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Welcome to Luna Negra Dance Theater's Monthly E-Newsletter!

Luna Negra on the road...
...in New Orleans
Meet Monnette Garcia, Education Coordinator
On Stage: Don't miss our next performances
August 2006

Buy tickets for November 10-11

Update preferences to receive exclusive invitations & special offers 

Donate now 

Luna Negra on the road...
This summer, Luna Negra dancers spent 2 weeks in New Orleans teaching dance to students age 11-18 in a nationally acclaimed program sponsored by the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) and the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) Center for Dance. This was actually the second company visit to New Orleans. We were there for 3 weeks last year and ended the program shortly before Katrina hit.

This year, therefore, the residency was especially meaningful. Many of the students had been living in a state of constant flux and uncertainty, moving from house to house or living in very precarious conditions. "The energy was different this year. You could feel that the kids had been living under difficult circumstances," says dancer Vanessa Valecillos "but I am hopeful that through the dance classes and the workshop we could give them an outlet to express their feelings of anger, sadness and hopelessness."

Ricardo Garcia, who taught modern dance classes notes: "The younger students were exited about the material given in class and in rehearsals. Some had real potential to go further with the art form.  However, others, mainly teenagers, were a bit rebellious and needed to learn discipline and how to achieve goals. It was a challenge and I learned a lot from it.  I think the fact that we went to New Orleans, gave lessons, performed and interacted with this community was very important.  NOBA is one of the few organizations in the United States dedicated to present only dance and I feel our contribution was very important to its survival."
...in New Orleans
In addition to dance classes, the residency included a composition/choreography workshop led by Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro, who created a new work entitled "Dear Jenny," a beautiful and emotional piece, dealing with death and loss, ultimately urging for hope and renewal. "Throughout the workshop, we worked on expressing feelings that come from loss. Because they had gone through such hardships, the students could pull those emotions from their own lives and it made their dancing a spiritual experience. It was very touching." says dancer Jorge Quintero Troestch.  

Vilaro explains "I wanted to show students that dance allows the human body to connect with its inner most feelings. When we dance, there is a process of connecting and siphoning where we are allowed to be vulnerable. It is in that place where introspection starts and can become a powerful tool for acceptance and renewal. This is the gift we brought to those dancers and, I hope, the community."
Meet Monnette Garcia, Education Coordinator
Monnette Garcia joined Luna Negra Dance Theater in June 2006 to lead our Education and Outreach Program.  Monnette comes with a rich and diverse background in dance and education. A professional dancer with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) - a dance company devoted to presenting works by African American choreographers - for 10 years, she has worked with acclaimed choreographers such as Bebe Miller, Doug Varone, Bill T. Jones, and Ronald K. Brown.  "My time at DCDC taught me to see culture from a different angle.  Many of the works we danced were about African American history and it made me reflect on my own cultural background which is Japanese and American.  I realized dance can be a powerful way to express your authenticity, who you are, and where you come from."

As Education and Outreach Coordinator, Monnette will not only work with schools and communities to set-up dance education programs, but also teach classes and workshops. "I hope to give students skills they can use in other areas of their life.  Dance is a wonderful and fun way to learn discipline, goal setting, commitment, and achievement. Students get to move, laugh, have fun and at the same time, without even realizing it, learn incredible "life" tools. But more than anything, dance can give people a sense of pride in their own culture and their own roots.  It has the potential to impact students, their family and the whole community around them."

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Welcome to Luna Negra Dance Theater's Monthly E-Newsletter!

Dance at the Sabin Magnet School

In the Wings: Help spread the joy of Latino contemporary dance

On Stage: Mark your calendar

Backstage: How choreographers work with composers
July 2006

Buy tickets to Luna Negra's Fall Concert

Update preferences to receive exclusive invitations & special offers 

Donate now 

Dance at the Sabin Magnet School

Sabin Magnet School student prepares for a pirouette under the guidance of Luna Negra teacher.

In 2005, Luna Negra Dance Theater started a long-term residency at the Sabin Magnet School in Wicker Park, teaching dance to 60 first grade students, most of whom are Latino and African American.

Students learned cultural-specific dances such as rumba, salsa and meringue, and basics of ballet. Through dance partnering and group practice, they learned socializing skills and common etiquette. Most importantly, students got exposure to a rich variety of dance traditions. Latino students celebrate their own heritage, while non-Latino students discovered traditions from other cultures. "Often, Latino students want to assimilate so much that in the process they overlook their background and heritage. In this class, they also learned it is OK to be from a different culture" says Luna Negra dancer and teacher Jorge Quintero Troestch, who is a living illustration of the importance of dance education at school. "I got my first exposure to dance in a public school program" says Jorge "and if I hadn't, I would not have been able to become a dancer."

Luna Negra will continue this residency in  2006-07, following the same students. This will allow them to progress over time and get a more in-depth appreciation of and familiarity with dance.

Luna Negra's residency at the Sabin Magnet School was made possible in part through the generous support of the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Llyod A. Fry Foundation.

Read more about Luna Negra's Education and Outreach Program

In the Wings: Help spread the joy of Latino contemporary dance

Your help is pivotal in making Luna Negra' Dance Theater's work possible, whether it is creating, performing or teaching dance by Latino contemporary choreographers. Luna Negra serves over 6,000 students who do not have access to the arts through dance workshops, classes, matinees and in-school performances.  Although strong, ticket sales provide only 30 percent of the company's operating budget. The remaining 70 percent comes from generous donations from foundations, corporations and friends of Luna Negra such as you.

Make a secure contribution now


 

Welcome to Luna Negra Dance Theater's Monthly E-Newsletter!

Luna Negra appears in Aguijón Theater's Yerma

Center Stage: Meet Michelle Manzanales

In the Wings: Did You Know?

On Stage: A Must See

June 2006

Buy tickets to Luna Negra's Fall Concert

Update preferences to receive exclusive invitations & special offers 

Donate now 

Luna Negra appears in Aguijón Theater's Yerma

Aguijon Theater presents a  thought-provoking interpretation of this compelling tale of a woman's quest for a child.

Luna Negra is making a special appearance in Aguijón Theater's production of Federico Garcia Lorca's classic play Yerma directed by Marcela Muñoz through June 25. Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro has choreographed a passionate duet for the dream scene of this tragedy that follows the story of Yerma, a woman desperate for a child. He created this piece with the text in mind, using movements to fully manifest the plight of the heroine.

This collaboration has given Vilaro the opportunity to explore theatrical qualities in his work, pointing out that Luna Negra Dance Theater is not only a dance
company but also a dance theater company. 

Yerma is performed IN SPANISH
Through June 25 - Fri & Sat at 8:00 pm; Sun at 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm
Aguijon Theater, 2707 N. Laramie Avenue, Chicago, IL  60639
For tickets, call 773-637-5899
For more information on Aguijon Theater, visit www.aguijontheater.org
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Center Stage: Meet Michelle Manzanales

Michelle Manzanales joined Luna Negra as a dancer in 2003, and became the company's rehearsal director in 2006. What is less known is that Michelle is also a talented choreographer. Recently, she had the great honor to have one of her pieces, entitled Pour Me Out, presented at the Kennedy Center on May 18, as part of the American National College Dance Festival Annual Gala.

Michelle's work is unique in the approach she takes to the process of creation. "I am incredibly influenced and guided through my process by what happens each day in rehearsal. I like for the dancers to contribute to the piece through guided writing exercises and structured movement improvisations. The dance ends up being a carefully painted canvas including all the colors of the dancers and, of course, of me. I am very interested in creating works that create a strong emotional impact, while balancing the artistry and beauty of dance," explains Michelle. Audiences will have the chance to experience this first hand in 2007, when a new work by Michelle premieres in Luna Negra's Spring performances. Our hearfelt thanks go to Arts Patron Pamela Crutchfield who is for making this new work possible through her generous underwriting gift to Luna Negra's "Latina Choreographers" Project.

In the Wings: Did You Know?

Did you know that in addition to performing on stage, Luna Negra also conducts dance workshops and classes in Chicago public schools and serves over 6,000 students in the Chicago area who do not have access to the arts? Read more about Luna Negra's Education and Outreach Programs.

Your help is pivotal in making Luna Negra's work possible. Although strong, ticket sales provide only 30 percent of the company's operating budget.  The remaining 70 percent comes from generous donations from foundations, corporations and friends of Luna Negra such as you.

MAKE A SECURE CONTRIBUTION NOW 

On Stage: A Must See

Photo by Kristie Kahns, featuring Veronica Guadalupe and Ricardo J. Garcia.

Tuesday, September 12 at 8pm
Ravinia Festival
Lorca, Luna and Luciana
For Tickets, call Ravinia Box Office at 847-266-5100 or visit
www.ravinia.org
 

A remarkable program of music and dance. The evening will feature Luna Negra Dance Theater with the reprise of Don Quixote Dances  accompanied by baritone Stephen Salters and Welz Kauffman on piano. The performance also includes celebrated soprano Harolyn Blackwell, and the acclaimed Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza with pianist Edward Simon.

Tickets for Luna Negra Fall Concert are on sale now!
Friday, November 10 & Saturday, November 11 at 8pm
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Call Harris Theater Box Office at 312-334-7777 or visit www.harristheaterchicago.org


Aguijon Theater has invited Eduardo Vilaro to choreograph a dance scene for this innovative theatrical adaptation of Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca. This compelling play tells the story of Yerma's quest for a child and taps into some of the most universal themes of theatre - love, passion, sexuality and marriage.

YERMA IS PERFORMED IN SPANISH.
Directed by Marcela Munoz
Original Music by Elbio Rodríguez Barilari 
Dance choreographed by Eduardo Vilaro and performed in turn by Vanessa Valecillos and Ricardo J. Garcia or Veronica Guadalupe and Tony Peyla.

DANCE IN THEATERmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

WHEN
May 26-June 25, 2006
Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm
Sunday 3:00pm & 7:00pm
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

WHERE
Aguijon Theater
2707 N. Laramie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60639
For directions, click here

TICKETS
Call box office at 773-637-5899
or click here to purchase online tickets
Tickets are $20 ($15 for students)

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Chicago Critics Rave About
Luna Negra's Spring Concert

Chicago Sun-Times
Luna Negra shines with great 'Awakening'
 
  
By Hedy Weiss, Dance Critic
March 4, 2006

Consider it the birth of a choreographer. Her name is Maray Guiterrez and she is 31 years old. She began her dance career in Cuba, but several years ago settled in Chicago. And on Thursday night, as part of Luna Negra Dance Theater's program at the Dance Center of Columbia College, her piece "Eterno Despertar" ("Eternal Awakening") received its world premiere. 

It was breathtaking -- a hypnotic work for four dancers that bursts with passion, mystery and heat. It also was fervently and exquisitely performed.

It begins with the sound of the ocean -- water crashing onto a beach -- and it doesn't take all that much to imagine these waves pounding the coast of the island of Cuba. A figure dressed in a voluminous red skirt pulls another onto the stage, as if hauling a giant piece of driftwood or a nearly drowned man. Two women, also in red skirts, become part of the scene. Are they mirror images of each other? Or are they the man and woman who simultaneously want to stay and to leave? Whatever the relationship -- and at times the men dance with the men, the women with the women, the men with the women -- there is always a sense of ambivalence, longing and feverish intensity.

Read more

Chicago Tribune
Luna Negra in step with the poetry of `Eterno'
Troupe exhibits intensity, range of Latino experiences

By Lucia Mauro
March 4, 2006

Personal journeys took on stylized new life as the themes of Luna Negra Dance Theater's engagement, which runs through Sunday as part of the Dance Center of Columbia College's LatinoContempo Festival. The Chicago-based modern troupe, headed by Eduardo Vilaro, showcases a body of work that explores the far-reaching Latino experience across generations.

Despite a few rocky moments and an underlying low-ebb of energy, the performance revealed a company of skilled individual dancers capable of expressing a choreographic range rich in psychological intensity. Devoted to Cuban choreographers, the program conveyed an overarching sense of memory and longing.

Read more

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