Ballet Hispanico, Con Brazos Abiertos.
Photo by Paula Lobo.
Saint Mary’s University (SMU) of Minnesota’s Performance Center proudly announces the 2019-2020 Page Series. The 33rd annual series features dance, music, and theater performances from September 2019 through March 2020 and concludes with the inaugural Driftless Dance Festival.
The season opens with “Nature” (September 6-8), an outdoor walking play from TigerLion Arts, which is based on transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and collaboratively created with writer/actor Tyson Forbes, a direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Theatrical programming also includes a family-friendly theatrical production of “Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure” (October 11) by Mexico Beyond Mariachi and the LA Theatre Works production of “SEVEN” (March 11, 2020), a riveting documentary play by Carol K. Mack, Anna Deavere Smith, Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Ruth Margraff, and Susan Yankowitz. “SEVEN” is based on personal interviews with seven women who faced life-threatening obstacles before bringing heroic changes to their home countries of Pakistan, Nigeria, Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, and Cambodia.
Musical performances will include Leyla McCalla (November 16), whose music reflects her experiences living in New York City, Ghana, and New Orleans. McCalla began her solo career after touring with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and has collaborated with Marc Ribot, Rhiannon Giddens, Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and singer/songwriter Sarah Quintana. Following their sold-out 2016 performance at the Page Theatre, Grammy-winning duo The Okee Dokee Brothers (February 1, 2020) will return with a concert of their nature-inspired music that encourages kids and families to get outside and get creative. Also performing this season is Irish ensemble Danú (February 27, 2020) who has given concerts around the globe, recorded seven critically acclaimed albums, and brings together players on flute, tin whistle, button accordion, and more.
The Page Series expands this year with the launch of the Driftless Dance Festival (March 27-29, 2020), which has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The weekend-long festival will encompass performances and events that offer festivalgoers the opportunity to interact with visiting artists, develop skills, and build community. Performances include “SPEAK” (March 27, 2020), a collaboration of San Francisco-based Kathak dancers Rina Mehta and Rachna Nivas alongside world-renowned tap artists Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, with live accompaniment from leading jazz and classical Indian musicians; and a performance by the James Sewell Ballet (March 28, 2020) as part of their 30th anniversary tour.
The season’s dance programming also includes a performance by leading Latino dance company Ballet Hispánico (October 4), which will feature choreography exploring Hispanic culture and identity.
“I am delighted to share another year of season performances with the Winona community,” said Theresa Remick, Performance Center managing director. “These artists and companies have impressed me, not only because of their artistic accomplishments, but because of their collaborative nature and commitment to community engagement.”
The Page Series will continue its slate of community programs, including gatherings at the Winona Public Library, A Page in History with the Winona County Historical Society, artist talks, workshops, and master classes. Thanks in part to a $75,130 Arts Tour Grant awarded to the Performance Center by the Minnesota State Arts Board, Ballet Hispánico and the artists of “SPEAK” will conduct residencies in Winona. Full residency schedules will be shared in the coming months. “Nature” and The Okee Dokee Brothers will feature pay-what-you-can pricing in an effort to make these performances accessible to all. Winona community members will also be invited to participate in several performances: “Nature” will feature a local child actor and a chorus of singers from the area; the Driftless Dance Festival will conclude with a performance by dancers in the area.
Each season, the Page Series offers more than 2,500 students in the area opportunities to experience live theater and dance through school matinee programs. This year’s matinee performances include “Nature” (September 6); “Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure” (October 11); TheaterWorksUSA’s “Rosie Revere, Engineer and Friends” (November 16); “SPEAK” (March 27, 2020); the Dance Repertory Company Spring Concert (April 17, 2020); and Virginia Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Little Red Hen” (May 12, 2020). Educators interested in attending school matinee performances can learn more at pagetheatre.org.
Visit pagetheatre.org for artist information, video previews, and ticket information. Subscription packages are on sale now and may be ordered by calling 507-457-1715 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays or by visiting pagetheatre.org. Subscribers receive a 10-percent discount on packages of three or more events (15 percent for returning 2018-2019 subscribers) and a 20-percent discount when purchasing the full season of nine events.
‘Nature’ Presented by TigerLion Arts
Friday, September 6, at 6 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field; Saturday, September 7, at 2 and 6 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field; Sunday, September 8, at 2 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field
TigerLion Arts presents “Nature,” the mythic telling of Emerson and Thoreau’s mutual love affair with the natural world. Grounded in the story of their friendship, this virtuosic production offers a perspective on their lives that is strikingly relevant, richly complex, and, yet, utterly simple. This original work was collaboratively created with writer/actor Tyson Forbes, a direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Nature” is performed outdoors as a walking play. A professional ensemble of actors takes the audience on a journey through the natural environment as scenes unfold around them. Bagpipes, ancient flutes, drums, and rich choral arrangements are intricately woven into the script. “Nature” is an extraordinary, family-friendly experience that commingles story, spirit, and the outdoors.
Friday, October 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
Ballet Hispánico, America’s leading Latino dance organization, has been bringing individuals and communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through dance for nearly 50 years. Whether dancing on stage, in school, or in the street, Ballet Hispánico creates a space where few institutions are breaking ground. The organization’s founder, National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez, sought to give voice to the Hispanic experience and break through stereotypes. Today, Ballet Hispánico is led by Eduardo Vilaro, an acclaimed choreographer and former member of the company, whose vision of social equity, cultural identity, and quality arts education for all drives its programs.
Ballet Hispánico’s Winona program will include works by three Latina choreographers. The company will also offer residency activities from October 1-3.
A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure’ Presented by Mexico Beyond Mariachi
Friday, October 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
Young Vita thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Why throw a party for the dead? But when a candy skeleton on her abuelita’s cemetery ofrenda suddenly springs to life, Vita finds herself on a magical, musical journey that delves into the rich, tuneful traditions of Día de los Muertos. Meet Sugar Skull, a charismatic candy skeleton who dreams of riding the exclusive train to Who-Knows-Where. Along with her skeletal new friend, Vita dances with ancient ancestors, sings with a sorrowful sorceress, escapes the trickster Chaneques, and even meets the famous Catrina Calavera. But can Vita help Sugar Skull get on the train before it’s too late? Featuring a company of gifted musicians and dancers, this colorful stage production is the perfect fall entertainment for the entire family.
Mexico Beyond Mariachi is a multi-cultural ensemble of professional musicians, actors, dancers, and teaching artists whose love of Mexican traditions and way of life shines bright in every performance. The group’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that art and culture are an integral part in the development of every individual’s outlook on life. Personal engagement, community experiences, and the celebration of commonality are themes Mexico Beyond Mariachi brings to their shows and their extensive arts-in-education offerings.
Saturday, November 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from a variety of sources, whether it’s her Haitian heritage, living in New Orleans, or dancing at Cajun Mardi Gras. Her music reflects her eclectic and diverse life experiences, including time spent in New York City and Ghana. After touring with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, McCalla began to concentrate on a solo career. Her debut album, “Vari-Colored Songs,” a tribute to Langston Hughes, was named album of the year by both the London Times and Songlines magazine. The title of her sophomore effort, “A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey,” was ultimately derived from a Haitian proverb. It features songs in English, French, and Haitian Creole, with appearances by Marc Ribot, Rhiannon Giddens, Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and New Orleans singer/songwriter Sarah Quintana. Her recently released third album, “The Capitalist Blues,” reflects the influence of New Orleans on her music, as well as the pressure-cooker effects of living in today’s society.
The Okee Dokee Brothers
Saturday, February 1, 2020, at 3 p.m. in the Page Theatre
Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander have been exploring the outdoors together since they were kids. Now, as the Grammy-winning The Okee Dokee Brothers, they write songs to encourage kids and families to get outside and get creative. With songs written under wide-open skies and harmonies fine-tuned around the campfire, the natural world is at the heart of The Okee Dokee Brothers’ Americana folk music. Their latest project, “Winterland,” celebrates the season of coziness, family time, and outdoor fun. The Okee Dokee Brothers make room for kids to dance, parents to share stories, and everyone to gain respect for nature, each other, and the world we live in.
Thursday, February 27, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
Hailing from historic County Waterford, Danú is one of the leading traditional Irish ensembles of today. Their standing-room-only concerts throughout Ireland feature high-energy performances and a glorious mix of ancient Irish music and new repertoire. For two decades, Danú’s virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, bouzouki, and vocals have performed around the globe and recorded seven critically acclaimed albums. Winners of numerous awards from the BBC and Irish Music Magazine, Danú takes audiences on a musical journey to their native Ireland, offering a moving and memorable concert experience.
Presented by LA Theatre Works’ Susan Albert Loewenberg, producing director; by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deveare Smith, and Susan Yankowitz
Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
“SEVEN” is a riveting documentary play based on personal interviews with seven remarkable women who faced life-threatening obstacles before bringing heroic changes to their home countries of Pakistan, Nigeria, Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, and Cambodia. Seven playwrights collaborated to create a tapestry of stories that weave together the words of these women, dramatizing their struggles and triumphs over resistance, death threats, entrenched norms, and pervasive violence. Since the premiere in 2008, the piece has been translated into 27 languages and performed in more than 30 countries, sharing these inspiring tales of bravery and perseverance. “SEVEN” makes the powerful and timeless statement that even in the darkest times, one person, one voice, and a single act of courage can change the lives of thousands.
Some content may not be suitable for young audience members. Parents are encouraged to explore the content to determine appropriateness for their children. Information about the women of “SEVEN” and their stories is available at pagetheatre.org.
Friday, March 27, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
Indian Kathak dance and American tap dance, continents and ages apart, share parallel stories of struggle and perseverance. They come together in this sensational collaboration of rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music and dance.
“SPEAK” carries forward the legacy of iconic artists like Pandit Chitresh Das, Dr. Jimmy Slyde, and James Buster Brown, while bringing voices of powerful female artists to the forefront. Serving as a bridge between tradition and innovation and history and progress, groundbreaking Kathak artists Rina Mehta and Rachna Nivas, alongside tap all-stars Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, create nothing short of magic on the stage. Joined by the world’s leading Indian classical and jazz musicians, “SPEAK” promises to thrill, provoke, and move your spirit.
James Sewell Ballet
Saturday, March 28, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
James Sewell Ballet was founded in New York City by James Sewell and Sally Rousse and brought to Minnesota in 1993. Combining their expertise, vision, and chutzpah, they envisioned a close-knit company of dance artists willing to both challenge their physical limits and expand their notions about ballet. Nearly three decades later, critically acclaimed James Sewell Ballet performances move and delight audiences across the country. The embodiment of the original vision is a professional company of dancers performing innovative work that explores the technical boundaries of ballet. Last seen at the Page Theatre in 2006, the company’s return performance celebrates their 30th anniversary season.
Driftless Dance Festival
National, regional, and local dancers take the stage for the inaugural Driftless Dance Festival. The festival continues the Page Series’ longstanding tradition of presenting world-renowned dance artists while also celebrating the rich talents of Winona and Minnesota. In addition to three stunning performances, festivalgoers will experience artist talks, gatherings, master classes and more, with plenty of activities for dancers and non-dancers alike.
• “SPEAK”: Friday, March 27, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
• James Sewell Ballet: Saturday, March 28, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
• Winona Dance Showcase: Sunday, March 29, 2020, at 3 p.m. in the Page Theatre
2019-2020 school matinee programs
• “Nature”: Friday, September 6, at 10 a.m. in Saint Mary’s Saint Yon’s Field
• “Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure”: Friday, October 11, at 10 a.m. in the Page Theatre
• “Rosie Revere, Engineer and Friends,” a TheaterWorksUSA production: Wednesday, November 13, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
Ms. Greer’s classroom includes three inquisitive out-of-the-box thinkers: Rosie Revere has big dreams, Iggy Peck has a relentless passion for architecture, and Ada Twist’s curiosity can drive her teacher crazy.
This production is a fun, new musical based on the books “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” “Iggy Peck, Architect,” and “Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty, which spotlights the STEM curriculum (focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math).
• “SPEAK”: Friday, March 27, 2020, at 12:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
• Dance Repertory Company Spring Concert: Friday, April 17, 2020, at 10 a.m. in the Page Theatre
The 47th annual spring dance concert of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) Dance Repertory Company will feature works that range from classical to contemporary, ballet to hip hop, including restaged works and new choreography created by MCA faculty and regional guest artists. Students will experience a variety of dance styles and learn how dancers can tell a story through movement, music, and other production elements.
• “The Little Red Hen,” a production of Virginia Repertory Theatre On Tour: Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Page Theatre
“Who’ll help me plant the seed?” asks the plucky red hen as she begins making a loaf of her delicious bread. “Not us,” say the sheep, the cow, the horse, and the pig. They all have better things to do. But, “a hen’s gotta do what a hen’s gotta do,” and so the crimson heroine perseveres until her work is done. The tricks of the conniving fox combine with the hen’s common sense to add adventure and a sound moral lesson to this classic, feel-good, foot-stompin’ country musical.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
This project is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
About the Page Series
Now entering its 33rd annual season, the Page Series offers performances, workshops, classes, and more that inspire, uplift, educate, and invite community members to discover the relevance of the arts in their daily lives. Featuring professional performing artists from around the globe, the Page Series hosts events at the Joseph Page Theatre on the Winona Campus of SMU of Minnesota, as well as at locations throughout the Winona community. The Page Series brings artists and community together through imaginative programming, unique collaborations, a welcoming atmosphere, and exceptional service.
SMU of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. At Saint Mary’s, students find in every classroom — whether in person or online — a relationship-driven, person-centered education. Through intense inquiry, students discover the truths in the world and the character within. Founded in 1912 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, SMU enrolls 5,600 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its schools of graduate and professional programs, based in Minneapolis, Minn., but extending worldwide. Saint Mary’s offers respected and affordable programs in a variety of areas leading to bachelor’s, bachelor’s completion, master’s, certificate, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Learn more at smumn.edu.