The Miners Foundry Cultural Center presents the Nevada City Dance Festival, November 14-19, the first-ever festival of professional dance in Western Nevada County. Presented with support from the California Arts Council (CAC) and local sponsors, the Nevada City Dance Festival offers master classes for local dancers, a gala reception, and two professional dance performances by visiting companies including the exciting contemporary San Francisco ballet company, dawsondancesf on Tuesday, November 17, and the internationally renowned Afro-Cuban dancer, Kimberly Miguel-Mullen on Thursday, November 19.
Last August, the Miners Foundry Cultural Center was awarded a grant by the CAC to be used to support the production of the festival. These grants were awarded to smaller arts organizations for the purpose of providing project support and fostering equity, access and opportunity to arts programs in smaller communities.
“Although our area hosts a range of professional level arts experiences, never in the history of Western Nevada County has there been a dance festival” said Karen Attix, Miners Foundry dance consultant and choreographer. “This is not for lack of interest,” she continued. “We have a large community of dancers, dance educators, choreographers and dance students here, including six dance studios, two high school dance programs, all pursuing a wide range of dance forms”.
Artistic Director Gregory Dawson formed dawsondancesf in 2007 as an outlet for his choreographic goals and vision. dawsondancesf has steadily delivered risk-taking, muscularly elegant performances since its establishment. The company breaks down the barriers placed on classical ballet, and brings to light the strength and beauty that artists possess within themselves. dawsondancesf has been described as “raw, chilling physicality” and “So You Think You Can Dance” on steroids.” For the November 17th performance, Dawson has choreographed a piece specific for the Miners Foundry’s Osborn/Woods Hall.
“Having created a good amount of my larger works in unconventional spaces, I find myself attracted to the challenge. So much so that I’m slightly uncomfortable with the conventional proscenium,” said Dawson. “What attracts me to the space is the history that lies within. The richness of the architecture, the sweat that was behind the construction of the edifice, and most definitely how lives are effected by its existence. Having visited the Miners Foundry, I was inspired to create a composition that is intimate and inclusive, and having the structure be the gateway into the world that we will create.”
Kimberly Miguel-Mullen is an acclaimed choreographer and dance ethnologist. The Los Angeles Times has described her movement as “spectacularly supple,” a well-crafted mixture of Silvestre contemporary dance and traditional techniques from the African diaspora. She is considered one of the world’s best Afro-Cuban dancers and has performed in the USA, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and Hong Kong.
On November 19th, Mullen will perform Yemanjá: Mother of the Deep, an inspirational performance piece; a creative interplay of live music, song and dance that will engage and transport its audience on a journey that evokes the transformative spirit of the sea. The audience will dive into the mythical and legendary world of Yemanjá, the revered water goddess and universal mother figure set to the eclectic soundtrack of driving polyrhythms, ethereal harmonies and Mullen’s solo dance performance. Music composed by producer and Grammy Award-winner Alberto Lopez will accompany texts penned by critically acclaimed songstress Mia Doi Todd. Also featured will be the musical talents of extraordinary Brazilian guitarist Fabiano do Nascimento, percussionists Evan Greer and Kahlil Cummings, among others.
“Historically speaking, the local music and dance community in Nevada City is reputable for their efforts in painting a strong African/Afro-Diaspora cultural arts presence,” explained Mullen who has for the last four years made Nevada City one of her main flagship cities for her dance residencies and intensives in California. “Karen Attix approached me about the possibility of performing my full-length concert show for the festival with the concept of exposing audiences to two California native artists whose contrast in artistic dance styles both exemplify high art at its best. The contrast between Contemporary Ballet and AfroCuban/AfroBrazilian Dance – each form requiring a life-time commitment to learning, training, and developing a specific skill set. Karen’s vision to juxtapose these two different forms as both examples of high art is a progressive and innovative concept that speaks on the standard of what is considered high art in the dance world.”
“The mission of the Miners Foundry is to preserve, enhance and utilize the historic Miners Foundry for cultural, educational and social activities in our community,” stated Gretchen Bond, Miners Foundry executive director. “With the support of the community, we have been working for a number of years to enhance the Osborn/Woods Hall to better support a diverse selection of performing arts programs,” she continued. “With the completion of the installation of the professional dance floor in the winter of 2013, we are now able to welcome professional dance companies to perform, and to develop ongoing professional dance residency programs to our community. We are very grateful to our local sponsors and for the award of the CAC grant funds which will enable us launch this new long-term program.”
All dance activities will take place at the Miners Foundry and at the dance studio at Nevada Union High School. The Foundry has also partnered with local dance studios; Holt Ballet Conservatory, KSK Dance Collective and the Nevada Union Theatrical Dance Department, in the promotion of the festival, and support of the week-long events including the Opening Night Gala Reception.
Event Activities include the following:
A Gala Reception at the Miners Foundry on November 17th
Two dance master-classes (November 14 & November 18)
Three technical and dress rehearsals (November 15, 16 & 19)
Two professional dance performances by the visiting companies (November 17 & 19)
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit MinersFoundry.org.
(Source: Miners Foundry Cultural Center)