In the Winter of 1956, a group of women set the stage for modern dance in Cleveland from the basement of Shaker Heights' First Unitarian Church. They hosted meetings, weekly classes and pioneers of the art form, such as José Limón, in a grassroots effort that has since grown into the nation's oldest presenting organization for modern dance.
Celebrating it's 55th anniversary, DanceCleveland's season begins this month with a collaboration between the Joffrey Ballet and the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center on Aug. 20 and 21.
"To have this phenomenal ballet company with one of the best orchestras in the world at the same time is extraordinary," says DanceCleveland executive director Pam Young.
The season continues Oct. 1 at E.J. Thomas Hall with dance-illusionist company Momix followed by Aszure Barton and Artists, whose namesake choreographer is a Mikhail Baryshnikov protege (Ohio Theatre, Oct. 29). Winter brings Israel's Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company (Ohio Theatre, Jan. 28-29), then Ballet Memphis (Ohio Theatre, March 10-11) and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (State Theatre, May 4-6).
"Bringing these national and international companies stretches dancers here to see what other companies are doing," Young says. "And it stretches audiences' imaginations."
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