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Dances We Dance to Present PASSAGES Live At Theatre At St. Jeans

The program will present three new works by Ms. Francesca Todesco.  

Dances We Dance to Present PASSAGES Live At Theatre At St. Jeans

Dances We Dance, the newly created New York-based dance company, will present PASSAGES, its first self-produced season June 3-5, at the Theater at St. Jeans, 150 East 76th Street.

DWD is a small, dedicated team of dancers whose passion will bring to life the repertory works of Isadora Duncan and new choreography by Catherine Gallant and Francesca Todesco.

Passages has many meanings for DWD's Artistic Director Francesca Todesco. Primarily, a passage of responsibility: Dances We Dance was originally founded in New York in 1970 by legendary dancers/teachers/choreographers and mentors Betty Jones and Fritz Ludin. Betty & Fritz's mission and vision of forming a new generation of dancers resulted in over 50 years of dedicated teaching and choreographing all over the world. In 2019 Betty and Fritz retired and asked Ms. Todesco to take over the lead of this organization. Sadly, Ms. Jones passed away in 2020.

Ms. Todesco has spent the last 20 years studying, reconstructing and performing Isadora Duncan choreography, while at the same time dancing principal roles with the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, and exploring Limón technique classes. She directed a children's school of dance for over 10 years, where she choreographed many works for and with her students. She has been teaching the Duncan technique and style for over 15 years, both in the U.S. and abroad. Francesca is excited to present this first season with her new ensemble.

Although this new chapter is not a direct extension of the founders' work, Todesco and colleagues are proud to pick up the reins and take the company in a new direction. States Ms. Todesco: "We hope to continue providing relevant creations and productions as well as education opportunities to the community. We pledge to always honor the remarkable legacy of our company's namesake and gather strength and wisdom from their accomplishments."

Passages also carries with it the responsibility of training the next generation of Duncan dancers, as well as forming an ensemble adaptable to learning and performing different movements and styles.

In this premiere season, Ms. Todesco recreates three sections of Reflets d'Allemagne, the rarely seen work by Isadora Duncan set to music by French composer Florent Schmitt, who wrote eight musical vignettes after traveling through Europe in the early twentieth century. Ms. Todesco chose three additional sections to choreograph, maintaining some of Duncan's principals combined with her ideas. These piano selections for four-hands will be performed by DWD musical director Nathaniel LaNasa and Isidora Vladic. Additional Duncan works will include the compelling Scriabin Études, played by Mr. LaNasa and danced by Ms. Todesco. Choreographed by Ms. Duncan between 1921-23, these timeless dances are based on themes of struggle, loss and hope.

Late Echo, a new work for five dancers commissioned by DWD, gleans movement from accepted accidents and chance encounters. Just as a visual artist might carefully assemble found objects, choreographer Catherine Gallant extracts and abstracts from a gyre of gestures and stances found in everyday existence on the street, in print and online media and on public transit. This mix is housed within the plush atmosphere of composer James Ra's Evocation for cello and piano, played by pianist Nathaniel LaNasa and cellist Kirsten Jermé.

The program will present three new works by Ms. Todesco.

The first solo, The Calling, inspired by the tale of Joan of Arc, was originally choreographed in 2015 on one of Francesca's teen students. It was later revisited, thus keeping its original intent, and made into four distinct sections to music by Chopin and Gurdjieff. Margherita Tisato will dance, accompanied by LaNasa and Jermé.

The second solo, danced by Francesca Todesco, was inspired by a poem by William Wordsworth (Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood) and developed from the idea of the unbearable inevitability of change. It is set to music by Scriabin and will be played by Mr. LaNasa.

The creation of Fuga Y Mysterio began over the summer of 2020 as the choreographer listened to The Great Women Artists Podcast with Katy Hessel. Ms. Todesco was fascinated by the personal journey of many women artists throughout history - their courage, ambitions, strength, and the beauty of their characters, but also their darkness and hardship. She started creating the quartet to the music of Astor Piazzolla, who would have been 100 years old in 2021. The piece explores women's beauty and sensuality, as well as their darkness and desolation.

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