Arts News: Dance, Baby!

Groundworks pairs celebrities with dancers

It was inevitable that, in the cultural shadow of Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, dance companies would pair their artists with local celebrities and pillars of the community. GroundWorks Dancetheater has announced its celebrity-with-dancer pairings for Decadedance, a celebration of its 10th anniversary. The couples are: Cynthia Dunn, president and CEO of Judson Services Inc., with Damien Highfield; Robert Eckardt Sr., vice president of the Cleveland Foundation, with Felise Bagley; Robert Fatica of Primo Vino Restaurant, with Sarah Perrett; Dave Lieberth, Akron Deputy Mayor, with Amy Miller; the Very Rev. Tracey Lind of Trinity Cathedral, with David Shimotakahara; and Rita Montlack, Cleveland artist, with Kelly Brunk. You'll get to vote with dollars for the winner, with proceeds supporting GroundWorks education programs. It's at Windows on the River (2000 Sycamore Street on the West Bank of the Flats) from 6-11 p.m. Friday, April 24. Tickets: $125-$175. Call 216.691.3180 or go to

GroundWorks made its New York debut at the West End Theater in early March. Christopher Atamian, who writes for Dance Magazine, showed the kind of surprise that's becoming familiar to us in Northeast Ohio when someone discovers that our state is not a cultural backwater. He headlined a blog post, "Contemporary Dance Theater ... Created from the Ground Up ... in Cleveland, no less ... Who knew? (Or: The Little Dance Company That Could)." After describing the company's "classically influenced movement set to contemporary and new music" and praising the choreography and the dancers' skills, he went on to ask, "Could GroundWorks evolve into a more important presence in the dance world?"

The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve hosts a seminar by Making It as an Artist author Joann DePolo from 1-3 p.m. Thursday, April 18, so it's time to sign up now. DePolo's seminars are part motivational talk and part business, designed to help artists set goals, challenge themselves and move their careers forward. DePolo works in acrylic and made a splash in 1995 with "Cleveland Rocks" — portraits of recording artists and Cleveland scenery on ordinary rocks, which caught the attention of that painter of psychedelic graphics, Peter Max. A book signing follows the seminar. It's at AAWR (1834 E. 123rd St. 216.721.9020,; it's $25 for members, $30 for everyone else.

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