Seán Curran Company

Dance

 

Biography

“When I see something good that reminds me what dancing can be at its most basic, I’m faint with pleasure,” hailed Deborah Jowitt in The Village Voice after seeing the Seán Curran Company in performance. Pleasing audiences is exactly what the company has been doing since it burst onto the dance scene in 1997. Known for his wit, intelligence, ingenuity and uncanny physical humor, Seán Curran successfully blends a myriad of influences into a purely original style.

In collaboration with the Chicago-based ensemble Third Coast Percussion, the company is developing Everywhere All the Time, a 20th anniversary program combining live percussion music and contemporary dance for the 2018-2019 touring season. A creative endeavor connecting the fields of dance, music, and architecture, the evening will include music by celebrated Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy and a set designed by renowned landscape architect Diana Balmori. A repertory program with recorded music, Dances with Words, is also available for touring in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons.

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Seán Curran's Biography

Seán Curran began his training with traditional Irish step dancing as a child in Boston and went on to perform with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (1983–1993) and in the original cast of STOMP! (1994–1998). Since 1997, Seán Curran Company has toured Curran’s contemporary dance work internationally, including performances at Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Joyce Theater, and Dance Theater Workshop. Artistic excellence has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project, New Music USA, the NYC Dance & Performance “Bessie” awards, and others. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Curran currently serves as Chair of the Department of Dance. A sought-after choreographer/director for opera and theater, notable productions include Salome (Opera Theatre of St. Louis, San Francisco Opera, Opera Montreal, San Diego Opera); Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Theater); Shalimar the Clown, Ariadne on Naxos, Pirates of Penzance, Nixon in China, Champion, 27, Daughter of the Regiment (Opera Theater of St. Louis); Oscar, Daphne, The Last Savage, Dr. Sun Yat Sen (Santa Fe Opera); L’Etoile, Alcina, Turandot, Haroun and the Sea of Stories (NYC Opera); My Life with Albertine (Playwrights Horizons); As You Like It (Shakespeare in the Park); Romeo and Juliette (Metropolitan Opera); James Joyce’s The Dead, Cymbeline, The Rivals (Lincoln Center Theater/Broadway).

2017-2018 Repertory Evening - Dances with Words

In its touring repertory evening, Dances with Words, Seán Curran Company explores how the addition of text alters our perception of the dance and the ways in which music – both traditional and new – heightens mood and emotion. In each work on the program, movement, music and language coalesce to create implied narratives. Dance works that successfully blend text and music have always challenged and intrigued Artistic Director Seán Curran. What happens when abstract movement is combined with explicit words, then layered with music that, perhaps, contradicts both of those components? Can they be combined to create something new and wholly different?

Dances with Words furthers Curran’s commitment to developing artistic work that sparks dialogue and connects deeply with audiences. The program engages audiences through contemporary works that incorporate robust choreography performed by captivating performers, traditional and new music, and current and historic texts – both spoken and sung. A discussion of the ways in which movement, words, and music together create an artistic work that is more meaningful than the sum of its parts may follow performances. Each performance will include three works selected from the following repertory:

In Hard Bargain, a quartet for four male dancers, acclaimed counter-tenor David Daniels lends his soaring counter-tenor, to baroque arias by George Frederic Handel. A light-hearted work, Hard Bargain is a dance about compromise and agreeing to disagree. The choreography is alternately combative and collaborative; humor tempers the intensity of the score. An abstract, gestural language combined with a robust and athletic dancing reveals the work and play of diplomacy.

Aria/Apology combines confessions – acts of violence, lust, and deceit –recorded by anonymous individuals from Allan Bridge’s provocative Apology Line with classic Handel arias recorded by Renée Fleming. The choreography and score allude to failure (apology) and grace (aria) in a work that studies our universal impulse to confess, or state our shame, to achieve redemption. Framed against the outward poise of the five performers and Handel’s beautiful music, the disturbing confessions prompt viewers to question the world we inhabit.

Performed by 10 dancers, Left Exit explores secular reasoning, spirituality and religion, illuminating ourdesire to search for life’s significance and purpose. The subject is timeless but, for Curran, a gay man raised as a strict Catholic, it is also intensely personal. Created using the humanist lens of art as a religious practice, the work mixes spoken text from Astra Taylor’s film Examined Life featuring Cornel West, Judith Butler, and Sunaura Taylor with an original score composed by Jerome Begin.

The Bosie Dances is inspired by the character Bosie from Theodore Morrison’s 2011 opera Oscar, which Curran also choreographed, set at the turn of the 20th century and based on the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde. David Daniels, who originated the role of Wilde in the opera, recorded the contemporary arias in Morrison’s new score for The Bosie Dances. Offering an unusual perspective on events in the Victorianera literary world, the work is character study of a complicated man – Wilde’s lover – that explores desire, shame, betrayal, and fear. While the story is over a century old, it reflects the same rights-based issues still relevant and much-debated throughout the world today. The Bosie Dances is being developed during a Winter 2017 residency at The Center for Ballet & The Arts at New York University.

Reviews

“There’s no fresher, more invigorating new American dance now than the choreography of Sean Curran.”

The Los Angeles Times