Here’s the press release from Luna Negra:
LUNA NEGRA DANCE THEATER
ANNOUNCES EXPANDED 2011-2012 SEASON,
INCLUDING A FALL CELEBRATION OF INFLUENTIAL LATINAS, THE WORLD PREMIERE OF A NEW ‘CARMEN,’ THE LAUNCH OF A NEW KIDS SERIES, AND A SHOWCASE OF RISING LATINO CHOREOGRAPHERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
CHICAGO – Luna Negra Dance Theater, Chicago’s premier Latino contemporary dance company, announces new programming for the upcoming 2011-2012 season, expanded from two self-produced shows in previous seasons to now four programs. For its fall and spring engagements, Luna Negra will continue to present work at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, October 1 and March 24. A new winter engagement will be oriented to a younger audience, December 2 – 11, while a new summer program will highlight up-and-coming Latino choreographers with a more avant-garde aesthetic at the Museum of Contemporary Art, June 7 – 10. Each of the shows will feature World or North American Premiere work, including a new evening-length version of Carmen by Luna Negra Artistic Director Gustavo Ramírez Sansano.
“Expanding Luna Negra’s season, and what it offers the community all year long, has been a goal since I took over the company two years ago,” said Ramírez Sansano. “I wanted to discover different facets of the company, including edgier Latino work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance, alongside our traditional seasons at the Harris Theater. I also wanted to bring Luna Niños to the company because so few dance shows are truly designed for children. And of course our goal is to build even more opportunity to bring Latino choreographers to Chicago audiences for the first time, supporting Luna Negra’s mission to present the work of Latino artists. I’m so proud of Luna Negra that we have made this next season one about growth and reaching higher.”
Luna Negra launches its 2011-2012 season with ¡Mujeres!, a celebration of globally influential Latinas that also marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. The program features a World Premiere by guest choreographer Asun Noales, Director of Otra Danza, the resident company at the Gran Teatro de Elche in Spain. Noales, a classically trained ballet dancer known throughout Europe for her highly theatrical, contemporary work, takes for the inspiration of her new piece Juana la Loca, the first queen of pre-modern Spain. The program also features the World Premiere of Not Everything by Ramírez Sansano based on a single print by Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide (b. 1942), renowned for her politically charged black and white images of contemporary indigenous Mexican life. Rounding out the program will be the return of Paloma Querida by Michelle Manzanales, a work inspired by the many sides of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. ¡Mujeres! will be presented in one performance only at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, on Saturday, October 1 at 6:30 pm. Immediately following the performance will be Luna Negra’s annual Noche de Luna Gala, a spectacular benefit party featuring festive cocktails, savory Latin cuisine and dancing to the sounds of Son de la Habana. Noche de Luna will take place at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information about the Gala call 312-337-6882.
For its winter engagement, Luna Negra launches Luna Niños, a new series designed for enjoyment by the whole family. The inaugural program ofLuna Niños is titled Moniquilla y el Ladrón de Risas (Moniquilla and the Thief of Laughter). This one-hour show choreographed by Ramírez Sansano uses dance to tell the story of Moniquilla and her friends, Matias and Veronica, who must solve a dizzying puzzle: all the children in the world lost their ability to laugh, but nobody knows why. A spectacular adventure follows, filled with flying pendulums, jungle spies, bursting water balloons, secret laboratories and other mystifying obstacles. Moniquilla y el Ladrón de Risas will be presented December 2 – 11, 2011 at a location to be announced.
The 2011-2012 season continues in the spring when Luna Negra returns to the Harris Theater with a World Premiere by Ramírez Sansano titled CARMEN.maquia, a Picasso-inspired, contemporary take on Bizet’s beloved Spanish gypsy. This will be a creative collaboration among three prize-winning artists: choreographer Ramírez Sansano, Spanish fashion designer David Delfin and set designer Luis Crespo. This will also mark the company’s first-ever full evening-length production. CARMEN.maquia will be presented on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm.
In June of 2012, Luna Negra Dance Theater will launch a new initiative, Luna Nueva, in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. An extension of Luna Negra’s mission to showcase the works of Latino choreographers from around the world, Luna Nueva will feature works from emerging and established Latino choreographers whose movement style and artistic voice extend beyond the conventional aesthetics of dance and focus on the “art of movement.” The first program of Luna Nueva will feature three works, including a World Premiere by Argentinean guest choreographer Diana Szeinblum, a World Premiere by company dancer Mónica Cervantes and the U.S. premiere of En busca de by Ramírez Sansano, a piece for six dancers set to music by Gustav Holst, Bedrich Smetana and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, featuring a set design by Luis Crespo, originally created for IT Dansa in 2009. Luna Nueva will be presented in four performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., June 7 – 10, 2012.
In addition to its four Chicago engagements, in fall 2011 and spring 2012 Luna Negra will maintain a busy touring schedule, making stops in Miami, FL to perform at the XVI International Ballet Festival of Miami; and in Palm Beach, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Minneapolis and Winona, MN; Hillsdale and Kalamazoo, MI; Temecula and Livermore, CA; Austin and San Antonio, TX; Omaha, NE; Hampton, VA; Indianapolis, IN; Concord, NH; as well as planned international performances in Spain, Brazil and Panama.
During the 2011-2012 academic school year, Luna Negra Dance Theater’s long-term, in-school dance residencies, DanceReach, will serve more than 600 low-income first- through twelfth-grade students in partnership with nine Chicago Public Schools: Albert R. Sabin Magnet School, Jones College Preparatory High School, Tarkington School of Excellence, Walsh Math & Science Academy, Holden Elementary School, Joseph Jungman Elementary School, Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School, Swift Elementary School, and Benito Juarez Community Academy, in West Town, South Loop, Chicago Lawn, Pilsen, Bridgeport and Edgewater.
In 2005 Luna Negra established its first DanceReach education residency program in Chicago’s West Town community. Since then, DanceReach, a Latino-based, culturally diverse dance curriculum, has become an important part of the weekly curriculum of thousands of underserved, low-income Chicago Public School children in diverse communities throughout the City. Classes meet for one to four hours per week and enable students to use dance as a powerful tool to explore cultural identity, promote self-awareness, create self-esteem, improve physical and mental acuity as well as attitude and behavior, and to improve academic achievement. Students showcase their achievements in year-end dance performances for their extended school communities.
“The coming season is truly a pivotal one for Luna Negra,” said Luna Negra Executive Director Joanna Naftali. “The company will not only extend its presence in Chicago through new artistic initiatives presented in collaboration with the City of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, but it will also build on its long-term commitment to Chicago Public School students through an expansion of its DanceReach residency programs. With nine public school partners and 26 in-school residencies, Luna Negra looks forward to engaging thousands of students in its Latino dance curriculum in the 2011-12 school year.”
In addition to DanceReach in Chicago, Luna Negra offers an annual Chicago Summer Intensive dance immersion program, entitled Project Luna, for pre-professional and professional dancers from throughout the country; and, when the company is on tour, it offers dance master classes and workshops for students throughout the United States.
The company’s 2011-2012 season is sponsored by Mrs. June Bild Pinsof, Wilmette resident, former dancer, philanthropist, and sustaining supporter of Luna Negra Dance Theater for many years. Mrs. Pinsof will be the recipient of an award for her long-term support and dedication to Luna Negra Dance Theater at the company’s annual Noche de Luna Gala on October 1, 2011.
Presenting corporate sponsor of the 2011 fall ¡Mujeres! program and Gala is Allstate Insurance, Chicago’s Own Good Hands. Additional sponsors for the ¡Mujeres! program and Gala include Mrs. Abby O’Neil, ComEd, Boeing, Azteca, Northern Trust, PwC, Slalom and DePaul University. The creation of CARMEN.maquia is sponsored by an artistic excellence grant from The Chicago Community Trust. Luna Niños is sponsored in part by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Luna Nueva sponsors include Mrs. Pamela Crutchfield and The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The 2011-2012 DanceReach in-school residency programs are sponsored in part by JPMorgan Chase and The Crown Family. Luna Negra Dance Theater receives general operating and capacity building support from Alphawood Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, GEM Realty Capital and CityArts.
Luna Negra Dance Theater Luna Negra Dance Theater celebrates Latino culture through the creation and performance of dance works by contemporary Latino choreographers; and through dance education and community outreach programs that lead to discovery and exploration of personal and community identity. Now entering its 13th season, Luna Negra has established itself as a significant and vital component of Chicago’s arts and cultural community. Founded by Eduardo Vilaro in 1999, Luna Negra serves as a springboard for Latino contemporary choreographers to give expression to their stories and bring new life to the cultures of their communities. In 2009, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano was appointed as Artistic Director to succeed Vilaro. Steering away from stereotypes and folkloric representations, Luna Negra brings to audiences modern Latino expressions with energy, power and passion, reflecting through dance the immense cultural shift that is shaping America in the 21st century. Luna Negra also collaborates with Latino artists of other disciplines, including visual, media artists, musicians, and composers, which fosters cross-disciplinary explorations and results in richly textured and highly original contemporary dance theater. The company currently has works in its repertory by choreographers from Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela. Luna Negra Dance Theater’s company includes Renée Adams, Stacey Aung, Nigel Campbell, Moníca Cervantes, Veronica Guadalupe, Sayiga Eugene Peabody, Kirsten Shelton, Diego Tortelli andEduardo Zuñiga.
For more information about Luna Negra Dance Theater, please visit www.lunanegra.org or call 312-337-6882.