Free public forum launches 2015-16 dance roster of internationally renowned companies:
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater ... Dance Theatre of Harlem ... Riverdance ... Ballet Folklórico de México ... State Ballet Theatre of Russia ... The Hip Hop Nutcracker ... and many others
Dancers and dancemakers to conduct workshops in conjunction with their companies' engagements at the Arts Center
To herald its 2015-16 season of international dance, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Dancemakers on Diversity: Sharing Common Ground in a Multicultural Art, a remarkable gathering and conversation with seven accomplished choreographers, on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in NJPAC's Chase Room. Admission is free.
The participants, recognized as champions for diversity in an art form often identified by its "white swan" classicism, include Nai-Ni Chen, choreographer and artistic director of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company; Carolyn Dorfman, artistic director of Carolyn Dorfman Dance; Virginia Johnson, artistic director of Dance Theatre of Harlem; Karen Love, founder and artistic director of Umoja Dance Company; Nasha Thomas, national director of AileyCamps (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater); and Jennifer Weber, artistic director of Decadancetheatre.
Dance Theatre of Harlem Resident Choreographer Robert Garland serves as moderator.
The panelists, whose companies will be featured on NJPAC's stages during the 2015-16 season, represent different genres of dance, from classical ballet and hip-hop to modern dance and African drumming. Some of the issues to be explored by these women directors include the creation and education of multicultural audiences; the marginalization experienced by nontraditional dance groups; and the internet's role in revolutionizing or diminishing art.
"There is a dance explosion at NJPAC. This year we are proud to present a dynamic array of incredible dance artists representing myriad styles and cultures," said Donna Walker-Kuhne, NJPAC's Vice President of Community Engagement. "We thought it important and valuable to explore how these amazing women - who are leaders in their field - navigate the dance world with their choreography, arts education and performances."
This season, audiences can choose from a wide spectrum of multicultural dance programs::
- Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández, Oct. 4
- Wofabe African Dance & Drum Festival (Umoja Dance Company), Nov. 7
- AXIS Dance Company, Nov. 17
- State Ballet Theatre of Russia, Romeo and Juliet, Dec. 6
- The Hip Hop Nutcracker (Jennifer Weber, choreographer), Dec. 19
- Forces of Nature Dance Theatre (Kwanzaa Celebration), Dec. 19
- Dance Theatre of Harlem (MLK Celebration), Jan. 15
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 10 Hairy Legs dance company (Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance), Jan. 30, 31
- Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Year of the Monkey, Feb. 6, 7
- Russian National Ballet Theatre, Cinderella, March 10
- Carolyn Dorfman Dance (Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance), April 8
- Riverdance, 20th anniversary tour, April 22-24
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, May 6-8
- Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company (Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance), June 3
Tickets are available by phone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722), at the NJPAC Box Office, One Center Street in downtown Newark, or at njpac.org. For Group Sales, call (973) 297-5804.
For dance fans who want to get up and off their feet, NJPAC offers a series of seven free dance workshops throughout northern New Jersey from October through May. Presented by NJPAC in YOUR Community!, these special events require advance registration, which can be found at NJPAC.org/community.
- Saturday, Oct. 24: Umoja Dance Studio, 2120 Springfield Ave., Union, 6:30-8 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 1: 10 Hairy Legs at DanceWorks Studios, 127 Grove St., Montclair, 2-3:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Nov. 11: The Hip Hop Nutcracker, preview performance and workshop, The Gateway Project, 2 Gateway Center, Suite 202, Newark, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Jan. 10: Dance Theatre of Harlem at Sharron Miller's Academy for the Performing Arts, 14 S. Park St., second floor, Montclair, 1-2:30 p.m.
- Friday, March 18: Carolyn Dorfman Dance at NJPAC, One Center Street, Newark, 6-7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, April 16: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at NJPAC, 9 a.m.-noon.
- Saturday, May 28: Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Garden State Ballet School, 28 Glen Road, Rutherford, 1-2:30 p.m.
Many leaders of New Jersey's dance scene are volunteer members of the Celebrate Dance Committee, created last year under NJPAC's Advisory Council to promote and engage new and current audiences for dance performances at the Arts Center. The Advisory Council, created in 1997 and composed of seven subcommittees, helps NJPAC identify and satisfy the cultural tastes of New Jersey's many diverse communities. In addition to Celebrate Dance, these groups are Faith-Based, Jazz, Corporate, Elders, Latino, and Pride (LGBQT).
Dance at NJPAC is made possible through the generosity of Bloomberg, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the World Music Series sponsored by American Express, Discover Jersey Arts, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.