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GMU DANCE COMPANY 2010 GALA CONCERT

March 24, 2010
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY DANCE COMPANY

PRESENTS

2010 GALA CONCERT

Friday, March 26, 2010 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 8 p.m.

George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Featuring

·       Doug Varone’s “Strict Love”

·       Jacqulyn Buglisi’s “Atom Hearts Club Suite No. 1”

·       Christopher d’Amboise’s “Opus 100”

·       Mark Morris’ “Grand Duo” 

 

FAIRFAX, Va., March 3, 2010George Mason University Dance Company’s 2010 Gala Concert is an opportunity to experience this marvelous repertory company of talented dancers at the start of their professional careers, performing the choreography of four American masters of modern dance. The program includes Doug Varone’s “Strict Love,” Jacqulyn Buglisi’s “Atom Hearts Club Suite No. 1,” Christopher d’Amboise’s “Opus 100” and Mark Morris’ “Grand Duo.” The performances take place at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Mason’s Fairfax campus on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 at 8 p.m, A company about which Morris has said, “The program is really doing something right,” the Mason Dance Company’s recent graduates include Rita Donahue (B.F.A., 2002), a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group; Billy Smith (B.F.A., 2007), a member of Parsons Dance; Durell Comedy (B.F.A., 2008), a member of the Limón Dance Company; and Prentice Whitlow (B.F.A., 2009), a member of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.

The Mason Dance Company opens the program with Doug Varone’s “Strict Love,” a work for seven dancers set to a soundtrack of a radio broadcast featuring popular music from the 1970s. Doug Varone and Dancers first premiered the work in 1994 at New York City’s The Playhouse. A review in The New York Times said, “The superficial brashness of the songs and the disc jockey's chatter serve as effective contrasts to the insecurity of Mr. Varone's characters. Despite many passages of unison movement, each dancer seems always solitary, rather than part of a community.” “Strict Love” was staged for the Gala Concert by Eddie Taketa, a current member of Doug Varone and Dancers. The Mason Dance Company first performed the work in 1998.

Doug Varone has had a career that encompasses dance, theater, opera, film, television and fashion. Born and raised in Syosset, N.Y., Varone received his B.F.A. from Purchase College, where he was awarded the Presi­dential Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. He founded Doug Varone and Dancers in 1986, and the company has since performed at prestigious venues and festivals around the world, including The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, San Francisco Performances, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Toronto’s Harbourfront, Moscow’s Stanislavsky Theater, the Venice Biennale and Jacob’s Pillow. The company has been honored with 11 New York Dance and Performance Awards (Bessie). Varone’s personal honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and two Bessies. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts since 1988.

Next, the Mason Dance Company performs Jacqulyn Buglisi’s “Atom Hearts Club Suite No. 1,” a work for 13 dancers that was commissioned for The Ailey School/Fordham 2006 B.F.A. Spring Gala and premiered by Buglisi Dance Theatre in its New York City season at The Joyce Theater. The music and choreography for the work combine elements from four sources from classic to rock. Arranged by Takashi Yoshimatu, the first movement, which features songs from The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and by Pink Floyd, is a progressive rock style with irregular time (Allegro Molto); the second movement, a ballad style (Andante); the third movement, a Scherzo; and the fourth movement, a slapstick Boogie Woogie style. The choreography includes techniques by Lester Horton, Katherine Dunham and Martha Graham, as well as hip hop pop and lock style to create improvisations that Buglisi has dubbed “Mohop.”

In her four decade long career, Jacqulyn Buglisi has made an indelible impact on the field of contemporary dance. She has been a prolific choreographer, creating more than 60 ballets for companies across the United States and abroad. Invited to perform with the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1977, Buglisi danced as principal artist for 12 years, performing classic roles including those created for her by Graham. She is chairperson of the Modern Department at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, guest teaches at the famed Performing Arts High School in New York City and is on the faculties of The Martha Graham School and The Juilliard School. Her many awards and honors include the Fiorello LaGuardia Award for Excellence; the Gertrude Shurr Award for Dance; grants from the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts; and Atria Group’s 2007 Women Choreographers Initiative Award.  

The Mason Dance Company continues the program with Christopher d’Amboise’s “Opus 100,” a work for seven dancers, which was created for the Mason Dance Company and received its world premiere by the company at Mason’s Harris Theater in November 2009. Set to Schubert’s haunting Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 100, this passionate and romantic piece runs only 13 minutes long. d’Amboise described the work as “taking each dancer from an introverted, intense paranoia, to explosive, expansive exaltation. It knocks them out, and hopefully, the audience as well.”

Born into a family of dancers, Christopher d’Amboise has had many careers: dancer, director, choreographer, playwright, teacher and educator. A principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, he worked closely with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. He left the company in 1983 to pursue other interests, including performing in the Broadway production of “Song and Dance,” which earned him a Tony Award nomination.  From 1990-94, d'Amboise was the artistic director, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Ballet, presenting classic repertoire as well as new works by contemporary choreographers. His choreography explores the integration of text, dance, music and drama and seeks to reinforce a positive perspective of humanity. He has created more than 80 ballets for numerous international companies. As an educator, d’Amboise has initiated outreach programs, community development initiatives and taught master classes and workshops at schools and universities worldwide. He also developed “MOVING STORY,” a unique visual storytelling curriculum specially designed to integrate image-based drama into contemporary theater.

The Gala Concert concludes with Mark Morris’ masterpiece, “Grand Duo,” a piece for 14 dancers set to live music by a pianist and violinist, which received its world premiere in 1993 at the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts. Set to an intense score by Lou Harrison, “Grand Duo” was described by Alastair Macauley in The New York Times as a work in which “Morris charts neurological impulses and brings them together in a choral war dances … and changes my breathing as I watch.” The Boston Globe described the work as “primitive and mysterious.” “Grand Duo” was staged for the Gala Concert by Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) member Joe Bowie. Dan Joyce, an assistant professor in the School of Dance and a former MMDG dancer, served as the rehearsal director with assistance from Karen Reedy.

Mark Morris formed MMDG in 1980, and has since created more than 120 works for the company. From 1988-91, he was director of dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. Among the works created during his tenure were three evening-length dances: “The Hard Nut”; “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato”; and “Dido and Aeneas.” In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Morris is noted for his musicality and has been described as “undeviating in his devotion to music.” He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Morris was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991. He has received eight honorary doctorates to date. In 2006, Morris received the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture and a WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award. Morris is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In 2007, he received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival lifetime achievement award.

For further program information, please call the School of Dance at (703) 993-1114 or visit dance.gmu.edu.

 

Tickets for the George Mason University Dance Company 2010 Gala Concert are $20 adults, $12 students/staff/seniors. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit cfa.gmu.edu.

 

About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.