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HOUSTON, TX (December 5, 2005) — The 2006 Dance Salad Festival is scheduled for April 13, 14 and 15, 2006, at 7:30 pm, Wortham Center, Cullen Theater. Now celebrating the 11th anniversary season in Houston and 14th season since its inception in Brussels, Belgium, Dance Salad Festival promises another gathering of world-class performers. Famous in their own countries, the dance companies have won praise from critics and audiences everywhere they have toured. Dance Salad Festival has presented dancers, choreographers and companies from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Dancers from the following companies will perform at the 2006 Festival:

The Beijing LDTX Modern Dance Company (China) was founded in December 1995 as an independent company under the leadership of the Beijing Cultural Bureau. This company has gathered together some of the best modern dancers in China, while building a team of outstanding choreographers under the artistic management of Willy Tsao. The company has attracted attention by integrating the traditional culture of China with influences from abroad. The result is the creation of a variety of innovative modern dance works reflecting the fusion of these two elements. Husband and wife choreographers Li Han-zhong and Ma Bo created All River Red set to Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which will be presented at Dance Salad Festival. This piece was a hit in summer 2004 at Opera Bastille in Paris as well as at Washington’s Kennedy Center’s 2005 Fall Festival of China.

The Guangdong Modern Dance Company (China) is China's first professional modern dance company. Internationally renowned for its captivating performances, the company was founded in June 1992 under the auspices of the Guangdong Provincial Cultural Bureau.  Willy Tsao currently serves as general manager and artistic director and Liu Qi as executive artistic director. Works created by its dancers, resident choreographers, artistic directors and international guest artists have been staged at home and abroad.  Its performances have always met with critical acclaim and overwhelming audience responses. Sections of Liu Qi’s Upon Calligraphy will be presented to audiences at Dance Salad Festival set to the music of Li Chin Sung. The sections As the Form of Official Script and As the Form of Regular Script illustrate the ancient art of calligraphy as expressed through the art of modern dance. This work was presented at the Kennedy Center’s Festival of China in October 2005.

The Dutch National Ballet (Netherlands) is the largest dance company in the Netherlands, with nearly 80 dancers. It is an international troupe with many dancers who have come from other prestigious companies. Ex-dancer Ted Brandsen became assistant artistic director and resident choreographer in 2001 and was named director in 2003. Choreographer David Dawson will present Morning Ground, with music by Frédéric Chopin, a US premiere with the original Dutch National Ballet dancers, at the 2006 festival. He has presented two US premieres in previous Dance Salad Festivals. The company will also perform Before/After by choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa set to music by Marc van Roon, also a US premiere, and the section entitled The Man I Love from Who Cares? by George Balanchine (©The George Balanchine Trust) to the music of George Gershwin (orchestrated by Hershey Kay). Additionally there will be two short films by dancer Altin Kaftira, To the Point and Intimacy. This will be the third appearance by the Dutch National Ballet at Dance Salad Festival, the only organization to bring this prestigious company to the United States in the last 20 years.

Béjart Ballet Lausanne (Switzerland) Maurice Béjart, born in Marseilles in 1927, trained as a classical dancer before touring with the International Ballet in London. His dance company, The Ballet of the 20th Century in Brussels, Belgium, was renamed Béjart Ballet Lausanne when the company moved to Switzerland in 1987. When he founded his Brussels company in 1960, his daring blend of a classical vocabulary with his own totally new style was nothing short of revolutionary. He expected more than mere technique from his dancers; he wanted them to have a broad appreciation of theater, the arts and Eastern cultures. His La Barre, will be performed by William Pedro, set to Tritsch Tratsch, a polka by Johann Strauss. This exciting work is a US premiere.

Texas Ballet Theater (Dallas/Ft. Worth) is the second largest professional dance company in the state; it performs to well over 100,000 people each year. This season, the Ballet will employ 30 professional dancers and produce 50 performances in Fort Worth and Dallas. Ben Stevenson, former artistic director of Houston Ballet, joined the company as its new director in 2002. His Vivaldi Pas de Deux, performed to the Winter section of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, will be featured at Dance Salad. Stevenson choreographed it for the Sadlers Wells Theater in London in 1983 as part of a fundraising benefit under the patronage of Princess Margaret to save the theater threatened with closure.

Royal Danish Ballet (Denmark) Performing in the Royal Danish Theatre, established in 1756, the company has been delighting audiences for centuries and boasts one of the oldest ballet schools in Europe. With this season's breathtaking repertoire featured in three new stages, the Royal Danish is living proof that modern dance and classical ballet can draw mutual inspiration. The company is under the artistic direction of Frank Andersen. A US premiere, Les Bras de Mer, performed by two principal dancers will be presented at Dance Salad Festival with choreography by Petr Zuska (director of Prague National Ballet) and music by Yann Tiersen.

Danish Dance Theater (Denmark) Established in 1981, Tim Rushton took over the artistic leadership in 2001. The Danish Dance Theatre is one of the major forces in contemporary dance in Denmark. The company has gained an international presence and enjoyed acclaim throughout Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East. The gap between contemporary and classical dance is the signature of Tim Rushton and the company.  Rushton has been a dancer and choreographer in Denmark for the last 18 years. He ended his career as a dancer at The Royal Danish Ballet in order to focus on his choreography. Rushton will present sections from his work, Silent Steps, with music by Bach, also a US premiere.

Trey McIntyre Project (Florida) Trey McIntyre began his career at Houston Ballet under the artistic direction of Ben Stevenson in 1987. McIntyre has since choreographed works for companies both American and foreign, including American Ballet Theatre, Stuttgart Ballet, and Ballet de Santiago. His most recent accomplishment is the founding of his own company that rehearses at the White Oak Plantation in Yulee, FL, home of Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project. Dancers from Ballet Memphis, where McIntyre held the title of Resident Choreographer, will perform Chasing Squirrel, with music by the Kronos Quartet. This piece pairs a leggy Latin lady on pointe with men in red zoot suits in a dancehall scene.

Göteborgs Operans Balett (Sweden) The second largest ballet company in Sweden has a diversified repertoire designed to attract a wide and varied audience. The Ballet thrives under the new artistic direction of Kevin Irving. Renowned American choreographer Nicolo Fonte has created a full-length ballet, Re: Tchaikovsky, sections of which will be presented at Dance Salad; called Re: Tchaikovsky Suite, it’s a US premiere. Fonte used Tchaikovsky’s letters and diaries to add new dimensions to our image of the man and the composer.

Ballett der Staatsoper Hannover/Thoss-Tanz Kompanie (Germany) German choreographer Stephan Thoss will present two original works at Dance Salad, which will also be US premieres. Thundering Silence with music by Antonio Vivaldi and Alessandro Marcello will be performed at the festival along with a section of the imaginative Unter dem Hundsstern, which will be danced to music by Laurent Petitgand. Thoss, formerly with the Kiel Ballet, has created fascinating large-scale works such as Giselle M. with his Hannover company. The shorter works coming to Dance Salad Festival show him at his most intense and intriguing.

Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE (New York) Praised by The New York Times as “one of the most profound choreographers of his modern dance generation”, Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE blends African, modern, ballet and hip-hop dance styles to tell stories about the human experience. He shares various perspectives on life through modern dance, theater and kinetic storytelling. Brown’s work says through the body what cannot be said in words. From the complete work, Come Ye, choreographed by Brown, sections entitled Revolution and Amen will be performed at Dance Salad to music by Nina Simone and Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Or just to put it all in one salad bowl of quick statistics: 7 new companies to Dance Salad Festival this year; 8 US premieres; 11 dance companies represented with 73 dancers; 13 different choreographers doing 14 choreographic works…all in three days!

Dance Salad Festival is a curated international production with performances by companies in the United States and around the world chosen solely for their excellence, an event that can be seen only in Houston.

Classical, modern and contemporary dance share the Dance Salad stage to form a magnificent mélange of styles and traditions. Members of some of the most respected dance companies world-wide come to Houston to participate in the Festival which also includes a full week of education and outreach activities culminating in three nights of performance. Each night’s production is different yet is designed as a coherent, expressive performance which interweaves with the others to create a compelling whole. Many of the pieces are performed twice in the three-day format.

This multicultural presentation has received international recognition for its quality and innovativeness and has consistently been a source of cultural pride for many foreign communities that are represented in Dance Salad Festival. Community outreach programs include lectures, demonstrations and exhibits. The Festival also invites students from across Texas and the Mexican border to participate in a Master Class Series and lectures presented by the internationally acclaimed artists. The involvement of the artists in the community serves as an introduction to the various countries and cultures, thus fostering understanding and mutual respect. Houston’s Consular Corps is a community partner and many members serve as sponsors and hosts. Director Nancy Henderek strongly believes that through the arts we can build bridges between contrasting cultures.

Dance Salad Festival has been praised by local, national and international publications. Dance Magazine said: “Producer Nancy Henderek’s eye for some of the best international dance is unparalleled….(Dance Salad) could wind up as the premier contemporary dance festival between the East and West coasts.” In a recent special section of The Houston Chronicle entitled “Houston’s Ultimate People,” Nancy Henderek is described as a “one-woman United Nations.”

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Media Contact:
Julie Lambert
713.355.9011 (off)
713.294.9034 (cel)