GroundWorks Dance Theater premieres new work at Cain Park
GroundWorks dancers Felice Bagley and Gary Lenington. Photo by Dale Dong.
Music is the muse of most choreographers, and David Shimotakahara is no exception. His latest work for GroundWorks Dance Theater, to premiere at Cain Park Aug. 17 through 19, was inspired by the iconic sounds of jazz master Dave Brubeck.
Aptly titled "Brubeck," the dance is set to seven selections from the albums "Time Out" and "Time Further Out," recorded in 1959 and 1961, respectively, by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, featuring Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums.
“To me, this period of Brubeck’s music reflects a time of great confidence and optimism,” said Shimotakahara, GroundWorks’ founder and artistic director. “I wanted to pay tribute to his music and its timeless appeal to all generations. I also wanted to challenge the skills and agility of our dancers with the facility and brilliance of the musicians on these classic recordings.“
He said that in addition to many variations and changes in rhythm, the tempos are quick. “While the music is tightly arranged, there is an ease and elegance to the playing.”
Brubeck, designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, continues to be an active and popular jazz artist. With a career that spans more than six decades, his experiments in odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality remain hallmarks of innovation.
The Cain Park program will also feature a new work by Amy Miller, GroundWorks artistic associate. Called "Current Frame," it is a duet set to the music of Baroque composer and violinist Heinrich Biber. It will be performed to live music by violinist Hanne-Berit Hahnemann, who has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Radio Orchestra of Vienna.
Other dances on the program include two additional Shimotokahara creations: "Sweet," a duet set to the music of Bobby McFerrin, and "Book of Water," a rich and poetic acknowledgement of the mystery of life’s many connections.
Performances in Cain Park’s Alma Theater are at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, and Saturday, Aug. 18, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 19. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000 or 216-371-3000, and are also available at the Cain Park ticket office.
Pam Barr is a Cleveland Heights resident and a principal of Barr Communications, a boutique marketing and communications firm.