Be Moved by Bowen McCauley

Written by Andrea

October 4, 2010

“Are they always this fabulous?” I asked, breathless, of another audience member just after the performance. “What incredible variation of styles---one company dancing all that!”

We had left the four quadrants of the city–-something this resolute DC-born and residing arts editor doesn’t undertake for just any event.  But this wasn’t just any event. 

And it wasn’t your Mama’s dance troupe either.

From Bowen McCauley Dance’s (BMD's) opening cabaret style numbers to its 2009 interpretation of Schumann’s dynamic piano opus Novelette No. 8, those in the audience less familiar with artistic director, choreographer, and company founder Lucy Bowen McCauley’s work were treated to a surprising array of dance styles. 

Other more savvy dance performance-goers had already come to expect her choreography to leverage different musical styles, showcasing a broad spectrum of what Ms. Bowen McCauley’s gorgeous dance troupe can do; from the irreverent Trois Mouvements Perpetuels, a tribute to Berlin Dada artist Hannah Hoch that was critically acclaimed in a 2006 Aachen, Germany run, to an absolutely stunning use of classical dance training to one of the most modern of 80s rock and pop music selections rendered by Heidi Kershaw.  This last piece, in particular, left us wanting to see the full “Lucy’s Playlist,” show.

You know you’ve been touched by performance art when you leave a theater beaming and can’t stop smiling all evening–-and every time you think back to the show.  We were fortunate to attend Bowen McCauley Dance’s Red, Hot, and Fabulous 15th Anniversary Gala, which included a delicious buffet and luscious libations to keep the audience raising funds for BMD in a silent auction. 

And I am still smiling to myself this Monday morning, reflecting on BMD’s dance performance and their laudable community work.

Between excerpts of Bowen McCauley’s body of work over the 15 years since her 1996 founding of the company, the audience learned about BMD’s outreach programs in the Washington area and internationally.  Not only is this company doing innovative work on stage, but it is taking its unique style to elementary, pre-Kindergartners, community centers, and adult homes, resonating with and animating an equally diverse range of audiences to engage in movement arts themselves.

BMD is the only company in the area to provide free weekly classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their care partners.  It has conducted yearlong residencies at Kenmore Middle School, Glebe Elementary School, Bullis School, and Georgetown Visitation, among others.  It has held cultural exchange with the Monterrey Music and Dance Academy in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and performed, on that gala night, an intriguing piece written by the director of that Mexican company for Lucy Bowen McCauley. 

And BMD doesn’t just teach young and old alike; the Company has taken both its free movement class for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and its Kenmore Junior Company to perform at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and the Taste of Arlington.

Following up from last weekend’s Red, Hot, and Fabulous 15th Anniversary Gala and last year’s numbers at Sidney Harman Hall as part of VelocityDC, we can look forward to BMD’s critical collaboration at this weekend’s grand opening of new Arlington arts space Artisphere

We bid on a set of tickets to another Signature Theatre performance of our choice, with the hope of seeing BMD there again in the very near future and to support their stellar community outreach effort.  Well done BMD, and congrats on your anniversary!  We look forward to 15 plus more years of electrifying shows and fruitful collaboration with the Washington area community.

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