New York City Ballet's Sara Mearns to Perform with PTAMD at Lincoln Center
Paul Taylor has invited New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Sara Mearns to perform works by Isadora Duncan reconstructed by The Isadora Duncan Dance Company Artistic Director, Lori Bellilove during the 2018 Season of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance (PTAMD) at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.
"We are thrilled to have Sara Mearns, a consummate artist with extraordinary stage presence, dance works by Isadora Duncan during our Season," said Mr. Taylor. "As a founder of American modern dance, Isadora Duncan championed artistic freedom and individual expression. Her legacy continues to inspire each successive generation of American dancers and choreographers."
Ms. Mearns, who is well known for her interest in taking on new artistic challenges, said of the project, "I am so honored to be bringing Isadora Duncan's dances to life and I'm inspired by the immense freedom that her dances offer me as an artist. Sharing this work with the audiences at the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance season is absolutely thrilling and very exciting."
A revolutionary in her art and life, Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) established what would become known as modern dance as an art on an equal footing with poetry, music, the visual arts and ballet, creating a new vision of dance as a means to express the inner self. Inspired by the ideals of ancient Greece, Duncan embodied the belief that dance should be based in "natural" movement that would allow the individual personality of the dancer to be expressed. She had monumental power as a performer; and was capable of bringing an audience to tears simply by raising her arms. Dancing to the great classical composers, Duncan held her own as a solo figure on opera house stages across America and Europe. Artists and intellectuals of her day took up her vision of dance as a philosophical and spiritual endeavor. Rodin proclaimed her "the greatest woman I have ever known." John Dos Passos wrote that "Art was whatever Isadora did." Duncan had a profound influence on 20th-century ballet. Embracing her as "a kindred spirit," Diaghilev proclaimed that "we carry the torch that she lit." Even before her tragic death, Duncan had become mythic, and for more than a century she has been celebrated by artists in every genre.
Sara Mearns, a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, began her training in Columbia, South Carolina with Ann Brodie's Carolina Ballet at age 3. She continued her training with Patricia McBride in Charlotte, NC before attending School of American Ballet in 2001. Mearns is known for her roles in Swan Lake, Balanchine's Diamonds and Walpurgisnacht. She has worked with famed choreographers such as Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, Benjamin Millipied, Peter Martins, Susan Stroman, Liz Gerring, Pontus Lindberg, Kim Brandstrup and Joshua Bergasse. She recently collaborated with Jodi Melnick on a full evening piece for the Guggenheim Museum, New Bodies. Mearns also recently guested with the Isadora Duncan Foundation in June at The Joyce Theater, The Ashley Bouder Project in March, and will premiere new work "No.1" with Wang/Ramirez at Fall for Dance at New York City Center this October. She will debut in Matthew Bourne's production of The Red Shoes at New York City Center in October. In 2014, Sara Mearns is in partnership with Cole Haan to collaborate on the StudioGrand collection of footwear and handbags. She has also teamed up with dancewear brand SoDanca to design and create high performance wear for dancers, athletes, and beyond. Mearns has been nominated twice for the Benois de la Dance award for outstanding performance, the Bessie award for outstanding performance, and the Princess Grace award.
Lori Belilove's direct lineage and prestigious performing career have earned her an international reputation as the premier interpreter and ambassador of the dance of Isadora Duncan. Through her performances and teaching, audiences worldwide have experienced the purity, timelessness, and authentic phrasing, that has been passed down to Lori through the direct line of Isadora Duncan dancers. She was coached for performance and technique by 1st generation Duncan Dancers Anna Duncan and Irma Duncan, two of the six adopted artistic daughters of Isadora, also known as the Isadorables, and then with 2nd generation Duncan Dancers Julia Levien, Hortense Kooluris, and Mignon Garland. Lori received a B.F.A. in dance, religion, and classical studies from Mills College. She trained extensively in the modern technique of Doris Humphrey as a private student of Eleanor King and Ernestine Stodelle, both original members of the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company. As founder and Artistic Director of The Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation & Company, Lori maintains a studio and school in New York City, and her Company is in residence at McBurney YMCA. Lori has toured solo and with her Company across America performing in colleges, universities, and festivals. Internationally, she has toured Budapest, Germany, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, West Africa, Italy, and Russia. In Brazil she has established an on-going affiliate Duncan school and performing Ensemble. As her journey is dance continues, in October 2015 Lori was appointed Artistic Director of the newly established Duncan Dance Academy in Shenzhen, China, with affiliate branches in 15 countries.
Paul Taylor is the greatest living pioneer of American modern dance, with 146 dances made since 1954 when he established the Paul Taylor Dance Company. He continues to offer cogent observations on life's complexities and society's thorniest issues through his dances. A virtuoso dancer for 20 years, Mr. Taylor turned exclusively to choreography in 1974; the dance that followed, Esplanade, was hailed an instant classic. His works are performed by the Taylor Company, Taylor 2 and ballet and modern dance companies the world over. In 2015 he established PAUL TAYLOR AMERICAN MODERN DANCE to bring to New York's Lincoln Center - in addition to his own repertoire - great dances of the past and present by other modern choreographers, and works by the next generation of choreographers creating directly on his Company. Works are performed to live music whenever so intended by the choreographer. A Kennedy Center honoree, Mr. Taylor is the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary, Dancemaker, and author of the acclaimed autobiography, Private Domain.
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