The dance film, "The Seasons," will broadcast on Wednesday, March 3, the first event in a month of Astor Piazzolla Centennial Celebrations. Dancers Diana Cruz, Donato Juarez and Domenico Luciano. Photos: http://www.franciscoestevezphotography.com
Lorita Travaglia, originally from New Zealand, received her ballet training at the National School of Ballet and later the Royal Ballet School in London. Lorita made her debut as a professional dancer with the Berlin Ballet and continued dancing professionally for 22 years. She is now a Ballet Master at Colorado Ballet Company. Lorita graduated from the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2000 and has a private practice in Denver. She is also an avid tango dancer and is the Creative Director of Parasol Arts, which was formed in 2012 and presents stage productions annually. These include “Piazzolla en sus Palabras” the story of Piazzolla’s life, “Carmen the Tango”, the classic story told through Argentine tango and most recently the tango film, “The Seasons”.
Ms. Cruz is a dancer, performer, teacher, choreographer and —most importantly— an ongoing student of Movement methods and expressions. Originally from Paraguay, currently based in Argentina, she danced for various ballet, contemporary and modern dance companies in Paraguay, Argentina and the United States. She is a certified Comprehensive Pilates Instructor by BASI (Body Arts and Science International). Her discovery of Argentine Tango has given her yet another turn in her endless exploration journey of new ways of moving and expressing. She joined Tango dancer Nick Jones in an artistic partnership that forms NaturalTango, a Tango Dance and Music ensamble —Ms. Cruz is a singer for Orquesta Típica NaturalTango directed by bandoneón player Nick Jones— that toured and continue touring around the United States, Europe, Asia and South América. Diana is a dancer, artistic collaborator and board member with Parasol Arts, a non-profit organization for promoting Tango arts, based in Denver, CO. She has also directed and produced several theatre dance productions under NaturalTango and Cruzartango (her solo project).
Ms. Cruz incorporates her multidisciplinary techniques (Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Modern Dance, Latin American Folk dances, Tango Dance, Pilates, Yoga, Singing, Voice Training) into one cohesive dance. She uses these techniques to create powerful, musical, unique performances. Her continuing learning and understanding of biomechanics gives her an astute approach as a movement teacher. She holds a degree in Psychology, study that has enhanced her comprehension of the human mind and body dynamics.
Ms. Cruz has created her own line of Tango dance shoes for women, under Cruzartango.
Donato Juarez is one of the most talented of the new generation of Tango dancers in Argentina. From his hometown of Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires), he continues to tirelessly explore the intricacies of this dance. He has been invited to teach and perform in many International Festivals throughout the world and performed in Argentina’s most prestigious theaters. Since 2009 he has been a Master Teacher at the International Argentine Tango Congress (CITA): “Juarez brings a technical and interpretive quality, where the musicality, the elegance and the precision of the dance is original. He transmits his sensitivity, energy, passion and talent for Argentine Tango in every movement.”
Domenico Luciano, Academy Director of the Colorado Ballet Academy was a professional dancer for 20 years. Mr. Luciano danced with Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Germany, Europadance in France, Maggio Danza in Florence, Teatro Dell’ Opera in Rome and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. In 2004, Mr. Luciano came to the United States and joined Tulsa Ballet as a Demi-Soloist. In 2005, he joined Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston as Principal Dancer, where he danced until coming to Colorado Ballet in 2013. Mr. Luciano’s repertoire includes many leading classical principal roles as well as a vast repertoire of contemporary works from masters of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Austin Piazzolla Quintet specializes in the music of the late Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla as well as original nuevo tango compositions. Founded by James Anderson (violin), the APQ has been performing to captivated audiences since 2009. With Jonathan Geer (piano), Ben Thomas (bandoneon), Tony Rogers (cello), and Phil Spencer (bass), all from diverse musical backgrounds, the band continues the tradition of nuevo tango through intense live shows which feature unique arrangements of Piazzolla’s groundbreaking works, breathtaking original compositions, and fiery improvisation.
APQ released their first album, Libertango (2010), to rave reviews and sold out performances in Texas including a spot on the main stage at the Houston International Festival. The following album, Lo Que Vendra (2013) allowed APQ the opportunity to begin touring and performing in some of the finest listening rooms, jazz clubs, and performance halls in the nation.
In addition to live shows and recordings, APQ has taken an active role in music education having conducted clinics and masterclasses at universities and public schools with a focus on the performance techniques employed in tango, common compositional devices and the origins of the style. “The most difficult aspect of this music, after it’s technical challenges, is that so little of it is actually on the page,” begins Anderson. “Much like jazz, if you only play what’s on the page, it lacks the passion, personal emotion, and sense of freedom which it absolutely needs.” In the Fall of 2014, APQ presented Piazzolla’s favorite and final large scale work for his own quintet, the rare La Camorra to critical acclaim in Austin, TX.
At the beginning of 2015, APQ spent two days at the Blue Rock Studio in the Texas Hill Country to record their third album with Grammy nominated engineer, Charlie Kramsky. Released in the spring of that year, the self-titled album features original compositions by Anderson and Geer set along side Piazzolla’s up-tempo Michelangelo 70, the heavy weight of Soledad, musical portrait Retrato de Milton, and the bass showpiece Kicho.
In the spring of 2016, APQ was invited by the world renown Colorado Ballet to perform the world premier of The Angel of Buenos Aires. Weaving classical ballet and sultry tango steps, the work, choreographed by Lorita Travaglia, features stunning movements based on the titular characters of two of Piazzolla’s most loved suites of music – Suite del Angel and Suite del Diablo. The success of the debut fueled the inspiration for APQ’s next studio recording, and by the summer of 2016 the group was back in the studio with Charlie Kramsky once again at the sound board. Angels & Devils, the groups fourth album, was released in the spring of 2017 and features the Suite del Angel and the Suite del Diablo alongside two riveting originals from violinist Anderson, the baroque inspired Milonga Passacaglia and But a Whimper.
James Anderson – Violin
Tony Rogers – Cello
Phil Spencer – Bass
Ben Thomas – Bandoneon
Jonathan Geer – Piano
Named “Top 10 Documakers to watch” by Variety, Mitch Dickman is an award winning producer and director. Credits for films include SILENT ROSE (streaming now on Topic), CASTING JON BENET (Co-Producer 2017 Sundance), SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT (Cinematogrpaher 2016 Sundance) ROLLING PAPERS (Producer/Director 2015 SXSW), BEING EVEL (Line Producer 2015 Sundance), and HANNA RANCH (Producer/Director 2014 NY Times Critics Pick). In 2006, Mitch founded Listen Productions, a full scale production company that is dedicated to listening to voices that often aren’t heard and crafting them into beautiful films and series for the world to see.
He is also board chair of Cine Fe and Warm Cookies of the Revolution and sits on the Dean’s advisory board for the College of Arts and Media at University of Colorado at Denver where he also teaches part time.