For Immediate Release

White Oak Dance Project Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Major Spring Tour Featuring Four World Premieres, Plus Company Premieres by Trisha Brown and Mark Morris

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White Oak Dance Project will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a six-week spring tour that will be highlighted by four world premieres and two company premieres.

The seven-city tour, which begins on May 13 with three days of performances at the University Theatre of Yale University in New Haven, CT will include engagements at Meany Hall of the University of Washington in Seattle, WA (May 20-22); The Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene, OR (May 25); Schnitzer Hall, Portland, OR (May 28 & 29); California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA (June 1-3); Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, England (June 9-12).  The 10th anniversary tour will conclude at Royce Hall in Los Angeles, June 23-27.

In keeping with its innovative programming, White Oak’s 1999 repertory will feature world premieres by Tamasaburo Bando, Neil Greenberg, Lucy Guerin and Amy O’Brien, as well as company premieres by Trisha Brown, Lucy Guerin and Mark Morris.The selection of dances will vary according to venue.

The company features Mikhail Baryshnikov and five female dancers;  Raquel Aedo, Emily Coates, Emmanuèle Phuon, Ruthlyn Salomons, and Susan Shields.

First about the world premieres: “Dance with Three Drums and Flute,” by the legendary Kabuki dance/actor Tamasaburo Bando, is based on traditional Japanese dance forms.  A solo for Baryshnikov and set to music by Rosen Tousha, the dance was created for Baryshnikov while the two great artists were performing together for five weeks this past summer in Japan.

Neil Greenberg’s new work, “MacGuffin or How Meanings Get Lost  (Revisited),”  also a solo for Baryshnikov, is set to sections of the music that Bernard Herrmann composed for the film classic, “Psycho.”  MacGuffin is the cinematic term coined by Hitchcock to describe a “red herring” plot device.  Greenberg, who was a former leading dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1980 to 1986, has created over 20 dances since he began his own choreographic career in 1979.

White Oak will also present a world premiere (title to come) and “Two Lies,” a company premiere, by Australian choreographer Lucy Guerin. The winner of a 1997 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for choreography, “Two Lies,” a trio, is set to music by David Chesworth. The other dance will be a duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

“Vessel,” a world premiere by former Twyla Tharp dancer Amy O’Brien, is set to piano music by Frédéric Chopin.  The dance will be performed by Raquel Aedo, Emily Coates and Emmanuèle Phuon.  O’Brien, who has also danced with White Oak, has had her choreography performed in New York City at Dance Theater Workshop, The Kitchen, Context Studio and the Mulberry Street Theater.

Marking her first work performed by White Oak, Trisha Brown’s “Glacial Decoy” was created in 1979.  The work, which has decor by Robert Rauschenberg, will be performed by White Oak dancers Raquel Aedo, Emily Coates, Emmanuèle Phuon, and Ruthlyn Salomons.  Brown and Baryshnikov first performed together in Brown’s “You Can See Us” as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 1996 Next Wave Festival.

Mark Morris’s “The Argument,” a suite of five duets performed to Robert Schumann’s Fünf Stücke im Volkston, will receive its White Oak premiere on this tour. The world premiere of the dance will be given by the Mark Morris Dance Group in Boston during its own 1999 spring tour.

Background Information

White Oak Dance Project was created in 1990 by Mr. Baryshnikov and Mark Morris.  Comprised of some of the finest dance artists in the United States, White Oak features alumni of major dance companies such as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,  Mark Morris Dance Group, Elisa Monte Dance Company, and Twyla Tharp Dance Company.

The collaborations between Mr. Baryshnikov and Mr. Morris began when Baryshnikov, as Artistic Director of American Ballet Theater, commissioned Morris’s “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes.”  Besides Morris, to date the Project has commissioned new works from Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch, Jerome Robbins, Dana Reitz, Tere O’Connor, Charles Moulton,  Joachim Schlömer, Kevin O’Day, Graeme Murphy, and others.  It has also presented revivals of works by Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Martha Clarke, Jane Dudley, José Limón, Meredith Monk.

In the past ten years, the company has made close to thirty national and international tours.

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White Oak Dance Project is a production of The Baryshnikov Dance Foundation. The Baryshnikov Dance Foundation is supported by The Howard Gilman Foundation and New England Foundation for the Arts.
Photo by Annie Leibovitz.