A first-time-ever telecast, two work premieres, new locations and free auxiliary events are among the highlights announced yesterday for the fifth annual City Dance festival, which will take place this year between April 27 and May 1.
City Dance '81, like its predecessors will serve as a showcase for dance companies based in the Washington metropolitan area and will be presented under the auspices of the Washington Performing Arts Society. This year, nine companies have been selected for festival performances by auditions held last February. Four have not previously performed in City Dance -- the Hoffman Dance Consort, the D.C. Youth Ensemble, Glen Echo Dance Theater and the Murray Spalding Dance Theatre. The others are Maryland Dance Theater, Raquel Pena Spanish Dance Company, the Washington Ballet, African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, and Maida Withers Dance Construction Company.
In the past, the festival's prime evening concerts took place at the Warner Theatre; this year, they'll be moved to Lisner Auditorium, long a major dance center in Washington. On Wednesday, April 29, at 8 p.m., the first of three Lisner performances will feature seven troupes in a "television gala," a 60-minute program to be taped by WETA for broadcast on Channel 26 the following evening at 10. The program, including world premiere works by Pola Nirenska and Raquel Pena, will be a compressed "sampler" of the longer Lisner concerts the next two nights involving the same seven troupes -- D.C. Youth, Hoffman, Marylou Dance Theater and Raquel Pena on April 30; Washington Ballet, Glen Echo and African Heritage on May 1.
The two remaining companies will be presented in free afternoon events at nontheatrical sites: Murray Spalding at noon at the Renwick Gallery, April 28, and Dance Construction Company at 12:30 p.m. on April 30. In addition, the Mazza Gallerie shopping center is offering a series of free lunchtime performances in salute to City Dance '81; the Virginia Jazz Theater, Turkey's on the Run Cloggers and the Kinor Dance Company will perform on successive days starting April 27 at noon. Finally, at 7:30 p.m. before the last two Lisner performances, folk dance troupes will entertain the public outside the auditorium -- the St. Columbia Scottish Couantry Dancers on April 30, and Turkey's on the Run Cloggers on May 1.