For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Julie Lambert


HOUSTON, TX — The eleventh annual Dance Salad Festival will present the dance pieces of several internationally acclaimed choreographers whose work will be performed by renowned companies and dancers. Dance Salad will present special holiday festival performances on April 17th, 18th and 19th at the Wortham Center, Cullen Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Dance Salad producing director Nancy Henderek is curating this dynamic mixed repertoire program over the course of three nights. Audience members will want to attend two of three nights to witness the full-range of international talent scheduled, all of which are presented for the first time in Houston and most of the pieces are presented as premieres in the USA. Tickets for this spectacular evening of dance are available from $15 to $39 at the Houston Ballet Ticket Center box office by calling (713) 227-ARTS (2787) or purchased at the ticket window located at 550 Prairie. For more information about the Dance Salad 2003 festival program visit

Dancers and repertoire include the Dutch (Het) National Ballet from the Netherlands and the Royal Swedish Ballet dancers from the touring company Stockholm 59° North. Only part of these large companies will be coming based on pieces of dance chosen. The Dutch will dance the work Live by Hans van Manen and new work by David Dawson and Krzysztof Pastor. The Swedes will dance the work of Mats Ek, Kenneth Kvarnström and Virpi Pahkinen. National Ballet of China will perform the U.S. premiere of a suite from a new work by acclaimed Choreographer/ Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, Ben Stevenson’s Fountain of Tears. A Ballet Memphis piece by choreographer Trey McIntyre is also scheduled. Paul Lightfoot, Resident Choreographer of the Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT), will perform in his own work, Sigue, which he choreographed as a duet that he will dance with his wife, Sol Leon, an NDT I dancer. Contemporary and stylish, Quasar Companhia de Danca, one of Brazil’s leading troupes, will present the choreography of Henrique Rodovalho. Also, the Göteborg Ballet from Sweden will dance the Blue Ballerina solo from Finnish choreographer Jorma Uotinen’s full length Ballet Pathetique.

Dance Salad - An Indispensable Part Of Houston's Remarkable Cultural Environment

Artistically, Dance Salad is conceived as carefully woven evenings of dance with beautiful music and choreography from different companies around the world; from choreographers well known and some not so well known, with the criteria that the pieces of choreography presented, all of high professional artistic quality, must each stand alone while also blending into each evening as a whole. Each separate evening, including six or seven different companies, is choreographed as a coherent, expressive night of dance. The event becomes several fully curated concerts that stand by themselves yet link over consecutive days through common invited companies and their works. Dance Salad is a unique idea in dance presentation: a festival within each evening from many international and national companies that would never be seen together anywhere else – a unique dance moment in time – not a gala, but an artistically rich evening of dance with each production.

Dance Salad’s multicultural, genre-crossing programming has evolved because such programming is compelling for audiences. Evenings are curated that are interesting, varied and unusual. By providing an evening of dance that includes contemporary pieces from a wide variety of cultures, including American, European, African, Asian and Latin American dancers and companies, Dance Salad addresses not only the diversity of cultures that reside in Houston. Dance Salad also presents the most interesting in emerging dance choreography worldwide.

The Performance Program
The Dutch (Het) National Ballet from the Netherlands will present the world-renowned choreographer Hans Van Manen’s Live. Highly acclaimed, Live is a ballet for just two dancers and one cameraman. A huge success at the Edinburgh Festival in 1998, the piece originates in van Manen's fascination with the moving image. The movements of the dancers are immediately projected onto the screen behind them, exploring the limitations imposed by the spatial dimensions of the stage. The pianist for Live will be Olga Khoziainova.

Hans Van Manen began to work with the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1960, first as a dancer (until 1963), next as a choreographer, then as the Artistic Director (from 1961 to 1971). For the following two years he worked as a freelance choreographer, then joined Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam in 1973. Outside of the Netherlands, he has staged his ballets for many international companies. In September 1988 van Manen rejoined the Nederlands Dans Theater as a Resident Choreographer. In the course of his career, he has created more than 100 works, 58 of which have been for the Nederlands Dans Theater. Van Manen has also been awarded numerous prizes. In 1991 he received the Sonia Gaskell Prize for his entire body of work. In 1992—his 35th year as a choreographer— he was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in the Order of Orange Nassau. Van Manen is also a photographer, and his work can be admired in exhibitions all over the world. This is the first time Live has been performed in the USA.

David Dawson will present the U.S. premiere of The Gray Area. He trained from the age of ten with The Royal Ballet School in London. In 1991 he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Lausanne. He went on to dance with The Birmingham Royal Ballet and as a soloist with The English National Ballet. In 1995 he joined The Dutch National Ballet. In 1997 and again in 1998 Dawson choreographed works for the Dutch National Ballet workshops. Dance Salad presented his A Million Kisses to My Skin set to J.S. Bach's Piano Concerto No. 1 two years ago. This year, The Gray Area, has music from J.S. Bach and is about the area between life and death.

Kryzsztof Pastor’s most ambitious project to date, Kurt Weill, attracted international attention and was nominated in three categories for the prestigious international dance award Benois de la Danse. The work takes one on a journey through the astonishing diversity of Weill’s oeuvre, ranging from orchestral to chamber music, from art song to Broadway musical. Pastor’s work is non-narrative, instead it tellingly captures the atmosphere of the various different compositions, creating a beautiful balance between serenity and theatricality. Some of the solos and duets, in particular, are quite simply magnificent. In total, the piece is an excitingly rich choreographic invention coupled with an unaffected eloquence. Dance Salad will present a suite of three sections.

Resident Choreographer Paul Lightfoot of Netherlands Dance Theatre will perform Sigue, first performed at the 1993 Nederlands Dans Theater Workshop, which he choreographed as a duet that he will dance with his wife, Sol Leon, a dancer with NDT I. Paul Lightfoot, born in England, studied at the Royal Ballet School in London before joining the Nederlands Dans Theater II in 1985. Two years later he made the switch to the Nederlands Dans Theater I. He has danced in works by Jirí Kylián, Hans van Manen, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin and Nacho Duato. Having established his reputation as a dancer, Lightfoot went on to reveal his choreographic talents during the 1988 Nederlands Dans Theater Workshop. After the workshop, he created The Bard of Avon (1989) and Step Lightly (1991) for the Nederlands Dans Theater II. Since, he has regularly choreographed works for the Nederlands Dans Theater I, II and III, always in close collaboration with his wife, Sol León. In August 2002 Paul Lightfoot was appointed resident choreographer of NDT.

National Ballet of China will premiere a suite from a new work by acclaimed Choreographer/ Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, Ben Stevenson’s Fountain of Tears. With a score arranged by John Lanchbery, it's based on a long-forgotten ballet from the Russian repertoire. Based on Alexander Pushkin's 1823 poem "Fountain of Bakhchisaray" the ballet is a dramatic telling of a tragic love story. Dance Salad will present a suite of three sections of the whole ballet. Stevenson is not new to China. As far back as 1978, Mr. Stevenson traveled to China on behalf of the United States government as part of a cultural exchange program. At the invitation of the Chinese government, he has returned almost every year since to teach at the Beijing Dance Academy. In 1985, he was instrumental in the creation of the Choreographic Department at the Beijing Dance Academy. He is the only foreigner to have been made Honorary Faculty Member of the Bejing Dance Academy and the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. Music will be played live by Houston Ballet pianist, Katherine Burkwall-Ciscon.

The National Ballet of China, the sole, Beijing-based national ballet company of China, was founded in 1959. Today the company is one of the most popular attractions in China. Since 1961, through cultural exchanges, the company has also toured nearly 150 major cities in various countries and regions. These successful performances have brought the company prestige throughout the world. The company's fundamental task is to preserve both Chinese and Western repertoire. The current director of the company is Zhao Ruheng.

Royal Swedish Ballet/Stockholm 59° North will present choreography by Kenneth Kvarnström’s Carmen?!, Mats Ek’s Pointless Pasteurs and Virpi Pahkinen’s choreography Bardo on Royal Court dancer Jan Erik Wikstrom. Stockholm 59° North is a dance group consisting of principal and soloist dancers from the Royal Swedish Ballet, a national company with a history going back more than 225 years and an stellar, internatinal reputation for its high artistic standards and technical skills. Stockholm 59° North productions are mainly focusing on contemporary and neoclassical dance works from famous international and Swedish choreographers such as Ulysses Dove, William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Örjan Andersson and Kenneth Kvarnström. The dancers experience and great knowledge also makes the group able to offer performances such as 18th century ballets. Stockholm 59° North was founded in 1997 by the current Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Madeleine Onne. From July 2002, Johannes Öhman succeeded to the position of the Artistic Directorship of the group. He has been a member since its beginning.

Well known Swedish choreographer Mats Ek will be represented by his Pointless Pastures which is a piece in which the disturbing idiosyncrasies of a rural world are portrayed alongside pastoral tradition. The ballet’s title is inspired by a poem by the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf but is in no way about the poem itself, which ranges much more widely. It’s just about these two words, ‘meaningless (Ek also uses the word “pointless”) pastures’, which were suggestive and evoked pictures in the choreographer’s mind. Everything is played out in a landscape that is hinted at — a cloud, a fence, a shaggy carpet indicating a pasture. Dancers pick up on fleeting character traits within their choreography to create individuals who are variously homey, soulful, eccentric or simple. On a shadowed, surreally demarcated stage they offer images of men and women placidly engaged in the routines of farming even while they may be burning up with frustrated passions. This may be a dream of the countryside but it taps into something real.

Previously, in 1998, Virpi Pahkinen’s Bardo was first performed at the House of Dance in Stockholm. This work which freely tangents and encounters with the Tibetan Book of the Dead was also made as a TV-version for the Swedish Television. The film Bardo 010 was awarded the Golden Antenna in Bulgaria 1998. Bardo is a poem of movement unfolding its shimmering wings, rising and floating freely. Music by the Japanese composer, Akemi Ishijima, with spherical resonances that stir the imagination, envelops the dancers into a floating atmosphere of nebulae and galaxies. Bardo is an infinitely beautiful performance the viewer will carry with him or her for a long time. Light, music and dance together uphold physical laws such as time and space and create a state in perception that divides the viewing of it: the beauty places us in a Utopia – but at the same time the audience has a feeling that behind the disarming calm, a bottomless chasm is lying in wait. Jan Erik Wikstrom will be a featured soloist.

The Göteborg Ballet from Gothenburg, Sweden, will present Jorma Uotinen’s “Blue Ballerina” solo from Ballet Pathetique (1989) to Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, "Pathetique" (1893). Jorma Uotinen is a Finnish dancer and choreographer. His main influences have been the Swiss Serge Golovine and the American Carolyn Carlson. During the 1980s, he ran his own dance company in Helsinki. From 1992 until 2001, he was the director of the Finnish National Ballet. Since August 2001, he has been the artistic director of the international dance festival in Kuoplo. He regularly appears abroad as a guest dancer, teacher and choreographer. The best-known of his numerous choreographies is the Tchaikovsky-based Ballet Pathétique, which has been performed in Denmark, Germany, France, Latvia, Russia and Austria. Ballet Pathetique is a realistic depiction of a dancer’s life: endless toil, albeit with comic relief, feedback and flowers left on the stage. At the end of the work, a blue ballerina emerges like Giselle from the past, dancing and recalling her past movements. The purpose of this work is to convey moods from the delicate and humorous to the oh so pathetic. The Göteborg Ballet is a dynamic company of 40 dancers. Since the opening of the new opera house GöteborgsOperan in 1994 the company has thrilled audiences with classical ballet and modern dance. Anders Hellstrom (1999-2002) who brought three pieces for last year’s Dance Salad, pushed the boundaries and thrust the company forward, adding repertory by the most important of today's masters, such as Kylian, Forsythe and Duato. Continuing in that same line, Kevin Irving, as of September 2002, the Artistic Director, is placing The Göteborg Ballet at the forefront of the contemporary dance scene.

Choreographer Trey McIntyre and Ballet Memphis, Tennessee, will present two parts from a new, full evening piece titled Memphis. Ballet Memphis will perform the sizzling “I’ll Take You There” from Trey McIntyre’s Memphis, which the company commissioned him to create in 1998. Memphis is a ballet made up entirely of music performed by Memphis artists including “Blue Moon” by Elvis Presley and “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers. “I’ll Take You There” features three male dancers vying for the attention of a female in this explosive and sultry performance. Mr. McIntyre, who joined the Ballet Memphis staff this season as its resident choreographer, has created ballets for dozens of dance companies from all over the world including Stuttgart Ballet, New York City Ballet, Moscow Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Washington Ballet, Ballet de Santiago, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Philadanco and Houston Ballet, where he serves as the company’s choreographic associate.

Contemporary and stylish, Quasar Companhia de Danca, one of Brazil’s leading troupes, will present the choreography of Henrique Rodovalho. Mulheres presents three women on stage who, while striving to preserve their individuality in the midst of shared lives, are confronted with all sorts of emotions. These reticent feelings unfold in suggestive acts capable of casting doubt over the nature of human relationships. The audience is invited to appreciate the peculiarities of the female university by observing the conflict from the priviledged perspective of the onlooker. The dance gathers density as the exchanges between the women alternate in different combinations. The narrative remains open, offering multiple interpretative possibilities until the very end.

Related Events
Master Classes
Since its inception, Dance Salad has always had an educational element as part of the project. Master teachers from Dance Salad invited companies will offer professional classes to students at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, University of Houston and in local studios such as Houston Metropolitan Dance and Suchu Dance Studio. Other dance classes will be offered during the week of Dance Salad. There is also the possibility of an exciting exhibit of Hans Van Manen’s photographs being sent here for which he is equally renowned. Titled “The Face of Dance,” we anticipate staging the exhibit in The Wortham Theater for the week of Dance Salad. This exhibit has traveled worldwide.

Dance Salad Sponsorship
The Houston Dance Coalition presents Dance Salad. Dance Salad has been supported in part by ExxonMobil; Shell Oil Company Foundation; The Houston Endowment, Inc.; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts; The Ray C. Fish Foundation; Westlake Group/Titan Group; Cathay Pacific Airways; Emery Worldwide; KUHF-FM; Tindall and Foster Immigration Attorneys; Sterling Bank; Excelsior, Inc.; Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County and the Texas Commission on the Arts; the Theater District Association; Consulates General of the Netherlands (Houston and New York), China and Sweden; and Jet Setters Printgraphics, Inc. Dance Salad has received additional support from the Houston Ballet and the Society for the Performing Arts.

Dance Salad History & Mission
Dance Salad is a project of the Houston Dance Coalition, and is committed to a multi-cultural presentation of diverse dance disciplines. Dance Salad provides a venue for local, national and international choreographers, across dance disciplines, to present their work to the Houston community in a collaborative performance.

Nancy Henderek
Nancy Henderek, Founding Director of Dance Salad, created the concept of this curated evening of dance in 1992. She produces, directs and has choreographed in Dance Salad productions, including the first three in Brussels, Belgium. She has been a dancer and choreographer in Sweden, Brussels, Houston and Hong Kong. In Sweden, she was also a member of the Marchant Dance Theater in Gothenburg, directed by Claude Marchant, one of the original Katherine Dunham Company dancers. In Houston, prior to Brussels, she choreographed for local productions and was instrumental in bringing Mr. Marchant from Sweden for a six month residency. In Brussels, she taught at the International School and was Resident Choreographer. She also choreographed works for the Brussels Shakespeare Festival, Operetteheater, Noveau Theatre de Belgique and the American Theatre Company in addition to Dance Salad. In Houston, she also danced and performed for the Houston Grand Opera and taught dance at Episcopal High School and Houston Community College. She continues to bring to Houston audiences this wonderful evening of mixed repertoire, a dance “salad,” and this year will present the eleventh annual performance of this highly anticipated dance concert in Houston.