. – Move N’ Groove: An all out Hand Dance Party!
Twelve Lounge, 1123 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002

Join us as we close out the festival with DC’s own native dance, led by The National Hand Dance Association.

For more information contact Ebony C. Blanks, Program Coordinator ebony.blanks@dc.gov or (202) 724-5613.

The above information is from an e-mail received Wednesday, July 18th.

Daydreams Dance at the Capital Fringe Festival

Daydreams, presented by the Call Me Crazy Dancers, is a show appearing in the Capital Fringe Festival. The show takes place at the Gala Hispanic Theatre at Tivoli Square. The show will feature local dancers from the Flint Hill School, under the direction of dance teacher Jenelle Mrykalo, as well as dancers from Maryland, Philadelphia, and New York City who are part of The Call Me Crazy Dancers.

We wanted to do an entire show featuring different dance styles and original material. Daydreams is an innovative dance show featuring ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary dance, spoken word and original music. The journey explores the kids we were, the adults we became, and the dreams we’re still chasing. The show’s music consists of original jazz and rock songs composed by the band Call Me Crazy. There is even a tribute to the Great American Songbook of jazz standards, but featuring original songs. This show is as dynamic and unpredictable as our dreams themselves.

“We don’t live to sit and work at computers, wait tables, or drive trucks. We do these things while we’re busy making other plans. Our daydreams keep us going in a time of increasing pessimism. We can make better lives for ourselves and others, and it all starts with a daydream on a playground, at a desk at school, on the drive to work, or while brushing our teeth.”

The mission of our group is to provide opportunities for young emerging dancers to work professionally outside of their home studios, says John Curtis. “There is a wealth of talent outside of our base in NYC, and we go out and find it. Everything we do in this group is original: the music, the choreography, and the spoken word segments; it is what we do, and it is perfect for unconventional performance vehicles like the Capital Fringe. Our dancers enjoy being part of the full creative process with our material.”

The above information is adapted from a Daydreams Dance document received Monday, July 16th.

The Deets

Part and Parcel – A Performance Duo by DancEthos and Word Dance Theater

With a scarf to tempt Isadora herself, Cynthia Word gracefully wafted across the stage opening a two company performance that featured the works of Word Dance Theater and DancEthos. “Part and Parcel” was staged at Dance Place on June 23rd and 24th.

Word Dance Theater (Photo Credit: Stephen Baranovics)

Word Dance Theater preserves the works of Isadora Duncan and creates original works inspired by the Duncan technique. It’s disorienting to take in the intense operatic scores and head-wrapped women without knowing that Isadora was greatly influenced by her time spent in the Soviet Union. Duncan’s work can be very internal and the dances often felt far off despite the black box feel of Dance Place.

The stage was back-dropped by images that reflected the mood of each piece. They were purposeful while not being distracting. Each flowing crepe fabric dress billowed around the dancers’ form, adding dimension and femininity to their strong shapes. Pianist Carlos César Rodríguez superbly executed every violent piano score and each delicate Chopin piece.

With little pause between works, Word Dance Theater presented nine pieces that transitioned seamlessly between each other. In “Dubinishka,” the dancers flocked gracefully as one, banking and straining to pull invisible giant taffy. Scarves in hand, the dancers transformed into warrior-like Rosie-the-Riveters. In “Revolutionary Etude,” Hannah Goldberg gave the dusty work a fresh level of intention. Seeming to dance for life itself, Goldberg put a driving fury behind each dragging and diving motion.

It’s rare to see works that could be coined with such a description as “original,” but DancEthos presented a diverse array of works that poked at such an acclaim.

DancEthos (Photo Credit: Amanda Kilgour)

In Carolyn Kamrath’s “Incessant,” three dancers lay belly-up, flopping and spasming in timed spurts. The traveling moments were limp and uncontrolled, yet phrased in patterns that created a cryptic beauty. The play on controlled and spastic motion imitated the tremors and instability of Parkinsons patients. The wind in the background was like an incessant white noise, drowning out the waves of raspy French music.

In “Matriculate,” choreographer and poet Matthew Bennett fueled the movement phrases with his vocal nuances. The pedestrian-like dancers created family relationships – mother to daughter and father to daughter – that showed defiance on the part of the children and self-sacrifice on the part of the parents. Bennett begged the audience to love and cherish their families or end up “graveside and holding nothing but what we wouldn’t say.”

A picture frame dictates where to look, but in “Framework,” choreographer Vladimir Angelov drove the focus to everything beyond. The black-dressed dancer created an impassioned Disney-like fairytale of a picture-frame girl come to life. She freed herself from her two-dimensional cell. Liberated but vulnerable, she gradually retreated to her frame but closed with one arm reaching away and the other holding the empty frame out to her side. Even when we want to escape, we can’t let go of the things that hold us up.

Mayzsoul Dance Company at the Capital Fringe Festival

Below is an excerpt of Kent Neidhold’s article originally written for DCMetroTheaterArts.com.

“Souls”— A World Premiere at the Capital Fringe

Ten Dancers. Ten Souls. One Journey.

This summer you will only have five chances to take part in the journey of “Souls,” premiering at the 7th annual Capital Fringe Festival in July. “Souls” is a thoughtful and moving metaphysical narrative. It follows lost souls as they help a new soul navigate through a labyrinth of relationships to help him discover his place and ultimately their place in life. Perhaps they will find that truth lies in their lost state and that they have no permanent self, only to discover their souls are part of an ever-changing entity.

“Souls is a reflection of the point in every person’s life when they begin to lose sight of who they are. We all need a reminder of what it means to be human and need to embrace the changes that may occur,” Joye Thomas, Artistic Director. Mayzsoul is inspired to share this with the Capital Fringe Festival and all who attend. Mayzsoul has had the unique opportunity to commission two original scores by Paul de Jong, formerly of THE BOOKS and The Fight Mannequins.

Jong, who himself is an experienced musician and composer, saw the importance and unique opportunity that came from composing music for Souls: “Never having met Joye and being totally unfamiliar with her work, initially made me feel that composing this piece might be a bit of a shot in the dark. That quickly changed when we had our first phone conversation, it was quite refreshing to experience so much creative drive, focus and enthusiasm dancing my way through the airwaves! Reading the description of ‘Souls’ and understanding where my music would fit within the development of the ‘storyline’ of the dance movements immediately gave me the creative direction that led to the music I have now called ‘Orchid’, a symbol of beauty, love and strength.”

Mayzsoul is a Washington, DC area based 501(c)3 nonprofit dance company founded by Melanie Lalande, who is also Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil’s “The Beatles LOVE”. Mayzsoul’s mission is to create and grow a community of artists that will continue artistic exploration and education while producing quality performances. Mayzsoul gives regular community workshops and free open classes, and creates groundbreaking work meant to allow others to see the world from a new perspective. Approaching their sixth year, Mayzsoul is excited for the future. “I am deeply proud of Mayzsoul. It continues to exists because of the commitment the people inside the company have to the process and the purpose of the mission as well as the work. They are beauty in motion,” said founder Melanie Lalande.

“Souls” will be performed at the GALA Hispanic Theatre at Tivoli Square: 3333 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20010. Between Park Road and Monroe Street. The theater entrance is located on the second floor by stairs or mezzanine level (M) through the elevator. Metro: One block north of the Columbia Heights Metro Station on the Green line.

Thursday, July 12th, 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 14th, 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, July 24th, 8:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 26th, 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 28th, 12:00 p.m.

For more information, please visit mayzsoul.org, capfringe.org or call 866-811-4111.

MOVEius DANCE at the Capital Fringe Festival

By Tina Barksdale, Marketing Director for WKS INT. Representing: MOVEius DANCE’s  “Flight of Fancy”

A parallel universe? Perhaps… At the very least an alternate reality! The setting for MOVEiUS DANCE’s Flight of Fancy (A Steampunk Ballet) is sure to please both sci-fi junkies and classic romantics alike!

Flight of Fancy is a contemporary ballet that embraces the Steampunk Movement, a literary and fashion genre that combines the Victorian style with futuristic developments from the perspective of a steam- powered society. This performance will have its audience ultimately asking, What if human innovation had taken an alternative path? A path equally as modern as our computer-enhanced reality; however, able to maintain the class, style and intrinsic values of a more romantic time by utilizing an alternative power source? The Steampunk philosophy stays true to Victorian optimism and comes to a slightly idealistic conclusion that the steam-powered reality that results is a world that celebrates individualism. This performance will explore the wanderlust in us all!

The Steampunk movement has taken hold around the world, most notably in the UK and US. Kathleen Howard, a founding dancer with MOVEiUS DANCE and a promising young teacher at the Washington School of Ballet, came up with the Steampunk idea for their premier Fringe performance. While MOVEiUS DANCE has performed shorter pieces since 2010 in esteemed venues such as the Woolly Mammoth Theater and Dance Place, they sought an unusual full-length concept for their one-hour Fringe show. Diana Movius, Director and Co-founder of MOVEiUS DANCE, agreed: “The Steampunk concept is perfect for the Fringe Festival, and the style is perfect for ballet.”

Join us as we celebrate MOVEiUS DANCE’s Fringe Festival debut and follow the character “the Aviator” during her journey through offices, stars, love and a novella steampunk society. This is a ballet showcasing a number of MOVEiUS’ accomplished local dancers, many of whom enjoyed professional ballet careers before moving to DC: MOVEiUS Co-founder Katya Vasilaky in the role of the Aviator (Vasilaky danced with the San Francisco Ballet and Martha Graham); Charlotte Barnett, fresh from the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Erica Diesl of BalletRox and Ballet Theatre of Maryland; Kathleen Howard, Diana Movius and others. The score is upbeat with an indie rock twist and full of intriguing factors that will engage an audience and lead them through the exploration of breaking free from computer technology, creating an ambiance of positivity, individualism, celebration, and even hot-air balloons!

Performances are part of the Capital Fringe Festival at the Gala Hispanic Theatre, located at 3333 14th Street NW, Washington DC, 20010 (in close proximity to the Columbia Heights Metro Station):

Saturday, July 14th, 4:45 p.m.

Sunday, July 15th, 12:00 p.m.

Tuesday, July 17th, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 21st, 11:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 26th, 6:00 p.m.

Tickets go on sale on June 18th at capfringe.org or moveiusdance.org.

Dancer Profile: Ian Christian-Reyes De Leon of Culture Shock DC

Ian Christian-Reyes De Leon, also known as B-boy “Ruffian,” is from Germantown, MD. He has been b-boying and breakdancing for more than a decade and has spent the last two years studying hip hop and urban choreography. In addition to being a member of Culture Shock DC, he also practices with many urban freestyle dancers and choreographers in the region. Follow him on Twitter @theovenstudio and support the local dance community through his Facebook page DMV Dance Network.

Photo Credit: Dana Pajarillaga

DC Dance Collective, Halo Dance Studio, KODACHROME, The Oven (formerly). Favorite instructor is MaryAnn Reyes who now lives in LA.

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance has opened many doors for me and introduced me to many great people, opportunities and experiences. When I dance, I feel free.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Have fun and take your time. Practice won’t make you perfect but it will make you better. Make sure you love the music!

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

The DMV Dance Network – an online community dedicated to bringing people in our scene together! Shout out to Culture Shock DC, Oven Fam, KODACHROME, Baltimore Dance Crews Project, Cruz Productions, the bboy/bgirl community, and every other dance company and crew in the DMV doing positive things for our community!

Not Dancing With the Stars… Dancing for a Cause!

The DC Dance Marathon is a party with a purpose. The 13.1 hour dance event raises money for Metro Area Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. While the event has been workin’ it on college campuses for years, it’s only in its second year in DC, but after raising $37K in 2011, it is back with boogie fever! Taking place on Saturday, November 17th at the FHI 360 Conference Center, the DC Dance Marathon is open to anyone with a passion for dance, no skill required! The event will feature a variety of dance styles, performances, games and activities, as well as stories from the lives impacted by this charitable dance marathon.

I had a chance to speak with Brandon Weathers, head of public relations for the DC Dance Marathon. Brandon chasséd into this role last year and said that while he doesn’t have a professional dance background per se, “If I have to go out there for a good cause and look like I’m having a dry heave, bring it on!”

How do you complete a marathon with dance?

It all comes down to a combination of dance, entertainment and games. We have an opening ceremony and start off letting everyone gather and socialize. Certain hours of the event are dedicated to dance styles. In rave hour, everyone [wears] glow sticks, then we turn the lights off and everybody acts like rave kids. The most important thing is that everyone is dancing however they want, whenever they want, to any kind of music that they want.

Do patients from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals participate?

We bring in patients and patient families, and they come and tell their story. If this is your first time experiencing the dance marathon, you don’t really know what that means until a kid comes up and tells you that Children’s Hospital saved their life from cancer. It adds a sense of personalization to what we’re doing. I’m partying with a purpose here and it really does make a difference in someone’s life.

What do you tell someone who says, “I don’t dance.”?

I tell them that it doesn’t matter if you can’t dance; you’re there for a good cause. We have a variety of things that you can do. If you don’t want to dance but still want to give back, find a team to sponsor, join a committee or pass our information along.

We always tell people, if you have a bad knee, do what you feel most comfortable doing. You’re not here to audition for “Dancing with the Stars.” You’re here to have a good time and help out with the community. It’s something you can be a part of no matter what.

Why is DCDM important to you personally?

When I first started, I didn’t really realize the people I was going to be impacting. It turns out my nephew’s cousin was in their hospital. I didn’t know that what I was doing had a direct impact on somebody I knew.

The Deets

 

Dancin’ Unlimited Goes Broadway and Beyond

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dancin’ Unlimited

Dancin’ Unlimited will perform “Dancin’ on Broadway and Beyond,” a Broadway showcase tribute, at the Port Tobacco Players playhouse in La Plata, MD.  On April 21st at both 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., audiences will experience the thrill of Broadway smash-hit numbers, with a few concert style jazz dance works mixed in.

Directed by Northern Virginia jazz dance icon Marilyn York, the Dancin’ Unlimited Jazz Dance Company packs the show with signature songs and dance pieces from Chicago, A Chorus Line, Fosse and Pajama Game.

“We will take you on a jazz dance journey through dance styles that made Broadway famous,” says York. Dancin’ Unlimited’s motto is “Jazz Dance with Class.” They hold true to classical technique and clean lines with the exuberance to light up Broadway to boot.

Dancin’ Unlimited’s mission is to promote, produce and perform quality jazz dance, a uniquely American dance art form that has evolved with our history and absorbed our cultures. Founded in 1973, Dancin’ Unlimited is the only professional jazz dance company in Northern Virginia with a focus on both concert and musical theatre jazz dance. Marilyn York, the artistic director, produces new and exciting programs each year with an emphasis on artistic excellence, broad variety and professionalism. The Company repertoire ranges from classical jazz dance to hip-hop, from the Big Band era dance to Broadway. Company dancers are all classically trained in ballet and modern as well as jazz dance. Dancin’ Unlimited is a non-profit 501-(c)3 arts organization, a member of the Arts Council of Fairfax County, and a founding member of the Fairfax County Dance Coalition.

The above information is adapted from a Dancin’ Unlimited press release.

The Deets

  • Dancin’ Unlimited Presents Dancin’ On Broadway and Beyond
  • Port Tobacco Players –  508 Charles Street; La Plata, MD 20646
  • Saturday, April 21st, 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • $17 Adults; $14 Students/Seniors/Military
  • Dance students and others are welcome to meet the Director, Marilyn York, and Dancin’ Unlimited dancers after the first show around 5:00 p.m.
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