Celebrating milestones and continuing two decades of creative collaboration, GroundWorks DanceTheater presents its 2018 Spring Program featuring farewell performances by veteran company members Felise Bagley and Damien Highfield, as well as two world premiere works by international choreographer James Gregg and GroundWorks Executive Artistic Director David Shimotakahara.

“This series is definitely a milestone for the company, with founding members Felise and Damien’s decision to retire from performing with the company. It also looks toward our 20th anniversary year, which will be celebrated in during our 2018-19 season,” says GWDT Executive Artistic Director David Shimotakahara. “For me, producing this series was bittersweet. I’m thinking back on all the things that have happened over the past 20 years to bring us here. There are so many things to celebrate.”

Bagley and Highfield, beloved by GroundWorks audiences for their magnetic duets and on-stage chemistry, will perform Circadian, choreographed by Shimotakahara and first performed by the company in 1999. The duo has performed dozens of featured duets together over their nearly 20-year career with the company. Bagley, a native New Yorker, first debuted with GroundWorks in 2001 in the ballet, Major to Minor. Highfield, a native of Columbus, debuted with the company in 1999 in Shimotakahara’s Circadian. “It’s like bookends,” Highfield says of starting and ending his GroundWorks career with Circadian. “What a beautiful and fitting coincidence.”

Moved by the music of American composer John Adams, Shimotakahara’s yet-to-be-titled new work celebrates the amalgam of different styles in Adams’ composition John’s Book of Alleged Dances. Best known for his strong roots in minimalism and for Pulitzer Prize-winning On the Transmigration of Souls, and opera, Nixon in China, Adams’ music is the driving force behind Shimotakahara’s world premiere work.

Colorado-born, Oklahoma-raised dancer and choreographer James Gregg will debut his first creative collaboration with the company. Inspired by Italian poet Giambattista Basile’s version of the Sleeping Beauty story, Gregg combines his unique “fixed point” style of movement with while exploring themes including tenderness, love, dark beauty and tragedy.

“My works are like a puzzle piece,” Gregg says. “I love creating movement from the inside out and exploring different paths through which the body can move. There will be a lot to watch. You’ll go for a ride.”

GroundWorks presents its Spring Program and special farewell to veteran company members Felise Bagley and Damien Highfield for one performance only in both Akron and Cleveland. Performances will take place on the following dates & times:

  • March 3 at 7:30 pm – EJ Thomas Hall, 198 Hill Street, Akron
  • April 7 at 7:30 pm – Breen Center for the Performing Arts, 2008 W. 30th Street, Cleveland

Ticket information can be found here or by calling 216.751.0088.

Photo: Downie Photography