Michael’s Travels

Michael’s travels, a bit like Gulliver’s travels, have taken me through highways and airports in search of the dance we cherish.

A few weeks ago I drove to Chicago to view an exciting performance of three major works from my favorite living choreographer, Jiri Kylian, danced by Hubbard Street. It was an exciting evening of fabulous dance showcasing three different periods of the artist’s creative life. One could settle for one or the other and be marveled that it came from the same individual. It is nice to see our choreographers evolve, to see the growth at Hubbard, and to know how our audiences have clamored for them. I am hoping to have them be part of our 50th anniversary season.

I was also fortunate enough to catch a performance of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre from Taiwan, a company that captures images that haunt the soul and mind. They have been on my radar for years and somehow our paths have never crossed. The performance was a major theatrical achievement that required incredible concentration and commitment from the dancers as well as the audience, who, once the piece concluded left the theatre feeling special.

Back in St. Louis I saw the birth of Dawn Karlovsky’s new company, a valiant effort that needs to be supported and encouraged as she is a gifted performer with creative ideas. As a young enterprise it gave us good first steps and I look forward to seeing how she is able to convey her own dancing qualities and vision to her dancers to build a solid company.

Rushing back and forth, I packed again and flew to Miami where I represented Webster University in a recruiting effort but also searched for companies of the region to come to Dance St. Louis’ SPRING TO DANCE® FESTIVAL. It was an exhausting weekend as the festival had over 1,200 high school students from all over the country participating and thirsting for knowledge. I was honored to be asked to give a lecture, with my friend and colleague Daniel Lewis, on the legacy of Martha Hill, founder and developer of the Juilliard School of Music Dance Department and teach two ballet master classes. I was thrilled with the process and delighted to perhaps have given something to the students who amazed everyone with their talent. I am glad I am not a dancer today. Wow, such talent. I was also able to see two interesting groups that will surely be presented to you before too long, Dance Now Miami and Ballet Flamenco La Rosa. Yet the highlight of the performance was the dancing of two former students of New World School of the Arts and present members of the Martha Graham Dance Company, Masha Dashkina Maddux and Lloyd Knight. Those of you who attended the Graham company’s performance in St. Louis saw them dance. They have matured to become truly magnificent artists.

So, the quest and search for dance continues. As I discover and am thrilled, I plan to bring them to you. Life is good.

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