stg: spectrum – opens February 18

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press release from amanda

SEATTLE, Wednesday, December 18, 2009 – Seattle Theatre Group (STG) presents Spectrum Dance Theater’s FAREWELL: A Fantastical Contemplation on America’s Relationship with China at The Moore Theatre, February 18 – 20, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. FAREWELL is a full-length vanguard and original dance theater production that explores key human rights and economic issues involving the United States and China. Through text, music, highly personal movement, and choreography, created by Spectrum’s artistic director Donald Byrd, in continuing collaboration with Seattle-based, second-generation Chinese-American composer, Byron Au Yong and Spectrum’s world-class company dancers – FAREWELL is a feverish and dreamlike theatrical meditation.

Developed and presented in two parts, FAREWELL examines the commonality of the impact of the tragic events of 9/11 and Tiananmen Square on the collective psyches of the United States and China, respectively.

Part I, entitled Considering Beijing Coma, takes the writing of exiled Chinese author Ma Jian (whose works are banned in China) as inspiration. Using Jian’s novel Beijing Coma, which focuses on a young man’s experience at Tiananmen Square and the horrific stories of Chinese’s Cultural Revolution, as a jumping off point, Byrd’s Considering Beijing Coma creates a parallel American hero. Injured and comatose from the attacks of 9/11, this figure also reflects on his personal past as well as his country’s recent historic and political events.

Part II, With Begging Bowls in Hand, uses the quote “Foreigners come with begging bowls in hand. This is the future,” to examine the relationship between America and China in regards to their financial ties and how it may change the nature of diplomacy between these two leading world powers.

Highly ambitious in stature, with the potential to bring meaning, awareness, and a dazzling experience of virtuosic dance artistry to countless audience members, FAREWELL, with its large scale and universal thematic underpinnings, will speak to individuals living across the Pacific Northwest region, throughout the United States, and well beyond.

In addition, STG is working closely with Spectrum to completely reconfigure and transform the performance space at The Moore Theatre. Rather than seating the audience in the auditorium, they will be seated on stage on seats specifically created for this engagement. A maximum of 375 people will be seated in this “arena” type seating structure creating an intimate atmosphere where dancers perform in the center at close range to the audience, who surround them on three sides.

Byrd, Spectrum’s Artistic Director, choreographer, project director and one of the most original makers/thinkers of his generation, brings thirty years of experience in the dance field to FAREWELL. Not only a choreographer, Byrd is unafraid of tackling complex and sometimes controversial subject matters such as domestic violence, war, genocides and intolerance. In 2006, he was nominated for a Tony for his choreography in the Broadway show COLOR PURPLE.

Yong returns to Spectrum with cultural heritage and multi-faceted musical expertise in hand to develop the music and soundscape complimentary to Byrd’s distinctive choreography. Known for merging traditional Chinese folk music with contemporary sounds created from Asian, European and handmade instruments, Yong’s blend of voices, Chinese percussion, er-hu (Chinese fiddle), rocks, bamboo, water and field recordings audibly capture the horror and farce of advanced capitalism, one world friendship, and cultural revolutions.

FAREWELL represents Year II of Spectrum’s groundbreaking three-year initiative, Beyond Dance: Promoting Awareness and Mutual Understanding (PAMU). PAMU brings collaborators from across the nation and world to create dance theater pieces that examine issues relating to personal liberty, freedom, security and social justice.

Tickets: FAREWELL: A Fantastical Contemplation on America’s Relationship with China tickets are $25.00, or $15 for those aged 25 years and under, and are available online at www.stgpresents.org, by phone at (877) STG-4TIX or (877) 784-4849, in person at The Paramount Theatre box office, Monday through Friday 10:00am-6:00pm and The Paramount and Moore Theatre venue kiosks, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Group sales are available through STG’s Group Sales Hotline at (206)315-8054. The Moore Theatre is located at 1932 Second Ave in downtown Seattle.
About STG: STG is the 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization that operates the historic Paramount and
Moore Theatres in Seattle, Washington. Our mission is to make diverse performing arts and education an
integral part of our region’s cultural identity while keeping these two landmark venues alive and vibrant.
STG presents a range of performances from Broadway, off-Broadway, dance and jazz to comedy, concerts
of all genres, speakers and family shows – at both historic theatres in Seattle and venues throughout the
Puget Sound and Portland, Oregon.