Bates Dance Festival presents site-specific performance

Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Photo by Bethanie Hines.

The Bates Dance Festival, northern New England’s leading contemporary dance producing and training program, presents a double bill featuring Different Voices, an evening of works by international and U.S. artists presented in Schaeffer Theatre, and The Atrium Project, a site-specific performance in the Perry Atrium, Pettengill Hall, 4 Andrews Road.

The double bill begins in Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College Street, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, and Friday, Aug. 15. Immediately following the conclusion of Different Voices, audience members will be guided to the nearby Pettengill Hall for The Atrium Project.

The annual Different Voices concert showcases new works by acclaimed international choreographers and gifted emerging artists. The evening includes Lifting I, a humorous, multi–layered new work by Cuba’s pre-eminent contemporary choreographer, Marianela Boan. Her dance/theater works about the harsh contemporary conflicts of her native Cuba have toured to more than 40 countries.

Spoken-word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph performs Words Are Flesh, which examines through poetry and movement the exploitation of the black male body. A two-time San Francisco Poetry Grand Slam winner, Bamuthi entered the literary performance world after working as a choreographer in traditional theater, most notably on Broadway in the Tony award-winning The Tap Dance Kid.

Emerging choreographer Chris Elam, whose company Misnomer Dance Theater has performed in more than 40 theaters internationally, presents a brand-new quintet. Alejandro Vera Avalos and Adriana León Arana of the acclaimed Folkloric Dance Company of the University of Colima, Mexico, present a duet that blends contemporary and folkloric dance traditions. Completing the program will be new works by artist from Indonesia, Vietnam and the United States.

With the presentation of The Atrium Project in Pettengill Hall, renowned site choreographer Stephan Koplowitz and award-winning composer and cellist Robert Een will transform the 8,000-square-foot Perry Atrium in a unique site-specific event. This collaboration of 50 dancers, singers and musicians will give audiences a chance to explore the three-story atrium from within and without. Simultaneous performances, all created in response to the design of the atrium space, will provide new meaning and context to this distinct architectural site.

Director/choreographer Koplowitz has developed an international reputation for creating large-scale, site-specific multimedia works in architecturally significant urban locations. He was awarded a 2000 “Bessie” (New York Dance and Performance Award) for sustained achievement in choreography. Since 1984 he has created 45 works (32 of them commissions) for sites, the concert stage and film. His site-works have been seen throughout the United States, from New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, Lincoln Center and Bryant Park to settings in Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Among Koplowitz’s European pieces are commissions by the Dance Umbrella Festival at London’s Natural History Museum and the British Library.

Een is an acclaimed composer, singer and cellist. The recipient of a 1998 “Bessie” for music composition and in 2000 for sustained achievement, Een has performed at locations worldwide, including the Buddhist caves of Ellora, India; a theater above the Arctic Circle in Bodo, Norway; and a Shinto shrine in Tsurugi, Japan, as well as at Lincoln Center and the Knitting Factory in New York City.

Known for his use of extended vocal and cello techniques, Een has written extensively for film, television, dance and theater, and has recorded seven albums of his compositions, including Mystery Dances, Fertile Fields and Your Life is Not Your Own.

Een’s film scores include Mr. Jealousy, Trouble on the Corner and The Rook. His music for dance and theater can be heard in the repertories of Liz Lerman, David Dorfman, Sara Pearson/Patrik Widrig, Jennifer Muller and Yin Mei. His long association with Meredith Monk culminated in the creation of their duet, Facing North.

For more information, or to request a brochure, contact the Bates Dance Festival at 207-786-6381, or e-mail.

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