Entering its 19th season this summer, GroundWorks DanceTheater continues to be celebrated for its commitment to new work in dance. That steady and devoted evolution has led to original programs, rewarding audiences with range of movement, music and ideas. The company’s 2017 Summer Series program continues to set all of that in motion.

New York-based artist Monica Bill Barnes is a choreographer, performer and the Artistic Director of Monica Bill Barnes & Company. Barnes founded the company in 1997 with the mission to celebrate individuality, humor and the innate theatricality of everyday life. Working closely with Associate Artistic Director Anna Bass and Creative Producing Director Robbie Saenz de Viteri, Barnes’ approach to “bringing dance where it doesn’t belong” has resulted in unique projects that bring dance into new contexts. These include a touring production with radio host Ira Glass from the popular NPR series This American Life to an immersive experience at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art combining art and exercise. Her highly acclaimed work has been presented in more than 80 cities throughout the US. Kate Murphy of the New York Times writes that Barnes’ work, “blurs the lines between dance, theater, storytelling, vaudeville and spectacle.”

“The opportunity for GroundWorks to collaborate on a new work with Monica Bill Barnes is extremely special,” says GroundWorks Artistic Director David Shimotakahara. “GroundWorks was founded with a hunger to explore and challenge notions about what dance could be – for ourselves as artists and for our audience. Monica’s artistry epitomizes this idea. The company is in that perfectly ripe and creative place of not knowing what to expect. We are excited to begin a process that is sure to be deeply rewarding.”

GroundWorks also presents the reprisal of Inamorata, choreographed by NYC-based artist Kate Weare, Founder & Artistic Director of Kate Weare Company and re-staged by Doug Gillespie, Dancer and Assistant Director of Kate Weare Company. Inamorata, which first debuted on GWDT’s stage in 2013, is set to an array of musical selections, ranging from tango and folk music to a Bach cello suite and other styles. Weare has written, “I think the piece is a survey of love from many different vantage points, and more from a feminine perspective than a masculine one.” Both highly dramatic and abstract in form, Inamorata blends many influences, to reveal the complexities in our ideals and expressions of love.

Artistic Director David Shimotakahara’s Chromatic, first presented during the company’s Fall 2016 series, is inspired by American-born composer Conlon Nancarrow. A jazz trumpet player influenced by the works of Art Tatum and John Cage, Nancarrow developed a method of composing by hand punching piano rolls for player pianos. “Within its complexities, Nancarrow’s music maintains a sense of humor and, for me, a kind of whimsy,” Shimotakahara says of his original work. “Despite its mechanical and indeed maniacal underpinnings, the music retains its humanity.”

This season’s series also features two new GroundWorks artists – Tyler Ring and Gemma Freitas Bender. A native of Muncie, Indiana, company artist Tyler Ring studied dance at Ball State University, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Hubbard Street Dance and Visceral Dance (both in Chicago). As a performer, Ring has danced new works by Sidra bell, Alex Ketley and Melissa Thodos. As a choreographer, his

works have received national recognition including at the American College Dance Association National Conference at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Summer company artist Gemma Freitas Bender is from Buffalo, NY and is a 2014-15 recipient of the Princess Grace USA Award. She is also a graduate of The Juilliard School in New York City. She has performed at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process, the Chicago Dance Festival and the Dizzy Feet Gala in Los Angeles. Following graduation, Bender joined Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal and performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In 2016, she received a choreographic grant through Cleveland Public Theatre’s DanceWorks to create and perform original work.

Performances at Cain Park’s Alma Theater will take place on the following dates & times:

  • Friday, July 14 – 7PM
  • Saturday, July 15 – 7PM
  • Sunday, July 16 – 2PM

Performances at Heinz Poll at Goodyear Heights Metro Park will take place on the following dates & times:

  • Friday, August 4 – At dusk (8:45pm or s0)
  • Saturday, August 5 – At dusk (8:45pm or s0)

For tickets, visit GroundWorks.org.