OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – New Dance Partners, which features Kansas City Ballet and two area modern dance companies performing original works created by nationally-known choreographers, will take place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26-27, at Johnson County Community College.
Choreographers Robert Moses, Penny Saunders and Amy Seiwert are creating the performances this summer for the ballet, Owen/Cox Dance Group and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company. The event, which debuted last year in September, will begin at 8 p.m. both evenings in the Carlsen Center’s Yardley Hall.
Emily Behrmann, manager of the JCCC Performing Arts Series, came up with the idea of commissioning the artists for the local dance groups last year after hearing about a similar production put together by Dance St. Louis. Area dance supporters were enthusiastic.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kansas City’s dance community back to Yardley Hall again this year!” Behrmann said. “It may be our second annual New Dance Partners, but with three choreographers new to the project, we can be sure the commissioned works will be completely new, fresh and different. The three works also represent the continuation of the Performing Arts Series’ history of commissioning new work, started in 2000.”
This year, the project picked up support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which promotes creative industries to help grow the state’s economy. The NEA grant was for $10,000 and the commission’s was for $36,689. Working with JCCC on the dance project are partners InterUrban ArtHouse and Downtown Overland Park Partnership, Inc.
The college is grateful for the grant support, Behrmann said.
“These awards are truly a vote of confidence in the project and have made our community partnerships with InterUrban ArtHouse and downtown Overland Park possible,” she said.
A number of pre-performance events are coming up.
10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 – Overland Park Farmer’s Market. JCCC’s Performing Arts Series will present “New Dance Partners: Explorations in Dance” at the Overland Park Farmers Market. Performing will be dancers from Kansas City Ballet II, a program for emerging dance professionals, and dancers from a local swing dance studio. The event will feature a ticket give-away for the Sept. 26-27 performances.
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 – HipHopCatwalk Aerial Plié: The Strange Bedfellows of Dance. Visit downtown Overland Park and performances at venders in the area, including the Kansas School of Classical Ballet.
6:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26-27 – Local dance studios will showcase in the lobby of the Carlsen Center before the New Dance Partners performances.
7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 – A premiere screening at the Rio Theatre, 7204 W. 80th St., Overland Park, of a 30-minute film on the New Dance Partners’ choreography process, produced by JCCC Media Communications students and directed by Cara Myers of Vespera Films.
For the main stage performances in Yardley Hall, each of the choreographers is paired with one of the dance groups; the performance will feature three completely new works created in the days before the premiere.
Robert Moses’ Kin Dance Company is identified as one of the most important arts entities in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California because of its contributions to the field of live performance excellence and its attention to provoking and meaningful themes.
Penny Saunders, who received her dance training from the Harid Conservatory and The School of American Ballet, began her professional career with the American Repertory Ballet. She toured with MOMIX Dance Troupe and was a founding member of Cedar Lake Ensemble in New York City. She is on leave from Hubbard Street Dance, Chicago.
Amy Seiwert, a native of Cincinnati, moved to San Francisco in 1999, the same year she won the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur choreography competition in Quebec. She was named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine and is artistic director for her own company, Amy Seiwert Imagery, established in 2011.