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Dance Roundup 2005

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The dance season for 2005 was strongly influenced by two organizations in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe communities æthe Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the Global Dance Fest. Both introduced national and international choreography to the area, integrating cutting edge ideas and artists with local dancers at the studio and university level. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet broadened its outreach to perform concerts in Albuquerque and Ruidoso, and began to sponsor companies from out of state, such as Ailey II, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's Second Company. The Global Dance Fest brought dancers from as far away as Tokyo and Moscow to perform in both cities and sponsored workshops for students at the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico School for the Deaf.


In June, the Festival Flamenco Internacional 2005 expressed once again another dominant influence on the local dance scene. This year it featured Andres Marinís company in the concert Asimetrias, with both traditional and surrealist content, and Albuquerqueís Yjastros American Flamenco company presenting Dialogos, a masterful work by Joaquin Encincias and Spainís Israel Galvan. These Dialogues spoke of the flow of humanity into the New World culture, with Digby Wolfe inserting poetry along the way like a wandering bard.

The Ailey II dancers came to the Lensic Theatre in January with newer works by Robert Battle and Nathan Trice, and Talley Beatty's Mourner's Bench from 1947, as well as Ailey's classic Revelations and Quintet.

Dulce Flamenco, the small and promising new company spawned in Albuquerque by Brigida Lujan with her sister Nicolasa, came to the South Broadway Cultural Center in January with three musicians from Spain. The program included familiar flamenco styles and an unusual Cana, in a rhythm derived from the Jewish chant of pre-Inquisition Spain.

The Ovation Series brought the Ballet Jorgen Canada, performing Coppelia, at Popejoy Hall in February. Artistic director Bengt Jorgen gave the 1870 ballet choreographed by Arthur Saint-Leon his own psychological and surrealist twist, emphasized by Glen Davidsonís imaginative and rather cubistic set. Susan Stromanís riveting dance/play Contact came to Popejoy in April.

Carla Maxwell, artistic director of New York's Jose Limon Dance company, brought three dancers with her to present a workshop at the University of New Mexico in February, using Limon's Moor's Pavane as a teaching instrument. Maxwell led the discussion as the dancers moved, illustrating the choreographer's use of space geometry, rhythm, and character-defining gesture.

The Ballet Theatre of New Mexico presented Beyond the Classics in March, offering four talented local dancer/choreographers the opportunity to explore their art form beyond reconstructions of traditional ballets, working in a more modern medium. Celia Dale, Amber Vasquez, Hannah Lagerway and Katherine Giese revealed strong talents and imaginative artistry.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet produced three of their own concert programs this year starting with an April production at the Lensic Theatre that featured David Parsons' Wolfgang, commissioned especially for the ASFB to Mozart's music. The following week they performed a different concert at the KiMo Theater in Albuquerque, then went on the road to Ruidoso's Spenser Theatre. In July and September the company repeated Wolfgang and added works by Twyla Tharp, Moses Pendleton, Nicolo Fonte and Trey McIntyre. This company continues to exceed the highest expectations, introducing exciting contemporary choreographers.

The New Mexico Ballet celebrated its 30th anniversary in April, debuting work at the Hispanic Cultural Center. Company founder Suzanne Johnston reprised her elegant Moves, and guest choreographers Mel Tomlinson and Jennifer Predock-Linnell offered works in contemporary ballet and modern dance. Director Patricia Dickensonís dynamic Blue Jean Blues struck the final note in a strong and exciting review of three decades of dance.

Global Dance brought five concerts from around the world to Albuquerque and Santa Fe in 2005. Vincent Mantsoe of South Africa danced the solo concert titled Ndaa, meaning an awakening of the self. He was followed by Eiko and Koma of Tokyo and New York at the South Broadway Cultural Center. Their meditative choreography, titled Death Poem, explored the dreams and reality of death as another aspect of life.

This fall Global Dance brought Aura, a collaboration between Contradanza of Mexico City and Rosanna Gamson/World Wide (L.A.) to Albuquerque. The piece explored Carlos Fuentes' 1960s novel concerning love, illusion and decay. Kota Yamazaki and Company from Tokyo and New York returned to New Mexico with the new Rise: Rose after a residency in Senegal, Africa. An amazing company of deaf dancers from Moscow came to Santa Fe in November with Wings Are Given To All, co-produced by Global Dance, VSA Very Special Arts and the New Mexico School for the Deaf. It was an allegory based on Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Back to the spring. Julie Brette Adams and Kate Eberle, Two Women Dancing, presented a program of dramatic, visually compelling duets at the Santa Fe Playhouse in May. It was followed by the seventh Annual Rhythm Tap Jam, presented by the National Dance Institute of New Mexico and the University of New Mexico Department of Theatre and Dance. The program highlighted both local tap dancers and professionals such as Bill Evans and Mark Yonally. Classic tap and jazz rhythm sparkled. The Festival Flamenco and Yjastros Dance company took over in June with ten days of concerts and classes at the University of New Mexico, bringing new, innovative Spanish choreography to the city.

The University Dance Program revealed student talent in several thesis concerts by graduate students. In June Michelle Torino's Keeping Time interwove video and dance successfully with a rather existential theme of past and future time. Sarah Waff designed her concert thesis, Ashes to Ashes, around the medieval Dance of Death in the Carlisle Performance Space.

The University Faculty Dance concert in November, eMotions eMbodied, was again an eclectic blend of dance styles, but also featured Mary Anne Santos' restaging of Donald McKayle's beautiful Rainbow Etude This proved to be a choreographically fertile year at the university.

The Urban Ballet from New York City, and Yjastros' Flamenco: En Otra Voz came to the Hispanic Cultural Center in November, and the year ended with the usual flurry of ëNutcracker ballets by fine local companies in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.


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