PUSH Physical Theatre Debuts with RPO

PUSH Physical Theatre Debuts with RPORochester's award-winning PUSH Physical Theatre will make its debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik in a unique collaboration on Friday and Saturday, April 13 & 14 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre: Breaking Boundaries with PUSH Physical Theatre. The concert will feature PUSH's interpretations of Tyzik compositions, including his New York Cityscapes and "Blue Funk," as well as the world premiere of a new Tyzik work written specifically for PUSH's Galileo. Music by other composers will also be included in the performances that will "push" audiences' preconceptions of a symphonic concert.

"From the moment I first saw PUSH perform, I was intrigued by their unique and interesting way of telling a story by using body movements in an unconventional way. I was immediately interested to see what PUSH and the RPO might be able to create together that would be completely different from anything we have ever done before," explains Tyzik. "This collaboration is an exciting experiment and a new direction in thinking about how a concert can be presented."

PUSH is well known locally, nationally, and internationally for its intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics and soulful artistry, setting a new standard for physical storytelling. Founded in Rochester in 2000 by Brighton husband-and-wife team Darren and Heather Stevenson, PUSH has received the Performing Artist of the Year Award from the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, the Community of Color/Anton Germano Dance Award, and the University of Rochester's Lillian Fairchild Award. They were finalists on truTV's Fake Off, during which judge/Glee star Harry Shum, Jr. said: "You guys are superhuman!" Full-length works include Jekyll & Hyde, Dracula, Arc of Ages, as well as 2013's choreography for composer Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon's Pulitzer Prize-nominated opera, Comala. In 2016, Zohn-Muldoon, fellow Eastman School of Music faculty and composer Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, PUSH, and many other Mexican and U.S. artists collaborated on the award-winning, multi-media opera called Don't Blame Anyone (No Se Culpe). Many shorter works include "Red Ball," a study of interplay between the real and virtual worlds using iPad technology, created in collaboration with RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

"PUSH is absolutely honored to work with Jeff and the RPO," adds PUSH Co-Artistic Director/Founder Darren Stevenson. "This whole process feels new and original, even though its actually very primal. We humans have been gathering together to tell stories through movement and sound even before we figured out how to use language. This project is just a continuation of that legacy."

In addition to the Stevensons, the current company also features veteran PUSHer Jonathan Lowery, former Cirque du Soleil performer Avi Pryntz-Nadworny, and Fulbright scholar and dancer Katherine Marino. Although a busy touring schedule takes them all over the U.S. and the world, PUSH is very involved with arts-in-education programs and runs its own PUSH Pins Summer Camp, Teen Training, and Summer Intensive for adult students from all over the world in Rochester.

Tickets for Breaking Boundaries with PUSH Physical Theatre start at $24 and are available online at rpo.org, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or in person at the RPO's Patron Services Center (108 East Ave., Rochester) and at all Wegmans That's T.H.E. Ticket! locations.

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