Zenon Dance Company Ends 36 Years Together With Final Season

Zenon Dance Company in Pink Martini by Mariusz Olszewski (Photo by Steve Niedorf)

(Minneapolis, Minnesota) – Zenon Dance Company will be celebrating its final season at the Cowles Center for Dance on June 13-16, 2019. For 36 years, Zenon has been a cornerstone of the Twin Cities dance community, presenting two seasons each year, commissioning new work from emerging and master choreographers, and touring regionally, nationally, and internationally. Zenon Dance Company will be closing due to significant cuts from long-term corporate and foundation funders. Zenon Dance School, which has served the Twin Cities dance community for the past 40 years, will continue.

The Final Season will feature a unique program highlighting Zenon’s 36 years as the premier modern and jazz dance company in the Twin Cities. Three of the five pieces will feature live music. Check zenondance.org for details. The Saturday, June 15th Gala Performance will be a not-to-be-missed tribute to a company that has been a pillar of Minnesota’s dance community. Works to be performed include:

Former Twin Cities master choreographer Danny Buraczeski’s 2016 jazz masterpiece “Song Awakened”. “Set to the gorgeous Cape Verdean songs of Cesaria Evora, complete with moonlight silhouettes, and breezy, sumptuous movement.” (Star Tribune)

Twin Cities choreographer Wynn Fricke’s 2012 modern work “Wine Dark Sea”, with live music performed by Peter O’Gorman. “Buoyed up by the haunting sounds of percussionist Peter O’Gorman, the work accumulates a heroic architecture that is both sensual and severe.” (Dance Magazine)

New York choreographer Colleen Thomas’ 2007 modern work “Catching Her Tears (44° N, 93° W)”, with live music performed by Chris Lancaster. “Dramatic, inventive, and set to cellist Chris Lancaster’s live score—a lush mix of the lyrical and the apocalyptic- one of the best pieces I’ve seen this year.” (Mpls St Paul Magazine)

New York choreographer luciana achugar’s 2013 modern work “Molten Substance”, with live music performed by JT Bates. “Hooray for this audacious, calculatingly inappropriate and consistently intelligent work about women taking back power.” (Star Tribune)

New York choreographer Daniel Charon’s 2011 modern work “Storm”. “It’s as if Charon is trying to trap lightening in a bottle.” (City Pages)

What: Zenon Dance Company’s Final Season
When: June 13-14: 7:30pm; June 16: 2:00pm
Tickets: $34
Gala Evening Saturday, June 15; Doors at 6:30pm; Performance at 7:30pm
Tickets: $100
Where: The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts
Box office: 612.206.3600

About the Choreographers:

Danny Buraczeski is a Retired Professor Emeritus of Dance in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, taught classic jazz dance technique, composition and choreography. A classic jazz stylist for over three decades, his work has traced a clear and deep investigation of jazz, its sources and its ongoing evolution.

After a career on Broadway appearing in such musicals as MAME with Angela Lansbury and THE ACT with Liza Minnelli, he founded the original New York City based JAZZDANCE in 1979. Based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul from from 1992-2005, the company performed at leading concert halls and festivals in more than 35 states, in Europe, Russia and the Caribbean.

Zenon Dance Company in My Very Empty Mouth by Wynn Fricke (Photo by Steve Niedorf)

Wynn Fricke’s choreography has been produced nationally, in Russia, and Micronesia, and includes commissions from Zenon Dance Company, Ragamala Dance, James Sewell Ballet, Ballet Arts Minnesota, and Frank Theatre. She served for two years as Resident Choreographer for Minnesota Dance Theatre, and is founder of Borrowed Bones Dance Theatre. Wynn is the recipient of seven McKnight Fellowships in Choreography and Performance, and two New York State-funded grants from Arts International and Trust for Mutual Understanding.

She has been named “Best Choreographer” and one of the “Artists of the Year” by Minneapolis City Pages, and has been honored with two Sage awards for “Outstanding Performance”. She has also received support through the American Composers Forum, the Jerome Foundation, and Minneapolis Regional Arts Council. Wynn serves on the faculty at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN.

Colleen Thomas is a New York-based choreographer and performing artist. Thomas is currently a Full Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College of Columbia University. Thomas is also the co-director and a co-curator of the LIT series at 100 Grand. She began her professional career with the Miami Ballet and went on to work with renowned contemporary choreographers such as The Kevin Wynn Collection, Nina Wiener Dance Company, Donald Byrd/The Group, Bebe Miller Dance Company, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company among others.

In 1997 a creative collaboration with Bill Young evolved into a company focused on rigorous physicality and dynamic partnering. Their work has been seen throughout the U.S, Europe, Asia, and South America. Now interested in focusing on illuminating her vision of contemporary work, Thomas has formed Colleen Thomas Dance.

luciana achugar is a Brooklyn choreographer from Uruguay who has been making work in NYC and Uruguay independently since 1999. Her work is concerned with the post-colonial world, searching for an undoing of current power structures from the inside out through embodied healing rebellion practices. She is a two-time “Bessie” Award recipient, a 2017 Alpert Award recipient, Guggenheim Fellow, Creative Capital Grantee and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grantee, amongst other accolades. She was one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2012 and her Bessie Award winning work PURO DESEO was named one of 2010 TimeOUT NY’s “Best of Dance”.

She received the 2015 Austin Critic’s Award for Best Touring work for OTRO TEATRO, after being presented at the Fusebox Festival, and having premiered in 2014 at the Walker Art Center and NYLA. Her previous work, An Epilogue for OTRO TEATRO: True Love received a nomination for a 2016 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. She is currently working on Brujx a trio whose first iteration premiered at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Marx Festival in September 2018 and which will be presented later in May at the 2019 HALLO: Festspiele in Hamburg, Germany.

Daniel Charon has been Artistic Director of Salt Lake City’s Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company since 2013, and has been active as a choreographer, teacher, and performer for over twenty-five years. While based in New York City, Daniel maintained a project-based company and danced with Doug Varone and Dancers and the Limón Dance Company. Additionally, he performed with Doug Elkins and Friends, the Metropolitan Opera, the Aquila Theater Company, and the Mary Anthony Dance Theater among others. He is a BFA graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and an MFA graduate of the California Institute of the Arts in Choreography and Integrated Media.

As Ririe-Woodbury’s Artistic Director, Daniel has created multiple original works for the stage, gallery installations, and has designed video for his and other choreographers’ works. Daniel has choreographed Moby Dick, The Pearl Fishers and Aida at the Utah Opera. He has presented multiple full evening concerts in New York City and has been commissioned to choreograph new works for many companies, universities, and festivals around the country.

About Zenon Dance Company:

Artistic Director Linda Z. Andrews founded Ozone Dance School in 1979, along with two popular performing troupes – Rezone Dancers and Just Jazz Dancers. In 1983, Andrews merged the two to form Zenon Dance Company. Over the past 36 years Zenon has toured extensively, including two tours to Saipan and Guam and extended tours and performances in Cuba, France, Hungary, Russia, Aruba, Switzerland, New York, Colorado, Texas and California.

Zenon Dance Company in Song Awakened by Danny Buraczeski (Photo by Steve Niedorf)

From 1989 to 1991, critically acclaimed jazz choreographer Danny Buraczeski joined Andrews as Zenon’s co-artistic director, furthering the company’s dedication to the best concert jazz dance in the country.

Nurturing the development of talented Minnesota dancers, Zenon served a critical role as a leader in the Twin Cities dance community. Thanks to general operating support from the McKnight Foundation and Target Foundation, Zenon was one of a handful of companies nationwide that offered long-term employment for dancers, annually contracting 8-10 dancers to perform, tour, and conduct outreach residencies.

Zenon was also a solid rung in the ladder for choreographers as they climbed to success. Each year, Zenon commissioned 3-6 new works (nearly 200 total) from emerging and established choreographers, with an emphasis on New York and Minnesota artists. The Jerome Foundation, located in St. Paul, supported the creation of most of these new works since 1989. In the process, Zenon developed Minnesota’s reputation for excellent dancers and a supportive arts funding environment.

With a keen eye for emerging choreographic talent, Andrews brought internationally renowned masters Bill T. Jones, Bebe Miller, Doug Varone, Kyle Abraham and luciana achugar to the Twin Cities to create new work at the start of their careers. The New York choreographers that worked with Zenon regarded Minneapolis as an oasis for creating meaningful work with exceptionally talented and supportive dancers. Zenon also brought internationally renowned modern choreographers to the Twin Cities, including Susana Tambutti from Argentina and Osnel Delgado from Cuba.

Zenon Dance Company was committed to making dance accessible to diverse populations of children and young adults across Minnesota. Since its inception, the company worked with students in a variety of settings, including public schools and community centers, and conducted an annual residency at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault. Utilizing 9 artists in each residency, Zenon was unique in its ability to develop students’ self-esteem and choreograph original dances alongside students, based on curriculum topics. Over the years, many of Zenon’s residencies were supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board and many generous individual donors.

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