For Immediate Release

Nelson Mandela to be Celebrated in World Premiere of Garth Fagan’s “Madiba” during Garth Fagan Dance’s Joyce Theater Season October 4-9

Season also includes World Premiere of Norwood Pennewell’s “Liminal Flux”


The world premiere of Garth Fagan’s “Madiba,” a celebration of the indomitable life force of Nelson Mandela, one of the spiritual and political giants of the 20th century, will be the centerpiece of Garth Fagan Dance’s 2011 season at The Joyce Theater, October 4-9. The engagement also features a new dance by longtime Fagan performer and muse Norwood Pennewell.

Set to a score by Abdullah Ibrahim, “Madiba,” the name of Mandela’s family clan, is a non-narrative homage to the incandescent strength of the South African leader. The political, personal and social difficulties that he endured, survived and transcended by the sheer force of spirit and profound belief in humanity are suggested through the changes in the dancing and the dramatic transformations of the space.

Norwood Pennewell will present the world premiere of “Liminal Flux,” along with a reprise of “Hylozoic,” Pennewell’s first attempt at choreography, which received great acclaim when it premiered last year. Set to music by Miles Davis and Chancha Via Circuito, “Liminal Flux” plays with perspective and patterning to express the interior journey it explores.

The season will be further highlighted by the return of Fagan’s “Thanks Forty,” the choreographer’s vibrant celebration of his company’s four decade history. Reflecting Fagan’s wide musical interests, the dance is set to cello music by Shostakovich, a melodic percussion score by Angolian composer Bonga Kwenda and Gerald Albright’s music for tenor, alto and baritone sax.

The engagement will also offer selections from some of Fagan’s greatest dances including “Translation Transition,” first performed in 2002. The dance, like the Jazz Jamaica All Stars score that accompanies it, explores the similarities, differences and meeting points between American jazz and the traditional music of Jamaica (ska, reggae and mento). There will also be a solo from “Senku” (2006) and a section from “Until, By & If” (1990). Both works are performed to music by contemporary jazz composer Don Pullen, as where “Memoriam,” created in 2001 to honor the victims and their families of September 11th, is set to a 16th century score by Cristóbal de Morales.

Select evenings will open with “Prelude: Discipline is Freedom,” a classic introduction to Fagan’s singular style distinguished by its complex polyrhythmic demands on the dancers and its fusion of modern, ballet and Afro-Caribbean dance. Created in 1983, the dance is set to music by Max Roach and Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly known as Dollar Brand).

Performance Time

The evening curtains for Garth Fagan Dance’s Joyce Theater season are October 4, 5, and 9 at 7:30pm, and October 6, 7, and 8 at 8pm. There are 2pm matinees on October 8 and 9. A post- performance “Dance Chat” will take place Wednesday, October 5.

Where To Go

Tickets are $59, $35 and $19 and can be purchased online at, by calling 212-242- 0800, or at The Joyce Theater box office located at 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street. A limited number of $10 tickets are available by calling 212-242-0800.
Tuesday, October 4, 7:30 PM PROGRAM A Prelude Senku (Excerpt) Liminal Flux* Madiba* Thanks Forty      Wednesday, October 5, 7:30 PM PROGRAM A Prelude Senku (Excerpt) Liminal Flux* Madiba* Thanks Forty
Thursday, October 6, 8 PM PROGRAM B Until, By & If (Excerpt) Madiba* Memoriam Liminal Flux* Translation Transition (Excerpts)

Friday, October 7, 8 PM PROGRAM B Until, By & If (Excerpt) Madiba* Memoriam Liminal Flux* Translation Transition (Excerpts)

Saturday, October 8, 2 PM PROGRAM C Prelude Until, By & If (Excerpts) Liminal Flux* Hylozoic Madiba* Translation Transition (Excerpt) Memoriam

Saturday, October 8, 8 PM PROGRAM A Prelude Senku (Excerpt) Liminal Flux* Madiba* Thanks Forty

Sunday, October 9, 2 PM PROGRAM A Prelude Senku (Excerpt) Liminal Flux* Madiba* Thanks Forty

 Sunday, October 9, 7:30 PM PROGRAM B Until, By & If (Excerpt) Madiba* Memoriam Liminal Flux* Translation Transition (Excerpts)
*World Premiere

Artist Bios

GARTH FAGAN, a 1998 Tony Award-winner for his choreography for Broadway hit “The Lion King,” began his career in dance by touring Latin America with Ivy Baxter and her Jamaican national dance company. In addition to studying with Baxter, Fagan trained with Caribbean dance teachers Lavinia Williams and Pearl Primus, as well as with Martha Graham, Mary Hinkson, Alvin Ailey and José Limón. A graduate of Wayne State University, the Jamaican-born choreographer served as director of Detroit’s All-City Dance Company and was a principal soloist and choreographer for the Dance Theatre of Detroit and the Detroit Contemporary Dance Company. In 1970, he moved to Rochester, NY, where he founded Garth Fagan Dance. The company has since appeared in many major venues and arts festivals throughout the United States, as well as internationally in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, New Zealand, Australia and the West Indies. In addition to works for Garth Fagan Dance, Fagan has choreographed dances for Judith Jamison, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Limón Dance Company. In May 1999, he created “Ellington Elation,” one section of a trio of pieces commissioned by New York City Ballet in honor of Duke Ellington’s centenary and NYCB’s 50th anniversary. Fagan’s choreography for “The Lion King” won him the 2000 Laurence Olivier Award, as well as the 1998 Drama Desk Award, the 1998 Outer Critics Circle Award and the 1998 Astaire Award. In 2001, the received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award; that same year, he was the recipient of the Golden Plate Award, inducted into the American Academy of Achievement and presented with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander by the Jamaican government. Additionally, he won the 2004 Helpmann Award. Throughout the history of the Garth Fagan Dance Company, five members have received New York Dance and Performance Awards (“Bessies”): Garth Fagan, Norwood Pennewell, Steve Humphrey, Natalie Rogers and Sharon Skepple.


Original Photo by Yi-Chun Wu. Design by Michael Bonfiglio/EJA.