Infinity Dance Theater & Pi Dance Theatre
Join Forces for November Season at Judson Memorial Church
INFINITY DANCE THEATER AND PI DANCE THEATRE JOIN FORCES
FOR NOVEMBER SEASON AT JUDSON MEMORIAL CHURCH
INFINITY DANCE THEATER, Kitty Lunn, Artistic Director
PI DANCE THEATRE, Toni Taylor, Artistic Director
Elements (Program A)
Thursday-Saturday, November 15-17 at 7:00 p.m.
INFINITY DANCE THEATER
The Women's Stories Project (Program B - followed by a talk-back)
Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 p.m.; Sunday, November 18 at 5:00 p.m.
All performances at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
Tickets: 0; 5 for students/seniors/persons with disabilities (free for personal care attendants)
Elements (Program A), November 15-17 at 7:00 p.m.:
Infinity Dance Theater (Kitty Lunn, Artistic Director) and Pi Dance Theatre (Toni Taylor, Artistic Director) will join forces to present Elements, a shared program of new and revived modern dance works featuring dancers with and without disabilities, choreographed by Lunn, Taylor, and Roxanna Lewis, with new music composed and performed live by William Catanzaro, and poetry by Andrew Macmillan.
Opening the program is a revival of Roxanna Lewis's Dreambody, created for Infinity Dance Theater and last performed at the Kennedy Center in 2000. Dreambody is informed by the Chakra system, an ancient approach to the connection of mind, body, and spirit. Set to an exotic original score by Glen Velez, the dance was called ”...a work of astonishing beauty and power” by critic Laura Kaminker (New Mobility, 2000).
Receiving its premiere is The Elements Suite, inspired by the elements of Feng Shui and co-created by Lunn and Taylor to music composed and performed live by William Catanzaro. The work consists of the segments “Wind and Water,” “Solid Ground/Stainless Steel,” and “Fire in the Palm.” Poetry read by Andrew Macmillan brings contemplation between the pieces. The Elements Suite is performed by five dancers with and without disabilities.
The unique partnership of choreographers Lunn and Taylor began at Steps, when both found themselves in the same Horton technique class. Taylor, recognizing Lunn's distinctive artistry and strong command of technique as she danced using her wheelchair, approached her and thus began a partnership that is a natural extension of their shared interest in creating works with dancers who bring their intellectual and emotional lives to their performances. Elements reflects the choreographers' individual explorations of dancing while the body inevitably changes.
Completing the program is a revival of UpDownInOut.Allaround, first presented by Pi Dance Theatre in 1999. Using a combination of specially designed ladders and lengths of fabric, Taylor, in collaboration with the dancers, considers the possibilities and tensions of individual and collective effort to achieve the task at hand.
The Women's Stories Project (Program B), November 17 at 2:00 p.m.; November 18 at 5:00 p.m.:
Infinity will also present the world premiere of a unique and inspiring theater work of dance, music, and the spoken word that grew out of a relationship between the company and The Creative Center (Arts in Healthcare). Conceived and created by Kitty Lunn, The Women’s Stories Project features five amazing women, with courage and resourcefulness to spare, who tell their stories of love, loss, illness, and aging. Depressing? Not at all. The 75-minute work is just the opposite - it's funny, sad, ironic, and unexpected. It begins with Lunn’s performance of In Time Like Air, a solo created for her by Peter Pucci and set to a haunting saxophone solo by Don Cherry. She “slipped on and off the chair, tilting it, tipping it over and responding to its presence as if it had a personality all its own” (Jack Anderson, New York Times, 2001). The women’s solos were choreographed by Kitty Lunn, who also narrates.
Lunn is followed by longtime dancer Lynn Barr, dealing with the loss of her husband of 50 years; Sister Margaret, an outspoken Catholic nun for nearly 60 years, who speaks about the trials of her life, vocation, and mission; and the adorable Lucy, who lost her mother to breast cancer, and after burying her mother in Puerto Rico, discovers she has developed the same cancer. She undergoes horrific treatment and discovers her own strength through art, music, and dance. Lucy takes up belly dancing and Puerto Rican Bomba dancing, which she will demonstrate on the program. The company's scholar is Alice, a native of England, a professor of Medieval Literature, and proficient in 14 medieval languages. She became a wheelchair user as a result of an acquired spinal disease. Alice later began studying dance with Lunn and has now become a member of Infinity. Marcia Bernstein adds a haunting vocal as the women weave the common threads of their lives. Though these endearing women represent different ages, races, and walks of life, they represent all of us, connected through common threads of humanity, with one another and with the audience in this celebration of the triumph of the human spirit. Performances of The Women’s Stories Project will be sign language interpreted.
A New Orleans native, Kitty Lunn started dance classes as a child and performed with several companies, including the Washington Ballet, where she danced in Swan Lake, Giselle, Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker, and the full company repertory. Lunn moved to New York in 1967, and in 1987 while preparing for her first Broadway show, she was injured in an accident which left her paraplegic. Determined to show that dancers can move in a multitude of ways, Lunn founded Infinity in 1995 to expand the boundaries of dance and change the world’s perceptions of what a dancer is. In addition to regular New York seasons, the company’s schedule has included appearing at festivals in Italy, two seasons at the Kennedy Center in D.C., and the 1996 Cultural Paralympiad in Atlanta. Lunn is also active as an actress on stage and TV (including a long stint on “As The World Turns”), a dance educator, and an advocate for people with disabilities.
As Founder and Artistic Director of Pi Dance Theatre for the last 16 years, Toni Taylor has created and presented a body of work that reflects on the following idea: “I have curves, and I create dances that work with those curves.” Taylor creates an aesthetic and vocabulary to build a repertory of dances dealing with spirituality, sensuality, and passion, all sprinkled with a dose of wry humor. She has studied the Horton technique with many people over the years, including Susan Rose, Joy Kellman, Regina Larkin, JoLea Maffei, and Milton Myers. While her choreography is built on a solid Horton foundation with classic compositional tools, her process is highly dependent upon the collaboration of the dancers.
Infinity Dance Theater is supported by the Janie Ellis Morrison Trust, the Shubert Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, and other generous contributors.
Pi Dance Theatre is supported by the Terry Family Talent Foundation, Materials for the Arts, and the generous support of individuals.