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DanceSmith's Kennedy Center Debut November 18, 2004

Contemporary Dance Works to Include the Premier of a New Work
by Artistic Director Natalie Moffett Smith

Washington choreographer and performer Natalie Moffett Smith's acclaimed contemporary dance company, DanceSmith, makes its Kennedy Center debut on November 18th. This performance follows the success of several performances over the last two years. The five dance works presented will include the premier of Moffett Smith's latest work, the restaging of a work by the late Eric Hampton never before seen at the Kennedy Center, and collaborations with area composers and visual artists.

Returning is the passionate duet, Together Alone, which Moffett Smith choreographed for herself and Austin St. John. Set to the music of Dimitri Shostakovich, the piece explores the simultaneous feelings of closeness and separation that can arise in the relationship of two together. Reviewing the premier of Together Alone earlier this year, Pamela Squires described it in The Washington Post as: "successful . . . taut and edgy . . . She sprang into his arms like a lioness, all tension and force, and collided with him even in moments of tenderness."

Premiering on the program will be Moffett Smith's new large group work (working title Concerti Grossi), set to the music of George Frederic Handel. This five-movement ballet explores a wide range of emotions that women feel, and the competing demands on those emotions. "As women, we seem to feel this emotional responsibility to others," Moffett Smith says in discussing the inspiration for the work. "It seems almost to be a universal thing - we often forfeit our own emotional needs for others."

Moffett Smith was an original member of the late Eric Hampton's dance company, and she honors her choreographic mentor by reviving his rarely seen Fon Fon Odeon (known fondly by those who have seen or performed it as "Tangos"). The impact of Hampton's work continues to influence the choreographic direction of many DC-based choreographers and dancers.

True to her declared mission of bringing collaborating artists together in DanceSmith's works, Moffett Smith has included two such collaborations on the program. Returning to the stage is the emotionally charged female trio, Within, which teamed Moffett Smith with award-winning feature film composer Charlie Barnett. His original score for this work recently won the 2004 Metro DC Dance Award for Original Composition. Within takes Moffett Smith out of the realm of the classically familiar and into contemporary introspection.

The fifth work on the program is The Gift, a collaboration between Moffett Smith and Master Painter Helene O'Neil Cobb. A graduate of the Corcoran School of Art, O'Neil Cobb's abstract paintings meld with Moffett Smith's choreography to celebrate the beauty and joy of line and movement. Set to the music of Baroque composer Arcangelo Corelli, the piece combines the classical aesthetic with the weight of modern dance.

DanceSmith's Kennedy Center Debut takes place Thursday evening November 18th, 2004 at 7:30pm. at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Terrace Theatre. Admission is $45 and $35. Tickets are available now at the Kennedy Center box office (202-467-4600) and online at www.Kennedy-Center.org

DanceSmith is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which seeks to provide a performing outlet for dancers, to bring live art to a broad range of audiences, and to promote an exchange between dance and other art disciplines, including the visual arts and music. Through DanceSmith, Artistic Director Natalie Moffett Smith shares her experience as a dancer, teacher and choreographer with other artists and audiences, and continues her exploration and evolution as an artist. DanceSmith's style is grounded in classical ballet technique, informed by contemporary and modern influences.

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