Massachusetts Dance Festival’s first annual statewide events will be held August 21st and 22nd at Boston Ballet, 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, and August 28th and 29th, at UMass Amherst (Totman Building) and The Fine Arts Center, Amherst. 2010 events at both sites include Saturday evening performances by eleven professional dance companies, and Sunday late afternoon performances by eleven emerging dance companies, representing genres of ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, multimedia, East Indian, and hip hop/jazz. Each presentation reveals the sheer creative power of dance – the breadth of training and talent across the Commonwealth – of physicality, technical excellence, emotional exuberance, and compelling artistry, that is certain to attract and engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Innovative choreographies of two weekends include: 1) “Marionette,” which questions the notion of “success,” reflecting the “struggle to get ahead in business, financial, and personal lives…driven by relentless social images,” choreographed by Katherine Hooper of BoSoma Dance Company, where athleticism and the “constant energy of phrasing” propels dancers ahead three steps, and back only two; 2) A dramatic selection by Contrapose Dance entitled “Sanitas,” which approaches society’s “recent obsession with cleanliness and staying free of sickness,” plummeting deeply into the human psyche … gripping audiences while challenging dancers through feats of athletic and artistic elocution; 3) Monkeyhouse dancers’ newest creation, “Against the Odds,” which “explores themes of endangerment and stagnancy,” and the enormous effort required to get “unstuck,” using a series of ‘found sound’ recordings of rain and train station buskers; 4) A multi-media celebration of the Connecticut River by Sorvino Dance Project called “Downstream,” where fluid movements are adapted to the power, stillness, and interruptions of the river, against a backdrop of Sam Pettengill’s visual artwork, and a magnetic improvisational and polyrhythmic musical landscape; 5) An energetic and uplifting piece, Mariah Steele’s “Simon & Garfunkel Suite,” which portrays a “desire to celebrate life and the human experience in all its grit and humor, dust and glory… a love of community, awe of our bodies’ vast capabilities … and a deep faith in humanity.”
Additional to dance performances are a total of 48 dance classes for adults and children in Boston, August 21st and 22nd, and in Amherst, August 28th and 29th, between the hours of 11:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on Sundays. Massachusetts master dancers, college and K-12 educators, and industry specialists cover genres of ballet, jazz, tap, modern, African, Cuban Salsa, hip hop, “inclusive dance for physically disabled dancers,” and a diverse range of innovative children’s dance classes. Specialty workshops on “dance photography,” “managing a successful cultural business,” and “healthy dancers” will also run adjacent to movement classes, offering a full spectrum of activities for all ages and levels of audience participants.
MDF’s Emcee for both Saturday nights is Massachusetts native and national jazz icon, Rebecca Parris, who will open both performances and sing two of her favorite, popular jazz standards. She is an ardent supporter of music and dance performance and education in Massachusetts, and a tireless promoter of the Massachusetts Dance Festival’s mission:
“…to revitalize dance and arts-related professions by developing partnerships with businesses, corporations, institutions and communities. Massachusetts Dance Festival believes that dance, as a major component of arts and culture, is essential to meaningful lives and healthy communities. Dance and arts education contribute to quality life in the 21st Century by providing rich education for youth and promoting cultural understanding and tolerance within diverse communities.”
Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. Discounts are available for Boston Dance Alliance Members, students, senior citizens, and groups of 10 or more. Call: (508) 429-7577 for ticket sales information. You may also pay for tickets in advance, through Pay Pal, at the Massachusetts Dance Festival web site http://massdancefestival.org.
MDF is a registered 501(C) 3 non-profit, with its 2010 summer dance festival supported by: Body Grooves, Boston Dance Alliance, Dancing Arts Center, the Dance Inn, Hot Stepz Magazine, North Shore Dance Alliance, Red Fez Restaurant, and Teddy Shoes. Senator Sonia Chang Díaz, Chair of the Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development Committee, endorses the Massachusetts Dance Festival.
This event is sponsored by UMass Amherst Music and Dance Department, American Laser Centers, and The Dance Inn.