âYou have to love to dance to stick to it. It gives you nothing in return, no manuscripts to put away, no paintings to display on the walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to print and sell, just that fleeting moment where you feel living. Merce Cunningham
The Bowen McCauley Dance Company closed its 25th and final season on a high at Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on Tuesday, September 14.
Nonprofit Arlington Va., Which has developed a large fan base in the DC metro area, wanted to pull out on a positive note – and judging by the public response, they didn’t disappoint.
The Silver Anniversary finale featured three world premieres, international guest artists, and live musical accompaniment. âLive music is not only a strong element of BMDC’s performances, but an integral part of our guiding philosophy,â said artistic director and choreographer Lucy Bowen McCauley.
It was to be the first public performance of any kind inside the Eisenhower Theater since the Kennedy Center went dark on March 12 last year due to the COVID-19 emergency.
McCauley and composer Erberk Eryilmaz reunite for their second collaboration with the world premiere of “Insistent music” a rhythmic and choreographic tour de force with the new composition, written especially for Lucy, and featuring eight dancers from the Company and five musicians from the Hoppa Project (Evie Chen, Bree Ahern, Korine Anne Fujiwara, Marisa Ishikawa) with Eryilmaz on piano and Turkish folk percussions. Set design, costumes and lighting by William H. Brakefield, Alicia Curtis and Martha Mountain respectively.
The second world premiere, “Imago” featured six songs by German / Croatian composer Nikola Glassl performed live by the composer’s grandson and Company pianist Nikola Paskalov with soprano Karin Paludan.
The third world premiere and American debut of guest artist Manish Chauhan from India was choreographed by Igal Perry, artistic director of Peridance Studio in New York. He was accompanied on stage by percussionist Broto Roy on the tabla, a traditional Indian instrument. Manish gained notoriety in his country with the Netflix film liberation on his life, “Yeah Ballet. âHer performance at the Kennedy Center will be included in a new movie – “Call me dancer “(Shampaine Films) – documenting his unlikely rise from the streets of Mumbai, India to the Kennedy Center stage, overcoming huge socio-economic barriers and family pressure to pursue a career in professional ballet. Its release is planned in December 2021. (Check out the movie trailer on www.callmedancer.com.)
The program began with a resumption of “Exuberant fanfare”, McCauley’s choreographed dance piece to the music of “Italian Suite ” of ‘Pulcinella ‘ and performed live by violinist Leonid Sushansky and pianist Carlos Cesar Rodriguez of the National Chamber Ensemble. The second recovery, “Three Dreams” created during COVID was a clever series of dance pieces without partnership or touch and was tuned to that of Maurice Ravel “Gaspard of the night” for piano with piano accompaniment by Paskalov.
The second guest artist, Kardelen Turkish Dance Ensemble from Washington, DC shared an authentic traditional folk dance Miniature Ensemble No.1, 5 and 6 for Turkish Folk Violin and Percussion by Eryilmaz and Evie Chen.
Over its 25 year history, the Bowen McCauley Dance Company has continued to fulfill its mission of “bringing people of all ages to the joy of dancing” not only throughout the DC metro area but also far and wide. than China, Mexico and Germany. McCauley has choreographed over 100 original pieces and provided a ready platform for outstanding dancers, musicians and guest choreographers.
In keeping with its commitment to community service, BMDC’s K-12 program has reached thousands of students through residency programs at schools in DC, Virginia, and Maryland. And BMDC is the only company in the Washington area to offer free weekly dance lessons to people with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners – âDance for PDâ. Since 2009, BMDC has served more than 800 people living with Parkinson’s disease through the program and will continue to do so. David Leventhal of Mark Morris Dance Group announced a partnership between Lucy and the Kennedy Center to continue free dance lessons for Parkinson’s disease. Earlier this year, the BMDC announced a similar partnership with the Maryland Youth Ballet and the School of Dance at George Mason University. This triad of partnerships will ensure that PD dance classes continue to be accessible throughout the DC metro area. (For more information on the free Dance for PD program, Click here.)
Between performances, Virginia State Senator Barbara A. Favola presented McCauley with a framed copy of Virginia Senate Resolution # 742 “as an expression of the Virginia Senate’s admiration for the organization’s contributions to the performing arts and cultural life in Northern Virginia.”
Jeff Malet has been the Principal Photographer of the Bowen McCauley Dance Company for over 12 years. View a slideshow of his photos from BMDC’s Silver Anniversary Finale at Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater by clicking the photo icons below.