Three outstanding dance companies will light up the PS21 stage in August. On the calendar are Take Dance, The Vanaver Caravan and Parsons Dance. The PS21 2012 dance program is made possible in part with funding from the Hudson River Bank and Trust Company Foundation.
Take DanceTAKE Dance returns to PS21 Friday and Saturday, August 10 and 11 with the world premiere of a new work created especially for PS21, along with two other expressive and distinctive pieces. This contemporary dance ensemble will perform at 8:00 pm under The Tent at PS21, located at 2980 Route 66 in the Town of Chatham. Admission is $30 non-members, $25 members, and $18 students. Please call 518.392.6121 or visit www.ps21chatham.org. Tickets will also be available at the door until the show sells out.
Led by Japanese native, Juilliard graduate and Paul Taylor Dance Company alum Takehiro Ueyama, Take Dance blends eastern and western sensibilities to communicate the universal human condition. Take Dance is known for bringing a unique depth and fulfilling experience to audiences through diverse movement, musical choices, subject matter and artistic partnerships.
The Friday and Saturday shows will include three pieces: “Salaryman,” “Distance of the Moon,” and the premiere of a yet to be named work made especially for PS21.
The full-evening work “Salaryman” explores the life of the Japanese white-collar businessman through a series of vignettes.” For our performance at Chatham, we will be doing excerpts from “Salaryman,” including a section called “Missing,” explained dancer, choreographer and assistant director Jill Echo. “In the two years the company has been performing the piece, this section has completely changed in terms of costuming, music and choreography, while still retaining the original concept.”
The idea for the premiere work originated with PS21 President Judy Grunberg’s request that Take choreograph to Handel Suite composed by George Frideric Handel. “Take is very excited about this,” explained Echo. “He plans to use his creative residency at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center to work on the piece with his dancers, in nature, and no other interruptions.”The final work of the evening, “Distance of the Moon,” is inspired by the short story “The Distance of the Moon” from Italo Calvino’s phantasmagorical 1965 book “Cosmicomics.” The story depicts a time before history when the Earth was so close to the Moon that people could climb ladders and jump onto the Moon’s surface. “Distance of the Moon” includes a group section with music by Darcy Argue and choreography by Kile Hotchkiss, and two duets choreographed by Take to music by Philip Glass.
Take Dance Company will be at PS21 Friday and Saturday, August 10 and 11, at 8:00pm. Admission is $30 non-members, $25 members, and $18 students. Please call 518.392.6121 or visit www.ps21chatham.org. Tickets will also be available at the door until the show sells out.
Hudson Valley based The Vanaver Caravan presents “Pastures of Plenty,” a tribute to balladeer Woody Guthrie Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19. This full concert work combines music, song and dance inspired by Guthrie, the father of the American folksong revival. The Saturday performance begins at 8:00 pm at The Tent at PS21 in Chatham, NY. Sunday’s show is a matinee, beginning at 2:00 pm. The Vanaver Caravan will also offer a three-day Swing Dance workshop August 15-17, and a Youth Workshop August 19.
The Vanaver Caravan is known throughout the United States and Europe for their rousing interpretations of folk music and dance. In “Pastures of Plenty” they animate Woody Guthrie’s songs, such as “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Union Maid,” “Talking Dustbowl Blues,” “Deportee,” “Peace Pin Boogie,” and “This Land is Your Land,” with fresh interpretations and mesmerizing showmanship. This year is the 100th anniversary of Guthrie’s birth, and PS21 is proud to be part of the nation-wide celebration of the Woody Guthrie Centennial (http://www.woody100.com).
“We hitch a ride with Woody, ‘from California to the New York island,’ from the Dust bowl to the California orchards, from the miners’ shanteys to the outlaws’ trail,” said Livia Vanaver, who, with her husband Bill created “Pastures of Plenty.” “We hear the instruments and musical styles of Woody’s America: ‘Old Timey’ and Bluegrass banjo; Carter Family style autoharp and harmonies; Southern, Western, and New England style fiddling; along with Leadbelly’s 12-string guitar style.”
Wednesday-Friday, August 15-17 Nathan Pugh of The Vanaver Caravan will teach a series of three lively swing dance classes from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. This class is perfect for teens planning to participate in the Youth Workshop.
Sunday, August 19 teens 14 to 18 are invited to participate in The Vanaver Caravan’s Youth Workshop. Dancers and musicians from The Vanaver Caravan will help teens discover the music of Woody Guthrie. Workshop participants are invited to bring their own lunch and have a picnic on the grounds following the workshop and then stay for the 2:00 pm performance of “Pastures of Plenty.”
Tickets for The Vanaver Caravan are available by calling 518.392.6121 or online at ps21chatham.org. Tickets will also be available at the door until the show sells out.
Pastures of Plenty
Saturday, August 18 at 8:00 pm $25/$20 members/$15 students
Sunday, August 19 at 2:00 pm $25/$20 members/$12 students
Swing Dance Workshop
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, August 15, 16 & 17, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
$15 for one session or $40/$35 members for the series of three
Sunday, August 19, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
$12 ($20 includes admission to “Pastures of Plenty” 2:00 pm performance.
Rounding out the 100-year celebration of Woody Guthrie’s birthday, PS21 presents a free screening of the film “Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin’” Tuesday, August 14 at 8:00 pm. This documentary is a warmhearted tribute to Guthrie whose songs “galvanized organizers and guitar-pickers across the United States.” (New York Times) Guthrie’s son Arlo collects reminiscences from Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Jack Elliott, Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger and many more. This film will be introduced by Frank Farnham, adj. professor of communications at FIT, NYC.
The Vanaver Caravan was founded in 1972 by musician/composer Bill Vanaver and dancer/choreographer Livia Drapkin Vanaver. Their down-home, high-spirited performances have been presented throughout the U.S., Europe and North Africa. Bill Vanaver is known for his work with folk instruments, for his vast knowledge of traditional song and musical styles, and as “World Dance and Music” professor at Bard and Skidmore Colleges. Livia Drapkin collects and performs traditional dance and music from many cultures, as well as her own original work, and she is committed to creating community through the vehicle of dance.
This project has been supported by a grant from the Fund for Columbia County, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, as well as a grant from the Hudson River Bank and Trust Company Foundation. Special thanks to Jeanne and David Laskin and Main Care Energy for their support of this event.
Excitement is in the air as Parsons Dance returns to Chatham for the seventh consecutive season. David Parsons, one of modern dance’s great living dance-makers, returns with his company Friday and Saturday, August 31 and September 1 at 8:00pm with performances to include two new works, “Round My World” and “A Stray’s Lullaby,” as well as several others. A Master Dance Class Workshop will be held Saturday, August 31.
Parsons Dance just completed its most successful season ever: two weeks at the Joyce Theater with six sold out performances, international touring to Brazil, Chile and Italy, and extensive national tours. “The dancers were incredible, performing with technical precision, athleticism and passion,” said Elizabeth Koeppen, Associate Artistic Director. And yet, after thunderous applause and international accolades, the company looks forward to its one week each year when they return to the Tent. “It’s such an honor to be coming for our seventh season to PS21. It feels like a second home to us.”
Both “Round My World” and “A Stray’s Lullaby” premiered in January of this year at The Joyce in New York CIty, one of the country’s premiere performance venues for dance. Of these premieres, Joseph Samuel Wright of theeasy.com said, “Bringing all the hope, romance, and fun that makes David Parsons’ movement such a joy to watch,” thenewyorkmom.com proclaimed, “This work was nothing short of simply stunning,” and Joel Benjamin of theaterscene.net wrote, “Parsons Dance has beauty, sensuality and some terrific choreography. “
Following the premier of “Round My World” at the Joyce in January of this year, David Parsons explained its meaning by saying, “It was really just about the shape of the circle and the world. It was really simple in its concept but I think it really touched people… There is really just something about the connectedness of the world now… Just two generations ago people would stay in their own situation, but now with the global communication, it’s all changed.”
“A Stray’s Lullaby” is a collaborative work of choreographer Katarzyna Skarpetowska and composer Kenji Bunch, whose working relationship dates back to their years at The Juilliard School. “A Stray’s Lullaby” is an intimate work set for four dancers who portray down and out characters on the margin of society. Their journey is a personal one and presented without comment, yet it is clear they are on a quest for salvation. Their stories are the rich and wise examples of our own vulnerable natures.The piece offers no clear solution, it only opens a window on the way we face our private demons and how we strive to improve our human condition.
The program will also include an excerpt of “Step Into My Dream,” which is new to PS21. This piece is dedicated to the honor and memory of Dr. Billy Taylor, a great artist and friend of David Parsons. Rounding out the program will be “Kind of Blue,” “Caught,” and “Swing Shift.”
Parsons Dance Master Class will take place on Saturday, August 31 from 11am to 12:30 pm. This workshop, taught by a Company member, is for experienced dancers and will focus on the contemporary style and movement of Parsons Dance.
David Parsons has enjoyed a remarkable career as dance performer, choreographer, teacher, director and producer. Born in Chicago and raised in Kansas City, he was a leading dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1978–87. In 1985, he founded Parsons Dance with lighting designer Howell Binkley. As artistic director, Parsons has created more than 70 works for the company, given more than 1,500 performances and participated in many educational and community outreach residency activities.
Parsons Dance will perform Friday and Saturday, August 31 and September 1 at 8:00 pm. Admission is $40 general admission, $35 members and $25 students. For information or to order tickets, please call 518.392.6121 or visit ps21chatham.org. Tickets will also be available at the door until the show sells out.
PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century is a not-for-profit organization in Chatham, NY, dedicated to the performing arts and to serving a diverse community with concerts, programs and residencies by professional artists and ensembles, youth and children’s programming and cultural education opportunities for all ages.