Dance Salad Festival 2017

Houston, TX – DANCE SALAD FESTIVAL 3 Performances in April: Thursday,13; Friday,14 and Saturday,15, 7:30 PM at the Wortham Center, Cullen Theater, 501 Texas Ave. Houston, 77002. Now celebrating the 22nd anniversary in Houston and the 25th 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/dancers have won praise from critics and audiences wherever they have toured.

CHOREOGRAPHERS’ FORUM – April 12, 7:00 PM @ the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, w ill be dedicated to the dance art and choreography of Carolyn Carlson, a major figure of European contemporary dance, based in Paris. Carlson’s career spans more than four decades as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and poet. Over one hundred creations have been included in the California-born, Finnish descendant’s repertoire. She was the first ever choreographer to receive the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, in 2006, for which she was the artistic director of its dance sector from 1999 to 2002. In 2014 she established the Carolyn Carlson Company, which tours throughout the world while simultaneously is in residence at the Théatre National de Chaillot in Paris. Carolyn has also been the Director of the National Choreographic Center of Roubaix, France, and is currently the Director of the Atelier de Paris Cartoucherie .

The Film version of Carlson’s choreography Innana, will be presented in its full version as part of the Forum. “Innana illustrates women today … warriors, seductresses, protectors who echo “Inanna”, the multifaceted goddess from the Sumerian pantheon.” In addition, Paris Opera Etoile, Marie-Agnes Gillot, guest performer of Carolyn Carlson’s solo work, Black over Red (My dialogue with Rothko) will share her long experience of working with the choreographer along with one of Carolyn’s dancers who is in the Film. Discussion and Q/A will be moderated by Maggie Foyer, dance writer from London, UK. This is a Free Event at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Brown Auditorium.

To Buy Tickets, $25-$58, go to:

USA PREMIERE PERFORMANCES marked with **, Houston Premieres marked with *

Photo by Thierry Mongne

1. Carolyn Carlson Company will have its USA premiere of a curated version of Carlson’s Black over Red (My dialogue with Rothko)**, a contemplative solo intertwining visual, performing arts and poetry, based on Carlson’s book, Dialogue with Rothko, Untitled: Black, Red over Black on Red (2012), in dedication to American Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko. Originally danced by Carlson since 2013, set to live music, played by cellist Jean-Paul Dessy, the solo will mark a world premiere with a special guest performance by Paris Opera Ballet Etoile, Marie-Agnes Gillot. The solo was given to Marie-Agnes Gillot at the special request of Choreographer Carolyn Carlson. Gillot performed at DSF 2009 with Carlson’s work Signes, a section of the full work, L’Esprit du bleu. Gillot was promoted to the status of Etoile (star) after starring in this choreography’s performance for the Paris Opera Ballet in 2004. Paris based Carolyn Carlson, sees herself as a “visual poet.” She has said, “I dance for the soul.”

Carolyn Carlson’s pas titled Li**, set to music by Aleksi Aubry-Carlson, will also be premiered in the USA by two Japanese, Paris based dancers, Chinatsu Kosakatani and Nakata Yutaka. Li was created as a part of Carolyn Carlson’s series of choreographic works under the title Short Stories. A poem follows:

« Li » est un idéogramme qui désigne, à l’origine, (“Li” is an ideogram that means, originally,

le grain dans le jade ou le bois, the grain in the wood or jade ,

le « motif organique » à la base de toutes choses, the “organic cause” at the base of all things,

quand l’être s’accorde avec le « tao ». when being accords with the ” tao “.

Les transformations de la nature Nature’s transformations

Le souffle du vent The wind

La pénombre et la lumière The darkness and the light

La dualité du yin et du yang The duality of yin and yang

Que l’un devienne l’autre That one becomes the other

Sans un mot. Without a word.)

Photo by Heikki Tuuli

2. Susanna Leinonen Company, Finland will debut in Houston (and the US) with a curated version of Romeo & Juliet**choreographed by Artistic Director Susanna Leinonen and Jouka Valkama, set to music by Sergei Prokofjev mixed with a contemporary score by Kasperi Laine. The company will also present Susanna Leinonen’s Touch of Gravity**, set to music by Kasperi Laine. This Festival year will mark the 2nd appearance of Susanna Leinonen’s work in Dance Salad Festival. Her choreography Trickle Green Oak was, performed by dancers of the Finish National Ballet, Helsinki, premiered in North America in Dance Salad Festival in 2004. William Shakespeare’s tragic but timeless love story has touched people’s hearts for centuries. In the hands of choreographers Susanna Leinonen and Jouka Valkama the work gains an interpretation in which two families and two languages of movement meet. Romeo & Juliet, premiered on November 30th, 2012 in Helsinki, Finland. Touch of Gravity, is a contemporary dance performance that defies the laws of nature. The dancers escape the limits of their physicality with deliberate slow movements emerging from the ground. The moving figures seek their places within a group and attempt to disrupt its balance. The striking visuals give rise to a surreal on-stage universe. Touch of Gravity, premiered in Helsinki, on August 21, 2014, was produced in cooperation with Helsinki Festival and Stoa and financially supported by the National Council for Dance, National Council for Music and the City of Helsinki.

Photo by Filip Van Roe

3. Eastman from Antwerp, Belgium, presents the Houston Premiere of a curated version of Fractus V* choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Founder and Artistic Director of the company who will dance in this piece himself with 4 dancers of different contemporary backgrounds and live music played by 4 musicians from Japan, Korea, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Curated sections of Cherkaoui’s Myth and Origin came to DSF in 2009 and also in 2010, Loin was danced by the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genéve. In 2011, DSF presented Cherkaoui’s Faun. Petrus (out of PUZ/ZLE) was specially curated from the Avignon Festival’s commissioned PUZ/ZLE, co-produced by Eastman and premiered in DSF 2013. The US Premiere of Cherkaoui’s Embrace (curated version of m¡longa), a Sadler’s Wells production, London, UK, was premiered in the US in Dance Salad Festival 2014. Cherkaoui’s Rigor Mortis, created specifically for Dance Salad Festival, premiered in 2015. The Royal Ballet of Flanders, (Antwerp, Belgium), presented his Fall in DSF 2016 where Cherkaoui was appointed Artistic Director in 2015.

Photo by Eric Berg

4. Norwegian National Ballet, Oslo, Norway, will mark its 6th appearance in DSF with the US premiere of a curated version of the solo production, Player choreographed by Argentinian born, award winning dancer/choreographer Daniel Proietto, danced by American born dancer, Whitney Jensen, set to music by Mikael Karlsson. Player premiered at the Norwegian National Ballet Gala in summer 2016. DSF audiences remember Proietto’s remarkable performance in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Faun in DSF 2011, as well as his own choreography Cygne, danced by former Houston Ballet dancer Samantha Lynch in DSF 2014.

5. Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth/ Dallas, Texas: double Pas de Deux from Carmen choreographed by Carlos Acosta, former Principal Guest Artist of The Royal Ballet. Taking the parts of Carmen and Don Jose, the double Pas de Deux will be danced by former Houston Ballet dancers, Carl Coomer and Leticia Oliveira.

Photo by Marco Serri

6. Shantala Shivalingappa, Indian born, Paris raised, well-known Indian classical dancer, will debut in Houston with an adapted version of the Rasalila piece from Shiva Ganga (interaction between Krishna and Radha). Since the age of 13, Shantala Shivalingappa has worked with artists such as Maurice Bejart, Peter Brook, Bartabas, Pina Bausch, and Amagatsu and was trained by Master Vempti Chinna Satyam in the classical Indian dance form Kuchipudi. She dedicated her career to sharing the form with Western audiences in performances at Theatre de la Ville, Sadler’s Wells, Mercat de les Flors, The Herbst Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow, and New York City Center. Shantala received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance of Shiva Ganga at the 2012 Fall for Dance Festival. Her many artistic collaborations include Play (2010), a duet with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui; Nineteen Mantras (2012), an opera directed by Giorgio Barberi Corsetti; and Blooming, a duet with the ‘Crown Prince’ of Memphis Jookin’, Lil’ Buck from Los Angeles, which premiered at Vail International Dance Festival in 2014, will debut in Houston for Dance Salad Festival 2017 with Lil’Buck himself.

Photo by Kyle Cordova

7. Charles “Lil’ Buck” Riley is a jookin’ street dance style virtuoso. For Dance Salad Festival, Lil’ Buck will perform his acclaimed solo The Swan as well as Blooming, a dance duet with Shantala Shivalingappa (information at #5). International phenomenon LIL BUCK began jookin’ – a street dance that originated in Memphis – at age 13 alongside mentors Marico Flake and Daniel Price. After receiving early hip-hop training from Teran Garry and ballet training on scholarship at the New Ballet Ensemble, he performed and choreographed until relocating to Los Angeles in 2009. Named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch, his collaboration with Spike Jonze and Yo-Yo Ma performing The Swan went viral in 2011. Since then he has collaborated with a broad spectrum of artists including JR, Damian Woetzel, the New York City Ballet, Madonna, Benjamin Millepied, and Spike Lee. Buck is an avid arts education advocate, recipient of the WSJ Innovator Award, collaborates frequently with global brands including Glenfiddich and Louis Vuitton, and recently launched a capsule collection with Versace.

8. Evidence Dance Company, Brooklyn, NY, USA will present an excerpt March from the 1995 work Lessons, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, founder and Artistic Director of the company, set to music by Bobby McFerrin. March is set to a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that speaks to the value of a man. The movement embodies the sentiment of the text to illustrate a physical story of perseverance, dignity, and collective strength and care-taking.

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