Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gao Yanjinzi  (高艳津子) 
Artistic Director of Beijing Modern Dance Company, Beijing, China

Jinzi one of the founding members of the Beijing Modern Dance Company. Her work draws on her Buddhist upbringing and traditional Chinese dance training. Her dancers move with a natural flow of energy, yet surprises lurk around every turn, causing audiences to question the legitimacy of such binaries as “traditional/modern” and “East/West”.  She has received major awards for performance and choreography in China and abroad, including the Grand Prix at the 12th International Modern Choreography Competition for her piece Worlds (1999).  Ms. Gao performs and presents her her work throughout Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America, and has received commissions by the Berlin Art Festival, Italy’s Biennale de Venezia , Singapore Dance Festival, Holland’s International Dance Festival, and more. In 2008, she was personally invited by Pina Bausch to create and perform a solo work “As I heard” to premiere at Bausch’s dance festival in Germany. Her latest work, Offering-Frangrance, just successfully premiered in May of 2011 at the National Centre for Performing Arts.  

Salimatou "Sali" Soumare  
Independent Choreographer, Bamako & Gao, Mali 

Sali was discovered dancing on the street by Seydou Coulibaly, one of Mali’s leading dancers and choreographers, and was invited by him to join his renowned Troupe Komee Josee.  She has since danced with Troupe Kéléte, Madou Kante’s Troupe Kantiguiya in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, with whom she won first prize in all of West Africa, and with contemporary French dancer Kettly Noël’s Troupe Kettly.  Sali has also danced with many famous Malian singers, including Nahawa Doumbia, Hadia Soumano, and Soumaila Diallo.  Sali has been teaching traditional dance for over 15 years; she has trained Malians in Troupe Kélété for international competitions, as well teaching in schools throughout Bamako with Troupe Kantiguiya.  She was a guest artist in Traditional Dance at the National Conservatoire Balla Fasseke in Bamako for two years, and holds a certificate in Contemporary Dance Teaching from Kettly Noël.  She now choreographs traditional dance for the local and regional phases of the Biennale national performing arts competition, and was commissioned to choreograph over 250 dancers for the opening ceremony of Mali’s 50th anniversary Cinquantenaire celebration, attended by the President in September of 2010.  Along with her dance accomplishments, Sali is also an active wife and mother.  This is her first visit to the United States. 

Brian Reeder 
American Choreographer

Reeder began his dance training with Marcia Dale Weary at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. After attending American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Program, he studied at the School of American Ballet. Before joining American Ballet Theatre (1994-2003), Brian performed as a soloist with William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt (1990-1993), and also danced with New York City Ballet (1986-1990).  Over a four-year period, Brian created five original works for American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. In 2005, he choreographed a full-length Nutcracker for Ballet Pacifica. In collaboration with the Washington Ballet, Mr. Reeder was the recipient of the New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship Grant (2005). He has created works for the Washington Ballet and it’s Studio Company, including a production of Peter & the Wolf. In 2006, he was commission by the Guggenheim Museum in NYC to create two new works for their "Works & Process" series. He was involved with the ABT Education Department’s "Make a Ballet" program (2004-2006), and is currently on staff at ABT’s Summer Intensives in NYC. He served as the Coordinating Director of the ABT International Summer Dance Intensive in Bermuda (2006) and has been a guest teacher at the Alvin Ailey School and Icelandic National Ballet Company and school.  Brian has been recognized by Time Out New York as one of it’s “ten best” in dance for 2002, and was selected as a “25 to watch" in 2005 by Dance Magazine. His ballets have been viewed by dance-going audiences world wide, in places such as London, Costa Rica, Bermuda, and throughout the United States.

New Works / World Traditions 
Brown University Dance Theatre Company

New Works / World Traditions is a transnational performance art troupe at Brown University committed to devising new works that utilize Mande performance tenets to educate, deliberate and inspire social engagement. Full-time dancers in the company receive course credit for their participation and contributions made towards the development of original musical scores, personal narrative and poetic texts, interactive installations, projection, set, and costume designs, as well as choreography. Through research and cross-cultural exchange to Mali, West Africa,New Works develops provocative theatrical experiences that address important
political, public health and social landscapes. These new theatrical works exist at the intersection of science, art, and social activism. New Works actively tours throughout the USA and West Africa to engage with communities in humanitarian projects devoted to cultural preservation, malaria prevention, environmental causes and educational advancement. Comprised of Brown University faculty, alumni, current students, and professional Malian and American artist-activists, New Works has developed over 35 new works for the concert stage, in the schools, and for film. 

Michelle Bach-Coulibaly
Senior Lecturer in Dance in Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies, American Choreographer
New Works / World Traditions is directed by Michelle Bach-Coulibaly, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University, who also directs the Yeredon Center for Cultural Preservation and Social Engagement in Mali, West Africa. At the Yeredon Centre students, scholars, medical practitioners, and artist-activists collaborate on service learning projects for radio, television, musical and concert stage productions, festival performances, and film that address relevant social issues and injustices. She is currently developing a new work with the company along with former NYC Ballet dancer Brian Reeder, Gao Yanjinzi (Director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company) and Salimatou Soumare from Mali’s Troupe Yeredon, looking at the dialogue between Love, Violence and Power in America, China and West Africa. Recent choreographed works include Luna Rise, Love Letters to My Oppressor, Road Home Zydeco, Crude, Bloodline, The Songbird, Sacrifice of Marrow, Dreamscapes from the Famished Road, Melting Into Glass, St. Joan’s Infirmary, and Flamma Flamma, a site-specific ritual in collaboration with Providence Waterfire.