CityDance Ensemble is a professional contemporary repertory dance company. Promising its signature power, passion, and purpose at every turn, the company performs athletic, challenging repertory by choreographers from the United States and around the world. Under the direction of Artistic Director Paul Gordon Emerson, Rehearsal Director and Choreographer-in-Residence Christopher K. Morgan, CityDance Ensemble blends exceptional technique and physicality with a dynamic mix of energy, emotion, and humor to deliver performances full of integrity, expression, and life. The Company has an enduring commitment to environmental responsibility and practices, for which it won the first Washington Business Journal Green Practices Award.
Since its inception in 1996, CityDance has grown from a group of part-time dancers to a professional company of eight full-time, salaried professional dancers who hail from the Juilliard School, Boston Conservatory, and other world class schools and companies, earning a reputation as "Washington's preeminent modern dance company” (The Washington Times). Among the Company's many awards are four Washington, DC Mayor's Arts awards: Excellence in an Artistic Discipline (2009), Innovation in the Arts (2005), Outstanding Emerging Artist (2003), and Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2010).
CityDance Ensemble is an artistic partner at the Harman Center for the Arts, performing an annual season at the Harman Center in downtown Washington, DC. The company is also a founding resident partner at the Music Center at Strathmore, the "jewel in the crown" (The Washington Post) of Washington's performing arts music centers. CityDance has an annual season at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The company tours both nationally and internationally, bringing its “breathlessly innovative” (Dancer Magazine) performances to audiences around the world.
Unlike most traditional modern dance companies, CityDance does not perform dances made by a single choreographer but instead performs dances created by many different artists. This collaborative spirit is at the heart of the entire artistic process and builds the foundation for the company’s three signature repertory series.
- The NEXT Series commissions new dances by emerging choreographers ready for the world stage, forging works that are innovative, challenging, and exciting for both performers and audience members.
- The Originals Series commissions original scores by leading composers from across the musical spectrum, creating new works that range in style from classical to contemporary.
- The Legacy Series returns great historic dance masterpieces to the current repertory in commitment to celebrating the art form’s distinguished past while staging works that remain relevant to today’s audience.
- The International Writing Program is an annual partnership between CityDance and the Writers of the University of Iowa's IWP, a world-renowned residency featuring some of the finest writers in the world.
In addition, CityDance FilmWORKS, the company's award-winning film division, makes original dances for the camera and presents film festivals in partnerships with leading organizations around the region.
Accomplishments at a Glance
- Company become the first American troupe to perform at the Contemporary Festival of Dance in Algiers, Algeria (December), its first concert engagement in Africa.
- Choreographer-in-Residence Christopher K. Morgan's work, +1/-1 wins the Oustanding New Work award at the 2010 Metro DC Dance Awards.
- Under the auspices of the US Department of State CityDance travels to Russia, Kazakhstan and Belaurs, performing six concerts in three countries for over 8,000 audience members. (September/October).
- Company stages and premieres its third masterwork by Paul Taylor, Esplanade.
- Company tours once again to the Middle East, performing a world premiere by Christopher K. Morgan at the opening night of the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival. (April)
- CityDance wins the Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education.(April)
- Company performs its premiere of Paul Taylor's celebrated masterwork Images. (February)
Embarking on its second international tour in a period of two months, CityDance Ensemble engages audiences in the cities of Temuco, Talca, Santiago, and Valparaiso, Chile.
- CityDance takes its dance performances, workshops, and outreach activities to Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates for its fourth international tour.
- CityDance Ensemble wins the Mayor's Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline and is a finalist for Excellence in Arts Education; company member Jason Garcia Ignacio wins Outstanding Emerging Artist.
- Dr. Domenico Vicinanza of Cambridge-based DANTE collaborates with CityDance to create original music derived from the seismic waves of volcanos to accompany Jason Garcia Ignacio's environmental work titled The Mountain.
- Paul Taylor grants rights for CityDance to perform his piece Last Look, the first time a company other than Mr. Taylor’s own has been granted licensing for this piece. Taylor also grants permission for another work in 2009.
- CityDance is presented by Joyce SoHo, marking the company’s New York City debut.
- New England Foundation for the Arts awards CityDance NEA American Masterpieces grant to reconstruct Sophie Maslow’s Folksay.
- CityDance is named an artistic partner with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, launching an annual season at the new Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, DC.
- Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books premieres at The Kennedy Center in March before beginning an annual run at the Harman Center, establishing a long-term family concert program.
- Performance Moves, a television news magazine hosted by Artistic Director Paul Gordon Emerson, goes on the air throughout Montgomery County, Maryland.
- Company completes third international tour with a three-week program in Poland, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia.
- CityDance FilmWORKS receives DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts.
- CityDance becomes the resident dance company and dance education partner in the new Music Center at Strathmore in N. Bethesda, MD, and opens the CityDance Center at Strathmore.
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra commissions two new works from CityDance for performance with the orchestra in Baltimore and Washington, DC. CityDance joins Strathmore partner Levine School of Music in a live production of Peter & The Wolf before 2,000 concert goers in the new Concert Hall at the Music Center at Strathmore.
- Company completes second international tour with programs in Poland and Lithuania.
- CityDance Ensemble wins the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist.
- Dance Magazine names CityDance Ensemble as a company among the “Top 25 to Watch.”
- FilmWORKS premieres at Washington, DC’s leading independent movie house to rave reviews.
- Company completes first international tour, opening the 300th Anniversary Dance Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.
- Paul Gordon Emerson becomes Artistic Director
- Originals Music Series debuts at Dance Place, earning CityDance an appelation from the Washington Post as "a brave and talented troupe willing to take risks."
- CityDance Ensemble is founded by Artistic Director Tara Pierson Dunning and
Executive Director Paul Gordon Emerson.