Nothing about dance speaks to me quite as much as the ‘universal language’ aspect of the art form. Be it traditional, cultural dance or more disciplined and technical dance, it is universally understood because anyone, anywhere can do it. I don’t think any other performing art can transcend language and cultural barriers in quite the same way because everyone on earth was born with the tools for dance—their own body and a drive to move in their everyday lives. Recognizing how dance can be a tool for international education and communication, acclaimed choreographer and artistic director Paul Gordon Emerson has launched Company E in Washington, D.C.
Emerson, probably best known in the district for his 15 years as founder and artistic director of CityDance Ensemble, sees Company E as the next step in promoting cultural exchange and partnerships through dance. While CityDance most certainly began this process with its tours to places like Russia and the Middle East, Company E picks up the reins having already worked internationally in countries including Peru, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Israel, Russia and China with the support of the US State Department, presenting the work of world-class, cutting edge choreographers from across the globe and teaching master classes, workshops and performing lecture demonstrations along the way.
While the company’s performance calendar has them in Israel, Switzerland and Belarus in early 2012, they will open their 2011-12 season this weekend in D.C. as presenters instead of performers. Presented in partnership with The Embassy of Italy/Italia Cultural Institute, the Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) and RED International Performing Arts (an Italian cultural association under Artistic Director/President Bruno Valentino Perillo), Company E kicks off their season with Sacre: The Imperfect Dancers Company of Italy.
Based in Rome, the Imperfect Dancers Company is led by Artistic Directors Paola Catalani and Walter Matteini. Having received critical acclaim from the European press, the company is enthusiastic about an American debut, where they will showcase Matteini’s ‘signature’ work, Sacre, a bold and physical piece set to Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
The Imperfect Dancers will also perform Thinking Outside the Box, another work of international origins having been developed in residency at the National Choreography Centre in Nantes and then premiered at the International Tanz Festival in Regensburg, Germany. The piece, which explores the tensions of free will and love, is at the same time softly expressive and intense as the dancers move fluidly, punctuated with convulsive extensions and quick footwork.
Bringing The Imperfect Dancers to D.C. is a perfect beginning for Company E’s international season, proving right from the start the reciprocal benefits of what dance exchange can do for communities. “The DC scene needs to take in new art and see new things,” Emerson says. “Thanks to the work that Company E is doing, I see dance literally all over the world now, and I wanted to begin to share that with DC audiences.”
Sacre: The Imperfect Dancers Company of Italy, will be performed at the Lansburgh Theatre – Harman Center for the Arts, 450 7th Street NW in D.C. on Saturday, December 10th at 8pm and Sunday, December 11th at 2pm. Tickets are $18 for general admission, $12 for students and seniors and can be purchased at the Harman Center for the Arts Box Office, by phone at (202) 547-1122, or online at www.shakespearetheatre.org. Patrons are advised that the performance contains partial nudity.