Familiar favorites, fresh faces and a full-tilt format: It's the 2019 Bates Dance Festival

  • March 11, 2019


March 6, 2019
Contact: Shoshona Currier, festival director
207-786-6381 | dancefest@bates.edu

EDITORS: Please note that "Jermone" is the correct spelling for the choreographer, and all lower-case is correct for "jumatatu m. poe" and "nora chipaumire." "MaMa2" is read "MaMa[squared]".

See the full 2019 season schedule for the Bates Dance Festival starting May 1: batesdancefestival.org/performances/

See the season trailer: https://vimeo.com/321262141

Images, and additional press materials and artist information, will be posted in the coming weeks at: batesdancefestival.org/about/press-room/ (password: press)

Familiar favorites, fresh faces and a full-tilt format:
It's the 2019 Bates Dance Festival

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates Dance Festival returns in 2019 with an exciting new performance schedule and an artist roster comprising faces new to Bates and familiar friends, including longtime festival favorites Doug Varone and Dancers.

With an eye toward achieving a critical mass of onstage excitement, the new Bates Dance Festival schedule arranges the performances into three clusters in July and early August.

The Festival Prelude begins July 12 with a weekend of high-energy hip hop dance and music by The Reminders and MaMa2 (featuring Amirah Sackett) with DJ Man-O-Wax. 

On July 25, Doug Varone and Dancers kick off four nights of performance that also feature returning artist Lida Winfield, Netta Yerushalmy and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group.

On stage Aug. 1-3 for the festival's final weekend are Joanna Kotze, artist-in-residence nora chipaumire and jumatatu m. poe & Jermone Donte Beacham.

Why the new schedule? "We wanted to make the festival more accessible by offering multiple opportunities to see shows in one day, not just evening performances," explains Shoshona Currier, festival director since 2017.

"BDF is a destination for dance, and with this format audiences can spend more time here and also experience more of our local community."

Festival artists cover styles from poe and Beacham's J-Sette work to the dance experiments of Netta Yerushalmy to the versatile contemporary of Varone and Kotze. They tackle themes ranging from questions of faith to social justice, from personal history to imagination's role in society and culture. All told, the 2019 Bates Dance Festival promises to be a tour force of diversity and creativity.

Alongside the mainstage performances, the festival offers dance training for young dancers aged 14-18 and professionals 18 and up. The Youth Arts Program provides dance, music, theater and visual arts training for local youth aged 6-16. 

Most mainstage performances take place in Bates' air-conditioned Schaeffer Theatre, 329 College Ave. The event schedule will go live online May 1, 2019, at batesdancefestival.org/. Tickets go on sale June 1. For more information, please contact 207-786-6381 or dancefest@bates.edu.

Here's a summary of the 2019 mainstage performances:

The Reminders and MaMa2 with DJ Man-O-Wax: It's a Hip Hop weekend as soul-roots musicians The Reminders (Big Samir and Aja Black) join dancers MaMa2 (Amirah Sackett and Mary Mar) and DJ Man-O-Wax (Asad Ali Jafri). Man-O-Wax's global-fusion sound frames the Reminders' socially conscious music and the mesmerizing, high-energy movement of MaMa2 to create an immersive experience for all audiences. (7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, July 12 and 14, Schaeffer Theatre)

Doug Varone and Dancers: Varone, who first performed at the festival in 1992, presents the New England premiere of  "in the shelter of the fold/epilogue," two full-ensemble works comprising an inquiry into public and personal acts of faith. Tapping his own curiosity about prayer, Varone questions what constitutes faith -- to whom are we speaking, and what are we asking for? Is this a mystical or spiritual experience, or simply a dialogue we're having with ourselves? (7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 25 and 26, Schaeffer Theatre)

Lida Winfield: Visiting professor of dance at Middlebury College, choreographer Winfield returns to Bates with the Maine premiere of "Imaginary." A quirky and innovative all-ages work for five dancers with live music, the piece explores perception in relationship to the imagination, and imagination's role in social and cultural constructs. (7:30 p.m. Friday, July 26, and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27, in Gannett Theater, 305 College St.)

Netta Yerushalmy: Yerushalmy offers the Maine premiere of her epic 20-performer "Paramodernities," a series of six lecture-performances or dance-experiments. These juxtapose deconstructions of landmark choreographies by Nijinsky, Graham, Ailey, Cunningham, Fosse and Balanchine with contributions by scholars and writers who situate these works within Modernism. Incorporating public discussion, the series offers a unique hybrid of academic conference, dance performance and town hall gathering. (1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28, Schaeffer Theatre)

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group: Director-choreographer Wilson leads Fist and Heel in an evening of selected works, including the riveting "Introduction," a solo performed by Wilson; an excerpt solo from the provocative full-evening work "Citizen"; and the "dew wet." (7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28, Schaeffer Theatre)

Joanna Kotze: A longtime member of New York City's dance community, Kotze presents "What will we be like when we get there," a multidisciplinary contemporary performance. Fusing dance, sound and visual art, the piece recalls the social and political vibe in the wake of 2016's presidential election. "What will we be like" brings attention to our desires, flaws, strengths and fantasies. (7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2, Alumni Gymnasium, 130 Central Ave.)

nora chipaumire: Concluding a yearlong residency at Bates, chipaumire and company present the New England premiere of "100% POP." Developed in part at the Bates Dance Festival, the piece instigates the idea of a "cover" through Grace Jones' renowned "one-man show," soundclashing, Zimbabwe's Chimurenga music, dub and noise. It explores how "information and knowledge were acquired by those of us who grew up in less free times." (9:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, Aug. 1 and 3; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, Gannett Theater)

jumatatu m. poe & Jermone Donte Beacham: Co-choreographers poe and Beacham present the New England premiere of "This is a Formation: Intervention." Part performance, part public action, the piece uses J-Sette performance and culture -- a genre originating with the popular female dance team of the Jackson State University marching band -- to explore contemporary issues of black queer life. (Bates: 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, Bates College campus. Also: 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at SPACE Gallery, Portland, in partnership with Indigo Arts Alliance)

More about the artists

The Reminders and MaMa2 with DJ Man-O-Wax: The Reminders are Brussels, Belgium-born emcee Big Samir and Queens, N.Y., native emcee-vocalist Aja Black. They blend soulful sounds and roots music with thoughtful lyrics that message peaceful social change. Learn more: http://www.theremindersmusic.com/

MaMa2 is the hip hop and breakin' dance duo of Amirah Sackett, making a return appearance at Bates, and Mary Mar. A Chicago-based dancer-choreographer, Sackett received the Sage Cowles award for her choreography in Brother Ali's music video "Mourning in America." Her love of hip hop dance and devotion to her faith fused to inspire a contemporary dance collective called We're Muslim, Don't Panic, which is dedicated to elevating the status of women and educating the public on women's issues. Learn more: https://www.musebookings.com/amirah-sackett/

Mar has been breakin' since 2001 and has studied, taught and performed hip hop dance all over the U.S. Asad Ali Jafri is a cultural producer, global arts leader and interdisciplinary artist with a creative vision for sustainable social change. As DJ Man-O-Wax, he plays and blends soulful, spiritual and funky music from around the globe. Learn more: http://asadalijafri.com/

Doug Varone and Dancers: An award-winning choreographer and director, Varone makes work that's extraordinary for its emotional range, kinetic breadth and the many arenas in which he works. For more than 30 years, Varone and Dancers have dedicated themselves to the humanity and virtuosity of dance, touring to more than 125 cities across the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Canada and South America. "Varone's ability to convey depths of emotion through highly charged, physically exciting choreography," wrote The New York Times, "has made him a rarity among his generation." Learn more: http://www.dougvaroneanddancers.org/

Lida Winfield: Winfield is an innovative and accomplished dancer, choreographer, spoken-word artist and educator. Her original works merges storytelling, dance and visual art to create captivating and poignant performances. A visiting professor in the dance department at Middlebury College, Winfield received a National Performance Network grant for the commissioning of "Imaginary." Learn more: http://lidawinfield.com

Netta Yerushalmy: Raised in Israel, now living in New York City, Yerushalmy is an award-winning artist who aims to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived, not as they are known, and to challenge how meaning is attributed and constructed. Her work has been commissioned and presented by venues such as the Joyce Theater, Danspace Project, American Dance Festival, New York Live Arts and La Mama. 

Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group: Serving as executive and artistic director, choreographer and performer, Wilson founded Fist & Heel in 1989. Recipient of numerous awards, he draws from the cultures of Africans in the Americas and combines them with postmodern elements and his own style to create what he often calls "post-African/Neo-Hoodoo Modern dances." His work has been presented across the U.S. as well as in Europe and Africa. Learn more: www.fistandheelperformancegroup.org

Joanna Kotze: Originally from South Africa, Kotze is a Brooklyn-based dancer, choreographer and teacher who joined the New York City dance community in 1998. Recipient of the 2013 New York Dance and Performance Bessie for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer, she has presented work across the U.S. and has held residencies here and in Europe. Kotze is on faculty at Movement Research and Gibney Dance. Learn more: http://www.joannakotze.com/

nora chipaumire: Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe, and based in New York City, chipaumire has been challenging and embracing stereotypes of Africa, the black performing body, art and aesthetics since she started making dances in 1998. "100% POP" is part of her trilogy "#PUNK 100%POP *NIGGA," premiered in New York in October 2018. Her ongoing projects include a digital book project compiling theory, technology, practice and process of her artistic work. She is a 2018 Guggenheim fellow and a three-time Bessie Award winner. Learn more: www.companychipaumire.com.

Poe and Beacham: Jumatatu m. poe is a choreographer, performer and educator based in Philadelphia and New York City. Poe began formal dance training with the African dance technique of Kariamu Welsh. He produces dance and performance work with idiosynCrazy productions, founded in 2008 and co-directed with Shannon Murphy. Learn more: https://www.jumatatu.org/

Jermone Donte Beacham is a champion of the J-Sette style pioneered by Jackson State University's female drill team. He has his own J-Sette line, Mystic Force, and has participated in competitions including Atlanta Pride 2010, Tennessee Classics 2009 and Memphis Pride 2008. In 2015, he was named New Legendary by the Meet Me on the Dance Floor J-Sette council. Learn more: http://pica.org/artists/donte-beacham/

About the Bates Dance Festival

Founded in 1982 at Bates College, the Bates Dance Festival brings together an international community of contemporary choreographers, performers, educators and students in a cooperative community to study, perform and create new work. The festival serves as an annual destination for artists, students and audiences to engage in activities and performances that foster a creative exchange of ideas, encourage exploration of new ground and provide access to a wide spectrum of dance and movement disciplines.

Bates Dance Festival
Pettigrew Hall
305 College St. Lewiston, ME 04240-6016
dancefest@bates.edu | 207-786-6381


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Shoshona Currier

305 College St.
Bates College
Lewiston  ME  04240-6016