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Cornish Presents: Cornish Dance Theater Spring 2012 Concert

March 27, 2012

SEATTLE, WA – Cornish Dance Theater, the performing ensemble of the Dance Department at Cornish College of the Arts, is pleased to present its Spring 2012 Concert, with choreography by Rhonda Cinotto, Iyun Harrison, Cyrus Khambatta, José Limón, and Deborah Wolf.

Cornish Dance Theater Spring 2012 Concert
April 27 at 8 pm
April 28 at 2 pm and 8 pm
Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway Avenue, Seattle
Tickets: $10 general, $5 students, seniors & alumni
Purchase tickets: http://www.cornish.edu/events. For TeenTix ($5 Tickets for ages 13-19) visit http://www.seattlecenter.com/teentix.

About the Performance
The Cornish Dance Theater Spring 2012 Concert features an excerpt from José Limón’s Psalm, restaged by Brenna Monroe-Cook, and the work of guest choreographers Rhonda Cinotto and Cyrus Khambatta alongside faculty members Iyun Harrison and Deborah Wolf.

First performed in 1967, Psalm draws upon a tenant of ancient Jewish belief that all the sorrows of the world rest upon 36 men - the bearers of all burdens. Nearly 30 years after Limón’s death, the dance was restaged in 2002 by the company’s Artistic Director, Carla Maxwell, with a powerful new musical score by Jon Magnussen. Characterized by mesmerizing ensemble dancing and Limón’s rich movement vocabulary, this excerpt from Psalm evokes the drama and power of the human spirit’s struggle and ultimate triumph.

Divided by Rhonda Cinotto utilizes a stylized Jazz vocabulary to explore the line between fantasy and reality. The dancers’ movements represent the variety of responses, from acceptance to delusion, and illustrate this duality with varying qualities. Cyrus Khambatta’s dancers speak out in his new work for Cornish Dance Theater. Vocalizations from the dancers supplement the score in this driving, insistent piece in which the dancers push and pull, give and take.

Iyun Harrison’s Subway Stories: Dances on the ‘A’ takes place on a busy subway car. Everyone is in a hurry, coming and going on New York City’s longest train line. Unlikely interactions and collisions occur in Harrison’s energetic choreography, which is a hybrid of Ballet and Modern movement vocabularies. Deborah Wolf’s large ensemble work plays on the theme of collection and accumulation, utilizing a range of movement themes and qualitative variance. Danced to cello music in three separate sections, this dance is a study in subtle contrast.

Please note: the Saturday, April 28 matinee performance will be followed by an informal question and answer period.

Biographies

Iyun Harrison
Iyun Ashani Harrison (St. Andrew, Jamaica) is the artistic director of Ashani Dances (visit http://www.ashanidances.org), a Seattle-based dance company founded in the summer of 2011. Ashani Dances will have its debut season at The Erickson Theatre June 1 - 3, 2012. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Juilliard School and Masters of Fine Arts degree from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. Over the 13 years of his performing career in New York City, he danced with Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico of New York, National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, and Ailey II. He has appeared as guest artist with Connecticut Ballet, Buglisi Dance Theatre and Lubbock Ballet. Mr. Harrison danced in works by George Balanchine, Jiri Kylian, José Limón, Paul Taylor, Michael Smuin, Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Donald Byrd, Talley Beatty, and George Faison. His television credits include PBS’ Setting the Stage 2007, NBC’s 20th Hispanic Heritage Awards, PBS’ Who’s Dancin’ Now? – Arts Education in Your Community, and The South Bank Show in England. Mr. Harrison has taught/choreographed for the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Ailey School, American Dance Festival, Jamaica School of Dance, University of the West Indies at Cave Hill – Barbados, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, American College Dance Festival and on the full-time faculty at Webster University in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Harrison’s choreography was selected for the region gala performance of the American College Dance Festival at the University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign and for the national American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In Seattle Mr. Harrison has performed with Seattle Dance Project and Dance Fremont. Visit: http://www.iyunharrison.com

Rhonda Cinotto
Rhonda teaches at the University of Washington and the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the board of the Dance Educators Association of Washington. She spent the previous year teaching in the dance department at Western Michigan University. Prior to receiving an M.F.A in dance from the University of Washington, she was a member of Spectrum Dance Theater, touring throughout the Pacific Northwest and Mexico, Germany, and the Netherlands. While in the company, she performed works by Anne Reinking, Dwight Rhoden, Daniel Buraczeski, Daniel Ezralow, Frank Chaves, Lar Lubovitch, Margo Sappington and Donald Byrd, among others. In her last few years with Spectrum, Rhonda was a rehearsal director and responsible for restaging and rehearsing works in the company’s repertoire. Throughout her career, Rhonda has taught in many public and private schools throughout the Pacific Northwest to students of all ages.

Cyrus Khambatta

Cyrus was born in Syracuse, NY to parents of Persian and European descent. As an artist he seeks to reach out to and communicate with his audience through his work. He founded The Phffft! Company (now Khambatta Dance Company) while attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied dance and theater. His choreographic works have been presented in twelve US states, throughout Europe, in Russia, Latin America and Canada, commissioned by companies such as Ririe Woodbury Dance (Salt Lake City), Pisorrojo (Caracas, Venezuela), Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theatre (Seattle, WA), Evergreen City Ballet as well as Khambatta Dance Company (KDC) and others. He received California’s Damen New Choreography award and was selected for the 2004 National Dance Project/New England Foundation for the Arts Regional Dance Development Initiative as well as a 2006 Artistic Leadership program through Dance USA funded by Paul G. Allen Foundation. His work with KDC has been supported by numerous funding and government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, including the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently Artist in Residence at Seattle University and, along with KDC, partners with Cornish College of the Arts to present the Seattle International Dance Festival, Beyond the Threshold, an annual festival presenting over 100 national, international and local artists each year. In addition to the many national and international venues he has toured with KDC, as an independent dance artist and director, his work has been presented at The Smithsonian Institution, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Young Choreographers Festival (Caracas), The Dartington Improvisation Festival (England), The Bialystok Dance Festival (Poland), The New York Improvisation Festival and the Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation and others. He has conducted numerous residencies internationally, including sponsorship by the French and Venezuelan governments and produces the Wild Meadows summer dance program in Schellsburg, Pennsylvania. He has lectured and taught on three continents including such institutions as the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation in NY, the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), Canal Danse and Contemporary Dance Theater (both in Paris), George Washington University, the University of South Carolina, Virginia Commonwealth University, New York University, University of Washington, University of Western Washington and others. In Seattle he has taught at Freehold Studio Theatre, Velocity Dance Center and The Moore Theatre’s Dance This! program, Seattle University, and Cornish College of the Arts, where he also directed Swan Lake Remix, a contemporary physical theater version of Swan Lake. He has initiated numerous community-oriented workshops addressing the needs of under-served populations. In the Washington, D.C. area, he has conducted workshops for the deaf at Galludet University, for inner city youth as well as for the visually impaired and mentally and physically challenged through Penn Visions, a mixed-abilities dance company. In New York City, he initiated a language-through-movement training program funded by Manhattan Community Arts Fund and The Harkness Foundation provided to elementary students in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. In Seattle, he initiated The Youth Dance Empowerment Project conducted in partnership with Delridge Neighborhood Development Project and Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. José Limón (1908-1972) was a crucial figure in the development of modern dance: his powerful dancing shifted perceptions of the male dancer, while his choreography continues to bring a dramatic vision of dance to audiences around the world. Born in Mexico, Limón moved to New York City in 1928 after a year at UCLA as an art major. In 1946, after studying and performing for 10 years with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, he established his own company with Humphrey as Artistic Director. Limón’s choreographic works were quickly recognized as masterpieces and the Company itself became a landmark of American dance. Many of his dances—There is a Time, Missa Brevis, Psalm, The Winged, The Moor’s Pavane—are considered classics of modern dance. Limón was a consistently productive choreographer until his death in 1972—he choreographed at least one new piece each year—and he was also an influential teacher and advocate for modern dance. He was in residence each summer at the American Dance Festival, a key faculty member in The Juilliard School’s Dance Division beginning in 1953, and the director of Lincoln Center’s American Dance Theatre from 1964-65. Limón received two Dance Magazine Awards, the Capezio Award and honorary doctorates from four universities in recognition of his achievements. He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, The Dance Heroes of José Limón (Fall 1996), and in 1997 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY. His autobiographical writings, “An Unfinished Memoir”, were edited by Lynn Garafola and published in 1999 by Wesleyan University Press.

Brenna Monroe-Cook (reconstructing José Limón’s Psalm.)
Brenna Monroe-Cook was a principle dancer with the Limón Dance Company and performed internationally in works by José Limón, Doris Humphrey, Jiří Kylián, Susanne Linke, Lar Lubovitch and Donald McKayle.  Originally from Oak Park, Illinois, Ms. Monroe-Cook’s early performance experience was in reconstructions of historical works from the classical ballet and modern dance canons with Momenta Performing Arts Company, under the direction of Stephanie Clemens.  Ms. Monroe-Cook received her BFA from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, and her MFA from the University of Washington.  She continues to teach Limón technique and stage Limón repertoire for international companies and schools including Cornish College of the Arts, Cornish Preparatory Dance Program, Dance Fremont, North Carolina School of the Arts, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, University of Florida, University of North Texas, and the University of Washington.  Ms. Monroe-Cook also teaches ballet, is a certified Pilates instructor through the Kane School of Core Integration, and is a licensed GYROKINESIS® instructor.

Professor Deborah Wolf
Deborah began her professional career performing with the State University of New York at Brockport’s Company in Residence. Shortly thereafter she joined Concert Dance Company of Boston, New England’s premiere modern repertory company, performing works by over 50 choreographers including Merce Cunningham, Laura Dean, David Gordon, Wendy Perron, Bebe Miller, Mark Morris, and Randy Warshaw. She became CDC’s Resident Choreographer and eventually added CDC’s Artistic Directorship to her duties. Other performance credits include Seachange Theater Ensemble, New York Chambre Dance Ensemble and Peter DiMuro and Associates.  A recipient of a Massachusetts Artist Foundation Fellowship and seven Finalist Awards in choreography, she has also received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Boston and Somerville Arts Lottery Councils, and Seattle’s Artist Trust. Deborah has choreographed for the Boston Ballet, the Boston Symphony Youth Concert Series, and numerous other companies both in New England and Seattle. Producer and performer of her own choreography through WolfWorks, she has also been produced by among others: Boston’s Dance Umbrella, Boston Dances, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series, New England Choreographers’ Showcase, and in Seattle area by Velocity’s Strictly Seattle and Under Construction, Rockhopper’s On the Side, Dance On Capitol Hill’s Choreofest and Intimate Works, Eastside Moving Company, Men in Dance/Against the Grain Festival of Dancing, Powell/Scott’s Composer/Choreographer #6, Lehua Dance Theater, Evoke Productions’ Full Tilt, Bellingham Repertory Dance Company and On the Boards’ 12 Min Max Mainstage and Northwest New Works Festival. Her choreography was selected for the A.W. A. R. D. Show! 2009 administered by the Joyce Theater Foundation, performed at On the Boards, and was a finalist for the event by audience selection.  Most recently, she premiered a new work at the 2010 Men in Dance Festival and is a 2011 recipient of an Individual Artist Project Grant from 4Culture. Her teaching credits include Harvard University, Rhode Island College, Boston Ballet, SUNY/Brockport, and currently as Professor of Dance at Cornish College of the Arts. She has served on the boards of d9 Dance Collective, Velocity Dance Center and as a panelist for New England Foundation for the Arts, Seattle Arts Commission and the Seattle Fringe Festival. Deborah received her BA in Dance from State University of New York/Brockport.

For additional information or images please contact Karen L. Bystrom or Lindsay Walter (see information above) or visit http://www.cornish.edu.