Michael Mao Dance Returns with Special Guests Mecene, Predmore, 4/26

Michael Mao Dance Returns with Special Guests Mecene, Predmore, 4/26MICHAEL MAO Dance Celebrates its 25th Anniversary
For the Saturday 7:30 PM performance, Company alum will return to appear in "Still Night": Artists and other company affiliations - pre and post Mao Dance * Kevin Predmore (also danced with Martha Graham Dance Company) * Virginie Mecene (Graham) * Lisa Viola (Paul Taylor) * Kristin Draucker (Paul Taylor) * Penny Freeh (James Sewell) * Greg Nuber (Cliff Keuter, Mark Morris companies) * Alan Hineline (Cincinnati Ballet) * Lauren Jaeger (Buglisi Dance, Momix) * Karen Nicely ("Color Purple" on Broadway, and Keith Lee) * Donna Schenherr (Hubbard Street Dance)

Thursday & Friday, April 26 & 27 at 7:30 PM, and Saturday April 28 at 2 PM & 7:30 PM
New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street. Tickets: $25 general admission; $15 students/seniors ($7 for children 12 or under at the April 28 matinee)
Reservations: 212.924.0077 or www.newyorklivearts.org

Choreographer Michael Mao presents the 25th Anniversary Season of Michael Mao Dance with a program of company favorites and guests Virginie Mecene, Kevin Predmore and other artists who are Mao Dance alumni (at the Saturday 7:30 PM performance only). Four major Mao works have been selected for this celebration: Still Night, Kinderspiel, Weaving, and Shifting Shades. Performances, April 26-28 at 7:30 PM with a Saturday matinee, April 28 at 2 PM at New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street.

Begun in 1993, Michael Mao Dance has performed regular seasons in NYC and was hailed on several tours around the world.

Still Night was originally commissioned by the Lake Placid Arts Center in 1993. Set to music by Arvo Pärt, the work was described in Chelsea Clinton News as "a dreamily beautiful dance full of grief and tenderness." The New York Times added that the dancers "seem like stately angels." At the closing night performance, the 12-member resident cast will be joined by original cast members, including alumnus Kevin Predmore, former Martha Graham Dance Company soloist and veteran Graham teacher, who will recreate his leading role in the work, along with Virginie Mecene, former Martha Graham Dance Company principal and currently director of Graham II. Other participating alumnus are Penny Freeh, formerly with the James Sewell Company; and Greg Nuber, who danced with Rudy Perez, Cliff Keuter, and Mark Morris.

Weaving, (premiered at the Cunningham Studio in 1999), a dynamic company dance set to Japanese Taiko drumming, was described as "a strong feisty work, combining pounding drums and a multicultural sensibility driving towards a strong sense of conclusion." Edinburgh Festival Magazine, August 2010.

Mao's Kinderspiel is set to the composition of the same name by Felix Mendelssohn, inspired by the innocent joyfulness of the composer's Children at Play. Kinderspiel premiered at the Cunningham Studio in 2000.

The program also includes Shifting Shades, (premiered in 2010 at the Edinburgh Dance Festival), a collaboration with New York composer Huang Ruo as a dialogue between compositional modes and choreographic devices, which the Edinburgh Festival Magazine termed, "complex and dazzling."

MICHAEL MAO left his native Shanghai at the age of five. His dance training took place at the Graham School, Cunningham Studio, and the Joffrey School. His teachers included Margaret Craske, Ted Shawn, Marie Paquet, Zena Rommett, and David Howard, who was also company teacher for Michael's dancers from 1983 to 1994.

As a dancer, Michael performed for Toby Armour's Boston-based company from 1971 to 1986, appearing in works by Armour, Carolyn Brown, James Waring, Remy Charlip, and Lotte Goslar, among others. He also performed for Mandala Folk Dance Ensemble, Sarah Caldwell's production of Die Fleidermaus with choreography by Graziela Daniele, and made a trip into musical theater to appear as Dancing Curley in Oklahoma!, directed by Andy Cadiff.

As choreographer, Michael's works have been created for, or re-set on, the National Ballet of Kosovo, Hong Kong Ballet, Café de la Danse in Paris, Tennessee Chidren's Ensemble, Oslo Black Box, the Festival Internacional Cervantino of Mexico, and more.

The Company has been funded by NEA, NYSCA, DCA, Massachusetts Council for the Arts, Dillon-Dunwalke Trusts, IBM, Seth Sprague and State Street. Most recently, Michael Mao Dance was awarded a two-year grant from the Soros Foundations administered by New York City Fund for the Arts. www.MichaelMaoDance.org ;

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