2009 DANCE SALAD FESTIVAL
QUALITY INTERNATIONAL DANCE
HOUSTON, TX (December 2008) - The
next Dance Salad Festival performances are scheduled for April
9, 10 and 11 at 7:30 pm at the Wortham Center, Cullen Theater.
Now celebrating the 14th anniversary season in Houston and the
17th 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 wherever they have toured. For the latest
information on the upcoming season and photos of the dancers, visit www.dancesalad.org.
Dancers and Artists from the following companies
have been confirmed for the 2009 Festival:
National Ballet (London, England), England’s
foremost touring ballet company, will present David
Dawson’s new version of A
Million Kisses to My Skin. This remarkable piece
is one of Dawson’s milestone works.
His distinctive style, based on an abstract and dashing line of
dance, is tuned to the cascade of notes from J .S. Bach’s
Keyboard Concerto No.1 in D minor. Dawson is admired for his skill
in creating stunning stage patterns. The Times of London’s
Debra Craine writes, “Dawson’s off-kilter virtuosity
sends sparks flying through the ensemble as if determined to knock
them all off their perch.”
The English National Ballet is “a flagship company for the
nation” with a highly international profile of 67 dancers.
Another wonderful presentation by this renowned company for Dance
Salad Festival, is the intensely emotional Trois
Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen, set to music by Erik Satie.
Hans van Manen’s work -- now more than one hundred pieces
-- is known for its clear structure and sophisticated simplicity.
His piece is accompanied by live piano music.
Ek (Stockholm, Sweden), This highly original,
award-winning Swedish artist is one of the most talented and
sought-after choreographers and theater directors today. With
more than 40 years of experience working on stages around the
world, Mats Ek is known for his challenging and often provocative
reinterpretations of many of the classical ballets.
In a Premiere
for Houston, his heartfelt piece, Memory, will be performed
by the choreographer himself and the internationally admired
dancer, Ana Laguna, his wife and muse. This delicately evocative
piece is a reflection on midlife sensuality: a man remembers
a woman, the memory brings her on stage and the past becomes the
present. Ana Laguna will also perform O Sole
Mio, an exuberant
piece by Mats Ek, set to music by Di Capua with lyrics by Capurno
to the voice of Luciano Pavarotti. Ek will also be featured in
the Choreographers’ Forum, in collaboration with the Museum
of Fine Arts, Houston on April 8. (See below.)
Royal Swedish Ballet (Stockholm, Sweden), presents
Apartment, yet another outstanding choreography
Ek, a piece
in the repertoire of both the home company and the touring group,
Stockholm 59°N. Apartment suggests
both a living space and the word's association with separation
and isolation. The choreography also has a warm touch of humor
and very expressive accents, found in all of Mats Ek’s work.
The ballet is set to the music of the Swedish rock band, Fleshquartet,
which fuses classical, jazz, pop, and rap. The Royal Swedish Ballet
is one of the oldest ballet companies in Europe. Founded by Gustav
III in 1771, it has continued to thrive as a central part of cultural
life of Stockholm. The company developed under the influence of
French, Italian, and Russian choreographers and is now under the
artistic direction of Marc Ribaud. Stockholm 59°N, made up
of young dancers and soloists from the main company, was created
in 1997. After their success at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival,
the company has continued to perform in Sweden and abroad to enthusiastic
Royal Danish Ballet (Copenhagen, Denmark) makes
another welcome appearance at the Dance Salad Festival with
their US premiere of Lost on SLOW choreographed by the Finnish-born
Jorma Elo, set to music by Antonio Vivaldi. Like most of Elo’s
high-energy dances, famous for their whip-smart combinations, this
piece shows his virtuoso physicality and slicing, off-kilter movements.
Dance Magazine's Gunild Pak Symes (June, 2008) writes about this
piece, “Voguing with geometric sharpness and quick isolation
of body parts, the dancers went through a tempest of inane arbitrary
gestures, tightly woven motifs, and doll-like maneuvers… It
was a sophisticated, macabre dialogue of tongue-in-cheek mime/modern
dance and human puppetry.”
In the 19th century, the Royal
Danish Ballet was home to the great choreographer, August Bournonville.
One hundred and thirty years after his death, the company's prestige
in the Bournonville repertoire, and more recently in the modern
rep, is supreme. Now under the artistic direction of former New
York City Ballet principal dancer Nikolaj Hubbe, the company is
living proof that modern dance and classical ballet can draw mutual
Semper Oper Ballet (Dresden, Germany). Dance Salad
Festival is presenting the US premiere of one of the leading dance
companies in Europe today. Dancers from this company will perform
William Forsythe’s masterpiece, Steptext. An
American who has worked mostly in Germany for the last 30 years,
Forsythe has pushed to the extreme his deconstruction of the classical
ballet vocabulary, turning it into a dynamic contemporary art form.
Steptext is an excellent example of Forsythe’s style, with
its abrasive energy of Western postmodern visual art as well as
its dramatic and provocative elements. Set to J.S. Bach's Chaconne from his Partita
in D for solo violin, the dance was created in
1985 and continues to retain its impact today.
piece performed by Dresden SemperOper Ballet is On
the Nature of Daylight created by the company’s resident
choreographer, David Dawson, with music by Max Richter. This second
work presented in Dance Salad Festival by David
Dawson is about
the nature of true love. He seems to be asking: how are we to find
our ideal partner? By chance or by choice? And what happens if
we simply fail to meet up with the right person? Dresden SemperOper
Ballet offers 70 performances of the highest standard each season
at the Semperoper, one of the world's great historic opera houses.
With 60 dancers of international reputation, the company is striving
to broaden the perspective of dance by merging classical and contemporary
Forsythe (Frankfurt/Dresden, Germany) Dance
Salad Festival is thrilled to have a world premiere
by the world renowned inventive choreographer, William Forsythe,
called Two Part Invention, made especially
for the dancer Noah D. Gelber for presenting in the Dance Salad
Festival. (Notes about this extraordinary choreographer can
be found above). Forsythe made this solo with music by his
long term music collaborator, Thom Willems for US-born dancer, Noah
Noah has performed in The Forsythe Company and is also known
as a rising choreographer with his own pieces presented in
New York, Montreal, and for the Kirov Ballet in Russia. He
also works as an independent rehearsal coach for Forsythe ballets
in major international cities – in 2004, Gelber set The
Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude on the Kirov Ballet.
Gillot and Kader Belarbi, Ballet
de l'Opéra National
de Paris, (France) will be performing l'Esprit
a section from Carolyn Carlson’s Signes composed by Rene Aubry. Also, Marie-Agnès will be
dancing with Jirí Bubenicek in his choreography, Rencontre.
Bubenicek has recently been asked to choreograph a piece on New
York City Ballet dancers. Currently a principal dancer with Dresden
SemperOper Ballet, he has spent most of his career as a principal
with the Hamburg Ballet.
Marie-Agnès Gillot, Etoile (the ultimate accolade for a
dancer in the company), began her studies at the Paris Opera Ballet
School in 1985, immediately starting at the highest level. She
completed all her studies and enrolled in the corps de ballet in
1990, at the age of 15. Only nine years later she was promoted
to Première Danseuse, and after the performance of Carolyn
Carlson's Signes in 2004, Marie-Agnès Gillot was promoted
to Etoile. She is a recipient of Prix du Cercle Carpeaux in 1997,
the Prix du Public awarded by l'AROP, and the title of Chevalier
des Arts et Lettres. Marie-Agnès Gillot’s dance repertoire
includes choreographies by Balanchine, Duato, Bausch, Preljocaj,
Nureyev, Forsythe, Neumeier, Béjart, Kylián and MacMillan.
Both Marie-Agnès Gillot and Kader Belarbi have also worked
with Mats Ek in La Maison de Bernarda, Giselle and Apartment.
Belarbi, well known French-Algerian dancer in the Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris, was promoted to Etoile by
Rudolf Nureyev in 1989. He was featured in works by such choreographers
as Balanchine, Béjart, Forsythe, Kylián, Nureyev,
Bausch, and Carlson. After 28 years of dancing, he will continue
his work as a choreographer for Ballet de l'Opéra National
de Paris as well as other companies worldwide.
an American born choreographer, became a star choreographer of
the Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris in 1974
where she also ran the opera house’s theatre research group.
Carlson created more than 25 works between 1974 and 1980 and has
also founded a contemporary-dance academy and a festival. In 1999,
she established the Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson with backing
from the City of Paris. It quickly became a leading facility for
the professional training of dancers and for supporting the creation
of new work. Since 2004, Carolyn Carlson has been Artistic Director
of the National Choreography Centre in Roubaix, northern France.
In 2006 she received the first Golden Lion ever awarded to a choreographer
by the Venice Biennale.
Operans Ballet (Gothenburg, Sweden), one of
Sweden’s two major dance companies, will present
a pas de deux from Kenneth Kvarnstrom’s OreloB, set to music
by rock musician Jukka Rintamaki, and with costumes by the Swedish
fashion designer Helena Horstedt. OreloB is Kenneth Kvarnström’s
first creation after leaving Dansens Hus, in Stockholm, as Artistic
Director. This piece was recently created as part of the triple
bill, 3 x Boléro, for Goteborgs Operans Ballet in April
2008. A sensual and sculptural piece, it unfolds as the rhythms
build up and the bodies unite in a driving musicality. Goteborgs-Posten
(April 2008) writes, “Technically advanced, absorbing dance
with amazing corporeality.”
With a solid foundation in the
classical tradition, Goteborgs Operans Ballet holds a place of
its own in the ballet of the 21st century. Touring in Sweden and
abroad, the company brings a unique mix of contemporary classics
and new work from the brightest, most promising young choreographers.
The company thrives under the new artistic direction of Johannes
Blanche (Bergen, Norway) is premiering in the
United States with a choreographic work by Hofesh
widely praised Uprising, set to Schecter’s
own originally composed musical score. The Norwegian National Contemporary
Dance Company, Carte Blanche has made a mark for itself as a leading
company with a growing reputation on the international dance scene.
Its very diverse repertoire includes a broad range of choreography
by both young and established choreographers from around the world.
Under its newly appointed Artistic Director, Bruno Heynderickx,
Carte Blanche is striving to expand its artistic identity and international
The New York Times refers to Hofesh Schechter “as one of
the most inventive choreographic voices to turn up in quite a while.” He
comes from Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company where he worked
with Artistic Director and choreographer Ohad Naharin. Schechter’s
passion for creating experimental music with a focus on drums and
percussion is apparent in his dynamic and ever-popular Uprising created for seven male dancers. The press has quoted that his choreography
is an “intriguing, eminently watchable magpie-mix of styles
Liang is a well known contemporary dancer from
China where he was educated in the famous Beijing Academy of Dance.
He is currently a Resident Artist with City Contemporary Dance
Company in Hong Kong. Xing Liang is described by the LA Times as: “…a
star dancer of inexhaustible energy and fabulous pliancy (Aug.,
2004). Liang is a winner of numerous international and national
major awards, including the Gold Award in the Male Solo Class at
the 6th Paris International Dance Competition in 1994 and the Gold
Award in the Modern Dance Section at the 8th Paris International
Dance Competition, 1998. Liang’s extraordinary talent as
a choreographer and dancer is recognized worldwide. He was invited
to participate in the International Choreographers Residency Program
in the American Dance Festival in 1996, in the Holland Dance Festival,
2001 and in the Hong Kong Modern Dance Festival, 1999. Xing Liang
is performing his own solo, Existence, set to music by Arvo Part.
Xing Liang has been assisted in this piece of choreography by Willy
Tsao, who is the Executive Director of CCDC, Hong Kong.
Larbi Cherkaoui/Toneelhuis Theatre (Antwerp, Belgium),
will present From Origine & Myth, inspired by work from two
of Cherkaoui's recent choreographies, Myth
(2007) and Origine (2008),
with live music by members of Ensemble Micrologus, an Italian Medieval
and Renaissance instrumental and vocal group. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
is a respected name on the European contemporary dance scene. This
Moroccan-Flemish dancer and choreographer is renowned for creating
dazzling and emotionally wrought storybooks in motion. His choreography
is rich with evocative symbolism, multicultural references and
diversity of dance styles and theatrical genres. Italian medieval
music and folk songs play a significant influence in Sidi Larbi’s
creations, such as the recent, and already highly praised production
Myth, which creates a visualization of Japanese Manga, tarot, numerous
Western mythological sources and archetypes.
Similarly, Origine is also a profound work of dance art. Karthika Naïr, Mr.
Cherkaoui's project manager, wrote in Danza Ballet, “So
while Origine explores the wellsprings of civilization, and associated
paradigms, it is also intensely, almost painfully, topical – sharply
underscoring the solitude of 21st century existence,” (January,
2008). Luisa Moffett from The Bulletin (Brussels, Belgium) says, “…Cherkaoui
want[s] to remind us that we are, after all, inhabitants of one
and the same planet with more that unites than divides us.” These
two pieces are produced by Het Toneelhuis, an Antwerp-based theater
collective where Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is an associate artist, and
accompanied live by the polyphonic singing of Patrizia Bovi and
her Ensemble Micrologus from Italy. This renowned musical group
has been exposing world wide audiences since 1984, to Italian medieval
music, and reconstructing ancient instruments, wardrobe, and scenery
of the 12th to 16th centuries.
A Conversation, Wednesday, April 8, at the Museum of Fine
Arts, Houston, 6:30 pm,
a special opportunity to glimpse the creative process from
some of the Festival's invited choreographers, to hear their
points of view and to see film clips of choreographic work.
This year will feature Mats Ek (information above). He will
be joined in a panel discussion by Dance Magazine (New York),
Editor in Chief, Wendy Perron, and Dance Europe (London),
Senior Dance Writer, Maggie Foyer. This highly anticipated
event is generously co-sponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts,
modern and contemporary dance share the Dance Salad Festival
stage to form a mix of movement and compelling choreographic
invention. Members of some of the world’s best dance companies
travel to Houston to participate in this week-long Festival.
Each night’s production is uniquely curated and designed
as a coherent, expressive performance; to see the full range
of the choreography presented requires attending two of the three
This multicultural presentation has received
international recognition for its quality and innovativeness
and has consistently been a source of cultural pride for many
foreign-born communities that reside in to Houston. Houston’s
83 member Consular Corps is a community partner and many country
members serve as sponsors and hosts of Festival events. Director
Nancy Henderek strongly believes that through the arts bridges
can be built between different countries and cultures. Also
during the Festival week, master classes will be held in various
locations throughout the city so that students and professionals
can learn from these invited master choreographers.
Dance Salad Festival has been praised by
local, national and international publications. Dance Magazine
Nancy Henderek’s eye for some of the best international
dance is unparalleled… (Dance Salad Festival) 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.” Detailed
information about the festival is continuously updated and available
on the web site at: www.dancesalad.org
Dance Salad Festival
PR/Assistant to the Director,
Christina Levin, email@example.com
to Season 2008/2009