Arts and Entertainment
May 14, 2014From: Contemporary Dance Theater
Cincinnati, OH - Contemporary Dance Theater, celebrating its 41st anniversary, has not only put Cincinnati on the map nationally (for its presentation of touring artists at the Aronoff), but "CDT" has also been a staunch supporter of local performing artists since its formation in 1972. One of the dance organization's longest-running programs is a presentation of local and regional artists as its season-closer. Formerly called "Choreographers Without Companies," the Area Choreographers Festival takes place at the Aronoff Center and celebrates dance choreographers and dancers with ties to the region.
The 2014 Area Choreographers Festival celebrates a special, first-of-its-kind collaboration: Contemporary Dance Theater is partnering with its neighbor, Llanfair Retirement Community to create four of the seven festival works. The collection of works by Ka-Ron Brown Lehman, Judith Mikita, Nikki Wetter, and Steven Evans is referred to as "Chronicles" and captures the life stories of its residents through modern dance performance.
"Llanfair is excited to initiate this partnership," says Sheena Parton, Executive Director, Llanfair Retirement Community in College Hill. "At Llanfair, we don't accept the stereotypes associated with usual aging. Llanfair is a 'masterpiece living community,' where aging is a vibrant, inspired process. Participating in 'Chronicles' fits that philosophy by giving our residents the opportunities to capture, share, and see their life stories come to lifeâ€¦through dance."
Jefferson James, Artistic and Executive Director of Contemporary Dance Theater: "Chronicles reminds us of our shared humanity, [strengthening] and build[ing] the connections between people. The dance performance teaches the value[s] of listening, interpreting, and creating cultural performances that convey every life is rich in meaning."
An Area Choreographers Festival veteran, choreographer Ka-Ron Brown Lehman is the former Artistic Director at the famed Los Angeles County High School for the Arts' Dance Department. Her new work, "The Last Train," was inspired by Llanfair resident Margret Mailly's watercolor paintings. Ms. Lehman's piece reveals what happens to an elderly man who is suspended in time and allowed to re-visit missed opportunities for true love.
Another "CDT" veteran, Judith Mikita found inspiration for her work "Too Many Sad Stories" from Llanfair residents Jan Lykins, as well as Bill and Peggy Kehrer. Ms. Lykins surmounted the grief of complications with two children at birth, and the Kehrers found joy together after Bill Kehrer's service in the Korean War. Ms. Mikita's work uses projections by photographer-designer Jonathan Gibson.
Steven Evans (a first-year performer in modern dance company MamLuft&Co. Dance) makes his Cincinnati choreographic debut in "Successions," inspired by changes occurring throughout the lives of Llanfair residents' Sharon Cusick and Joyce Uetrecht.
Nikki Wetter also makes her Cincinnati debut with "Bridged." A graduate of Wright State University and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2, Ms. Wetter drew inspiration from two Llanfair residents' love stories: one about a love's beginning, and one about a love's end.
A presentation on June 8th at 1pm at the Llanfair Retirement Community will extend the experience to the residents, as well as the College Hill neighborhood.
In addition to the "Chronicles" Llanfair project choreographers, Contemporary Dance Theater also proudly presents the works of Jeri Gatch, Diane Germaine, and Leslie Dworkin, who are all Area Choreographers Festival "repeats."
Jeri Deckard Gatch (a teaching artist, choreographer, and arts advocate) will premiere "The Year of Dreams." Throughout a two-year process, Ms. Gatch and her collaborating artist-performers created a work minute-by-minute, month-by-month, thereby encapsulating change over the course of time. "The Year of Dreams" laces these moments together as a dream-filled night that travels through varying cycles of sleep and awareness.
Diane Germaine is a choreographer and writer originally from New York City who has won a number of choreography awards and has taught nationally and abroad. Germaine's work, "The Empty Room," finds an individual caught between an intense recognition of people actively engaged in living all around her (or in her memory), but is, yet, unable to feel or be a part of it.
Leslie Dworkin is a recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, and a dance artist and choreographer who has performed in the works of such dance luminaries as Ralph Lemon, Mauren Fleming, and Bebe Miller. Ms. Dworkin will perform "The Beast," a solo that channels the stars of silent film, articulating the immigrant's experience by portraying the grit in surviving, the pathos of loss, and the wit and charm of a hopeful outsider.
Dates & Time: Friday, June 13, 2014 and Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 8:30pm
Location: Aronoff Center for the Arts' Jarson-Kaplan Theater, 650 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Cost: $22 to $32
Tickets are available from the Aronoff Center's box office, (513) 621-ARTS (2787), or at cincinnatiarts.org.
More information about the show is available at http://cdt-dance.org/14acf. A free meet-the-artists reception will follow the Friday evening performance for a suggested donation of $5.