In partnership with Contemporary Dance Theater (CDT), and with support from the Cincinnati Arts Association and ArtsWave, Cincinnati Ballet is pleased to announce Collide!, with three performances on October 13 and 14, at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater. The Collide! performance series is a unique collaboration in celebration of the BLINK Festival taking place that weekend, and offers an exciting opportunity to experience contemporary dance along the BLINK route.
Collectively curated by Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director Victoria Morgan and CDT Artistic Director, Jefferson James, Collide! features three brand new contemporary works from choreographers Debbie Blunden-Diggs, James Cunningham, and André Megerdichian, danced by the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company. The collaboration honors Richard J. Collins, late artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet Company, 1990-1991.
Debbie Blunden-Diggs is in her 11th season as Artistic Director of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC), and performed with the Company for more than 20 years. She is also an accomplished choreographer, creating works for the company that have become part of their artistic blue print. Her notable works include Configurations, Kaleidoscope, Fragments, In My Father’s House and Traffic. Blunden-Diggs has also served as the company’s Associate Artistic Director and Deputy Director for Arts and Operations. In addition to her role as Artistic Director of DCDC, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton Theatre, Dance & Performance Technology department. She has assisted Central State University with their theatre and musical productions, and served as a co-director for a production of Crowns for The Human Race Theatre. Blunden-Diggs is on the board of directors for the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD).
James Cunningham is a Soloist with Cincinnati Ballet and began choreographing at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM), through composition courses and yearly student choreographed showcases. Since joining the Cincinnati Ballet in 2008, he has been commissioned to create site-specific works for chamber orchestra group Concert:Nova and the Constella Music Festival. He continued to refine his craft and find his personal style through two Cincinnati Ballet Choreographic Workshop creations, Seven and Ancora, danced by the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company. His version of Peter and the Wolf has been presented as part of Cincinnati Ballet’s Ballet Toybox production and also through education and outreach performances.
In the spring of 2016, BalletMet dancers and producers of The Benefit, a charity event for children with hemophilia, invited Cunningham to create Meandering Heartbeat in collaboration with the local rock group The Wind and The Sea and Columbus Symphony musicians. Later that year, Cunningham choreographed a brand new work for the students at CCM and his piece, Prohibition Condition was featured in Cincinnati Ballet’s main stage production of Director’s Cut. Steve Sucato from ArtsAir said, “Cunningham’s well-crafted choreography balanced clever movement with bravura ballet fireworks.” In January 2017, he choreographed a world premiere pas de deux for Cincinnati Ballet dancers, entitled Garcia Counterpoint, with music by Bryce Dessner, as part of the MusicNow Festival.
André Megerdichian is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Born in New York City and raised in Beirut, Athens, and Geneva, he has performed for over a decade with esteemed companies and choreographers including the Jose Limon Dance Company, Janis Brenner and Dancers, the Mary Anthony Dance Theatre, Soundance Repertory Company, Reidel Dance Theatre, Daniel Charon and Sean Curran. He was a principal dancer with Dance Kaleidoscope, under the artistic direction of David Hochoy (former rehearsal director of the Martha Graham Dance Company) for seven seasons. During his time in Indiana, Megerdichian was awarded the 2003 Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship by the Indianapolis Arts Council, for his sustained artistic contributions to the community.
In 1995 Megerdichian was invited to create his first evening-length work titled Moving Light, performed in the Statkino Theatre in Salzburg, Austria, by the Painted Lights Dance Project. Since then, his choreography has been produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts, the Deadulus Project, Dance Kaleidoscope, the Anderson Young Ballet Theatre, Ball State University, and the University of Indianapolis.
The Cincinnati Ballet Second Company is a group of up-and-coming professional dancers who come from around the world to study at Cincinnati Ballet and perform alongside Cincinnati Ballet’s Company dancers. Second Company dancers rehearse with the company on a full time basis, 9 am-6 pm every weekday, as well as serve as education outreach ambassadors for the organization. With a focus on engaging audiences of all ages, Second Company dancers bring the joy of dance to thousands of students and community members each year through schools, community centers, churches, nursing homes and more.