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ACT: Central Heating Lab Opens 2009 With Seattle Dance Project

Following its critically-acclaimed debut, Seattle Dance Project, in conjunction with The Central Heating Lab at ACT, kicks off 2009 with p2: Project Two, an enticing array of new works by four innovative choreographers from around the world. Performances will run in ACT's Falls Theatre from January 22 – 24 at 8:00 p.m.

In p2: Project Two, Seattle Dance Project artistic directors Julie Tobiason and Timothy Lynch continue to pursue the company's passion for collaborating with renowned and emerging choreographers to create groundbreaking new works. The performance will feature premieres by Heidi Vierthaler, former dancer for choreographer William Forsythe; Edwaard Liang, former soloist with the New York City Ballet; Maureen Whiting, artistic director of Maureen Whiting Company; and Kiyon Gaines, emerging choreographer and dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

"We are excited to begin 2009 after such a fantastic first year," said Tobiason. "It's amazing to be in the studio watching these works come to life and to stretch the physical and mental boundaries of what we can do as dancers. Our collaboration with each of these talented choreographers has challenged us in new ways and will allow us to bring new experiences to our audiences."

 "We are especially looking forward to returning to ACT, where we made our debut in 2007," added Lynch. "For many of us, it was the first time we had danced in such an intimate space, and it was an intense and rewarding experience to be so close to the audience. We could see their reactions as we performed, and it was almost as if they were participating with us. The space allows us to share the physicality and emotion of our performance on a whole new level."

p2: Project Two runs at ACT's Falls Theatre space on January 22, 23 and 24 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general audience, $20 for students and seniors. Group discounts are available. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit acttheater.org or call ACT's Ticket Office at (206) 292-7676.

Seattle Dance Project will hold a pay-what-you-will dress rehearsal on January 21 at 7:00 p.m. RSVP is required at info@seattledanceproject.org. Space is limited. The company will also host a p2: Project Two After Party immediately following the final January 24 performance. Tickets are $25 at the door. For more information, contact Seattle Dance Project at info@seattledanceproject.com.

Heidi Vierthaler is a former dancer for world-renowned choreographer William Forsythe. Much of her choreography is inspired by the contemporary style of Forsythe's works. Vierthaler received her training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She was a member of Pacific Northwest Ballet from 1986 to 1990, and Ballet Chicago from 1990 to 1994. She has also worked with Spectrum Dance Theater and local choreographer Maureen Whiting. In 1996, she moved to Europe and worked with a variety of companies and choreographers, including Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kilián, Nacho Duato, and Tero Saarinen, among others. She began her work as a dancer and collaborator with William Forsythe, with Ballet Frankfurt in 2002 and the Forsythe Company in 2005. Vierthaler lives in Amsterdam and teaches for the University of the Arts and the School for New Dance Development.

Edwaard Liang was born in Taipei, Taiwan. He has danced as a soloist with New York City Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre and in "Fosse" on Broadway. Liang has also danced as a guest artist with various companies, including Norwegian National Ballet and Complexions. Liang currently dances for Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company. He first choreographed for a workshop for Nederlands Dans Theatre 1. Since then, he has choreographed works for highly acclaimed companies including New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet among many others. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer deemed Liang's Seattle debut as "one of the bright lights of the ballet world."

Maureen Whiting founded the Seattle-based Maureen Whiting Company in 1997. In addition to directing the company, she also lends her talents to other companies as a freelance choreographer. Between 1998 and 2005, Whiting created numerous new works for On the Boards at Contemporary Performance Theater. She has been commissioned to create new works at Seattle University, New City Theater, Center for Contemporary Art in Seattle and The Annex Theater. She also facilitates and performs solo work at The Field in Seattle and in New York. Whiting continues to collaborate with visual artists, composers, and actors to explore the structural and expressive outcomes between artistic mediums.

Kiyon Gaines hails from Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently a dancer with Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet. A relative newcomer to choreography, Gaines created his first work just three years ago, and since then has amassed an impressive list of work with pieces for Pacific Northwest Ballet in workshop and festival settings. Most recently, he had his first repertory premiere in PNB's "New Works" program. Gaines has also choreographed for Spectrum Dance Theater. In 2007, Gaines was selected to attend the New York Choreographic Institute, a workshop for promising young choreographers. 

Seattle Dance Project (www.seattledanceproject.org) was founded in 2007 by artistic directors Julie Tobiason and Timothy Lynch. The company seeks to use the technical prowess and professional maturity of its dancers to continually push the limits of contemporary dance. Both Tobiason and Lynch formerly danced with the Pacific

Northwest Ballet and are current faculty members of the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. In addition to Tobiason and Lynch, company performers include: Alexandra Dickson, Melanie Skinner, Oleg Gorboulev, Dana Hanson, Kory Perigo, Michele Curtis, Joseph Anderson, and Betsy Cooper. Reflecting Seattle Dance Project's commitment to high quality performing arts, all company members are active teachers in the Seattle dance community.

For the past 44 seasons, ACT's mission has been to inspire our diverse community through theatre that advances our understanding of human life. To dare, excite, and enrich artists and audiences. To steward our many resources. Through The Central Heating Lab, ACT seeks to heat things up and create a conversation with its season that reaches for an even deeper impact.

ACT gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Season Sponsors ArtsFund, ACT Foundation, The Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs,  and The Shubert Foundation, along with Producing Partners 4Culture, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Nesholm Family Foundation, the Peg & Rick Young Foundation, and PONCHO.


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