Speaking of Dance with Virginia Johnson
A weekend of high expectations and potential grand jury announcement tension came to an end with resounding success. Nothing could have been timed better to heal the wounds that are hurting St. Louis than to have Dance Theatre of Harlem burst onto the Touhill stage and amaze the over 3,000 people that saw them.
A company that has celebrated 45 glorious years since inception and recently came back after an 8-year hiatus has been reborn and like a Phoenix, is flying high. I am glad that I waited a couple of years to bring them to St. Louis as they have matured beautifully and today can be considered, once again, a national treasure.
Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven
Each of their works highlighted a different quality of their dancing to the audience. From the neo-classical mixture of New Bach and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux to the poignant beauty of Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven and the energetic and demanding pace of Darrel Moultrie’s Vessels, the audience was taken for a ride.
Founding member and Artistic Director Virginia Johnson and her staff must be commended for the job they have done and the dancers for their talent, qualities and marvelous control of their craft.
We certainly hope that they will return sooner than later. It was a joy and one that we hope could be felt beyond the walls of the Touhill, so it could reach those in pain for the happenings in our city. How glorious would it have been for all to see how diverse Dance Theatre of Harlem truly is; a picture of what we hope America can be.
2013-2014 is coming to an end and the applause our artists were showered with during the year is now a warm memory from a successful artistic year. We are making sure all dollars and cents have been allocated properly and that the future looks even brighter.
Oklahoma City Ballet
The 7th Annual Emerson SPRING TO DANCE® FESTIVAL once again captured the audience’s imagination and the companies appearing seemed to have sensed the love St. Louis has for the event and their performances were magnificent. We discovered new friends and marveled at their creativity and now we are currently in the process of accepting applications for next year’s event which will surely continue creating a bond between the artist and the audience member.
New Dance Horizons II dancers
Throughout the year a variety of companies and styles were presented. New Dance Horizons and its new creations on our own local companies gave everyone an appreciation for the unexpected and saw the incredible improvement our local dance companies are showing. Shanghai Ballet was a delight, not only in that many of their administrative members were former dancers that I had the pleasure working with in 1986, but their new generation showed a command of technique and style that excited all. Ballet Memphis, an audience favorite in our past Spring to Dance Festivals, brought their “Wizard of Oz,” a charming production done in most simple terms that appealed to young and all. It was nice to see Steven McMahon’s work and it was a great prelude to the marvelous work of his that they brought to our SPRING TO DANCE® FESTIVAL. DIAVOLO captured the imagination of a large, excitable audience that got everything they asked for and Alvin Ailey, under new direction, showed some marvelous dancing and the paths they are searching for. What was disappointing throughout was that the number of attendees we expected were smaller than hoped for. Even Ailey, a sure fire thing, did not meet expectations. Let us hope it is simply a glitch in time and space.
Now we embark on 14-15. There will be new choreographers at New Dance Horizons III to amaze us (Roni Koresh, Kate Skarpetowska, Brian Enos). Dance Theatre of Harlem returns after an almost 20 year absence. Tango Buenos Aires, who some 8 years ago rocked our audience, is back. Aspen Santa Fe with its beauty and sophistication has been clamored to return by our audiences. Compagnie Käfig, a company out of France with dynamic dancers from Brazil, will enlighten us to the theatrical possibilities of Hip Hop. And we will finish our season once again with the 8th Annual Emerson SPRING TO DANCE® FESTIVAL, but with some new twists to wet everyone’s appetites.
So, with work behind, work ahead and some fascinating projects developing in my mind while I search for the funds to make them reality, I embark on a much need R&R. 52 years non-stop involvement in professional dance takes it toll and when you see yourself talking and arguing with yourself it is time to take a step back and recharge the batteries. So, Flor and I will spend time in Mexico assisting her family and looking at our second home and then we shall travel to Chile to be with my brother and family while taking care of the memories our parents left us with.
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Tagged Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Compagnie Kafig, dance in St. Louis, Dance St. Louis, Dance Theatre of Harlem, dancestlouis.org, Diavolo, Michael Uthoff, New Dance Horizons II, New Dance Horizons III, Shanghai Ballet, Tango Buenos Aires