The Joyce Theater Premieres Jason Samuels Smith's IMAGINE and CHASIN' THE BIRD, Now thru 7/7

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The Joyce Theater presents Emmy Award-winning choreographer Jason Samuels Smith in celebration of his first season of full-length programming at The Joyce with a performance that features two world premieres from tonight, July 3 through July 7.

Emmy Award winning choreographer Jason Samuels Smith celebrates his first season of full-length programming at The Joyce with a performance that features three works, including two world premieres: Imagine (world premiere); excerpts from Charlie’s Angels: A Tribute to Charlie Parker (2009); and Chasin’ the Bird (world premiere). These three interrelated works, all of which are set to the music of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, follow Smith’s artistic process from conception through development and final production.

The program begins with the world premiere of Imagine, a solo piece choreographed and danced by Smith. Set to music performed by a live five-piece band, Imagine reveals how Smith’s experimentation with sound and movement led to his process of creating Charlie’s Angels: A Tribute to Charlie Parker (2009), excerpts of which follow Imagine.

Charlie’s Angels, conceived while Smith was performing in the world premiere of Derick Grant’s Imagine Tap!, was born out of the idea of re-creating the music of Charlie Parker through tap dance. The work features three of taps most sensational female dancers--Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards—Chloe Arnold (Cobu 3D) and Michelle Dorrance (Stomp)

The evening will culminate with the world premiere of Chasin’ The Bird, a theatrical project that is a continuation – of sorts – of Charlie’s Angels. Combining a diverse mixture of tap as a musical, theatrical, and visual art form enhanced by the artistry of live musicians, Chasin’ the Bird features the talents of many accomplished artists. The work is written by Craig mUMs Grant (“Oz”) and directed by Dule Hill (“The West Wing,” “Psych”) & Awoye Timpo. It is danced by Baakari Wilder (Bring in Da'Noise, Bring in Da'Funk, Bamboozled), Zakiya Young (StickFly, The Little Mermaid), Frank Harts (A Raisin In The Sun), Chloe Arnold and Michelle Dorrance.

Among his numerous awards and accolades, Jason Samuels Smith received the 2009 Dance Magazine Award and won both an Emmy and American Choreography Award for “Outstanding Choreography” for the Opening number of the Jerry Lewis/MDA Telethon in a tribute to the late Gregory Hines. Mr. Samuels Smith has appeared as a special guest on Fox's hit series “So You Think You Can Dance,” as a choreographer for Grammy Artist Mya on CBS's “Secret Talents of The Stars,” and as an associate choreographer for ABC's “Dancing With The Stars.” Other performance credits include the Tony Award winning Broadway cast of Bring in Da’Noise, Bring in Da’Funk, the critically acclaimed Imagine Tap! and Savion Glover’s NYOTs (Not Your Ordinary Tappers), among many others. Mr. Samuels Smith’s company A.C.G.I. (Anybody Can Get It) is currently developing Charlie's Angels: A Tribute to Charlie Parker features choreography on a trio of some of the most talented women performers today. Additionally, Mr. Samuels Smith continues a collaboration with YouthSpeaks for the Living Word Project set to tour again this year. He is also currently shooting a documentary called Tap Dreams, which highlights the global tap community and rewards audition winners with the chance to attend popular tap festivals in the US. He aims to create opportunity for tap dancers and is known worldwide as an advocate and spokesperson for tap.

The Joyce Theater Foundation, a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community and its audiences for three decades. Under the direction of founders Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, Ballet Tech Foundation, Inc. acquired and The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea. Opening as The Joyce Theater is 1982, it was named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther’s clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. One of the only theaters built by dancers for dance, The Joyce Theater has provided an intimate and elegant home for more than 320 domestic and international companies. The Joyce has also commissioned more than 130 new dances since 1992. In 1996, The Joyce created Joyce SoHo, a dance center providing highly subsidized rehearsal and performance space to hundreds of dance artists, as well as special residency opportunities for selected choreographers to support the creation of new work. In 2009, The Joyce opened Dance Art New York (DANY) Studios to provide affordable studios for rehearsals, auditions, classes, and workshops for independent choreographers, non-profit dance companies, and the dance/theater communities. New York City public school students and teachers annually benefit from The Joyce’s Dance Education Program, and adult audiences get closer to dance through informative Dance Talks, Joyce Pre-Show gatherings, and post-performance Dance Chat discussions. The Joyce Theater now features an annual season of approximately 48 weeks with over 340 performances for audiences in excess of 135,000.

Jason Samuels Smith performs his first season of full-length programming at The Joyce Theater from tonight, July 3 through July 7 as follows: Tuesday at 7:30pm; Wednesday (July 4) at 5pm; Thursday – Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm. Tickets range in price from $10-$39 ($19-$29 for Joyce Theater members), and can be purchased through JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800 or via the internet at www.joyce.org. Please note: Ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street.

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