Southern VT celebrates dance with galas, showcases, performances July 17-20

Rachel McKeon - Liza Voll Photography

Rachel McKeon – Liza Voll Photography

The Second Annual Southern Vermont Dance Festival July 17-20 in downtown Brattleboro features the works of renowned and emerging artists in three galas – two at the Latchis Theatre and one at the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College, NH, along with a less formal concert series at the Stone Church in downtown Brattleboro, VT.

Brenda Siegel, director and founder of SVDC says that each of the performances provides a window into the world of dance—the multiple genres and musical styles. Each performance will take the audience on a journey that explores the emotion, beauty and joy that dance brings.

First up on opening night, Thursday, July 17 at 8:00 p.m., is a gala performance at the Latchis Theatre in downtown Brattleboro showcasing choreography by the following: Angie Moon Dance Theater featuring artistic director, Angie Conte whose work has been described as “quite beautifully enthralling. ( She is a choreographer, dancer and artist living in Boston, MA. In addition performances will include Belly Dance Fusion by Cyndal Ellis, manager and co-director of Brattleboro’s SoBo Studio. Cyndal has over 20 years of dance experience and has taught at Jacob’s Pillow, Smith College and Landmark College.

Also featured will be dancer/choreographer and artistic director of DRDT, Dorcas Roman, who has performed in festivals all over the world and in recent years in the first BlackTina Festival in CA. Other performers include Bridget Struthers who started out at the Brattleboro School of Dance and now lives in New York City and runs her own dance company. IBIT Dance Company directed by Brenda Siegel, will perform various works including Modern Dance as well as Belly Dance. Siegel’s work has been shown at festivals across New England.  To round out the group, a veteran of So You Think You Can Dance, Ryan P. Casey, praised by the Boston Globe for his “rocketing rhythms and stylish moves, will perform his work Ball Change. He trained under Thelma Goldberg and Kelly Kaleta with the Legacy Dance Company of The Dance Inn in Lexington, MA, where he is now on faculty.

Friday’s Gala kicks off at 4:00 p.m. at the Latchis and showcases the works of Marshall Jarreau, a professional dancer and circus aerialist who is currently teaching dance, circus, and Zumba classes in the San Antonio area. He began formal training as an aerialist at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, VT and, afterward, was featured as the Walrus character and dancer in Cirque Du Soleil’s LOVE.  Also performing are Toni Nagy and Cyndal Ellis, co-directors of SoBo Studio in Brattleboro. Toni studied dance at Sarah Lawrence College and is a dancer/choreographer as well as freelance writer and filmmaker. They will be performing The Housewife Dance.

In addition, concertgoers will enjoy the work of Alize Cordell, who is grateful for kicking off a career in the dance world with the Southern Vermont Dance Festival. She has performed in multiple Winter Dance Concerts (2010-2014) and was seen most recently in Hamlet: 7 Rooms.Other performances include the Bosoma Dance Company, an acclaimed dance company from Boston known for their contemporary dance style that combines vibrant, energetic movement with athletic performance quality; Noel St. Jean Chevalier, who is both on the faculty at Elms College, Chicopee, MA and the Artistic Dance Conservatory, East Longmeadow, MA will perform Passage.

Other Friday choreographers include: Eliza Larson, who is an independent artist in Northampton, MA and holds an MFA in Dance from Smith College where she was a Gretchen Moran Teaching Fellow in the Five College Dance Department; Tasha Warshaw who started dance at MoCo Arts, in Keene, NH. She also dances with IBIT’s pre professional training program and apprentices with the IBIT Company; Spunk & Company, ‘contemporary dance freshly made’ in Cambridge, MA; Katie Aylward who is a choreographer, dancer, and a videographer based in the Pioneer Valley will be performing “Scrambled.” And, Mucuy Bolles, who has a 23-year career performing as a soloist and principal dancer with many acclaimed companies such as Feld Ballet, Elisa Monte Dance, Zvi Dance, Buglisi/Foreman Dance, Complexions, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Her Broadway credits include: The Red Shoes, The King and I, and Disney’s The Lion King.

Saturday’s Gala at the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College at 8:00 p.m. showcases works that have been choreographed by the following: Catherine Cabeen, a choreographer, dancer and the Artistic Director of Hyphen, a former dancer in the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and repetiteur for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance company since 2005, will be showcasing Bill T. Jones work Floating The Tongue. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company was born out of an 11-year collaboration with Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane and is known for foreshadowing issues of identity, form and social commentary that would change the face of American Dance.

Other choreographers include Billbob Brown, director of the Dance Program at UMass Amherst, and the current chair of the Massachusetts Dance Festival. As a choreographer, his works have been performed across the country and around the world, for dozens of colleges, companies, television productions, and his own company, Chaos Theory Dance. In Boys Club, with his wacky sense of humor, pokes fun at conventions of masculinity and the culture of “guys.”

In Top of the Ninth, Brown creates a score consisting of sportscasts from about nine different sports, including hockey, football, and boxing, and then subverts the intended meanings of the words to create the dance; Donlin Foreman, principle with Martha Graham company (1977-1996), co-founder Buglisi/Foreman Dance will show two works: First So I May Say — inspired by the poetry of HD.  From a book of Martha’s that he rescued from the garbage when her dressing room was being cleaned out. The title is from a poem “Epitaph” the line says all about the dance, “So I may say I died of living, having lived for only one hour.” Additionally with his wife Jenny they will perform: Last Call (excerpt from Suite: Arms Around Me).” This dance is about the two things that mean everything to Donlin about dance—the embrace – and of letting go.

Impulse Dance Company

Impulse Dance Company’s Adrienne Hawkins, world renowned Jazz artist will show a work entitled Ray of Sun that is fun, summer playfulness and tongue in cheek, ethnic, powerful, laughter, and a reflective look of relationship between men and woman and the games we play to exert power; IBIT Dance Company, Brenda Lynn Siegel will perform a preview of a childhood cancer awareness project set to premier in fall. This work explores the cancer journey and all who are affected. Lorraine Chapman whose company LCTC has recently been accepted into Pentacle’s Gallery in NYC will perform Pro Inhibition, a playful work loosely based on prohibition-day speakeasy entertainment and moments from the film Some Like It Hot. Leslie Frye-Maietta honored with a Promising Artist Award Scholarship and The Outstanding Performance in Modern Dance Award will perform her work I Dream With Me; Ryan P. Casey will perform his piece My Manhattan; Ted Thomas, Thomas/Ortiz Dance Company, formerly with Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform Un-Damely which he choreographed with Frances Ortiz. Five women revolt against gender conformity, expanding the notion of femininity. And, finally, the Sharp Dance Company from Philadelphia, PA returns to SVDC to perform “At Least I’m Not Kelly” a humorous and entertaining piece using live voice.

Gala Tickets: Advanced Purchase $22/$18 Students, At the Door $28/$24 Students.

In addition to the formal Galas, the festival presents the Stone Church Concert series that is set in an intimate and beautiful historic church now used as a community space.

The Stone Church Concert series opens on Friday, July 18 at 1:00 p.m. with a multiple choreographer concert featuring Ausjoli Minnicellon; Tasha Warshaw/ Genevieve Amarante; Katie Aylward; Spunk and Co.:  Tara McCrystal and Jillian Grunnah . Advanced Purchase $12, at the door $15.

Later that night at 10:00 p.m. folks can let loose with “Shake the Room” showing the works of Elizabeth Hallet.  The Church turns into a dance party with KaleidoDance performing a high energy, audience engaging dance and music performance. As the performance progresses the line between the performers and the audience blurs until everyone is dancing. Tickets are $16 in advance or $20 at the door.

A special performance at the Stone Church on Sunday at 6 closes out the Festival featuring Chaos Theory Dance directed by Billbob Brown and special guests, Felice Wolfzahn, Sharp Dance Company and Ernest ‘E’knock’ Phillips from TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Purchase your ticket online to ensure seating before they sell out at http://www.southernvermontdancecompany. com. Tickets will also be on sale at the River Garden throughout the festival, July 17th – July 20th.

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