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Choreographers' Evening

“A cornucopia of Twin Cities dance . . . [a] smorgasbord of emerging and mature talent from across the dance spectrum.” —

For nearly 40 years, Choreographers’ Evening has been the major gathering for the Twin Cities’ thriving dance community. This year’s curator, Susana di Palma, originally intended to create a program highlighting young choreographers working in world dance forms that reflect contemporary cultural shifts. However, during auditions the renowned Spanish Nuevo Flamenco dancer/choreographer and artistic director of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater shifted her course. “I saw such strong dance-makers from all genres that I realized I did not want to impose predetermined limits,” she says.

Di Palma has been a part of the local dance community since the mid-1970s, having attended the very first Choreographers’ Evening in 1971. “The history and legacy of choreographers and performers in this community has been a large part of my life,” she says. “Even though I follow the dance scene faithfully, I am still amazed by the number of young choreographers who have already developed defined aesthetics and forcefully unique visions.” Every one of 56 choreographers who auditioned was ready to appear on the McGuire stage, she felt—so curating was a matter of selecting the right mix.

She also took into account her own experiences at Choreographers’ Evening. “It’s a kick-off to the holidays, and to me, dance epitomizes celebration, so I wanted the works I chose to reflect that. I remembered the most interesting and enjoyable evenings have had a sense of variety and celebration, rather than being dominated by the individual curator’s style. Those qualities, as well as strong performances, have also been the most inspiring for people from my non-dance-world family, such as visiting relatives.”

The performers on di Palma’s program, from emerging to “well seasoned and established ‘stars,’” impressed her with their “sense of virtuosity” in presenting everything from African drum and dance to modern court dance to a solo hand performance with dance history. If one style is notably absent, it’s flamenco. “It was very hard not to include that, and I was sure tempted!” she says. “But it was more important for me to have selections enhance each other and come together as a collage—one that ignites the audience’s curiosity and also offers a kind of holiday warmth. At the same time, there’s a thread of multicultural works that weaves together nicely with American dance forms and, I hope, creates a feeling of global unity.”

Choreographers’ Evening 2010 Performers:

Paulino Brener, Christ Up Dance Crew, Carl Flink/Black Label Movement, Gerry Girouard & Rebecca Abas, Jim Lieberthal, Whitney McClusky & Fode Bangoura, Giselle & Dario Mejia, Alanna Morris, John Munger, Peter O’Gorman, Luke Olson-Elm, James Sewell, and SuperGroup.