Dance Theatre of Harlem to return to Seattle for 2 nights; Cedar Lake at Meany
Dance Theatre of Harlem, newly relaunched after an eight-year hiatus, comes to Seattle's Moore Theatre, Nov. 16 and 17, 2012, while Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, in its Seattle debut, brings three new works to Meany Theater, Nov. 15-17, 2012.
Seattle Times arts writer
Dance Theatre of Harlem8 p.m. Nov. 16-17, Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $25-$73 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
It's been a dozen years since Dance Theatre of Harlem was in Seattle, and the company coming to the Moore Theatre next weekend differs considerably from the troupe dance fans saw here in 2000.
Shuttered in 2004 because it was saddled with $2.3 million in debt, DTH was relaunched earlier this year in a more compact form — 18 dancers, down from 44.
During the professional company's eight-year closure, DTH's school continued to operate. The resurrected ensemble is drawn in part from dancers from the school's training ensemble, Dance Theatre of Harlem II. Former dancers Virginia Johnson and Laveen Naidu are leading the new professional company, which is touring the U.S. before making its New York debut at Lincoln Center in April 2013.
In other words, Seattle and other cities get to check out DTH before its hometown does.
The program includes "Contested Space" by Seattle's own Donald Byrd and the world premiere of "Far But Close" by former Ballet BC artistic director John Alleyne. It also features "Gloria," a new piece by former DTH principal dancer Robert Garland, set to music by Francis Poulenc.
A review of the new company's debut in Louisville, Ky., last month noted that it served up "highly energized works with distinctive contemporary character — all while sidestepping the classical and neoclassical that had once been a mainstay in the company's repertoire."
DTH won't be the only big touring company in town next week. Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet makes its Seattle debut, bringing three new works to Meany Theater — including one by Crystal Pite. In a review of Cedar Lake earlier this year, The New York Times noted that the company is renowned for bringing American audiences "the news from Europe, importing choreographers whose work is well known over there but rarely seen here."
Along with "Grace Engine" by Pite (who's Canadian but has strong European ties), the edgier-than-usual Meany program includes "Violet Kid" by Hofesh Schechter (formerly with Batsheva Dance Company, now based in London where he's an associate artist of Sadler's Wells) and "Tuplet" by Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman who, like Pite, frequently works with Nederlands Dans Theater.
That lineup may slant European, but Cedar Lake, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next year, has an unlikely Hollywood connection. It was featured in "The Adjustment Bureau," the 2011 sci-fi thriller in which Emily Blunt played a dancer romantically involved with Matt Damon.
8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, Meany Theater, University of Washington, Seattle; $39-$43 (206-543-4880 or www.uwworldseries.org).
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org