Charlotte, NC - Spotlight, a series focusing on women choreographers, takes to the Knight Theater stage April 28-30. This is the first time North Carolina Dance Theatre has devoted a series to women choreographers. The stage lights up with The Golden Section, an exhilarating work by dance icon Twyla Tharp; Requiem, a masterpiece by Jacqulyn Buglisi, a powerful descendant of legendary Martha Graham; and a new work by up-and-coming choreographer Emery LeCrone, former NC Dance Theatre 2 dancer and North Carolina native.
“I didn’t put together this performance as a gimmick. I really admire each of these choreographers and their ballets,” said NC Dance Theatre President and Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. “Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section is a stunning work; Requiem by Jacquelyn Buglisi is one of the best modern ballets I’ve seen in a long time; and it’s so great to have Emery LeCrone, who’s making a name for herself in New York, back in Charlotte.”
Spotlight tickets start at $25 and may be purchased at 704.372.1000, ncdance.org and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Box Office.
Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section
When describing The Golden Section Twyla Tharp said, "the dancers stormed the stage with a new, positive energy" and anything that wasn't sheer dancing "disappeared into a harmonious wash of light, costumes, music and movement."
The Golden Section was choreographed by Tharp to four separately named musical compositions by David Byrne, a founding member of the musical group Talking Heads. Dressed in dancer/athlete get-ups of burnished golds, as if they were all Olympic champions, the seven male and six female dancers sail, soar and tear through the air of the stage's golden, glowing light.
The New York Times called Tharp “an American artist of the first order” and wrote that she has “famously broken down the barriers between ballet and modern dance, fusing them into a genre specifically her own.”
Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, and directed and choreographed four Broadway shows. She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards and 19 honorary doctorates. In 1965 Tharp founded Twyla Tharp Dance. In addition to choreographing for her own company, she has created dances for The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Miami City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 2002 Tharp’s award-winning dance musical Movin’ Out, set to the music and lyrics of Billy Joel, premiered on Broadway and ran for three years. A national tour opened in 2004 and also ran for three years. In 1992 Tharp wrote her autobiography Push Comes to Shove, in 2003 she wrote The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life and in 2009 she wrote The Collaborate Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together.
This performance of The Golden Section is underwritten by M. Marie Mitchell.
Jacqulyn Buglisi’s Requiem
Jacqulyn Buglisi, artistic director of Buglisi Dance Theatre and a former principal dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company, is presenting Requiem as part of the Spotlight performance. Dance Theatre last presented one of her ballets, Threshold, in 2003.
Requiem was originally inspired by 17th century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi who, forced by the oppression of her society, used her brushes to win the admiration of kings and eventually her own legal right as an independent woman. Buglisi was working on Requiem when the tragedies of September 11, 2001, occurred, so the ballet evolved into a work more reflective of the momentous time.
Using the golds and greens of alchemy and images of the god Helmet, Buglisi has collaborated with costumer A. Christina Giannini, lighting designer Clifton Taylor, and painter Debora Maché, who worked on a mural at Ground Zero, a site Buglisi has visited at dawn and dusk, to create the colors and atmosphere of the light that surrounds Requiem. Set to Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem,” Buglisi uses five female dancers, costumed in long layered silk skirts.
“This journey reverberates through the ages, resonating with the voices of those spirits echoing from the sacred earth that is the burial mound to those lives lost; dedicated to the nurturing of peace and compassion all over our world today,” said Buglisi.
Requiem premiered at The Joyce Theater in New York City in 2001, and since has been performed across the U.S. receiving critical acclaim. The New York Times wrote, “Requiem, a stunning piece by Buglisi…extravagant and beautiful.” Arts Houston wrote, “Buglisi’s poignant dance speaks to the luminous nature of sorrow by transcending sadness through a rarified beauty.”
In her four decade-long career Buglisi has made an indelible impact on the field of dance. She has creating more than 65 ballets for Buglisi Dance Theatre and her ballets have been commissioned worldwide. During her 20 year association with the Martha Graham Dance company, Buglisi was a principal artist for 12 years, performing the classic roles and those created for her by Graham. As a resident teacher in NYC, she has been chairperson of the Modern Department at The Ailey School for 22 years and has served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, the Martha Graham School and the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. An arts advocate, Buglisi serves on Dance USA’s Board of Trustees as chair of the Artistic Director’s Council.
World Premiere by Emery LeCrone
North Carolina native and former NC Dance Theatre 2 dancer Emery LeCrone is creating a new work for Spotlight. An emerging choreographer, LeCrone is from Greensboro, N.C., and studied dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts before being accepted into NC Dance Theatre’s apprentice program in 2005 and then into the Company’s second company. It was in her free time with Dance Theatre that she began choreographing. She created her first work for NC Dance Theatre II in 2006. The New York Times wrote, “Ms. LeCrone has genuine choreographic gifts.”
Currently in the creation phase, LeCrone plans to use mostly men for her ballet and music by Michael Gordon entitled "Weather One.” The music has the force of an impending, violent storm. “The movement will be very physical and will incorporate floor work and partnering, with the dancers swirling and falling like the elements of a storm: wind and rain,” said LeCrone.
LeCrone moved to New York City in 2007 and works as a dancer and choreographer. She has participated in several choreography competitions including the National Choreographers Initiative in 2008. The New York Times called LeCrone’s choreography “…a delightful whole, exploring innovative partnering as well as the ways spinning full-throttle movement can echo and incorporate the planes of space around it.” Currently LeCrone is the resident choreographer for the New Chamber Ballet and The Columbia Ballet Collaborative.
“It is always nice to create work in a familiar environment where you really feel safe to push yourself and the dancers,” said LeCrone. “I’m looking forward to finally having the chance to work with the professional company members that I admired so much when I was a dancer in the apprentice program and the second company.”
This new ballet is commissioned by Dr. Monique Abner, MD*