"It is awesome to be part of a company which is so physically demanding, yet has such clear artistic vision. The power and strength required is countered by elegance and grace, and performing the choreography which brings the two together is both a joy and a challenge,” said Robin Wonka, a dance member. “It is no wonder that dancers will travel long distances, and sacrifice a great deal, to perform with the company,” she continued. “It is an experience like no other.”
Phoenix Project Dance is known for their demanding partnering, featuring balance and counter-balance, innovative lifts, and daring throws. Music from a wide variety of genres sets the stage, and adds depth and emotion to each work. This year, the show features performances which are designed to awe and delight. Tango, with music by The Police, is a unique and powerful take on the traditional tango, with familiar rhythms and strong, sensual performance. Primal Scream uses traditional native music to set the scene for this raw and intimate piece, offering a glimpse into a primitive world of survival and lust for life. Stonehenge, inspired by the mystical prehistoric stone creations in England, blends music from Shoshtakovich, building to a crescendo as dancers form images evocative of the megalithic monument with breathtaking throws and feats of strength. The show culminates with Liquid Matter, back by popular demand at the specific request of the Palace. Playful and surprising, dancers perform while splashing and sliding on a slippery water covered surface. Don’t get too close, or you may get wet!
Allison O'Neill, Phoenix Project Board member states, "We, as a Board are very excited to see Phoenix Project return to Hamilton. It is our mission to stimulate the arts in Central NY. I think the audience will be thrilled with the power in the performance as well as the variety between pieces. It is professional dance brought locally, which provides a great night out!"
Featured dancers include Travis St. Denny, who has trained at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and The Ailey School in Manhattan, and toured with Garth Fagan Dance. Tommy Sutter is from New York City, where he graduated from The Ailey School, and performs with the tap group, Cats Paying Dues. Kristyn Alexandrea travels from The Ailey School, and Jena Dockray, featured in “Firebird” at the Elan awards, returns to the company bringing maturity and grace to the stage. Robin Wonka fresh from the School of Dance at the University of Stavanger, in Norway. John Wonka, Katie Martinez, Lucas Lyons, and Lauren King complete the ensemble. Guest artists include Nicole Adjeleian and Katiana Pare, from Ottawa, Ontario, and Jonathan Rodriguez, from Rochester, NY.
Founded in 2004, the company is inspired by the idea of the bird (Phoenix) reborn from the ashes of its own demise. The re-invention of one’s self is the driving force behind the Phoenix Project’s artistic vision, and each dance projects power, passion and elegance. Amber and Michael Perkins, of Norwich, New York, are the creative force for the company, which trains in central New York, and is dedicated to keeping the arts alive in rural communities throughout the state and the country. Nationally award winning choreographers, Amber and Mike treasure the lifestyle of their small hometown, and have eschewed big city living to ensure opportunities for aspiring dancers in their own back yard. Bringing their vision and world class artistry to audiences in theaters, like the Palace, fulfills their dream.
No stranger to larger venues, the company has performed at the Thang Dao Contemporary Dance Festival in Manhattan, the Downtown Dance Festival in Battery Park, and in Bavaria, Germany, as part of “New York Feet.” In 2004, Ms. Perkins was awarded the “Spirit of Elan” award for her choreography in the company’s presentation of Firebird. Following a performance at the Downtown Dance Festival in Battery Park in Manhattan, critic Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times, noted the dancers “…lifting, swinging and throwing each other in applause-winning feats…“. Definitely not a sedate performance, the Palace Theater hopes you will come and see for yourself what the excitement is about, and support this growing and locally based company. Find out more at www.phoenixprojectdance.com.
Tickets for Phoenix Project Dance are $15 for youth 17 and under and $20 for adults 18 and older, and are available by calling 315.824.1420. Seating is general admission and on a first come-first served basis. The house opens at 7:30PM. Group rates are available for 20 or more. Reservations are highly recommended. Tickets may also be purchased at the Palace box office (Mondays-Fridays, 9am-4pm, and two hours prior to each show); payment is accepted by Visa, Mastercard, Colgate Gatecard, cash, or check payable to The Palace Theater. The Palace Theater is located at 19 Utica Street, Hamilton, N.Y. Please visit www.palacetheater.org to learn more about this and other incredible performances during their 6th season of live entertainment.