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AV Pick: Configuration Dance (May 3 & May 4)

Saturday, May 3 & Sunday, May 4


An inaugural performance by Configuration Dance Theater will take place this weekend to establish the company’s new home base in Buffalo. The dance company has roots in the area already in the form of co-founder Joseph Cipolla, who got his start at Williamsville’s American Academy of Ballet. He went on to join the Dance Theater of Harlem and then the Birmingham Royal Ballet in England, where he met his wife and co-founder of Configuration Dance, Catherine Batcheller. Together they have choreographed and produced for Configuration—which until now was a touring company based in Cape Cod, Mass.—as well as participating in numerous other national and international projects. The show this weekend includes premiere works by well known international choreographers Yuri Zhukov and Michael Shannon, as well as a piece by Susan Jaffe, former principal dancer with NYC’s American Ballet Theater and one of the leading prima ballerinas of her time. Configuration is known for combining classical traditions with modern innovations, blurring the lines between genres without compromising the integrity of traditional technique. This performance will premiere the first choreographed work by Jaffe; a new work by Zhukov called Levitation; and two pieces by Shannon—What’s the Pointe, a contemporary ballet piece based on Bach’s cello suites, and Tchaicotic, a celebration of the music of Tchaikovsky. The performance here is a preview for the one the company will present the following week at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theatre in NYC. Cipolla says he is excited about this because, although the company has performed at Alvin Ailey before, “this will be the first time we’re exporting work we made here in Buffalo. It’s like we’re cultural ambassadors of sorts. Which makes me feel really good.” Another thing to feel good about: Saturday’s performance supports AIDS Community Services of WNY, with prime seat tickets available for $25.

—k. o’day

8pm Sat; 4pm Sun. UB Center for the Arts, Amherst Campus (645-ARTS/ $20-$25 (box office, Ticketmaster)