Above: the Khemia Ensemble (photo by Angie Petty) will perform alongside works by Jiwon Ha, as well as in its own program pieces at NC Dance Festival.

GREENSBORO, NC – Each year, the NC Dance Festival, a program coordinated by Greensboro-based Dance Project, brings professional modern and contemporary dance choreography to audiences and students across the state. The Festival provides up-close and personal experiences with dance through performances, classes, conversations, and more. To close out the 23-24 season, Dance Project/NC Dance Festival (NCDF) comes together with Music for a Great Space (MGS) to present a collaborative performance, exploring live music and dance together.

Contemporary dancer (female)

Jiwon Ha, choreographer. Photo by Dance Project.

Friday, April 19, 2024 (Click to view event listing)
7:30 pm
Van Dyke Performance Space
Tickets: $5-22
Purchase tickets here
Greensboro-based choreographer Jiwon Ha will premiere several new dance works to be performed with the Khemia Ensemble, a group of musicians from across the country consisting of voice, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, piano, and percussion. In addition to the collaborative work created by Jiwon Ha to music presented by Khemia, professional NC dancers and Khemia will also perform separately, offering audiences a varied and engaging program. Charlotte-based choreographer Eric Mullis will present “Data Streams,” a contemporary dance solo that uses a motion capture suit to generate sounds, investigating the intersection of dance and technology.

The Khemia Ensemble is Amy Petrongelli (soprano), Mary Matthews (flute), Thiago Ancelmo (clarinet), Er-Gene Kahng (violin), Eli Lara (cello), Annie Jeng (piano), Shane Jones (percussion), & Chelsea Tinsler Jones (percussion). See ensemble website.

“Music has the power to heal, bring people together, expand worldviews, and encourage curiosity,” says Rebecca Willie, Executive Director of Music for a Great Space, “and we are expanding those boundaries even more by connecting with other art forms this season.” Anne Morris, Executive Director of Dance Project says, “This collaboration is an incredible opportunity to bring music and dance artists – and audiences – together, to create and witness brand new work, and make magic together on stage.”

Contemporary dancer (male)

Eric Mullis, choreographer. Photo by Elrod Digital

The idea for a cross-disciplinary arts collaboration between these two organizations has been on the table for several years, as it turns out, originally discussed by Willie and Morris in pre-pandemic years. Morris spoke a little bit about the evolution of this specific collaboration that is happening during MGS’ “Season of the Arts,” citing Jiwon Ha’s residency with Dance Project last year as a chance to develop a creative relationship and explore the programming of newly-commissioned works. What makes this program incredibly special, though (besides, as I’m told in almost a throwaway statement, an aerial artist!), is the chance to hear the music that inspired Ha’s works performed live, and in concert with an eclectic collection of music and dance performances. Khemia and Ha’s collaboration will be juxtaposed, of course, with “Data Streams,” accompanied by sounds created directly by the movement itself, “embracing that unpredictability,” says Morris, of live performance. The relationship between music and dance will be questioned: how does dance programmed for specific musical works differ from music created specifically for dance movements? What do music and dance contribute, both individually and in concert, to the generation of art?

While Friday’s performance is considered the centerpiece event, there will also be outreach events presented in conjunction with this project:

Thursday, April 18, 7pm, free
Join us for a conversation with Dance Project choreographers and members of Khemia Ensemble. The night’s conversation will center on the process of commissioning new works for both dance and music. The conversation will be moderated by Maria-Elena Suprenant and will present much opportunity for the audience to interact and participate in the discussion. This event will take place in Hege Library on the Guilford College Campus.

Saturday, April 20, 10am, free
Join us for an event for music lovers of all ages! This free and open-to-the-public event will feature movement and live music! A family friendly movement class, led by Dance Project performers, will be accompanied by the Khemia Ensemble performing and introducing their instruments. Donuts and coffee will be served after the event! This free event takes place in the Van Dyke Performance Space, Greensboro Cultural Center.

Support for the performance and outreach activities is provided in part by the NC Arts Council, Cemala Foundation, Creative Greensboro, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Stability Engineering, Stearns Financial Group, WellSpring, and Downtown Greensboro, Inc, Guilford College, and other donors.

Contemporary dancer (male) with audience

A dancer performing Eric Mullis’ “Data Streams.” Photo by Ben Davis.

About Dance Project: For more than 30 years, Dance Project has been inspiring, educating, and entertaining Greensboro and the state through the NC Dance Festival, our School (a community studio in the Greensboro Cultural Center), and our community engagement and performance programs. Founded and directed by Jan Van Dyke until her death in July 2015, Dance Project is now directed by Anne Morris and Lauren Joyner. Our mission is to cultivate the field of modern dance in NC, nurturing a community of artists, audiences, and students by providing opportunities for training, performance, collaboration, and employment. Our vision is to build a stronger community through dance. We believe that communities that have strong arts programs are stronger communities, and that dance training/experience helps to create smart, creative, empathetic, and involved citizens and community members. See website.

About Music for a Great Space: The mission of Music for a Great Space is to annually present a culturally diverse series of inspiring small ensemble and solo concerts. Founded in 1990, the series features world-class artists in significant venues in Greensboro for audiences from across the Piedmont Triad. MGS accompanies each concert with related educational experiences for children and adults. See website.

Khemia Ensemble is dedicated to reflecting broader perspectives in contemporary classical chamber music. With its dynamic instrumentation (soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, two percussion), Khemia’s unique sound world encompasses the presentation of new classical music with a mix of acoustic chamber works, multimedia, and multi-genre influences. Khemia are artist educators who believe in representing a diverse range of voices in contemporary classical music. As a chamber ensemble, they share our love for compelling music, inclusive place-making, authentic storytelling, and meaningful collaboration through presenting relevant and engaging performances. We actively promote living composers through concerts, commissions, and mentorship with the next generation of composers and performers through workshops, masterclasses, and residencies. See website.

Jiwon Ha was born and raised in Busan, South Korea. As a dancer, educator, and choreographer, she works with multiple forms of dance – contemporary, ballet, modern, and Korean folk dance. That passion for dance has allowed her to dance, teach, choreograph, and organize events in the U.S., Canada, and South Korea. She’s a PBT-certified teacher, and currently teaches in the UNC-School of the Arts Preparatory Dance Program and at Elon University. She has been an Artist in Residence with the North Carolina Dance Festival, and her work has been featured in numerous festivals in NC and abroad. See more on Facebook.

Eric Mullis (Charlotte) is an NC-based artist whose work bridges the disciplines of dance, philosophy, cultural anthropology, and digital aesthetics. In 2020, he received a Fulbright scholarship to teach dance technology in Taiwan and, in 2023, received an Arts and Technology grant from the Knight Foundation to continue research on Motive Forces, a dance theater piece that centers on digital abstraction. Eric has published widely on contemporary dance–most recently, the book Instruments of Embodiment: Costuming in Contemporary Dance (Routledge 2022). He is chair of the Philosophy and Religion Department at Queens University of Charlotte and Director of Goodyear Arts, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to supporting independent artists in Charlotte, NC. See website.


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