Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
November 15, 1996
Library of Congress and American University Dance Program Present Lester Horton Festival
The work of American dance pioneer Lester Horton (1906-1953) will be honored by the Library of Congress and American University's Department of Performing Arts Dance Program during a weeklong festival December 4-10.
The public events associated with this festival will include performances of Horton's The Beloved, Dedication to Jose' Clemente Orozco, Another Touch of Klee, and a post-performance symposium on the relationship between composition for dance and music. The series of dance performances will be presented at the Experimental Theatre, American University, Wednesday through Sunday, Dec 4-8. A film evening featuring Horton's works is scheduled for December 10 at the Library of Congress.
The Library of Congress and American University will co-sponsor the first performance of the series, on December 4 at 8 p.m. This performance will be free and open to the public, but reservations are required. The subsequent performances, at 8 p.m. on December 5, 6, and 7, and at 2 p.m. on December 8, are sponsored by American University. These performances do require the purchase of a ticket; general admission tickets are $10, and tickets for students and seniors are $5, with proper identification. Seating in the Experimental Theatre is limited. For both information and reservations, please call (202) 885-2787.
"Lester Horton's work is powerful and original," said Dr. Naima Prevots, director of the American University Dance Program. "This concert gives the general public as well as dance specialists new insights into one of America's important artists and fills a gap in our cultural history." Horton's choreography is considered a unique development in the history of American dance. He was an influential mentor for such celebrated figures as Alvin Ailey, Carmen de Lavallade, and Bella Lewitsky, among others. He created a movement technique that continues to be taught and used in modern dance schools and companies.
The Lester Horton Dance Theatre Collection was purchased by the Library of Congress from Frank Eng in August 1995. Eng was Horton's business partner, who continued managing the Dance Theatre for seven years after Horton's death in 1953. The collection materials - photographs, costume and set designs, scenarios, and choreographic notes, music scores, publicity materials, technique descriptions and lesson plans -- document Horton's prodigious repetoire of original choreographies, as well as the creation and transmission of his movement technique. The collection materials also provide a record of the workings of a modern dance company.
The Horton Collection joins other acquisitions in the Library of Congress Music Division that document the works of other major American dance figures such as Martha Graham, Franziska Boas, Pola Nirenski, Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. The processing of many of these collections has been part of the Dance Heritage Coalition Access Project. The Coalition, a consortium of performing arts repositories and representatives of the dance community, is coordinating this wide ranging national project to better preserve and make accessible the historic record of dance in America.
The Music Division of the Library of Congress has engaged Don Martin, a recognized Lester Horton authority, to reconstruct and direct the Horton works for the festival. Mr. Martin was a principal dancer in Horton's company, and a veteran teacher in the Dance Theatre school. he has been working with American University dance students to demonstrate the specialized Horton technique and reconstruct the choreographies for the program. Deborah Stern will assist him in preparation for the production.
There will be a symposium on the process of creative collaboration between choreographer and composer, featuring Kenneth Klauss, composer of the original score for Dedication to Jose' Clemente Orozco. The symposium will be presented as a post-concert event only on December 4. Mr. Klaus will perform his music for the concert and will be the featured speaker at the symposium.
In additiona to the above events, Horton in Hollywood, a film evening featuring clips of Lester Horton's work for the big screen and excerpts of his concert choreography, will be presented December 10 at 7 p.m. in the Library of Congress Pickford Theatre. David Parker will host this evening of selections illustrating Horton's works, including a duet fromthe feature film Siren of Atlantis, as well as a television tribute to Horton from 1963, and an excerpt from a television production featuring his concert work Fandango. For more information call (202) 707-5502.
An exhibit of Lester Horton's photographs is scheduled for January 1997 in the Performing Arts Library of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The photographs (1935-56) are publicity and performance shots of original Horton choreographies or reconstructions mounted after his death.
The next dance event to be presented by the Library of Congress will be a performance by the electrifying JAZZDANCE by Danny Buraczeski. The concert will feature the world premiere of a new work choreographed by Mr. Buraczeski with music by the master jazz pianist and composer Sir Roland Hanna. The Library of Congress has commissioned the work in partnership with Penn State University and the Watson B. Duncan Theatre/Palm Beach Community College Foundation. The concert is scheduled for May 7, 1997, at 7:30 p.m. in the Terrace Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
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