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Professional Company To Bring International Stars To SHSU

Feb. 7, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Hana Sakai and Domenico Luciano perform Dominic Walsh's "Wolfgang." It will be one of the several pieces performed during the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater performance Feb. 17-18. —Photo by Takashi Shikama.

Star dancers from around the world and a “brilliant piece from one of the most iconic choreographers” will be featured on the Sam Houston State University campus when the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater presents a mixed rep program on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 17-18).

The contemporary ballet company will continue its 10th anniversary tour in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theater at 8 p.m. on both days.

The program will include a revival of former Nederlands Dans Theater director and chief choreographer Ji?í Kylián’s “27’52”.”

“Ji?í’s work has an aesthetic that simply resonates with me. There is a refined use of classical vocabulary that is combined with an earthy, grounded, and weighted contemporary quality,” said Dominic Walsh, dance theater founder and artistic director. “This gives his work an emotional and psychological significance.”

The piece, a reference to its full 27 minute and 52 second running time, was created in 2002 for three couples and is the most recent Kylián work being performed in the U.S. today.

Described as “unmistakably Kylián,” full of dazzling detail and deeply moving partner work, the piece is accompanied by poetic texts that blend eastern spirituality with western notions, and the music is also a mix of cultures.

“Dancing ‘27’52”’ last season was an experience that I will always cherish due to the profound physical and psychological levels the duet took me to,” Walsh said. “I am very much looking forward to the company revisiting this wonderful piece and having another opportunity to share the masterful work of Ji?í Kylián with our audiences.”

Walsh’s “Nessuno,” a work he created in 2010 as one of three finalists of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s National Choreographic Competition, is a work that travels through three chapters, each representing the non-sequential states of being when one discovers a place of belonging, according to Dionne Noble, SHSU dance lecturer.

“I think of the first chapter like a sort of divinity of placement in a time and location, and how one would fit into that environment,” Walsh said. “The second represents a kind of joy, youth, and playfulness within that discovered place, and the third continues the journey of maturation, fullness of ones self and this is represented in the elegance and intricacy of the movement and music.”

“Nessuno” premiered in Germany, performed by Hubbard Street 2, to rave reviews.

Domenico Luciano performs Walsh's "Amadeus for Anita." —Photo by Gabriella Nissen Photography

The company will also perform “Duets” from Walsh’s award-winning “The Trilogy: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart” that features set design by Houston artist Libbie Masterson.

In the piece, company member Domenico Luciano will reprise his role as “Mozart” and perform stunning duets with Italian dancer Stefania Figliossi, who wowed audiences in the company’s season opener, Noble said.

Luciano will also perform a duet from “Wolfgang” with Japanese ballerina Hana Sakai, who is regarded as one of the most prominent and popular ballet dancers in Japan and currently dances with New National Theatre in Tokyo.

“Hana and Domenico where exceptional together and brought an undiscovered depth of character to the duet,” said Walsh of the pair’s 2010 performance of “Wolfgang” with the Tokyo-based company. “We are thrilled to have Han join us for our tenth anniversary season performances.”

Finally, Walsh will contribute a new work to the program, utilizing various compositions by Arcangelo Corelli as a base for his soundscape.

“For me, Baroque music provides my imagination with a variety of tools to envision weights and various densities through space that lays a groundwork for some emotional or psychological narrative,” Walsh said. “I look for imagery that illuminates some part of the human experience and, often, Corelli can assist in that mystery in my work.”

Walsh also said he thinks of this new work as fragmented chapters from an unknown story, vignettes of a moment, day or life-span with emphasis on its beginnings and ends.

“With an entertaining and thought-provoking mix of dance works performed by acclaimed dancers from around the globe, this innovative program will stimulate all of your senses,” says dance theater executive director Leigh McBurnett.

It should be noted that 27’52” contains nudity.

Launched in 2002 by the former principal dancer for the Houston Ballet, the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater is a contemporary ballet company that has built an international reputation for taking the techniques and skills of classical ballet into groundbreaking territory.

Among its most recent honors, the group was named “Best Dance Company” by the Houston Press.

The company’s roster includes dancers of the highest caliber and its repertoire features inventive works by Walsh and such superstar choreographers as Mauro Bigonzetti, Ji?í Kylián, Matthew Bourne, and Mats Ek, Noble said.

Tickets for the concert are $15 and can be purchased in the PAC Dance Theatre Box Office.

To reserve tickets, call 936.294.2339, or for other information, contact the dance program at 936.294.1875.




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