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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Eisenhower Dance, Metro Detroit’s premier contemporary dance company, is celebrating 25 years of dance. Founded by choreographer and Artistic Director Laurie Eisenhower in 1991, Eisenhower Dance has grown from a small ensemble to a nationally-recognized dance company and pioneer of the growing dance movement in Metro Detroit.
Eisenhower Dance has spent the last 25 years giving life to the repertoire of internationally known choreographers, as well as the highly acclaimed work of Artistic Director Laurie Eisenhower. The company has performed works by choreographers Edgar Zendejas, David Parsons, Lar Lubovitch, Ron de Jesus, Gina Patterson, Lauren Edson and Harrison McEldowney, among others. With a mission centered on collaboration, Eisenhower has partnered with prominent arts organizations such as the Michigan Opera Theatre, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Warren Symphony, the Immigrant Suns, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, the Rackham Symphony Choir, the Motor City Lyric Opera and the Toledo Opera. Eisenhower uses extensive education and outreach programming to foster a love of dance in the next generation of Metro Detroiters.
The company has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the McGregor Fund, the Kresge Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts. In 2003, Laurie Eisenhower received the prestigious Artserve Michigan Governor’s Award for Arts and Culture – Michigan Artist, and in 2012 was named a Kresge Arts Fellow for her dedication to bringing great dance to Detroit.
“When we started the company 25 years ago, I wasn’t sure how long we would survive,” Eisenhower said. “It’s always tough to keep a nonprofit arts organization up and running. Yet, through the ups and downs, I’ve been amazed at the support we have received from the community. I’m excited to look both back and forward this season.”
To mark this milestone season, Eisenhower will revisit audience favorites from the last quarter of a century at each of its four Metro Series performances. Each performance will also feature a premiere work by a nationally-known choreographer such as Gabrielle Lamb, Ahmad Simmons and Eisenhower, herself.
“Rather than focusing on only the past, my goal this season is to show the growth of the company,” Eisenhower said. “I want to highlight our fabulous and virtuosic dancers in imaginative and exciting choreography.”
The company rehearses in Rochester, has administrative offices in Southfield and has schools in Birmingham, Franklin and Rochester. Each year, the company presents a subscription series of performances at four theatres in Metro Detroit and tours nationally.
Eisenhower begins its four-performance Metro Series Oct. 24-25 with a two-day run of “On the Move” at Oakland University’s Varner Hall. The performance will include the revival of “Mosaics,” an audience favorite from the company’s first decade. The program will also include a preview of its newest choreographic commission by nationally-known choreographer Gabrielle Lamb.
The series continues on Dec. 11 with December Dances at the Seligman Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills. The eclectic program will feature Laurie Eisenhower’s popular “Evermore,” as well as the premiere of a new work by Eisenhower. In addition, the company will revive “Catharsis,” an earlier signature work by Eisenhower. The December production will feature guest dancers from the Eisenhower Dance Centers and Oakland University’s Repertory Dance Company.
The company will take to the Detroit Opera House stage with an exciting silver anniversary performance on Jan. 23, 2016. The group will present its stunning production of Igor Stravinsky’s iconic “The Rite of Spring.” This collaborative performance will feature lighting design by Kerro Knox 3, set design by Jeremy Barnett and live music by pianists Eugene and Elisabeth Pridonoff and Percussion Group Cincinnati. The program will also include Laurie Eisenhower’s “Bolero,” with guest dancers from both Oakland and Wayne State Universities.
To conclude the season’s festivities, Eisenhower Dance will present a 25th anniversary celebration on April 30, 2016 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. The program will include Eisenhower’s “Tom’s Songs,” a heartfelt tribute to her late husband, featuring music by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Bonnie Raitt. It will also feature a new work by resident choreographer Ahmad Simmons, a former Eisenhower dancer, as well as numerous other special anniversary events.