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Gaining cultural understanding through dance

Philippa P.B. HughesBy Philippa P.B. Hughes on Nov 08, 2012 | Add a Comment Add a Comment (336)

Gaining cultural understanding through dance

I remember my first art moments. Though I'd been collecting art since I was in high school, the first time I purchased a painting was thrilling and terrifying. Until then, I'd only bought works on paper or prints, which literally and figuratively felt less weighty.  Buying a painting made me feel like a "real" art collector. When I was in 5th grade, our class went to see "A Raisin In the Sun." All of us 10-year-olds dressed up in our Sunday best clothes and sat quietly in the auditorium and clapped only when it was appropriate. I was so drawn into the drama that it sparked a lifelong interest in theater.

I was well into adulthood before I attended my first modern dance performance. A friend invited me to join her at Wolf Trap to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company. We sat on a blanket on the lawn with our plastic glasses of wine and wedges of cheese. And I was completely blown away when they performed "Caught," a beautiful and powerful dance performance that got me hooked on dance forever. It's never too late to develop a passion in something new!

So I am excited to continue to be able to see wonderful dance performances, particularly by DC-based companies like Company E. On November 16th and 17th, they continue their series called NEXT, which showcases the talents of a single nation in an effort to bring increased international awareness and appreciation of the country and its contribution to the arts. Company E featured Israel last year. This year: Spain!

You learn so much about a country through their art. The art teaches you about the culture and its people, what makes them tick, what drives them. These things in turn can help you better understand politics, government, and diplomacy, and so much more. The performance is fittingly co-sponsored by the Embassy of Spain, which has a full calendar of Spanish cultural offerings to help you better understand their country. I hope you'll start off your journey to Spain and to better cultural understanding by attending NEXT: Spain!

The program starts with the world premiere of Y - A Spanish Suite. Choreographed by Paul Gordon Emerson, Amanda Engelhardt, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Kathryn Sydell Pilkington and Robert J. Priore, Y evolved from ideas created for Looking for Don Quixote which premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in September 2012. The work is set to a suite of contemporary Spanish music.

The program also includes:

  • Few (world premiere) choreographed by Barcelona-based dancer-choreographers Thomas Noone and Nuria Martinez and set to a new score by Barcelona’s contemporary composer Miguel Marin, who is known for his Arbol Project. Raised in the UK, Noone and Barcelona native Martinez are a vibrant example of the international flavor of the contemporary dance scene in Spain.
  • Inside It’s Raining (2009, U.S. premiere) a trio by British/Israeli choreographer Rachel Erdos, set to an original score by Uruguayan composer Alberto Schwarz. Erdos has partnered with Company E since 2009.
  • Instable (2012), a trio Company E commissioned from Companie Linga of Lausanne, Switzerland, choreographed by Italian Marco Cantalupo and Polish choreographer Katarzyna Gdaniec and set to music by Hildur Gudnadottir. Guitar player Brenden Shultz performs between each work.


  • Friday, November 16, 2012 at 8 pm
  • Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 2 pm
  • Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 8 pm

U.S. Premiere. Co-presented with the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Buy tickets online.

Philippa P.B. Hughes Add a Comment (336) | Like this Item Like   | Tags: dance, Spain


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