THE WASHINGTON BALLET PRESENTS THE WASHINGTON BALLET STUDIO COMPANY IN ONCE UPON A TIME
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Ballet presents Once Upon a Time, May 19 and 20, 2012 at THEARC Theater. Once Upon a Time is a collection of five world premiere ballets based on fairy tales and folk tales from around the world. The Washington Ballet’s Studio Company will be showcased in Monique Meunier’ s Princessa Maria, Lucy Bowen McCauley’s Before the Fall, Andile Ndlovu’ s Guardian of the Pool, David Palmer’s Green Eggs and Ham and The Bluebonnet Ballet by Katrina Toews, Ralph Glenmore, Slyvia Soumah, Robbin Tasha-Ford and Margaret Williamson.
“From South Africa and Europe to the American Southwest, Once Upon a Time celebrates tales from around the world. The annual sold-out program which showcases the talented stars of tomorrow: The Washington Ballet Studio Company with special young guests from TWB@THEARC, is sure to delight,” Said TWB’s artistic director Septime Webre.
Once Upon A Time begins with Princessa Maria, a Spanish fairy tale about a beautiful young woman and a handsome prince who is also a bullfighter is choreographed by Monique Meunier, Ballet Master for The Washington School of Ballet’s Professional Training Program. Before the Fall, choreographed by Lucy Bowen McCauley, tells the story of Humpty Dumpty before his famous fall. TWB’s Company Dancer, Andile Ndlovu, has adapted a famous South African fairy tale, Guardian of the Pool which tells the story of a snake who lives at the bottom of a pool and is transformed nightly into a handsome young man by the touch of a beautiful young girl. The Bluebonnet Ballet, by Katrina Toews (Director, TWB@THEARC), Ralph Glenmore, Sylvia Soumah, Robbin Tahsa-Ford and Margaret Williamson, follows the legend of a Comanche girl who is orphaned during a famine. Her sacrifice brings rain to the land and soon bluebonnet flowers grow everywhere. The program ends with every child’s favorite, Green Eggs and Ham. TWB’s Associate Artistic Director, David Palmer, has turned this Dr. Seuss classic into a ballet accompanied by narrative using American Sign Language.
The Washington Ballet Studio Company will give four performances of Once Upon a Time at THEARC Theater, located at 1901 Mississippi Ave., SE. Tickets, priced at $50 may be purchased by calling 202.362.3606 x605 or by visiting The Washington Ballet’s website.
MONIQUE MEUNIER, (Choreography, Ballet Master of TWSB’s Professional Training Program) was born in Hollywood, CA. Her father is Cuban and mother is Ecuadorian. At the age of 15, she received a full scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet. Ms. Meunier was asked to join the New York City Ballet one year later. In 1997, she was promoted to soloist and reached the rank of principal dancer in 1998. There she performed numerous roles by Balanchine, Robbins, and Forsythe as well as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. In 2002, Ms. Meunier joined American Ballet Theater where she added the classics, Tudor, and Kylian to her repertoire. In 2007, she joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Dwight Rhoden. Ms. Meunier has staged Balanchine ballets for the Balanchine Trust and served as rehearsal director for Karole Armitage in 2009. She has also ventured into choreography and premiered four works in 2009/2010 for Lake Placid and The Columbia Collaborative.
LUCY BOWEN McCAULEY (Choreography) was trained at the Jordan School of Music & Dance in Indianapolis, Interlochen and on scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School. She has performed with the Joffrey Concert Group, the Maryland Ballet, the Virginia State Ballet, Daniel West Dancers and was a founding member of Eric Hampton Dance. Ms. McCauley is the artistic director, choreographer and creative energy behind Bowen McCauley Dance (BMD), an internationally acclaimed company which she formed is 1996. Throughout her career, Ms. McCauley has choreographed over 70 works for BMD and other companies and has taught at The George Washington University, The Washington Ballet, Maryland Youth Ballet and has been a guest teacher at ABT, Orlando Ballet, the Kennedy Center, Georgetown University and Escuela Superior de Música y Danza in Monterrey, Mexico. She has been honored with the Alumni Path of Inspiration Award from the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Arlington VA Commission for the Arts Star Award for Artistic Excellence, the AAUW Elizabeth Campbell Award for the Advancement of the Arts in Arlington, the “Nonprofit of the Year” ABBIE Award from the Arlington Chamber of Commerce for BMD and most recently received the lifetime award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education at the 10th Annual Metro DC Dance Awards. In partnership with the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, Ms. McCauley also leads weekly dance classes called “Dance for PD” for people with Parkinson Disease and their care-partners.
ANDILE NDLOVU, (Choreography, TWB Studio Company) of Johannesburg, South Africa, is in his third season with The Washington Ballet, after dancing one season with the Studio Company. Mr. Ndlovu began his training in Latin American and in ballroom dance at the age of 10. At 15, he began training in ballet, studying under Martin Schöenberg, director of Ballet Theatre Afrikan. In 2007, Mr. Ndlovu performed with South African Ballet Theatre, performing the lead in Don Quixote and the Jester in Swan Lake, among other roles. He went on to dance with Cape Town City Ballet and tied for first place in the contemporary category of the 2008 South African International Ballet Competition. Mr. Ndlovu has also been part of the 15-year anniversary of Step Afrika! as a guest artist, performed his collaborative choreography solo with Gregory Vuyani Maqoma in Beyond Skin and was a part of the South African version of Queen with Mzansi Productions, choreographed by Debbie Rakusin and Timothy Le Roux. Mr. Ndlovu has begun choreographing in addition to dancing. In 2010 he was awarded the Metro Dance DC award for Emerging Performer or Group for his choreography of Barbara Liotta: Icarus. In 2011 he was awarded a silver medal at the Boston International Ballet Competition for Art of War, a piece he choreographed. Mr. Ndlovu recently choreographed a contemporary piece which was danced by TWB Company member Aurora Dickie at the Cape Town International Ballet Competition.
KATRINA TOEWS (Choreography, TWB@THEARC Director) is a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, Pilates trainer and arts administrator. Ms. Toews was first hired to teach at The Washington School of Ballet under founder Mary Day. She enjoyed the children so much that she began to work in the education programs as well. She was the originator of the programs for The Washington Ballet @ THEARC and has been at the SE campus since its inception. Ms. Toews holds an MA in Dance from American University, as well as a BA in Fine Arts and Elementary Education from Bethel College in Kansas. She has trained with Mimi Legat, Peter Stark, Mandy Jorgenson and Denise Celestin, among others. Ms. Toews has danced with bosmadance, Sister’s Trousers and Carla & Co., and she has performed repertory work by Ohad Narin, Joy Kellman, Alice Howes, Ann Halligan Donahue and Francisca Morand. In 2005, Ms. Toews founded the K2 modern dance company. Her choreographic works have been performed at the Kennedy Center, Dance Place, The Jack Guidone Theatre, American University, Northern Virginia Community College, James Madison University and Bethel College. Her work has been described by Washington Post critics as “solidly crafted quality” and choreography that “stands out.” In addition to her work with the Washington Ballet, Ms. Toews has taught at American University, James Madison University, Salisbury State University, Dance Place, and the Davis Center. She has presented work on dance and education at various conferences across the U.S. and is a member of the National Dance Education Organization. She is the co-author of the dance standards for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Most recently, she was honored with the 2010 Young Alumni award from Bethel College for her work with youth in the field of dance.
DAVID PALMER (Choreography, Associate Artistic Director, TWB) began his career in musical theater and television in Australia as a youth and went on to dance with the Australian Ballet, rising quickly to the soloist ranks. He then became a Principal Dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Koninklijk Ballet Van Vlaanderen (Royal Flanders Ballet), San Francisco Ballet and Maximum Dance Company. As a choreographer, Mr. Palmer has created some 35 works to date, many performed by major dance companies worldwide. Mr. Palmer, in collaboration with Yanis Pikieris, created several works including The Rite of Spring (Sun Post Winner–Best Original Work of the 2002-03 Season), Spectrum, Adiemus, and The Elements for Maximum Dance Company, the company they founded together in 1996. Mr. Palmer’s awards include the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography for a completed commissioned work for San Francisco Ballet in 2000. He was the runner-up in The Peter Stuyversant International Ballet Competition. In 1999, 2000 and 2001 Mr. Palmer was named South Florida’s “Best Male Dancer” by the Miami Beach Sun Post, and in 2004, he was awarded The New World School of The Arts Achievement Award for his work as founding Artistic Director of Maximum Dance Company, which he led on international and national tours. During his eight years as Artistic Director, Maximum Dance Company presented some 80 works, 30 world premieres and three full-evening works. Mr. Palmer has taught companies, master classes and workshops all over the world. He specializes in classical ballet, contemporary ballet and jazz techniques. In 2005, he was appointed the program director for two new series at Miami City Ballet, the Contemporary Dance and Young People’s series.
THE WASHINGTON BALLET STUDIO COMPANY
This ensemble of pre-professional dancers, age 18-20, receives additional training and performance opportunities to help them transition from being ballet students to professional dancers. Its members perform with The Washington Ballet in select productions and in their own programs on The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, THEARC Theater, TWB’s England Studio Theater, DC Public Schools and other venues.