For most local performers, a booking at the Kennedy Center seemed about as likely as winning the lottery. But with the launching of a performance series called "Washington, Front and Center!" their odds just improved.
Supported in part by the Greater Washington Performing Arts Fund, the series opens tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Terrace Theater with "A Celebration of Dance." Coordinated by Liz Lerman, the program features six local companies -- Shizumi Dance Theatre, Larry Warren and Dancers, the D.C. Youth Ensemble, Zeniyaz, Deborah Riley with Perlo/Bloom & Co. and Sharon Wyrrick and Full Circle. The dances will range from contemporary modern dance and jazz to what Lerman calls "fusion."
"I think it's real important for this community to see and hear different cultural voices," she says. "That's why I made it my business to include lesser known performers like Shizumi and the two dancers of Zeniyaz."
Shizumi Manale, a solo performer, combines traditional Japanese dance with American modern dance. The two women of Zeniyaz, American Nia Love and Brazilian Zenaide Silva, blend dance, storytelling and dramatic rites from Africa, the Americas and Asia.
Other highlights of the program include the premiere of Warren's "For Lorka," dedicated to the spirit of the great Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, and Wyrrick's "Infinite Passions," the latest of her musically inventive, quirky statements on '80-style living and loving.