Sunday, October 31, 1999

OhioDance honors Jefferson James

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Let's face it folks, all of us who've enjoyed the variety of modern dance visiting our city for the past 20 plus years have one person to thank: Jefferson James. Through good years and bad, fat times and lean, Ms. James has kept the dance companies coming.

        Someone must have been watching. On Friday, she was presented with the 1999 OhioDance Award for her work as a dancer, administrator and presenter.

        OhioDance, the state arts service organized in 1976, has singled out Ms. James, artistic director of Contemporary Dance Theater, for championing “contemporary dance, presenting a variety of dance performances at affordable prices and making performance space available to local artists.”

        When asked whether she knew the award was coming, Ms. James said, “I was shocked that they were going to give me one. I'm just here in Cincinnati doing my little thing and I'm surprised when people notice.”

        CHOREOGRAPHY PRIZE: In 1988 Amy Seiwert was graduating from the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati and ready to take on the dance world.

        “You couldn't really predict what, but you knew she would do something special,” says Sheila Cohen, one of her dance teachers. “She was very intense, always very focused. ... ”

        What she's done most recently is capture — out of a field of 25 — a $4,000 choreography prize at the Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur in Montreal. She set up a fund-raiser to send herself and five dancers to Montreal for the event last summer. Next year she'll be resident choreographer for the festival and set a new ballet to this year's orchestral competition winner.

        When she's not winning choreography awards, she dances with San Francisco's Smuin Ballet Company. Prior to that she was with Sacra mento Ballet Company for eight years. Her parents are Sandra and David Seiwert of West Chester.

        TAP DANCIN': Do you go giggly when Donald O'Connor tears into his “Make 'em Laugh” number in that great tap dance movie Singing in the Rain? Then you'll love tapper Tony Waag. Or maybe you prefer your tapping more in the elegant style of Fred Astaire. Then dapper 86-year-old tap master Buster Brown is for you.

        Brenda Bufalino, tap dancer extraordinaire and founder of New York's American Tap Dance Orchestra, has played a major role in tap's recent nationwide revitalization, here or nationwide? promoting old stars and new — including the hip and very new Margaret Morrison.

        She's put together Tap Dance Spectacular,including orchestra co-founder Mr. Waag, Mr. Brown and Ms. Morrison, which plays at 8 p.m., Nov. 13 and 14 at the Dayton Convention Center Theatre. Sponsored by Cityfolk, tickets are $18 and $20; (937) 496-3863.

        MOSCOW BALLET: Miami University Performing Arts Series is presenting Moscow City Ballet in Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella, 8 p.m. Nov. 18 at Millett Hall Auditorium.

        The ballet replaces the British Rock Symphony originally scheduled. (513) 529-3200 for tickets.

        Carol Norris is Enquirer dance critic. Write her at Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202; fax, 768-8330.


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