RPM Productions to Present LA JOURNEE DES TZIGANES, THE DAY OF THE GYPSIES at Athenaeum Theatre, 4/11-12
RPM Productions announces their original production La Journee des Tziganes, The Day of the Gypsies, to take place at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., April 11 - 12. The vibrant music and dance production features the John Jorgenson gypsy jazz quintet live onstage with the bravura choreography of RPM director and choreographer Gordon Peirce Schmidt. The two-day only production will take place on Friday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 12 at 3 p.m., and last 90 minutes including one 15-minute intermission. Tickets are $42 and may be purchased by calling the Athenaeum Box Office at 773.935.6875 or by visiting www.athenaeumtheatre.org.
Having successfully collaborated on a project in 2009 and both having a passion for gypsy jazz and Franco-American swing, Schmidt and Jorgenson decided to continue their relationship with La Journee des Tziganes. "Gypsy jazz just begs to be danced to, whether a haunting solo, or a driving, rhythmic ensemble piece, the impulse to move to the music is overwhelming," says Schmidt. "The idea for the work first and foremost comes from the music, some of which John wrote specifically for the dance. Ultimately we want to create an evening length story work - a dansical - to gypsy jazz."
Gordon Peirce Schmidt has been choreographing and directing dance and theatre for the past thirty years. He is a recipient of numerous awards including a Prime Time Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Achievement-Cultural Programming and two Ruth Page Awards for Choreography. Noted for his originality, musicality and ability to create an emotional experience for the audience whether dramatic or comedic, he and his works have shared the stage with many great artists of the dance world, including ballet legends Maya Pliesetskaya, who included him in her biography I MAYA, and Rudolph Nureyev with whom he had the privilege of working with at the Vienna State Opera. He has also collaborated with renowned musicians performing in a variety of genres, Bela Fleck, John Jorgenson, the Detroit Symphony, the DeVos Quartet, MaryAnn Beatty and his brother concert pianist Kimberly Schmidt and has commissioned new compositions from various artists for the original work he is so well known for. His ballet, By Django, a lively evocation of the jazz age, went on to become the signature work for Ballet Chicago, for whom he was resident choreographer between 1989-1995. During that time he co-founded and directed The Peirce Group, a dance, theatre and performing arts company, and was named "Artist of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune (1992). From 1998 through 2010 Schmidt was the executive/artistic director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Under his direction the company received the ArtServe Michigan Governor's Arts Award for Outstanding Cultural Organization. Also under his direction and with his vision the company acquired its own building, constructing four beautiful studios and a state-of-the-art LEED certified 300-seat theatre for furthering the exploration and promotion of unique dance works. At that time he received commissions from the Detroit Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the West Shore Symphony and the Grand Rapids Art Museum to create works that would enhance their programming.