Contemporary Motions
Dance Company to Perform on April 5-6

Posted April 1, 2002

HOLLAND -- Contemporary Motions, the resident professional dance company of Hope College, has returned to the Holland area and will perform on Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6, at 8 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre.

Tickets will be available at the door, and cost $6 for regular adult admission and $4 for senior citizens, students and children under 12. The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. 8th St. in downtown Holland.

"The cast, moved by the amazing experience and wonderful audience reception during last year's 15th-year anniversary season, is enthusiastic to return and repeat the magic for this residency program," said Julio Rivera, who is the company's founder and artistic director. "We have been busy creating new works, re-staging old favorites, reconstructing works that call for more voices, and polishing works of emerging young choreographers to bring yet another powerful performance to our fans in the Hope College, Holland, and surrounding communities."

This year's palette will offer four world premieres, a company premiere, a classic company piece, an old favorite, two extended solos and reconstruction of two repertory works.

Rivera noted that Contemporary Motions is enthusiastic about the world premieres for this season. Veteran company member Alicia Diaz has created "La Orilla," a new duet in collaboration with company guest Matthew Thornton. Using the poem "Una palabra" by Carlos Varela and original music by Oliver Lyons, the creators explain that "La orilla is a journey through physical connection towards the light of understanding."

Thornton brings a new solo titled "Learning hot to Walk, Learning hot to Fly," with music by Scientist (Hopeton Brown). It is about "leaning how to live in times of self- destruction, of human against human. In this visual journey a man dies and a spirit moves him from the ground up to the sky."

Both works have been made possible by the Winter 2002 Union St. Space Grant and the Artists in Residence Grant at the Capoeira Angola Palmares Center.

Another world premiere is the creation of company veteran and 1993 Hope College alumna Elizabeth Gormly de Moraes, a solo work titled "Divna Slecinka (Strange Young Lady)." The work is a poignant portrait of a young lady choreographed to the score of voice and violin by Iva Bittova and costume/lighting design by Marketa Fantova, both from the Czech Republic.

This year Contemporary Motions is also presenting work by two emerging young choreographers. "These works have been selected because they embody the vision of Contemporary Motions," Rivera said. "This effort encompasses part of our commitment to promoting and developing the promising young choreographer. That is how most of the company members have found motivation to pursue creative careers as choreographers during and beyond their work with Contemporary Motions."

The works will be by company member and 1997 Hope alumnus Nathanael Buckley, and by Hope dance major and senior Charlotte van Coevorden.

Buckley's "Central Park" is a duet he created for company member Erica Nelson and himself full of playful overtones to Bach's "Violin Sonata in G Minor." It is a fun, light-hearted piece bringing boy and girl together.

van Coevorden, recipient of the college's Mary Van Tamelen Award for Creativity, is the creator of a duet that she presented as her entry for the Student Dance Concert in the spring of 2001. The work, titled "A Love Story" and set to the score by Thomas Newman, is a whimsical look at young love (1st section) and the despair of separation because of death (2nd section).

In addition to the premieres, for the performances senior company member Jesus Miranda and Rivera bring back their respective solo creations "Vislumbrado" and "Somewhat Hoping I was Dreaming" from last year's anniversary performances, with extended choreography. Rivera noted that both choreographers felt the need to continue exploring their works for a deeper shade to the vision of their ideas. Rivera has found inspiration from Dante's Canto IV: Inferno, using the lines "I found myself upon the brink of grief's abysmal valley that collects the thunderings of endless cries." He works within circles of lights.

The company has also selected some favorite works. The popular "Papobellicious" and "The Chosen" have been re- staged from duet to quartet and from trio to 5 dancer ensemble work, respectively.

"The Chosen" is an excerpt from the larger work "Escape/Chains" that Rivera originally choreographed for Dance 21 at Hope in 1995. Returning to the stage is the underwater courtship dance of the West African/Caribbean legend of "Iemanja," goddess of the sea. The work is an adaptation of the legend about the strife of the sea beauty that lures sailors with her whistling and entrancing voice to the depths of the sea to love and ultimately destroy with her passion.


Biographical Information Julio Enrique Rivera (Princeton University), the company's founder and artistic director, is a senior faculty professor in the Hope College Dance Department. He returns to the campus after successful tours throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and the USA. Rivera spent a good part of last summer as the guest of the Czech Republic working with the top students from the conservatories of Prague and Bratislava. He was selected to represent the USA in the special Summer Workshop where he reconstructed 3 of his works for presentations at the outdoor stage of the Liechtenstein Castle in the heart of Prague. The works were then presented at the International Dance Week Prague 2001 in January. Rivera was awarded a stipend from the United States Embassy in Prague, and received sponsorship from Hope College (Arts and Humanities and Dance Department) as well as many friends. Alicia Diaz: Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Alicia Díaz has performed nationally and internationally with companies such as, Complexions: A Concept in Dance, Donald Byrd/The Group (The Harlem Nutcracker), Andanza: Compañía Puertorriqueña de Danza Contemporánea, Alice Farley Dance Theater, Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater and Contemporary Motions. She was co-founder and co-director of en la brega dance company with Ñequi González from 1997- 1999. She is now the Assistant Artistic Director and choreographer of Rubí Theater Company in New York City. Her choreography has been presented in the U.S., the Caribbean and Spain. She was the recipient of the Winter 2002 Union St. Space Grant. Elizabeth Gormly: Elizabeth’s is a graduate of the Hope College Dance Department. Upon completing her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree at Hope College, she performed with such companies as Contemporary Motions (Michigan and New York), Aerial Dance Theatre (Michigan), and Liisa Nojonen Dance Company (Pori, Finland). After studying with David Dorfman, Doug Varone, Ralph Lemon (at N.Y.U.) and Erick Hawkins (New York, NY), she moved to Europe where she performed, taught and choreographed extensively (International School of Geneva, the American School of Leysin [Switzerland], Brigitte Tanz Schule (Germany), University of Surrey (England), and the Liisa Nojonen Dance Company and School, (Finland). She has assisted Rivera and Professor Steven Iannacone at various dance workshops in Belgium and the Netherlands. She received her M.A. Degree in Dance Analysis and Anthropology at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, and her M.A. in Dance Performance, Choreography and Pedagogy from Texas Woman's University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Performance Theory at T.W.U. Erica Lynn Nelson: Erica Lynn Nelson is originally from Wisconsin, where she began ballet training at age six. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she danced extensively and graduated with a B.A. degree in history. She subsequently moved to New York City, where she has worked with numerous choreographers. She is in her fourth season with Contemporary Motions. She loves working with these fantastic dancers! Erica has traveled to assist Rivera at the Summer Workshop in Prague where she taught and coached various roles that she has performed with Contemporary Motions. Jesus Miranda: Jesus Miranda began his dance studies as part of Ballet Isleño, Puerto Rico's folkloric dance company, and met Rivera while a student during a summer camp provided by the company. Based on Miranda's talent and enthusiasm for modern dance, Rivera offered him a scholarship at the Alvin Ailey School. He has danced with Andanza modern dance company and Ballet Concierto in Puerto Rico. Most recently he has danced Swan Lake with Ballet Concierto. Jesus currently teaches at dance academies throughout Puerto Rico and works as guest instructor for Ballets de San Juan, Puerto Rico’s first ballet company. He earned a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico. He was the guest choreographer for Dance 23 at Hope. Nathanael Buckley: Nathanael Buckley has lived in New York City since graduating from Hope, and has danced for many choreographers throughout the country and abroad. Since moving to New York, Nathanael has worked with The Anna Sokolow Company, The Erik Hawkins Company, Isabel Gotzkowsky and Friends, The Stefanie Nelson Dance Group, Mark Dendy, Fiona Marcotty, H.T. Chen and Dancers, The Howard Fishman Quartet, Zangfroid Productions, and numerous other artists. In addition to dancing and choreographing in New York City, he has become certified and teaches in the Pilates Method. He also works extensively with the internationally renowned painter Clive Smith. This is his third season with Contemporary Motions. Matthew Thornton started studying movement theater with his father, James Thornton, and the Shaker Acting Ensemble. He has an English degree from the University of Wisconsin and studied dance at Hamilton College and contact improvisation at University of Wisconsin. Matt studies capoeira, an Afro- Brazilian dance martial art, with Mestre Ombrinho of Capoeira Angola Palmares. He recently performed in The Story Thus Far with Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects, and One day on the F train, a video-performance in collaboration with Brian Kantrowitz, aka ‘B’. Matt is honored to have a role in Contemporary Motions and hopes to continue his work with Alicia Díaz in New York City. -30-

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