With their fifth collaboration, Howell and Dawson continue their journey of bridging jazz and contemporary ballet. Borrowing from the title of Howell’s just-released jazz album, Coming of Age—MANGAKU, this program features the world premiere of MANGAKU, an ensemble work for nine dancers with live musical accompaniment from Howell and guest artists. Rounding out the program is Floating in Mid Air, another Dawson-Howell collaboration, a work which received its premiere at San Francisco’s Bayview Opera House earlier this year.
Dawson works in the contemporary ballet idiom, characterized by balletic grammar mixed with lissome spines, thrusting rib cages and swerving limbs. Dawson has a snappy vibe, and his confident choreography is at its best when showing off the speedy athleticism and muscularity of his dancers.
—Mary Ellen Hunt
Referring to Richard Howell: I have the deepest respect for his musical abilities. He walks in the same path as the great ones: Joe Henderson, Don Myrick to be mentioned in the same light. I have great belief in his talents. He will continue to make contributions in the time to come.
Founder of Earth, Wind & Fire