Choreographer Shirley Jenkins Presents WOMEN... GOTTA LUV 'EM, Now thru 1/26
Tonight, January 24 Seattle Choreographer Shirley Jenkins will premiere her newest and most personal modern dance pieces on the Cornish Playhouse stage. Women...Gotta Luv 'Em reflects Jenkins' triumphant and turbulent dance journey that includes her own battles with cancer and debilitating injury.
As Jenkins explains, "My choreographic intentions come from my heart's desire to express deep emotions from my life's experiences. Dance has always been my reason to live, and Women...Gotta Luv 'Em takes my stories and exposes them to the world. It is the culmination of the past few years of my life-my battles with cancer, my recovery and my rebirth to dance. I am bringing a total celebration of survival, strength, hope, and pure love of life to the stage."
For Shirley Jenkins the road from founding company member of Bill Evans Dance in 1975, to celebrated choreographer and Artistic Director of one of Seattle's newest modern dance companies, DanceJENKINSDance, has been extraordinarily fulfilling and personally challenging.
This celebration through movement showcases the vibrant spirit and vitality of women and features an all-female troupe of professional dancers. Women...Gotta Luv 'Em is a joyous, spirited dance celebration of everything one adores in women-it's playful, beautiful, strong, resilient, and passionate. In it Jenkins unveils two world premiere pieces, 'Pink Diary' and 'Diario Rosado.' Jenkins has also completely restaged her critically acclaimed 2011 pieces, 'Dear William,' a tender reflection of the demise and return of a dancer's physical prowess, and 'Soliloquy of A Soul,' a movement symphony of poetic metaphors acknowledging the past, present and future.
'Pink Diary' (chapter one): Part memoir and part meditation on the power of mind over body, this highly personal and introspective work reflects Jenkins' triumphant journey from illness to recovery. Poignantly drawing upon childhood memories and recent experiences to paint a glorious, life-affirming dance tableau, 'Pink Diary' delivers sultry Jazz sections, classic waltzes and a few surprises.
'Diario Rosado' (capitulo dos): This soothing and lyrical new work powerfully embodies the unique depth of musicality, rhythm and beauty frequently enjoyed in Jenkins' choreography. Playful, sensual, dramatic and fluid, 'Diario Rosado' shares the raw transformative power of dance and the resiliency of the human spirit through whirling montages, lush movements and ethereal moments.
Dancers include: Taylor Augustine, Amie Baca, Holly Batt, Naphtali Beyleveld, Carrie Dossick, Belle Wolf, as well as Jenkins. Costume design and construction is by Shirley Jenkins and company; lighting design is by Meg Fox.
Performances of Women...Gotta Luv 'Em are Friday and Saturday January 24-25 at 8:00 pm. There is a matinee on Sunday January 26 at 3:00 pm. Tickets, on sale now, are $25 for general seating ($27 at the door). Student and senior tickets are $20 ($22 at the door). For more information and tickets, visit DanceJenkinsDance.com.
Shirley Jenkins' love affair with dance started at the tender age of two and three quarters when she took her very first dance class. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from the University of Utah, majoring in Modern Dance with an emphasis in Performance, Choreography and Teaching. While completing her BFA requirements in 1975, she was asked to be a founding member of the celebrated Bill Evans Dance Company. In 1976, the board of directors of Dance Theater Seattle invited the company to move to Seattle. Jenkins had a prolific career as a touring member and master instructor of the Evans Company, performing in major cities and rural communities via the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Touring Program.
Jenkins formed her own company, Strong Wind Wild Horses-which rapidly became a Seattle favorite at Bumbershoot Festivals and the Allegro series during the 80s and 90s-and collaborated with musicians, including Denny Goodhew, James Knapp, Scott Cossu, Michael Cava, Mark Seals, Steve Kim, Tom Bergersen, Fred West, the Kinetics and others. Jenkins also founded a non-profit organization, Dance On Capitol Hill, for the Seattle community and established outreach programs by producing summer dance camps for homeless children. Jenkins has been an Artist-In-Residence at scores of universities and dance festivals throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her choreographic and teaching residencies have included the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, Bill Evans Summer Institutes, Rhode Island University, Middlebury College, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia College, Alaska and Kentucky Out-Reach Programs, and international festivals in Bonn, Germany and Taipei, Taiwan.
In 1997 everything changed. Jenkins sustained a severe spinal injury while dancing, followed by uterine cancer. Nine years later she endured surgery and chemo/radiation therapy for breast cancer and in 2007 she underwent surgery for a total hip replacement. She never knew she could fight so hard to pick herself up from the ashes, and she often wondered if dancing again was a crazy idea. She decided she is crazy and embraces it!
Jenkins is currently an Adjunct Instructor at Cornish College of the Arts and on the teaching staff of Velocity Dance Center. She is a Pilates instructor at Pilates Seattle International, and specializes in athletic injury and rehabilitation for seniors. In 2010, Jenkins formed a new dance company, DanceJENKINSDance, that performs in and around the Seattle area.