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Molissa Fenley And Company Presents THEIR MARK, An Evening Of New Dance And New Music
Broadway World
April 18, 2018

Molissa Fenley and Company, in collaboration with percussionist Frank Cassara and violist Ralph Farris, will present an evening of dance and live music, with scores by four contemporary composers. The program features four dances from Fenley's Water Table, three of which are New York premieres. The program also includes a new configuration of Fenley's 1979 work Mix. Performances are June 21-23 (Thursday-Saturday) at 8pm, at Danspace Project, 131 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003.

The dances of Water Table present the qualities of water, the abundance or lack of pure water in a geographical area, and the conditions and patterns of large bodies of water. Entrance is inspired by the empathic coordination between the human body and water: a close proximity, a transfer of feeling and abstraction. Sargasso Sea, featuring music by Andrew Toovey, is a salutation to the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean in which many ecosystems live in harmony and fecundity. Mali, with music by Frank Cassara, is a requiem to the land-locked country of Mali, a desert land where people walk miles for precious water, water readily available to the ruling oppressors. And The Pattern of the Surface, featuring music by Tigran Mansurian, is a dance poem inspired by a large body of water, its depth reflected by the shades of color. The program is a reprise of an evening Fenley presented at the Days and Nights Festival in Carmel, California, in September 2017.

The evening also includes a new, shortened version of Mix, one of Fenley's earliest works, commissioned by The Kitchen in 1979, and not seen in New York in nearly 40 years. The work explores a series of rhythmic phrases and ever-changing spatial patterns to the accompaniment of the dancers' footfalls, clapping, and playing sand blocks. Fenley revived the work last summer for the company's engagement at the Florence Dance Festival.

Joining Fenley are dancers Jared Brown, Elizabeth Cooper, Holley Farmer, Giada Ferrone, Kristen Foote, Ananda Gonzalez, India Gonzalez, and Alan Good. Music is performed live by Frank Cassara and Ralph Farris. Lighting design is by Fenley's longtime collaborator David Moodey.

Tickets are $22 (general) and $15 (Danspace members) and can be purchased at or by phone at 866-811-4111 (TheaterMania/OvationTix). Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $25 (cash or check only), pending availability.

The evening is presented as part of Community ACCESS, which provides subsidized off-season rental opportunities for Danspace Project community members.

About the Artists

Molissa Fenley founded Molissa Fenley and Company in 1977 and has since created more than 85 dance works during her career. She grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria, moving there with her family in 1961, completing all of her early education there in international schools and her last two years of high school in Spain. She returned to the U.S. in 1971 to study dance at Mills College in Oakland, California. Upon graduation in 1975, she moved to New York. With her company, Molissa Fenley and Company, and as a soloist working in collaboration with visual artists and composers, she has performed throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Her work has been commissioned by the American Dance Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival, Dia Art Foundation, Jacob's Pillow, The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop/New York Live Arts, the New National Theater of Tokyo, and the National Institute of Performing Arts in Seoul. She received Bessie Awards for Choreography for her works Cenotaph and State of Darkness in 1985 and 1988 respectively. Fenley has also set works on ballet and contemporary dance companies, most recently for the Oakland Ballet (Redwood Park), Pacific Northwest Ballet (State of Darkness), Repertory Dance Theatre (Energizer), Barnard College/Columbia University (Amdo), Robert Moses Kin (The Vessel Stories), and the Seattle Dance Project (Planes in Air). She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, has enjoyed residencies at Yaddo, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Djerassi, and is a two-time recipient of awards from the Asian Cultural Council to visit Japan. Fenley is professor of dance at Mills College, in residence in the spring semesters, and often teaches choreographic and repertory workshops at other universities, most recently at Bennington College, Barnard College/Columbia University, and Hunter College. Seagull Press/University of Chicago recently published Rhythm Field: The Dance of Molissa Fenley.

A proponent of new and classic, western and world percussion music, Frank Cassara has premiered many works with many diverse groups. As percussionist for the Philip Glass Ensemble, he has performed around the globe as well as recording Glass's music and film scores, most recently the score Orion. He has also performed around the world with Steve Reich and Musicians at major international festivals. As a member of the New Music Consort/PULSE Percussion Ensemble he has appeared at major festivals in the U.S. and abroad, as well as premiering and recording new percussion ensemble works. Cassara has toured extensively with Newband/Harry Partch Ensemble. He has also performed or recorded with such groups as Music From China, Percussia, Manhattan Marimba Quartet, Talujon Percussion Quartet, North/South Consonance, and Ethos Percussion Group. He has also performed with many area orchestras such as the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, and the Long Island Philharmonic. Cassara has played for the Broadway shows Porgy and Bess, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, 42nd Street, and The Music Man, among others. He heads the percussion departments at Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, Long Island University, and Vassar College.

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer, and conductor Ralph Farris has spent the last three decades on modern music's front lines, collaborating with a wide range of talents, from Todd Rundgren, Paul McCartney, and Leonard Bernstein to Ensemble Modern, Chicago's Kaotic Drumline, and Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. Farris is a founding member and artistic director of the genre-bending string quartet ETHEL. The onetime music director and solo fiddle of the Roger Daltrey Band, Farris was also an original company member of Disney's The Lion King on Broadway. He has performed in concert with Paul Simon, Pete Townshend, Seiji Ozawa, Alice Cooper, Sinead O'Connor, John Williams, Joe Jackson, David Byrne, and Lou Reed. Beyond his many performance credits, he has worked as a music supervisor for Martin Scorsese's The Key to Reserva. As a composer, Farris has received commissions from his own group ETHEL, dance evangelists Monkeyhouse, Las Vegas darlings Jarrett & Raja, and the NEA. His scoring credits include Anika Burt's Begin Again, Noelle Brower's Everything is Ordinary, and Jehane Noujaim's Pangea Day industrial. Farris composed incidental music for the Aquila Theatre's production of A Female Philoctetes, produced at BAM in April 2014, as well as music for its 2014-15 production of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

David Moodey has collaborated with Molissa Fenley for 32 years. Moodey lit Fenley's most recent works at New York Live Arts and La MaMa. He received a Bessie Award for his design of Fenley's solo State of Darkness, choreographed to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Recent design work includes The Old Settler directed by Michelle Shay at the Billie Holiday Theater in Brooklyn, and The Seagull directed by Kevin Kulhke for the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU. Over the years, Moodey has had the pleasure of working with many talented artists including Robert Ashley, Peter Boal, Big Dance Theater, Meredith Monk, Sin Cha Hong, David Neumann, and sculptor Carol Hepper. He is a member of USA 829, the scenic artists union, Local One, and the Broadway Stagehands Union. He currently holds a full-time position for Jazz at Lincoln Center as a department head for the Appel Room.

Funding for Molissa Fenley and Company includes the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the LIATIS Foundation, the Rebecca Fuller Trust, and the many supporters of the Momenta Foundation.

For more information about Molissa Fenley and Company, visit:

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