25 Years of the UMS Dance Series
UMS celebrates 25 years of the UMS Dance Series in 2015-16 season. It’s been quite an adventure.
Interested in more? Explore dance through our archives.
20th Annual Dance Series Announced
The University Musical Society is pleased to announce its 20th Annual Dance Series, with five companies performing in the Power Center and the Detroit Opera House. The series includes:
Paul Taylor, artistic director
Thursday, October 7 | 8 pm
Friday, October 8 | 8 pm
Saturday, October 9 | 8 pm
More than a half-century ago, after performing in the companies of Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and George Balanchine, Paul Taylor became the youngest member of the pantheon that created American modern dance. Now approaching 80 — an age when most artists’ best work is behind them — Taylor is acclaimed for the vibrancy, relevance, and power of his dances. As prolific as ever, he continues to offer cogent observations on life’s complexities while tackling some of society’s thorniest issues. While his work has largely been iconoclastic, since the very start of his career Taylor has also made some of the most purely romantic, most astonishingly athletic, and downright funniest dances ever put on a stage. UMS, in collaboration with the U-M Department of Dance, shines a light on Paul Taylor, with a day-long residency and three performances highlighting just a fraction of the more than 130 dances he has created. “What other artist today makes poetic drama of such variety and eloquence? A Taylor season is a journey through one of the most singular and searching imaginations of our time.” (The New York Times, 2/17/10)
Program (Thurs 10/7)
Speaking in Tongues (Music by Matthew Patton) (1988)
Esplanade (J.S. Bach) (1975)
Program (Fri 10/8)
Orbs (Ludwig van Beethoven) (1966)
Also Playing (Gaetano Donizetti) (2009)
Program (Sat 10/9)
Black Tuesday (Songs of the Great Depression) (2001)
The Word (David Israel) (1998)
Piazzolla Caldera (Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky) (1997)
Sankai Juku: Hibiki
Ushio Amagatsu, director, choreographer, and designer
Saturday, October 23 | 8 pm
Sunday, October 24 | 2 pm
Ushio Amagatsu, the founder and artistic director of Sankai Juku, trained in classical as well as modern dance before he devoted his life to butoh. Butoh first appeared in Japan after World War II and is often defined by its playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, and absurd environments. Traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow, hyper-controlled, mesmerizing motion, butoh represents to Amagatsu a “dialogue with gravity,” whereas most dance forms revel in the escape from gravity. It plays with the perception of time and space through slowing down the experience — the dance equivalent of haiku, only much longer. The company last appeared in Ann Arbor in 1999. In 2002, the work that they will perform, Hibiki – Resonance From Far Away, received an Olivier Award for “Best New Dance Production.” “[Ushio Amagatsu] conveys the infinitely minute yet spellbinding transformations of a world in constant metamorphosis.” (Dance Magazine)
Rodrigo and Paulo Pederneiras, artistic director and choreographer
Friday, January 21 | 8 pm
Saturday, January 22 | 8 pm
This electrifying Brazilian dance company captivates with stunning, sexy physicality, dynamic ability, and rich visual flair. Grupo Corpo (literally “Body Group”) creates a vibrant and seamless blend of ballet’s grace, modern dance’s verve, and the hip-swiveling exuberance of Carnival sambas and their Afro-Brazilian roots. Founded in 1975, Grupo Corpo returns to Ann Arbor — the company appeared in 2002 as part of UMS’s focus on Brazilian artists — with two performances featuring Ímã (2009) and another work to be announced. Don’t miss this chance to experience Grupo Corpo’s “searing sensuality elegantly under control.” (Le Monde, Paris)
Merce Cunningham Dance Company
Friday, February 18 | 8 pm
Saturday, February 19 | 8 pm
When the always forward-thinking Merce Cunningham passed away in July 2009 at the age of 90, he left behind a plan for the dissolution of his dance company and the preservation of his works: a two-year legacy tour that would end on December 31, 2011 with a performance in New York City. Cunningham was undeniably a leader of the American avant-garde throughout his 70-year career and is considered one of the most important choreographers of our time. Through much of his life, he was also one of the greatest American dancers, performing with the Martha Dance Company for six years. With an artistic career distinguished by constant innovation, Cunningham expanded the frontiers of dance, but also of contemporary visual and performing arts. His collaborations with artistic innovators from every creative discipline have yielded an unparalleled body of American dance, music, and visual art. These two different programs will be drawn from the more than 150 dances that Cunningham created over more than six decades of choreographic innovation. In Merce’s own words: “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” Fleeting for the dancer, perhaps, but creating lasting impressions for the audiences that experience it.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Judith Jamison, artistic director
Thursday, March 3 | 7:30 pm [note start time!]
Detroit Opera House
UMS is partnering with the Detroit Opera House so that UMS dance subscribers can experience this quintessentially American dance company. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater grew from the now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association in New York. Led by Alvin Ailey and group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance forever changed the perception of American dance. Now, some 52 years later, the company has performed for an estimated 23 million people in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents. The company has earned a reputation as one of the most acclaimed international ambassadors of American culture, promoting the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage. When Alvin Ailey began creating dance, he drew upon his “blood memories” of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel as inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically-acclaimed work, Revelations.
This performance is only available to dance subscribers; all other tickets will be sold through the Detroit Opera House. UMS will offer round-trip luxury coach service to Detroit for this performance for those who prefer not to drive (details to be announced).
Tickets for the five-performance series range from $133-$206. Subscription renewal packets and brochures will be mailed in early May.
Tickets to individual events on the series go on sale on Monday, August 23 (via www.ums.org) and Wednesday, August 25 (in person and by phone).