Here's a video of Extensions Dance Company performing Lizzie MacKenzie's award-winning work "Time Now", set to an original score of the same by 'ohana Dreamdance. The performance is from the Extensions Showcase, which we was one of the finest shows we got to see last year.
We've done a few stories about this amazing company --- here are a few links to some of them, along with a free download of the piano version of the 'ohana Dreamdance track "Time Now":
Extensions Dance 2010 Showcase
Extensions Dance's Awards at ADA 2010
Choreographer Profile: Lizzie MacKenzie
Podcast: Composing "Some Time" For Lizzie MacKenzie (Part 1)
Podcast: Composing "Some Time" For Lizzie MacKenzie (Part 2)
Podcast: Composing "Some Time" For Lizzie MacKenzie (Part 3)
Extensions Dance Company’s 2010 showcase, which took place Saturday at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, was not only a great concert, it was in many ways a unique experience, the kind of experience that can be difficult to place in a specific category. It was a Dance Concert in the traditional sense, a presentation of dance pieces that each featured excellent performance and inspired design, and that flowed convincingly from one to another. It was also very much a showcase; the program provided an in-depth presentation of the abilities and accomplishments of the Company dancers, both individually and in ensemble works. It was also a celebration of the fifth anniversary of Extensions Dance, a celebration of a remarkably successful season for the Company, and a celebration of the contributions of two Extensions performers, Miranda Borkan and Natalie Pearson, both of whom will attend the prestigious Alvin Ailey / Fordham University partnership program in New York.
‘ohana Dreamdance’s “Time Now Choreography Mixes” release features both of the tracks composed for choreographer Lizzie MacKenzie. The full original score is the Time Now MacKenzie Choreography Mix; it’s an arrangement of the two original tracks “Time Now” and “Some Time” that ‘ohana Dreamdance producers Dan Agosto and Johnny Nevin wrote for the Extensions Dance Company performance. Besides the Choreography mix and the two original tracks, the release includes a four minute Piano-only version, which is now available as a free download from All Over The Place Records distributor IODA (the Independent Online Digital Alliance).
IODA runs a service called Promonet. It provides access to sample tracks from many IODA distributed labels, and makes them available to bloggers and review sites, as well as to IODA distributed labels, like All Over The Place.
The download is coming from IODA Promonet, and the link is pasteable into a lot of different social media locations: by all means copy any of the links (but especially the free download link) as much as you wantl. (In Windows, right-click, on a Mac, Control-click the icon and Copy Link. Here it is:
Extensions Dance presents its 2010 Showcase this May 29 at 6:30 PM at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. It marks the completion of an exceptionally successful year for the Company, including most recently an astonishing set of awards at the American Dance Association Chicago Regional.
Extensions Dance, the Company founded and directed by Lizzie MacKenzie for exceptionally dedicated young dancers, would be what is normally referred to as a “preprofessional company” -- I think I’ve used that term in an earlier article, and it’s certainly accurate. None of these dancers are professional in the dictionary sense, where the most basic definition of “professional” means “to be compensated monetarily for work performed.” The term “preprofessional” actually has a very positive implication in the dance world, because it implies a level of commitment and ability in the company members that is characteristic of someone who will dance professionally.
I went to see Extensions Dance at the American Dance Awards competition at Governors State University last Saturday, and I’ve never seen a more professional demonstration (although that’s true every time I see this company anywhere, in rehearsal or in performance).
The process of choreography is variable and complex, and several projects ‘ohana Dreamdance has done in the past year, along with the Tenth Anniversary of Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances, makes this a good time to talk about that process. Extensions Dance Company, who’s 2010 Showcase is on Saturday, May 29 at the Ruth Page Center For the Arts, will be performing Lizzie MacKenzie’s work “Time Now”, set to two ‘ohana Dreamdance tracks, “Time Now” and “Some Time”. We’ve just finished the choreography mix of our track “What Was Beyond” for Shayna Swanson’s brilliant aerial choreography and performance. Finally, Mollie Mock and Jeremy Blair’s enchanting work “Reflect”, set to our track “Hidden”, premiered at New Dances last year and has just completed it’s first year in the Thodos Dance Chicago repertoire.
But maybe I should explain how I got mixed up in all of this to begin with. I’m a record producer by trade, but like many mixer/producers, I’ve also spent a lot of time recording and mixing projects that I was not producing. Before the development of system-based recording, choreographers like Melissa Thodos had to find a recording studio to put together the music for their works, and that was my first exposure to the world of Dance.
On Sunday, March 7, at 5 p.m.,Wheeling Orchesis will team with the Arlington Dance Ensemble for the 16th annual Dance for Life's Next Generation. This year's benefit, held in Wheeling High School's Sang Theater, will be emceed by Scott Corchin (WHS Orchesis alumni and on air personality at Kiss 103.5) and Lizzie MacKenzie (River North Dance Chicago). All proceeds will be donated to the Dance for Life Fund and The Children's Place Association, organizations dedicated to the support of those living with HIV/AIDS.
Diane Rawlinson is the founder and co-artistic director of its Dance For Life’s affiliated youth benefit concert (Dance For Life’s Next Generation) since 1995. This year’s benefit features alot of friends of All Over The Place Records -- aotpr artist D. Jeremy is an alumnus of Wheeling Orchesis, of which Diane is the director. Lizzie MacKenzie is co-hosting the event with Scott Corchin, who is featured in the D. Jeremy video for “Loser”, and plays on D. Jeremy’s track “Feel The Love”. Finally, the event features a performance by Extensions Dance Company, performing Lizzie MacKenzie’s new work “Time Now”, to an original ‘ohana Dreamdance score written by Dan Agosto and Johnny Nevin.
‘ohana is changing its name, starting with the release of the “Time Now Choreography Mixes”, which features the new tracks “Time Now” and “Some Time”, composed for Lizzie MacKenzie’s new work “Time Now” for Extensions Dance Company.
‘ohana is the Hawaiian word for “family”, and when we started making music under this name about ten years ago, the internet was much less developed -- no iTunes, no Myspace, no Facebook, none of the thousands of places where everything that goes on anywhere can be grouped together. Because the idea of family is such an important feature of Hawaiian culture, the internet is now crowded with references to ‘ohana.
Thodos Dance Chicago’s 2009 Fall Concert is being presented at two venues, and the first performance, at The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts was a don’t-miss performance. The Centre East main theatre was packed for an exceptionally well-presented show, and the second installment, at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, is Saturday, November 28 at 8:00 PM. For tickets, phone the Harris Theater at 312 334-777 or go to www.harristheaterchicago.org.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you can expect:
The most revealing line in Chicago choreographer Lizzie MacKenzie’s biography as Artistic Director of Extensions Dance Company may be this one: “Lizzie spends most of her free time teaching and choreographing." The realization that this is what Lizzie MacKenzie would describe as “free time” does a lot to explain her astonishingly broad range of accomplishments.
Many successful choreographers have had accomplished careers as dancers, and many company artistic directors are also accomplished choreographers. Lizzie MacKenzie, however, is at least unusual, and may be unique, in that she continues to be a successful and highly-respected dancer with one of Chicago’s leading companies (River North Chicago Dance Company), while also working as a leading choreographer. In 2008, she won the prestigious Choreographer of the Year award from Dance Chicago, presented by the Cliff Dwellers Foundation, to follow up on her 2006 New Voice Outstanding Choreographer award.
Her choreography is always graceful and fluid, and one of its most compelling attributes is a remarkable sense of dynamic architecture. In fact, whenever possible, it’s good to see her works at least once from a balcony, because there is a moving structure to what she does that becomes really apparent when seen with a full view of the stage.
Interestingly, this ability to master overall structure may be more the result of a focus on detail than on preconceived design; her designs actually seem to result from the careful composition of individual movements. Watching her in rehearsal with Extensions Dance Company, I heard her make an observation that does a lot to explain the coherence, but also the fullness, of her choreography. “Everything has a reason.” And when you add all of those reasons together, the result is inspired choreography.
Lizzie MacKenzie’s newest piece, “Time Now” is an eight-minute piece set to an original composition by Chicago group ‘ohana. It’s currently in rehearsal with her own Extensions Dance Company, and will premiere this fall.