“BalaSole is a hybrid creature. It’s part dance company and part showcase for aspiring dancer/choreographers. Where it succeeds is in the presentation of skilled artists who can command the stage in their self-made solos.” – Tim Martin, Dance Europe Magazine, April 2011
“In 2010, Villanueva founded the New York-based BalaSole Dance Company with the mission of showcasing dancers, like him, whose types are underrepresented in the development of their own individual artistic voices.” - Lisa Jo Sagolla, Backstage, April 2011
“This is why we go to see dance. This is why performers who are underexposed must be given exposure.” - Roberta Pikser, TheaterScene.net, February 2011
Roberto Villanueva, Executive/Artistic Director and Founder of BalaSole Dance Company, presents “Contrasts,” a new program of ten dancer/choreographers in a broad range of dance styles, music choices, and artistic voices, July 14 & 15 at Ailey Citigroup Theater. As always, the selected artists, hailing from such diverse locations as Russia, Venezuela, and Wassila Alaska, will demonstrate a wide range of dance styles and themes, reflecting their own voices as well as their training and performing experiences with The Tulsa Ballet, Sokolow Dance Ensemble, Juilliard, Purchase Conservatory, The Limon Institute, Kirov Academy of Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and associations with choreographers, teachers and artists that include Chuck Davis, Elisa King, Gelsey Kirland, Milton Myers, and pop artists Celine Dion and Nicki Minaj.
Roberto, born and raised in the Philippines, created BalaSole because he decided that “it was time to create a multi-ethnic organization that would open its doors to underrepresented dance artists of all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds.” BalaSole is the only dance company in the U.S. with a mission to address the gaps in the field of concert dance. The company’s artists are provided artistic freedom and are encouraged to find and hone their artistic voices. Diversity and individuality are the keywords of the organization, which has already, at the tender age of two, mentored and given performance opportunities to dozens of dancer/choreographers. The Company has presented seasons at Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Jerome Robbins Theater, Ailey Citigroup Theater, New York Live Arts, and Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Villanueva is pleased to make the major announcement that BalaSole is now the resident company of Mount Saint Vincent College in Riverdale, where Villanueva will also join as an adjunct faculty in September.
Choreographing and appearing in “Contrasts” are:
ANN STERLING DALE
SUNDAY SHANNON JACKSON
RICARDO MATEO RIQUE-SANCHEZ
EMILY AIKEN is a native of North Carolina, where she still lives, dances, and continues to create work while pursuing higher education.
MUSASHI ALVAREZ, a former member of the Tulsa Ballet, is a native New Yorker and graduate of LaGuardia High School, where he received several scholarships and awards.
ANN STERLING DALE, from North Carolina, graduated from Elon U with a BFA in Dance, and has studied all styles of dance at home and in NY, where she currently resides.
JENNY EFREMOVA has lived and studied around the world. She was born in Russia, lived in Sweden, received a diploma in Dance Theatre and Production from a college in Kingston, Jamaica, and completed her studied at the University of Ghana.
STEPHANIE FLACKMAN has appeared in productions that range from ballet companies to the Disney Cruise Line and Las Vegas musical theater entertainments.
SUNDAY SHANNON JACKSON is a graduate of LaGuardia H.S. and holds a BFA in Dance from Juilliard. She is an original member of Celine Dion’s A New Day Show in Caesars Palace/Las Vegas.
RICARDO MATEO RIQUE-SANCHEZ is a native of Wasilla Alaska and started dancing at Stephens College in MO. He studied Humphrey/Weidman technique with Deborah Carr, Limon technique at the Limon Institute, and has danced with the Sokolow Dance Theater Ensemble.
ALEXZANDRA SARMIENTO is a graduate of LaGuardia H.S., where she was recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Graduate/Dance Dept. Award. She recently performed in “A Chorus Line” under the direction of Baayork Lee.
YVANHOVA SILVA graduated from Taller de Danza de Caracas in her native Venezuela, and also holds a degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
ROBERTO VILLANUEVA has been hailed for his virtuoso technique as a dancer with Complexions, Alpha Omega theatrical Dance Co, Buffalo City Ballet, and other groups, and has taught and/or performed in the U.S., Europe and Asia. As a dancer, he was “…a small powerhouse (who) drew appreciative gasps from the audiences.” (Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Village Voice). Jennifer Dunning remarked that “Mr. Villanueva stood out for the deftness and technical control of his dancing.” (The New York Times).
Villanueva served on the faculty of Dance Masters of America’s Teachers Training Program; received a 2011-12 Harlem Stage Fund for New Work Award for his one-man show; has created works presented at venues in NYC and around the U.S. Since founding BalaSole, has presented and been a positive force and mentor to dozens, from talented dancers just out of school to members of the Limon Dance Company, Elisa Monte Dance, Lucinda Childs Dance, Parsons Dance, and many others.
Saturday & Sunday, July 14 & 15 (Saturday at 8 PM; Sunday at 3 PM)
Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 West 55 Street
Tickets: $25; $18 for students & seniors
Reservations: 212.868.4444 or www.smarttix.com
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Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Leila Heller Gallery, September 2014
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