D.C.-area dance enthusiasts have the opportunity to witness some of the most exquisite dance works from across the country this spring at the Mason Dance Company’s 2022 Gala Concert on March 25 and 26.
“We are thrilled to be back in-person for the annual Mason Dance Company Gala Concert this year. Our company is honored and excited to perform work from some of the most important choreographers of our time while showcasing the incredible talent of our young artists at the start of their professional careers,” says Director of the Mason School of Dance Karen Reedy.
This eagerly anticipated program returns as a in-person performance this year, showcasing George Mason University School of Dance students in four thrilling and technically-demanding works choreographed by some of the biggest names in dance: Camille A. Brown (City of Rain), Alejandro Cerrudo (Silent Ghost [excerpt]), as well as world premieres by Christopher d'Amboise and Larry Keigwin.
Held prior to the March 26 Dance Gala Concert performance, the Mason Dance Fête is an intimate benefit to showcase Mason dancers and programs. Guests of the Fête are invited into studios to see sections of the works to be performed by students, who also present insights about the choreographer and the work itself. All net proceeds from the Mason Dance Fête go toward the School of Dance scholarship funds.
Meet the Choreographers:
Camille A. Brown is a prolific Black female choreographer, who is reclaiming the cultural narratives of African American identity. Some of her most recent artistic endeavors include being co-director and choreographer for New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of Fire Shut Up in My Bones and choreographer of Porgy and Bess. She has also directed and choreographed the upcoming Broadway revival of for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, opening April 1. Her bold work taps into both ancestral stories and contemporary culture to capture a range of deeply personal experiences, empowering Black bodies to tell their story using their own language through movement and dialogue.
City of Rain, a dance for 10 with music by Jonathan Melville Pratt, was created for her own company in 2010. The work was recreated for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2019, and that is the version which has been staged for the Mason Dance Company. City of Rain draws upon the emotional depth of losing a close friend and takes the audience through a journey of rich choreographic composition, complex rhythms, and movement signature.
Additionally, the Center for the Arts will welcome Camille A. Brown and Dancers as a Mason Artist-in-Residence, for a creative development residency with Mason’s School of Dance and the greater Northern Virginia community. This residency will lead up to their Center for the Arts performance the following weekend, on April 2.
Alejandro Cerrudo is an award-winning international choreographer whose body of work has been performed by more than 20 professional dance companies across the globe. Cerrudo was appointed the first ever Resident Choreographer for Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2020, following his decade-long role as resident choreographer for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. With his work in high demand from the New York City Ballet, the Guggenheim, and Ballet Theater Basel, dancing his work is a tremendous opportunity for students to explore the “rippling, serpentine flow” (The New York Times) of Cerrudo’s choreographic vision. Originally created for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, our dancers will perform the signature haunting duet from Silent Ghost, to the music of Nils Frams. This sensual duet takes the audience on an emotional, intimate journey through luscious and fluid partnering.
Christopher d'Amboise is currently a Heritage Professor in the School of Dance at George Mason University. Born into a family of dancers, he became a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, and from 1990 to 1994, he was the artistic director, president, and CEO of the Pennsylvania Ballet. He also has a passion for musical theater and performed in the Broadway production of Song and Dance, which earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. d’Amboise’s yet-to-be-titled world premiere is set to Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major. He says, “The 2nd movement is exciting with its sweeping lyrical exaltation that is suddenly undercut by intentional ‘wrong notes’ expressing a kind of ‘broken beauty’ that is haunting and captivating.” With that in mind, d’Amboise juxtaposes traditional poetic phrasing with contemporary athleticism and angular lines. Nine dancers move as a collective community, weathering sweeping emotional turmoil, joyful exuberance, and a shared sense of strength in unity.
Larry Keigwin is the final choreographer to be featured in this thrilling evening of dance. His numerous career credits include curator, choreographer, dancer, educator, and artistic director. Since founding KEIGWIN + COMPANY in 2003, Keigwin created more than 23 works for the company, which have seen performances on stages including The Kennedy Center, The Joyce Theater, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, and the New York City Center. A native New Yorker, Keigwin’s choreography is characterized by “a theatrical sensibility of wit, style, and heart” and he has received global recognition for his commitment to education and preparation of young dancers for substantial professional careers in contemporary dance. The Mason Dance Company will premiere his new work titled Parade, set to an energetic new score by Curtis Macdonald. Parade is an action-packed dance featuring 20 dancers that delight the senses with bounding and groove through the space, moving in and out of complex patterns.