Sunday, January 25, 2004

Bi-Okoto will perform for U.S. troops


Dance notes

By Kathy Valin
Enquirer contributor

Cincinnati's Bi-Okoto Drum & Dance Theatre will tour Europe to entertain the United States Armed Forces for the second year in a row, says Jeaunita C. Olowe, company manager. On Wednesday, she and Mario De Juan, Marvin Hawkins, Adebola Olowe, Cheryl Pongo, Kwame Pongo and Tim Stegmaier head for the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Under the auspices of United States Armed Forces Entertainment, they will perform to help provide a touch of home to our military men and women abroad, and remind them they are remembered and loved by those at home. The company will host an open house at its new location in Essex Studios, 2511 Essex Place (Walnut Hills), during the first week in April. The facility includes a 1,200-square-foot dance studio, production and administration offices, a small 150-seat theater space and an African merchandise store.

During the open house, the public is invited to take a tour, meet the artists and participate in a dance class or drum circle. Established in 1994, Bi-Okoto has a repertoire of traditional West and South African dances, music, dance dramas, operas and new contemporary works. The non-profit also sponsors classes in African languages and culture. For more information, call (513) 253-5454 or visit www.bi-okoto.com.

Former Ballet stars shine on

Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik, formerly principals with the Cincinnati Ballet, and performers with ballet tech ohio's Gala of International Ballet Stars, have found a new artistic home in Evansville, Ind..

The two are now artistic director and ballet mistress, respectively, of Evansville Dance Theatre. Kremnev and Reznik staged the company's 21st consecutive Nutcracker this December. The Evansville newspaper noted Kremnev's "refreshing choreography and smooth powerful dancing as audience favorite Drosselmeyer ... and the Nutcracker Prince."

"We have just returned from Moscow," Reznik said last week, "Where Alexei got his second highest degree in Dance Education from the Moscow State Academy of Choreography." His contemporary piece "Beloboky" will be performed at the Bolshoi in 2004.

"It's been re-created from my American version of 'White Russian,' " says Kremnev. "All the Russian dancers are very young (17-18 years old). They were talented and eager." The two are also featured faculty at the International Dance Institute. For more information: (812) 473-8937 or at www.edtdance.org or www.anna-alexei.com.

Memorial for company pianist

A memorial tribute is to be held at 7 p.m. March 9, at the Cincinnati Ballet Studios on Central Parkway (621-5219) for John Iden, company pianist for Cincinnati Ballet.

Iden was well loved in the dance community, and worked throughout his 41-year career with renowned dancers and teachers. He was also the Lorrence and Barbara Kellar Chair recipient for the Cincinnati Ballet.




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