The Precious Present
THE JAZZ ELEMENT
December 17th-18th, 2022
Sat @ 2pm & 8pm - Sun @ 2pm
Austin Ventures Studio Theatre / Ballet Austin, Austin, TX
501 West 3rd St.
The State Garage on 3rd Street / The Parking Garage at City Hall
The Public Library Garage is also a short 3 block walk.
“It’s not exclusive, but inclusive, which is the whole spirit of jazz.”
– Herbie Hancock
“Jazz stands for freedom.”
– Dave Brubeck
“Who Am I?” is the question once again for a family of Austin artists for Tapestry’s 2022 rendition of The Precious Present - The Jazz Element and the answers are thread throughout a collaborative concert within the creative play of jazz music and sensibilities.
This holiday season’s concert features vocalists Pamela Hart and Denisha Adrianna modern/contemporary dancers Sharon Marroquin and Jun “Sunny” Shen, Bharatanatyam master Anuradha Naimpally, local Flamenco legend Olivia Chacon, Ballet Afrique’s China Smith, flow artist Kelly Bach, Tapestry alumni Jesse Berry, Tapestry director Acia Gray and the spontaneous, evening length visual artistry of Ami Plasse.
Introduced to the stage once again by our disembodied “inner voice” and thought provoking wisdom of Austin Chronicle legend Robert Faires, we are all reminded of what it truly means to be present…right here…right now.
With production design by Stephen Pruitt the audience and artists are led by a soundscape of incredible jazz musicians including Masumi Jones on drums, Dylan Jones on bass and Austin Kimble on piano.
This new work celebrates a musical and physical collaboration of diverse voices within our Austin arts ecosystem. All unique yet traveling together and not alone - an artistic human tapestry of life that holds itself together as ONE.
MEET THE DANCE CAST
Kelly Bach is a psychedelic, prop spinning, dancing, rainbow kitten. Originally from NY, Kelly has always been in the spotlight. She discovered her love for performance early in theatre, dance, and choir and quickly realized she had found a place where she belonged. Kelly is passionate about movement and art forms of the human body and has continued to elevate her skills and knowledge with flow arts, yoga, aerial acrobatics, fitness, and anything that gets her wiggling her body. Kelly's deep understanding and connection to her body, the divine dance of cosmic energy within her and the universe, her effervescent personality, and her hard work and determination make her a dazzling performer with the ability to stimulate and captivate audiences of all ages and walks of life. When she isn't on stage, you can find her dancing through life with her friends, teaching yoga, fitness, and mindfulness throughout Austin, and exploring outside in nature with her partner.
As a recent alumni of Tapestry (only due to COVID layoffs), Jesse spent four seasons with the company and began his dance training at the age of three at Moschetta’s Performing Arts Center under the instruction of Barbara Mochetta and Jaqueline Moschetta-Warren in Fredericktown, PA. He studied tap, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Over his many years of training, tap dance remained his true passion. He has continued to foster his love of tap by not only performing but teaching and loves sharing his passion for tap dance with younger students. He taught on staff at Tapestry’s Youth Academy, Evolution Dance Center, Dance by Carly as well as St Elmo’s elementary school via Tapestry Dance Company’s outreach program. Jesse has performed in original TDC works including, One Step at a Time, Of Mice and Music – A Jazz Tap Nutcracker, Listen, Just Tap, April Fools and the tour of Passing It Forward - The American Dream? Jesse also embarked on a five-week tour as a solo tap improv artist in China during the summer of 2018. He loved the opportunity to work side by side with the talented members of TDC under the direction of Acia Gray and is looking forward to rejoining the Tapestry vision with The Precious Present 2022. When Jesse is not on stage or in the studio "shedding", you will find him downtown performing on the streets with local Austin artists and musicians.
Olivia Chacón is a flamenco dancer, choreographer, and instructor with a uniquely powerful dance style and dynamic approach to teaching students. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Olivia has danced flamenco for over seventeen years, and has spent five years studying flamenco and performing in Sevilla and Madrid, Spain with some of the world’s best flamenco artists. She spent two years touring internationally throughout Spain, Mexico, and Cyprus with the Cristóbal Reyes Compañia de Flamenco, and also performed as a soloist in flamenco clubs in Spain and Germany. Olivia aims to keep the dance form alive and well in this country by performing frequently throughout Texas and the region, and teaching flamenco to a new generation of dancers at her studio, Flamencura Music and Dance in Austin. Olivia is also co-founder and Artistic Director of A’lante Flamenco. Born in Austin in 2011, the 11-member company has garnered rave reviews and awards for their innovative ‘flamenco theater’ productions, including the Austin Critics’ Table Award for Best Dancer (Olivia Chacon 2013); and Best Dance Ensemble (2014 and 2015). A’lante Flamenco presents original choreography and music with the goal of connecting with audiences via creative storytelling. Their productions include The Red Shoes: A Flamenco Fairytale (2012); Prophecies (2014), based on the writings of Khalil Gibran; and most recently Desplazados (2015), in which company members told their personal stories of immigration and displacement via music, dance, and video. Olivia is also a dedicated flamenco dance teacher. She has taught flamenco dancers of all ages and levels since 2004, always with a special emphasis on understanding the pivotal role of music in flamenco dance. She has been an adjunct dance instructor at McCallum Fine Arts Academy since 2012, and loves exposing young dancers to the complexity, beauty, and tradition of flamenco. Flamencura students are also encouraged to show off their skills during performances several times per year in order to foment their artistic growth.
Robert Faires has been active in the Austin arts scene since 1980, having worked on more than 90 productions across the city as an actor, a director, and a playwright. He is also a recovering arts critic, following his recent retirement from The Austin Chronicle after 35 years of covering the performing, visual, and literary arts there. His writing and criticism have been recognized with awards locally and nationally, and in 2019, he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.
As a musician, soloist, choreographer and master teacher of the indigenous American art form of jazz tap dance, Ms. Gray has toured extensively across the U.S. and abroad as a tap dancer and in 1989 co-founded Tapestry Dance Company in Austin, TX with Deirdre Strand and currently serves as Producing Artistic Director & Artistic Director of The Soul to Sole Tap Festival. A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts/NYC, Ms. Gray has shared the stage with legends of the form including Donald O’Connor, Fayard Nicholas, Arthur Duncan, Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker and many others in such productions as The Great Tap Reunion, Tap Do/Wop, Just Friends, Masters of Tap, Chicago on Tap and Women in Tap at UCLA. She was chosen to work with legend Charles ‘Honi’ Coles in America’s first creative residency for tap at The Colorado Dance Festival and again with Jimmy Slyde and was featured in the documentary A Class Act: The Magic of Honi Coles. She served on the Steering Committee of The National Tap Plan of The International Tap Association and served as its director from 2008-2018. She has also danced, choreographed and taught for numerous academic institutions and festivals around the world including courses at UT Austin in tap pedagogy. Her book The Souls of Your Feet – A Tap Dance Guide for Rhythm Explorers has been translated in the Czech Republic and China and debuted as an Amazon.com Bestseller in its category in 1998. Her numerous awards include the “Hoofer Award” by The New York City Tap Festival, nominated for a Princess Grace Award in the early 1990's and honored at the 2018 DanceUSA Conference among numerous tap festival honors. Ms. Gray has received numerous "Best Of" awards by the Critics Table in Austin and her work The Souls of Our Feet - A Celebration of American Tap Dance was chosen as an NEA American Masterpiece production and toured throughout the US, Canada, and China from 2009-2012. She can also be seen in the documentaries Honi Coles: The Class Act of Tap, Gotta Move - Women In Tap, Tap or Die, Thinking on Their Feet - Women of the Tap Renaissance and Passing it Forward produced by PBS. Ms. Gray is also proud to be a 2019 Austin Creative Alliance Honoree and a current member of the Austin Arts Commission. www.aciagray.com.
Pamela Hart is highly regarded as one of Austin, Texas’ finest vocalist. She is noted by Austin Women’s Magazine as “Austin’s First Lady of Jazz.” Pamela is keen on keeping jazz vocal music alive. In 1994, Pamela and Kevin Hart founded the Women in Jazz Association, Inc. with a mission to keep jazz alive. The organization has been growing ever since providing concerts, vocal workshops, and youth programs geared towards jazz education and performance. With her performances, the Women in Jazz Association, Inc., vocal performance workshops, and vocal coaching, Pamela is making a difference in the Austin jazz scene. Pamela Hart was inducted in the Austin Jazz Society Hall of Fame in 2018. Pamela’s appreciation for the great masters of jazz is apparent in her intonation, grace and style. Professional, unique, & captivating,... Pamela Hart performs locally, regionally, and nationally for Concerts, Festivals, Weddings, Corporate Events, Banquets, & Night Clubs. She has also performed in Europe with the James Polk Texas State Jazz Band. She has repeatedly opened shows for, and shared stages with, many popular artists including Miss Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Nat Adderley, Jr., Kirk Whalum, Rachelle Ferrell, Norman Brown & Richard Elliot. Her passion for jazz extends to jazz education programs for youth and young female singers. For more information on Pamela, visit her website at www.pamelahart.com
Born and raised in Mexico City, Sharon's choreography has been listed numerous times as one of the top ten dance events of the year by the Austin Chronicle, and she is a three-time winner of the Austin Critics Table Award for Outstanding Choreographer. Sharon has created pieces for Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre, Big Range Austin Dance Festival, Forklift Danceworks, Ballet East, Hot September Flurries, Tapestry Dance Company, and many others. Her production, The Materiality of Impermanence, based on her experience with breast cancer, was honored with awards for Best Dance Concert and Best Dancer. In addition to her artistic endeavors, Sharon is a dual language elementary school teacher, and the proud mother and stepmother of two teenage sons. http://sharonmarroquin.wixsite.com/dance
Denisha is a Texas-native singer, songwriter, and vocal producer who always felt called to the arts. Throughout grade school she participated in her local church and school choirs, where she was selected to sing in the DFW metroplex choir, UIL competitions, all region choir. Denisha furthered her Education at the University of North Texas, where she got her degree in kinesiology. After graduating from UNT, Denisha moved back to Austin in search of a new beginning. Since being back in Austin she has had the opportunity to sing backgrounds for various artists, be a part of an amazing collective and direct vocals in Austin’s very own Stretch Musik Band, and cultivate her own sound in the music industry.
Dancer/Choreographer/Educator/Collaborator. Being raised by art-loving Indian parents in Canada, Anuradha has had the best of many worlds. Her western upbringing along with her traditional training in India and deep-rooted spirituality, make her a unique teacher and performer of Bharata Natyam dance who connects with people from across the globe. She is founder and Artistic Director of Austin Dance India, her organization of nearly 30 years through which she teaches regular classes and presents her work. She has trained numerous dancers from beginner to professional level and continues to mentor students and young artists. She is a 2018 inductee into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame for her significant body of work and a juried artist on the touring roster of the Texas Commission on the Arts. The Austin Area Critics’ Circle has nominated and awarded her Best Dancer and Production numerous times. She has received several awards in India including Sringara Mani and Mayura Natya Tarakai. She is a recipient of the 2020 and 2017 Artistic Innovations Grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance. The Austin Chronicle included her in their list of Movers and Shakers for her valuable contributions in the dance community. She tours regularly as a soloist or as a collaborator with local and international artists of different genres. Anuradha is passionate about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and is a member of the Global Artists 2030 Network. Her social practice projects include work with refugee teens, South Asian seniors, and social justice, and climate change. Her work with girls’ empowerment through dance was featured in the PBS series, Arts in Context. Anuradha can be seen at various schools, libraries, and museums across the state presenting performances on Indian dance and culture. She is deeply dedicated to arts in education and making art available to all children. Interested in creating and performing works that not only historically preserve artistic traditions, she engages in art as social practice to build community and bring awareness to global issues.
Ami is an award-winning, eclectic creative professional with 22+ years with a strong history of results in Advertising + Marketing as a Creative Director, Art Director, Animator, Illustrator, Designer, and Developer (way back in the day). Ami has worked across the media spectrum–driving & executing projects in Social, Web, Display Advertising, Print, TV, Video, Animation, Apps, Augmented Reality+++. In his current endeavor, Gonzo Viz, he is creating unique drawn, painted & animated content & engaging experiences for brands that maximize engagement and meet business objectives. Having worked in a variety of positions–from Agency to client, he has a multi-faceted perspective on the creative and production process. He is a true believer that strong communication and collaboration is the key to any successful enterprise, and he strives to be part of teams and initiatives that have a strong sense of purpose to create work that exceeds business & creative expectations.
Jun "Sunny" Shen began his formal dance training during high school, where he learned ballet, Chinese classical opera, and Chinese folk dance. He earned his bachelor's degree in dance at Beijing Capital Normal University in 2001 and worked with Beijing Dance LDTX as a full-time dancer and choreographer from 2005 to 2009. In the past several years, he has performed and choreographed many works at various worldwide dance festivals such as Beijing Dance Festival, Grand Performances (LA), Dance Salad Festival (Houston), Busan International Dance Festival (South Korea), Culture Scapes (Switzerland), Braunschweig Dance Festival (Germany), and many more. He has also collaborated with many artists and dance companies such as Willy Tsao, Janis Claxton, Charles O. Anderson, Hugo Dalton, Yago de Quay, Wang Jianwei, Sally Jacques, as well as Ziru Production, Alonzo-King Lines Ballet Training Program, Ellen Bartel Dance Collection, Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company, and Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre. In addition, Shen has rich teaching experiences both nationally and internationally. In 2013, Shen joined the graduate dance program at The University of Texas at Austin, and earned his MFA in 2016. After his graduation, he formed Shen Jun Movement Effect and started teaching dance at Austin Community College as an assistant professor. In June of 2017, Shen formally joined Blue Lapis Light as a principal dancer and choreographer, and in 2018 was awarded Best Dancer by the Austin Critics Table for his performance in Belonging, Part One. In 2019, Shen’s work Centrifugation was selected to perform at the gala concert of American College Dance Association South Central Regional conference.
China Smith performer, director, teacher, producer, and now, Founding Director of Ballet Afrique and East Austin Performing Raised in East Austin herself, as well as teaching dance for over eight years in East Austin schools and performing arts programs, China found limited opportunities for exposure to African American art, which she felt was crucial to the self-empowerment of her young predominantly African American students. With strong roots in the community, China served as the Director of Performing Arts at Texas Empowerment Academy from 2004 -2011 where she developed curriculum for the performing arts program, advises on hiring, teaches dance for grades 5-9, and has established a youth performing company. Since 2004, she fully produces the dance productions at TEA, serving as director, choreographer, theatre set/tech designer, costume designer, accountant, and advertising/promoter. These productions include Blackout (annually 2005-2008), Out the Box (2011), Message In the Music (201, Where We Come From (2008), Moving in the Blue (2006), Connected (2005), East Austin Revival (2004). Drawn to the stage at an early age, nine-year-old China debuted as a dancer/actor in Porgy and Bess at the Bass Concert Hall. Since then, China has danced in countless productions and events in Austin, including Tapestry Dance Company’s Esprit, Austin Salsa Music Festival, Discover by Roy Lozano’s Ballet Folklorico de Texas, Huston-Tillotson’s Hispanic Heritage Festival, DANCEfest, African American Festival of Dance, and Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance Company’s Celebrando. China danced at the 2008 Black Arts Movement festival in the debut performance of Ballet Afrique to name a few. China’s “street dance” style was developed through her extensive travels throughout the Caribbean studying traditional African derived folk dance. From 1998 – 2005, however, China chooses to focus her studies on traditional dance from Puerto Rico training directly under Bomba and Plena dance Master Modesto Cepeda. China began studying choreography with Kathy Dunn Hamrick in 2001 and has actively been creating dance works ever since. In 2008 with the creation of Ballet Afrique, China made a priority of getting the training that was not accessible to her as a young street dancer. Now training in classical ballet, modern dance, including Horton and Graham Technique, and African dance, China has had the rare opportunity to train with Master dancers/choreographers such as Dudley Williams, Mel Tomlinson, Bruce Wood, Milton Myers and Chuck Davis.