White House Dance Series
Posted 31 August 2010 - 12:39 PM
I just read a press release stating that the First Lady will host a dance event on September 7th at the White House to celebrate the career of Alvin Ailey's long time artistic director, Judith Jamison. The event will feature performers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Washington Ballet, Super Cr3w, and New York City Ballet. It will be directed by Damian Woetzel, who is a member of the Presidentís Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Looks like Damian is hanging out with some influential people these days. Good for him. I wonder who from NYCB will be performing at this event. Hopefully some footage of this event will be available on the internet.
Posted 31 August 2010 - 02:26 PM
Let's hope they say yes!
... and you might consider sending an email yourselves to let the Administration know there's an audience for serious dance. Go to www.whitehouse.gov and click on "Contact us" in the upper right hand corner.
(You can opt out of the White House's email list if you're worried about being bombarded with announcements, press releases, and the like.)
Posted 03 September 2010 - 05:57 AM
Posted 07 September 2010 - 11:52 AM
Posted 07 September 2010 - 12:02 PM
I just received the following e-mail from NCYB about this:
We are pleased to let you know that New York City Ballet Principal Dancers Ashley Bouder and Daniel Ulbricht will perform Tarantella this evening in the East Room of the White House. Their performance is part of the Obama Administration's first White House Dance Series and will pay tribute to Judith Jamison, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Damian Woetzel, is directing the presentation.
Below please find a press release from the White House with more details on the event and visit whitehouse.gov/live to view a live-stream of the workshop at 3:00 PM and the performance at 5:00 PM.
FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA ANNOUNCES WHITE HOUSE DANCE SERIES BEGINNING WITH TRIBUTE TO JUDITH JAMISON
On September 7th, First Lady Michelle Obama will invite world renowned dance companies to perform at the Administration's first event celebrating dance. The White House Dance Series: A Tribute to Judith Jamison will honor Jamison for her outstanding career as an American dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the past 20 years. The event, featuring American dance from ballet, modern and contemporary dance, hip hop and Broadway will be held in the White House's East Room at 5:00 PM. The early evening event will feature performers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Billy from Billy Elliot the Musical, The Washington Ballet, Super Cr3w, and New York City Ballet. It will be directed by Damian Woetzel, former principal dancer at New York City Ballet and member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
In continuing the Administration's focus on supporting the arts and arts education, a dance workshop will be held in the White House East Room on September 7th at 3:00 PM. Each dance company will lead a segment of the workshop focusing on their genre. Students age 11-15 from the Alvin Ailey School, Ballet Hispanico, Cab Calloway School of the Arts (CCSA), Dance Theatre of Harlem, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Washington School of Ballet, the National Dance Institute's New York, Colorado and New Mexico affiliates, the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center and the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts will participate in this 90 minute workshop and then attend the early evening performance as guests.
Judith Jamison has been artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for two decades. One of the most renowned figures in modern dance, she was Mr. Ailey's muse for whom he created the tour-de-force solo Cry and other enduring roles. As a highly regarded choreographer, Ms. Jamison has created works for many different companies. She is also an author, whose autobiography was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Ms. Jamison is the recipient of a prime time Emmy Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the National Medal of Arts, and she was named in TIME's 2009 list of the world's 100 most influential people.
Posted 07 September 2010 - 02:14 PM
One nice touch: Damien Woetzel, in his introduction to "Tarantella," pointed out that Patricia McBride and Mikhail Baryshnikov did the very same piece at the White House in 1978! Oh, how I wish that they would show that clip, too, when they televise this on PBS. That show was never released commercially, although you can see it at the New York Performing Arts Library Dance Collection at Lincoln Center.
Posted 07 September 2010 - 03:12 PM
Thank you for that information. I missed the live show. I'll be checking into "music and the arts." I'll post if I notice it there (unless other BTer posts first).
Posted 07 September 2010 - 06:48 PM
Be prepared for audio problems; we often couldn't hear applause we could see, and sometimes there was silence and sometimes the music was mixed in pretty loud, so stay close to your controls, but I'd say the camera work was pretty good considering the circumstances: The East Room is small and flat, so sometimes the front rows of the audience get in the way, but it was mostly during Tarantella that I wanted the dancers more loosely framed; otherwise, we usually got to see their space and their dancing in it. (I wouldn't mind seeing some simple, neutral backdrop slipped in, in the future; I recall that early nineteenth-century chandelier from President Carter's days, in 1979, when Mikhail Baryshnikov danced with Patricia McBride, mostly, and with Heather Watts, in Balanchine and Robbins repertory, but I don't think the rest of the television picture was so "busy" with sconces and panelling and draperies.)
All in all, I felt this program was a nice respite from our cares of the day, the things we more often associate with Washington, DC.
Edited by Jack Reed, 08 September 2010 - 03:53 PM.
Posted 07 September 2010 - 07:30 PM
I just took a look at a 20-second clip of that old Tarantella at the White House. (It was part of a collage WETA used to promote its programming, shown in 1981. The only way to see the whole thing is at the Lincoln Center Library, as far as I know.) That chandelier was there, but the stage had a plain white backdrop with simple white flats on both sides of the stage. They didn't seem to have more square footage than at today's program, perhaps even less, but the plain white set made it easier to see them without all the distractions.
Sarah Kaufman just posted a report on the show and the workshop that preceded it:
I hope they post the tape of the workshop. It included a section teaching the young dancers the opening moments of Serenade, with lots of advice about Balanchine's direction. (E.g., the opening outstretched arm is to shield your face from the sun, followed by "melting" from the sun.)
Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:03 PM
I watched the workshop only intermittently. California, was Heather Watts, who taught the Serenade introduction, credited or identified? (Her return to the East Room, or something...) And after you "melt" from the sun, you get a little headache (back of the wrist to the forehead), right? And then you become "hoity-toity" (that right hand held, relaxed and opening upward, over your heart? Yeah, there were some nice interpretations in the workshop.
Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:10 PM
I missed the first few minutes of the Serenade section, so I didn't hear introductions. Several people in front were demonstrating for a crowded room of students, but none of them looked like Heather (although I haven't seen her in recent years). At the end, Damien called out "thanks" to several people, including "Heather," but the camera didn't focus on anybody in particular at that point.
Did anybody else see the workshop section?
Posted 08 September 2010 - 05:28 AM
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