Fearless Mine by Francesca Harper and a new work by Alan Obuzor, one of this year's Dance Magazine "Top 25 to Watch", round off a program featuring excerpts from the beloved ballet, Coppelia. The Swan with TJ Benson and new additions to the Brahms Hungarian Dances (premiered with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra October 2012) are on the bill!
A new work by Noelia Garcia Carmona features Jookin and Flamenco fusion artist Shamar Rooks. And, New Ballet is excited to announce that our own Kaori Ogasawara will be performing her own work, A ke't (between two), with Ensemble dancer Steven Prince Tate.
Friday, April 12, 10:00AM special school performance ($5 student tickets, contact Jill Brookoff - firstname.lastname@example.org or 901.726.9225 - for reservations)
Friday, April 12, 7:00PM public performance (general admission - $20/adults and $10/students)
Saturday, April 13, 5:30PM public performance (general admission - $20/adults and $10/students)
Sunday, April 14, 2:30PM public performance (general admission - $20/adults and $10/students)
Tickets available at the door 30 minutes prior to performance as available.
Choreographer Notes ~
Alan Obuzor, originally from Pittsburgh, began dancing at the age of 9. Two years later he started attending Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, where in 1998 he was a recipient of the very prestigious Princess Grace Foundation Dance Honorarium. Alan received a contract to join PBT’s professional Company at the age of seventeen. During his seven years in PBT’s Company, Alan danced a wide array of ballets ranging from classical to neoclassical to contemporary, which included principal and soloist roles in ballets such as “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Symphony in C,” “Carmina Burana,” and “Divertimento 15.”In that time he also worked with many world renowned figures in dance, and was selected to originate soloist roles in new works by choreographers Dwight Rhoden, Derek Dean, Matjash Mrozewski, and Jiabin Pan. Alan began teaching and choreographing in 2002 and since that time, has joined the faculty of PBTS as one of the primary Pre-Professional Division teachers, and created several new works for PBT, PBTS, Texture Contemporary Ballet, Dancers’ Trust, Point Park University, and Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Alan won first place in the Pittsburgh Chapter of the 2011 National Society of Arts and Letters Dance/Choreography competition. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of Texture Contemporary Ballet which was created in 2011.
Francesca Harper blends original choreography, dance, music and film to create groundbreaking works that are category-defying. Harper was raised in New York City, where she studied at the School of American Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet School, The Ailey School, and under Madame Darvash and Barbara Walczak. After performing with the Dance Theater of Harlem, she danced as a principal in William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt from 1994-1999. Since returning to the States in 2000, Harper has performed in several Broadway productions including Fosse, The Producers, The Frogs, and The Color Purple. She played the role of Helene opposite Molly Ringwald in a national tour of Sweet Charity, and the role of Judith originated by Judith Jamison in a revival of Sophisticated Ladies. As a singer and lyricist Harper has released singles in Europe and Japan. In November 2003, her single “Would I?” was released on Powerhouse Records. In 2006, she released her debut solo album Modo Fusion with 10 original tracks of soul-inspired R&B and electronica. Francesca also recently worked as a ballet consultant for the feature film, "Black Swan," by Oscar Nominated Director Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman, who went on to win an Oscar for her work.
Harper’s choreographic career began while still in Germany, where she choreographed a full evening work for the Holland Dance Festival. She has since choreographed works for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Oakland Ballet, Hubbard Street II, Tanz Graz, Point Park University, University of Richmond, and her own company The Francesca Harper Project, which has become the platform for her own artistic vision: classical dance forms deconstructed and fused with cutting-edge text, music, film and video. Her original hybrid work was first seen in 2000 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, as part of 50 minutes with Harriet and Phillis, a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Margo Jefferson and composer Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. She premiered her critically-acclaimed one-woman show The Fragile Stone Theory at the 2002 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Francesca’s work, Documotion : ONE - Rave, was requested to be performed at the 50th Anniversary of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center at the Apollo Theater by Judith Jamison. Her Company was also honored to perform excerpts from William Forsythe's work, Limb's Theorem, at the Denise Jefferson Celebration at the Apollo Theater in November, 2010.
The Francesca Harper Project debuted in August 2005 with the sold-out premiere performance of MODO FUSION at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, New York City, and went on to perform a week-long run of MODO FUSION during the 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Festival in March 2006. Company members have also been active performers in MODO FUSION LOUNGE (the music-based cabaret version of MODO FUSION), performing alongside Harper at venues such as Makor and Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. The Francesca Harper Project has been featured at The Joyce Theater, Solstice: Dancing at the Crossroads in Times Square, sponsored by Dancers Responding to AIDS, The Apollo Theater, New York City Center, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, the Holland Dance Festival. Harlem Stage, Bloomberg Culture Series, Central Park Summerstage and Venice Biennale.
Kaori Ogasawara (Rendall Jackson) was born in Japan where she studied ballet with her grandmother, Kazue Ogasawara and Takao Hisamitsu. In 1993, she came to the US to train at the Boston Ballet school and later danced at Boston Ballet before joining Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1999 with her husband, Christopher Rendall-Jackson. She was promoted to soloist in 2004. She has performed in several galas and appeared as a guest artist in roles of Swanilda in Copperia, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Sylph in La Sylphide, and balcony pas de duex from John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. Since joining PBT, she has performed many featured roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Marie in Terrence S. Orr's The Nutcracker, Myrtha in Giselle, and Mercedes in Don Quixote, Russian girl in Balanchine's Serenade. She and her husband retired from the stage in 2009, and they are the proud parents of two children, Emiya 5, and Hana 1.
Noelia Garcia Carmona is a Barcelona-native who graduated from the Institut del Theatre i Dansa de Barcelona and the Department of Spanish Dance. She is an expert in executing and teaching the complex and challenging rhythms that are the foundation of Spanish dance. Ms. Carmona is a Teaching Artist at New Ballet School where she instructs students not only in Flamenco, but Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet for young students to introduce modern concepts and movements for a strong base of Spanish Dance and Ballet training. Originally from Barcelona Spain, her professional career began in Madrid, where she was a founding member of Increpacion Danza, a modern Flamenco company. The group has performed throughout Europe, China, Israel and the Philippines. Having traveled the world, we are honored that she has settled here, in Memphis, Tennessee!
New Ballet Ensemble and School
New Ballet Ensemble and School (NBE) is a Community Arts Education program focused on bringing students from diverse backgrounds together, providing access to a professional standard of training. NBE was founded with the conviction that the only way to raise professional artists in a city with high poverty rates and lack of access by a diverse population is to provide quality training and opportunities to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. NBE’s organizational goal is to ready students for higher education and/or to earn a living as professional artists. We believe as a team we must secure cultural expression and skill for all children, offering high quality programs, accessibility, accountability, adaptability and relevance. Cross-cultural connections are central to our mission. By raising the capacity of everyone engaged, we no longer recognize our differences as separating factors; rather, young artists learn how to celebrate their uniqueness by discovering their commonality.