Minneapolis, Minnesota

Following 13 years of preparation, The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts is primping for its close-up when the doors are thrown open for its opening weekend festivities, Sept. 9-11. A sold-out, black-tie gala on Friday, Sept. 9, will feature a dinner, performances, and reception. Tickets are available for Saturday’s grand opening performances and reception for $150; phone 612.206.3621. The Cowles will provide 200 complimentary tickets for Saturday’s festivities to local dancers and choreographers.

Performers on Friday and Saturday will include Savion Glover, Clifton Brown (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), James Sewell Ballet, Zenon Dance Company, Larry Yazzie (Native Pride Dancers), Minnesota Dance Theatre, Wendy Whelan (New York City Ballet), Jonah Bokaer (formerly with Merce Cunningham Dance Company), and The Singers (Minnesota choral artists).

A free, community open house from 11am to 5pm on Sunday, Sept. 11, will feature workshops and performances.

The Cowles Center is a three-building complex located on Hennepin Avenue, between 5th & 6th streets, in downtown Minneapolis: the refurbished, 505-seat Goodale Theater built in 1910; the eight-story Hennepin Center for the Arts built as a Masonic Temple in 1888; and the new Great Hall and Education Center.

As part of its full, 2011/12 season of dance and music presentations, The Cowles will host The Minnesota SAGE Awards for Dance, Tuesday, Oct. 11. The awards will recognize achievement in six categories during the past year. Tickets for the SAGE Awards are $15.

Prices for events in 2011/12 will range from $10 to $36. All tickets will carry an additional $4 facilities fee – $2 for the theater’s maintenance and $2 for the ticketing system. A discount of 20% is available for purchases of four or more tickets. The Cowles box office number is 612.206.3600.

Leading up to the Cowles opening, Minneapolis will host the 24th Midwest Arts Conference, Sept. 7-10, under the aegis of Arts Midwest and the Mid-America Arts Alliance. The lineup of activities will include curated and independent showcase performances that will give Minnesota artists multiple opportunities to shine. More than 4,000 artists, managers, agents, and presenting venues will be represented during the four days. On-site and single-day registrations are available. 

Ananya Dance Theatre will present the world premiere of Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass, September 8-11 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. “Tushaanal” – Bengali for “fires of dry grass” – revolves around stories of gold, an element mined and harnessed as capital, and a symbol of desire, beauty, and artistry. The full-length work is the second in a four-part, anti-violence series exploring how women in global communities of color experience and resist violence. Tickets are $22 ($16 students). Thu, 7:30pm; Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2pm, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea received a Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography earlier this year from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

The 2011 Ivey Awards, established to celebrate Twin Cities professional theater, will be held at the Historic State Theatre in Minneapolis, Monday, Sept. 19, at 7:30pm. Actors Seth and Charles Numrich will host the evening of entertainment that will feature an opening number honoring theater costumers; singing by Ryan McCartan, a graduate of Minnetonka High School and recipient of the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts award; the 7-Shot Symphony by Live Action Set; and excerpts from The Rocky Horror Show (Cardinal Theatricals), The Buddy Holly Story (History Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Mu Performing Arts), and Ragtime (Park Square Theatre). Tickets for the performances and pre/post parties are available at IveyAwards.com

Kathleen Spehar has been appointed Director of The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Spehar has served previously as managing director of the History Theatre and of Mu Performing Arts, both in St. Paul. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Western Michigan University and a master’s of liberal studies from the University of Minnesota.

The Platinum Theatre Company will present its inaugural play, “Flamingo Court,” in nine performances, Sept. 7-23. The production features three short plays, two funny and one serious, set in condos in a senior living complex in South Florida. Themes address the uncertainties of dating past age 55, loneliness, coping with aging parents, and new interests. Platinum, founded in 2010, aspires to be “Minnesota’s Senior Theater.” All performances will take place at Pilgrims United Church of Christ, 8801 Rice Lake Road, Maple Grove MN, on Sept. 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, and 22 at 1pm, and Sept. 9 and 23 at 7pm. Tickets: $18; call 612.819.5246.

Judith Brin Ingber, a Twin Cities-based choreographer, dancer, and dance scholar, has edited Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance. The collection of essays and photographs, published by Wayne State University Press, explores the evolution of Jewish dance through two thousand years of  Diaspora. Brin Ingber will discuss the book, show slides, and sign at Birchbark Books, 2115 East 21st Street, Minneapolis, Thursday, Sept. 15, 7-9pm. A pre-supper will happen beginning at 6pm at the Kenwood Cafe, adjacent to the bookstore. “A dance to Jewish Life,” Mordecai Specktor’s profile of Brin Ingber and the book’s creation, written for the American Jewish World, is available here


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