Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Names Alexandra Damiani as Artistic Director, Crystal Pite as Associate Choreographer
Nancy Laurie, Founder and Board President of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, announced the appointment of Alexandra Damiani as the company's new Artistic Director effective immediately. Damiani has worked with Cedar Lake since 2005 as Ballet Master and Rehearsal Director of the 16-member troupe. Crystal Pite will join Cedar Lake as Associate Choreographer contributing a minimum of two works over the next three years.
Laurie said, "We knew one of Cedar Lake's greatest assets in the last several years has been the work and talent of Damiani. She possesses a keen perceptiveness with dancers, is well connected to the international dance world, and has kept our company and repertory in topmost form. I'm extremely proud that she has grown with Cedar Lake and is assuming this important position after eight years of exceptional achievement."
Pioneering choreographer Crystal Pite, displays a distinct choreographic language marked by a strong theatrical sensibility infused with wit and invention. She has created two works for Cedar Lake, Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue (2007) and Grace Engine (2012).
Damiani said, "I'm tremendously proud to assume this position and continue my journey with this extraordinary company now as its artistic leader. Since season one, we have strived to challenge both our dancers and audiences by showcasing a vanguard of choreographers less familiar to U.S. audiences. As we enter our second decade, we are adding an associate choreographer that will further the company's artistic development and the personal growth of our dancers with a long-term relationship. I'm thrilled that Pite will be joining me to form Cedar Lake's artistic core. In our last ten years, works by this visionary artist has been a high point for us."
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will celebrate its 10 year anniversary with a debut season at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, June 11-14, 2014. Featuring Pite's Grace Engine, the two programs will also include works by Alexander Ekman, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jo Strømgren, and Hofesh Shechter.
A native of France, Alexandra Damiani is a leading practitioner and collaborator in the realm of contemporary dance, combining her rich dance background with an enthusiasm for directing dancers and a flexibility with varying philosophies of movement. After a 15 -year -dance career as a soloist with Les Ballets Jazz of Montreal, Complexions and Donald Byrd/The Group among others, Ms. Damiani joined Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet as Ballet Master in 2005. Damiani is frequently invited to conduct master classes in the U.S. and around the world with such dance institutions as the Juilliard School, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and Ballet Junior of Geneva. Since 2008, she has served on the advisory board of New York Theatre Ballet. She is also an avid student and teacher in the ancient healing movement practice of Qigong under the guidance of Master Sat Hon, Taoist Master of the Dragon Gate Lineage.
Canadian choreographer and performer Crystal Pite is a former company member of Ballet British Columbia and William Forsythe's Ballett Frankfurt. Pite's professional choreographic debut was in 1990, at Ballet British Columbia. Since then, she has created over 40 works for companies such as Nederlands Dans Theater I, Cullberg Ballet, Ballett Frankfurt, The National Ballet of Canada, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (Resident Choreographer, 2001-2004), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, and Louise Lecavalier/Fou Glorieux. She has also collaborated with Electric Company Theatre and Robert Lepage. Crystal is Associate Choreographer of Nederlands Dans Theater I and Associate Dance Artist of Canada's National Arts Centre. In 2013, Crystal was appointed Associate Artist at Sadler's Wells, London.
In 2002, she formed Kidd Pivot in Vancouver. Kidd Pivot tours nationally and internationally, performing such highly-demanded and critically acclaimed works as Dark Matters and Lost Action. Kidd Pivot's residency at the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt (2010-2012) provided Pite the opportunity to create and tour her most recent works, The You Show and The Tempest Replica. She is the recipient of several awards including the Bonnie Bird North American Choreography Award (2004), the Isadora Award (2005), the Canada Council's 2012 Jacqueline Lemieux Prize, and the Jacob's Pillow Dance Award (2011), among many others.
Founded in 2003-2004, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has established itself at the forefront of contemporary U.S. dance companies. Located in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, Cedar Lake provides choreographers a comprehensive environment for creating new work for presentation to a worldwide audience while curating a repertoire that continues to challenge its dancers. The Cedar Lake repertoire currently includes works by Alexander Ekman, Andonis Foniadakis, Hofesh Shechter, Jo Strømgren, Jir?í Kylián, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Associate Choreographer Crystal Pite. For more information about Cedar Lake including performance schedules, video, artist biographies and more, visit cedarlakedance.com.