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June 23, 2006
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DANCE CHICAGO HOSTS CHICAGO DEBUT OF
WORLD-RENOWNED DUTCH NATIONAL BALLET

Aug. 5-6 performances at the Athenaeum Theatre feature ballets by renowned Chicago choreographers
and special guests The Joffrey Ballet and River North Chicago Dance Company

CHICAGO — Dance Chicago, under the artistic direction of John Schmitz, is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of the world-renowned Dutch National Ballet (DNB) in an unprecedented dance collaboration, The Dutch National Ballet Project, slated for two performances August 5-6 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave.

As part of Dance Chicago’s International Exchange Program and made possible by a grant from the Sara Lee Foundation, the performances feature the Chicago premiere of DNB’s acclaimed “Wie Lange Noch,” plus world premiere works and classic revivals by Chicago choreographers Frank Chaves, Paul Christiano, Randy Duncan, Altin Naska and Lauri Stallings, all performed by DNB. Special guests The Joffrey Ballet and River North Chicago Dance Company will also perform works from their respective repertoires.

“The Dutch National Ballet is truly one of the world’s finest companies, and Dance Chicago is thrilled to be able to present them in Chicago for the first time,” says Schmitz. “To our knowledge, a choreographic exchange of this magnitude has never happened in our city. Prior to his passing, [Dance Chicago Co-Founder] Fred Solari was immensely proud that a project of this caliber would take place at the Athenaeum. We dedicate these performances to him.”

“We are pleased to be able to have our dancers participate in this project,” said Dutch National Ballet Artistic Director Ted Brandsen. “I look forward to seeing the results of this international creative exchange.”

About the Dutch National Ballet
Under the artistic direction of Ted Brandsen, the Dutch National Ballet is the largest dance company in the Netherlands and has a repertoire that boasts work by Christopher Bruce, Carolyn Carlson, William Forsythe, Martha Graham, Edouard Lock, Maguy Marin, Ashley Page, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, and George Balanchine, as well as former DNB resident choreographers Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen and Toer van Schayk.

Since its inception in 1961, DNB has made an important contribution to the emergence and development of choreographic talent and is pleased to continue this tradition in Chicago with the Dutch National Ballet Project. DNB’s dancers are equally skilled in a wide array of dance styles, regularly performing classical, romantic, neo-classical, modern and contemporary work. Principal dancer Altin Alexandros Kaftira, soloists Natalia Hoffmann, Marisa Lopez, Sefton Clarke, and Felipe Diaz, and dancers Sebastian Nichita and Maiko Tsutsumi will perform in the Dutch National Ballet Project.

Program Information
In addition to “Wie Lange Noch,” the Chicago choreographers will set new or rejuvenated works on principal dancers and soloists of DNB. The program will include:
• A world premiere work by Lauri Stallings, featuring a collective group of dancers hailing from the Dutch National Ballet, Chicago and Princeton Ballet
• “Into the Agape” by Altin Naska, a world premiere work for four DNB dancers with Chicago composer/double bassist Douglas Johnson
• “Kay’s Lilt” by Randy Duncan, a Chicago premiere danced by six members of DNB and four dancers from The Joffrey Ballet to an original composition by Ira Antelis and Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
• “Enchanted” by Naska, a reprise of the work that kicked off Dance Chicago’s International Exchange Program in 2003, performed DNB dancers Altin Alexandros Kaftira and Natalia Hoffman
• “Balada para un loco” by Paul Christiano
• “The Mourning” by Frank Chaves, danced for the first time en pointe
• “Ruth, Ricordi Per Due,” by Gerald Arpino, danced by Maia Wilkins and Willy Shives of The Joffrey Ballet
• “Habaneras, the Music of Cuba” by Chaves and performed by River North Chicago Dance Company

About Dance Chicago’s International Exchange Program
Since its inception in 2003, the International Exchange Program, a venture designed to give Chicago choreographers the resources to stage new work with foreign companies and allow foreign choreographers to work with local Chicago artists, has experienced tremendous growth. The program started simply with Naska, Dance Chicago director of foreign exchange, and Albanian choreographer Arjan Sukniqi as the first International Exchange Project participants. Sukniqi choreographed “Cacophony from Balkan” for dancers from The Joffrey Ballet, while Naska crafted a work that would serve as the precursor to The Dutch National Ballet Project. Naska’s piece, “Enchanted,” was performed by Natalia Hoffmann and Altin Alexandros Kaftira of DNB in the New Moves 2003 program at the Amsterdam’s Muziek Theater in The Netherlands. Both works were subsequently showcased during the 2003 Dance Chicago festival.

From there, Dance Chicago presented The Stars of Dance Chicago Tour during the 4th Istanbul International Dance Festival in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2005. The performance featured the work of Chicago choreographers and The Dutch National Ballet Project participants Stallings and Naska, among others. This venture has reached new heights as The Dutch National Ballet Project will mark the first time in the history of the International Exchange Program that a foreign company will perform works by multiple local choreographers in Chicago.

General Information
Dance Chicago presents the Chicago premiere of the Dutch National Ballet in The Dutch National Ballet Project with special guests The Joffrey Ballet and River North Chicago Dance Company at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Saturday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 6 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults, $10 for children. In celebration of opening night, a lavish dessert buffet sponsored by Sara Lee Corporation will follow the Saturday evening performance. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 312.902.1500, visit any Ticketmaster outlet or log on to www.ticketmaster.com. For information, visit the Athenaeum box office, call 773.935.6860 or visit www.dancechicago.com.

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The Sara Lee Foundation is the exclusive corporate sponsor of Dance Chicago’s presentation of The Dutch National Ballet Project. Additional support is provided by the Consulate General of the Netherlands and the Saints.

The Dutch National Ballet Project is a part of Silk Road Chicago: Summer 2006, the citywide celebration of Chicago’s multicultural legacy from June 1–September 30. Featured are more than 200 events and activities including performances, concerts, exhibitions, tours and cooking classes. The centerpiece event is a free concert by The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma on June 26 in Millennium Park. To reserve hotel accommodations and Immersion Weekends, and to learn more about Silk Road Chicago: Summer 2006 events and activities call toll free, 1.877.chicago (1.877.244.2246) or visit www.silkroadchicago.org. For those calling from outside the United States, Mexico and Canada, please call 1.312.201.8847. The TTY toll-free number for the hearing impaired is 1.866.710.0294.