The 2013-14 Pace Presents’ season is coming to a close but we still have one last unique offering to bring you. May 30-June 1, will bring Tina Croll and Jamie Cunningham’s exciting dance/theatre event, “From the Horse’s Mouth.” The opening night, on May 30th, will double as a special gala performance that will feature esteemed guest stars such as Marge Champion, Jacques d’Amboise, Arthur Mitchell and Carmen de Lavallade who will all be honoring the life and career of dance legend, Frederic Franklin.
“From the Horse’s Mouth,” is a one of a kind experience that combines the stories of dancers’ careers and lives, with movement from all genres, “from tap to ballet to Bharat Natyam to Irish step dancing and beyond.” The show was conceived back in 1998 by creative directors, Tina Croll and Jamie Cunningham. The two had known each other since 1966 when they met at the Dance Theatre Workshop. When they met up again in the late 1990’s for a concert they were performing in, they shared with each other their mutual passion for celebrating dancers of all ages, races and styles. The show has traveled globally to celebrate dancers from all types of communities. One of the team’s favorite productions was done in Hawaii with authentic hula dancing, music and stories. In June, the team will head to Toronto with actors, dancers, athletes and military to celebrate the stories of the LGBT community during World Pride month.
As mentioned previously, the production mounting at the Schimmel will celebrate the life of the great Frederic Franklin. When asked why they wanted to honor him, Croll and Cunningham had the following to say, “He was a major figure in the world of ballet. He started off in tap and ballroom dancing and went on to dance star roles with every major dance company, continuing to be called up to do cameo appearances when he was in his 90′s! In addition he had a photographic memory for movement and could remember a whole dance after seeing it once. Balanchine called him in to help him reconstruct a dance from the 30’s that no one else, including Balanchine, could remember! He helped many, many young dancers with their roles.” Croll and Cunningham had both met Franklin near the end of his life. When asked about him they remarked that he was, “amazingly lively at 98 when we met him. He regaled us with stories. He was full of light.” Cunningham has a particularly moving story about Franklin, “One story he told really stayed with me – Freddie said when he danced Stanley Kowalski in the ballet of Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando came back stage and said, ‘If I could do with words what you’re doing with movement, I’d be a better Stanley.’ That’s the kind of artist he was,”
While all three performances will focus on stories about the legendary dancer, the opening gala performance on May 30th will feature an all-star cast of dancers who were closest to him. With the likes of Martine van Hamel, Gus Solomons Jr, Ella Baff and Xiomara Reyes sharing their personal stories, the gala promises to be a spectacular event. Audiences who come for the last two performances will have the pleasure of watching an all-male cast. When asked about the decision for an all-male cast, the two directors remarked, “ there is a lot of male energy on stage – clear and direct. They all take care of each other and bond back stage! The atmosphere is wild and wacky good humored and loving. It’s important to celebrate men in dance.”
Beyond theatre and dance, “From the Horse’s Mouth” is really a celebration of life and community. Just as our primitive ancestors used to congregate around fires and tell stories to revere their common experiences, using dance and spoken word; Croll and Cunningham continue the tradition in their work. While you are sure to take away a great deal from this experience, Croll and Cunningham do hope you take away at least one thing in particular, “an interest in dancers – their lives and their work. It’s a special magical world.” Be there to experience this “magical world” with us!
To purchase tickets to this event, visit schimmel.pace.edu or call (866) 811-4111.
See you at the Schimmel!
Pace Presents’ 2013-14 Blogger
FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH
GALA PERFORMANCE Friday, May 30 at 7:30pm – $95 Gala seats include VIP seating and reception. To purchase Gala tickets, click here
Featuring Jacques D’Amboise, Arthur Mitchell, Charles Askegard, Martine van Hamel, Gus Solomons jr, Carmen de Lavallade, Xiomara Reyes, Marge Champion and More. Gala proceeds to include the Frederic Franklin Scholarship Fund at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (JK0) School at the American Ballet Theatre.Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1 at 7:30pm The Men Dancers: From the Horses Mouth. These two evenings feature an All Male Tribute to Frederic Franklin.