'Different Voices' concert showcases international choreographers

The Bates Dance Festival presents its Different Voices concert on Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. in Schaeffer Theatre. Showcasing emerging artists from around the globe, the concert features new works by choreographers Kota Yamazaki of Japan, Sukarji Sriman of Java, Antonio Tavares of Cape Verde and Vincent Mantsoe of South Africa, all in residence as part of the festival’s International Visiting Artists Program. Tickets are $12/$8 (students and seniors) and may be purchased over the phone by calling 207-786- 6161.

All of the new work to be presented in the Different Voices concert is being developed by the artists while in residence at the Bates Dance Festival. The festival has developed a reputation as an initiator of authentic artistic collaborations by emphasizing its role as a dance laboratory for the development of contemporary dance works by U.S. and international artists. By providing creative residencies to emerging international and U.S. choreographers each year, the festival helps many of these artists go on to perform in nationally recognized venues. Highlighting the concert will be collaborative work by Vincent Mantsoe and renowned composer/vocalist Philip Hamilton, who is currently touring with Pat Metheny.

Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe was born in Soweto in 1971. His formative years were spent in the township during the height of the apartheid regime with little hope of a good education or career. Although he performed as a street dancer with a youth group, it was not until 1990, when he joined Moving into Dance as part of a scholarship program, that he received formal training as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Since then he has performed and taught in South Africa and abroad and has been recognized as an outstanding dancer and choreographer receiving numerous awards. In 1995, his piece Gula Matari won first prize at the First Contemporary African Dance Competition in Angola, which included a grant for a Pan African Tour.

Mantsoe was the winner of the 1996 and 1998 Independent Choreographers awards at the Recontres Choreographiques Internationales des Bagnolet (France). In 1996, he created “Sasanka” for Dance Theatre of Harlem, which premiered at the Kennedy Center. This year he was again nominated for the FNB Vita Award as most outstanding male dancer for his new work Mpheyane. Vincent is currently the assistant artistic director and resident choreographer of Moving Into Dance Company.

Philip Hamilton is a composer for dance, theater, film and television, who has been a featured artist at the Montreaux, Sans Sebastian and Montreal Jazz festivals, Brazil’s GloboFM Music Festival and Japan’s NHK Music Series. He has toured and performed with many recording artists, including Donald Fagan, Special EFX, Phoebe Snow and Ottmar Leibert. He is touring internationally as a vocalist/multi- instrumentalist with the Pat Metheny Group during the 1997-98 season. Hamilton composed the theme to the Emmy-award winning PBS series Say Brother and was the featured vocalist in the original motion picture soundtrack of Harriet the Spy. A graduate of Middlebury College, Hamilton studied with John Cage and Bobby McFerrin, among others, at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music. He has performed with John Cage, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Sukarji Sriman was born in Fediri, East Java. He began dancing at a young age and continued his studies at the Vocational High School for Traditional Performing Arts in Central Java. He majored in choreography at the Jakarta Institute for the Arts. As a choreographer, he melds contemporary dance with a Javanese court dance idiom. His work is characterized by simplicity, power and clarity, even risk. Since 1990, he has participated in many choreographic workshops, among them the American Dance Festival, Durham, N.C.; Green Meel Dance Project, Melbourne, Australia; and the Young Asian International Choreographers Workshop, Taipei, Taiwan. He has performed at various dance festivals both in Indonesia and abroad. In the summer and fall of 1997 Sukarji participated in the Triangle Arts Project, a three-month cross-cultural collaboration among Asian and American artists that traveled throughout Indonesia, Japan and the United States.

Antonio Tavares began his dancing career in the Cape Verde Islands where he was born. In 1986, he performed in Holland, France, Senegal and Macau with Mindelo Stars group. In 1991, he founded the dance groups Critcheu and Compasso Pilon, while at the same time, he did research on African dance. Also in 1991, Antonio received a scholarship from Atelier Mar in Mindelo, Cape Verde, and came to Portugal to study at the Escola de Artes e Oficios do Espectculo, where he now teaches movement. Antonio has worked with a wide range of Portuguese choreographers, composers, videographers and filmmakers.

Kota Yamazaki is a dancer and choreographer who stands at the forefront of Japanese dance. A contemporary performer, whose training includes butoh, classical ballet and modern dance, he finds his originality by focusing on the art of his own body and not in any tradition or technique. In 1977, Yamazaki entered Tenshikan (a school of butoh) and was instructed by Akira Kasai until its closing in 1979. In 1981 he began to take classical ballet lessons with the late Hirofumi Inoue. He started choreographing in 1982.

In 1989, Yamazaki was invited by Daniel Larrieu, a French contemporary choreographer who performed and taught in Yokohama, to study at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine d’Angers, France’s leading contemporary dance institution. Returning to Japan in 1990, he began to make guest appearances in Pappa Tarahumara and Kuniko Kisanuki’s works in addition to creating his own pieces. His collaboration on Kisanuki’s successful duet “Another” commanded special attention, helping to make his reputation as a choreographer. In June 1994, he was nominated as one of 19 applicants, selected from a pool of 1,800, to enter the Choreographique Internationales de Bagnolet Seine-Saint- Denis, France, and presented his recent production “Inflection.” He formed his first dance company Rosy Co. in 1995. In 1996, he created “What’s Wrong,” performed at the Theater COCOON in Tokyo. In the summer and fall of 1997, Kota participated in the Triangle Arts Project, a three-month cross-cultural collaboration among Asian and American artists, which traveled throughout Indonesia, Japan and the United States.

Kota Yamazaki and Sukarji Sriman are participating in the 1998 Bates Dance Festival as a result the 1997 Triangle Arts Project (TAP), funded by the Asian Cultural Council and the New England Foundation for the Arts. TAP was developed to build capacity for inter-cultural exchange among Asian and American artists. The Bates Dance Festival was selected as a site for a visiting team of collaborators, and this exchange significantly broadened the festivalÕs reach as a producer of new, culturally diverse work. Last fall, Laura Faure, Bates Dance Festival director, joined this team on a two-month tour of Japan and Indonesia and allowed her to identify gifted Asian artists and develop new partnerships.

In addition to its critically acclaimed mainstage performance series of 13 concerts, the festival offers two intensive training programs, one for pre professionals and one for younger dancers. For more information, or to request a brochure, call the Bates Dance Festival at 207-786-6381.

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