FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Renée M. Littleton
202.399. 7993 ext. 115
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THE ATLAS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER 2014-15 SEASON: IN THE MIX
Contemporary performances in music, dance, theatre, spoken word and family programming
Fuse Ensemble, Dickens Campaign and Ryan Keberle’s Catharsis, Hailu Mergia and Low Mentality
Christylez Bacon, Goldie Dean, So Percussion, Matt Wilson, Miguel Zenon
Second Hand Rose, Face the Music
INTERSECTIONS Festival, 2nd Annual Atlas Underground: Not Your Usual Gala,
Step Afrika! Magical Musical Holiday Step Show
(Washington, DC) The Atlas Performing Arts Center announced an exciting and robust 2014-15 season today, featuring artists making their Atlas debut, returning fan favorites, increased theatre and dynamic performance and community partnerships. The 2014-15 season, “IN THE MIX,” reflects the synergy of artist collaborations, the energy of the thriving H Street neighborhood and the Atlas’ mission for creating community through art, culture and connection. The Atlas invites DC audiences to explore and engage in performances, mini-festivals and events from more than 80+ talented local and nationally known artists. “IN THE MIX” showcases contemporary, new work that tells evocative stories and reveals new perspectives. With more than 50 season performances, not including the 100+ performances during INTERSECTIONS Festival, the Atlas continues to make its mark as a meaningful and vibrant performing arts venue in the Washington metropolitan area.
Tickets for the Fall 2014-15 season go on sale on August 14 at Noon. Tickets for Atlas members go on sale August 11 at Noon. More information on the 2014-15 season can be found at atlasarts.org or by calling 202.399.7993.
Newly appointed Atlas Executive Director Douglas Yeuell shared his thoughts on the upcoming season:
“I am excited to join the Atlas at such a pivotal time for the organization.” When programming the season, we set out to accomplish two main goals: 1) program performances and activities that reflect the roots and core of the Atlas mission and 2) present new work that connects audiences with the artists in a significant way. Where there is art, there is connection. Where there is connection, there are strong communities. It is no secret that the H Street NE corridor is not your average neighborhood. It is a vital and energetic destination and the Atlas has played a major role in that development. The 2014-15 season performances and partnerships honor the legacy and continued energy of this dynamic area.”
The Atlas welcomes several artists making their Atlas debut. Georgia roots music and jazz collide in a new collaboration between The Dickens Campaign headed by percussionist Deric Dickens and jazz trombonist Ryan Keberle’s Catharsis with his pianoless quartet. Alternative Chinese rock band Second Hand Rose combines Chinese traditional instruments with rock ‘n’ roll. DC’s own FUSE Ensemble presents their own interpretation of identity, image and art with live music and video installations. Beloved Ethiopian musician and superstar Hailu Mergia, featuring Low Mentality, continues to enjoy a revival of his career entertaining old and new fans. Electric guitarist and vocalist Leni Stern collaborates with Senegal’s Elhadji Alioune Faye in an exciting percussive event.
The season also marks the return of Artists-in-Residence Great Noise Ensemble and the Brad Linde Ensemble. INTERSECTIONS fan favorites eclectic chamber ensemble All Points West, classical Indian dancer Chitra Kalyandurg, and modern dance artists Gin Dance Company present new work outside the annual festival. Spoken word performer Goldie Dean and B-FLY Entertainment led by Liner Notes’ Paige Hernandez are also returning with new stories. Grammy nominated jazz saxophonist Miguel Zenon last seen in the Atlas’ 2011 season returns with a collaboration with video artist David Dempewolf, exploring cross culture identity of Puerto Ricans who left the island and settled in New York. Jazz drummer Matt Wilson returns with keyboard master John Medeski and new music innovators Sō Percussion present their latest work. DC’s own Grammy nominated progressive hip hop artist Christylez Bacon resurrects his popular Washington Sound Museum at the Atlas for a new season. Resident arts partners Joy of Motion Dance Center, Capital City Symphony, Congressional Chorus, and Step Afrika! will also present their seasons at the Atlas.
Atlas expands it role in the community with dynamic partnerships with DC arts organizations including Multi Flora Productions for Second Hand Rose, Hailu Mergia and Low Mentality and Leni Stern. The Library of Congress brings two performances to the Atlas as part of their concert series featuring Intelligence of the Human Machine and the Nels Cline Singers. Atlas and Washington Performing Arts will jointly present Face the Music, the only “alt-classical” teen ensemble in U.S. dedicated to performing music by living composers.
Theatre & Family Performances
The 2014-15 season also shines with theatre performances from Rorschach Theatre, the Welders, Theatre J, Brave Spirits and African Continuum Theatre Company. Theatre for the Very Young engages the youngest theatergoers ages 1-5 with new productions from Arts on the Horizon and Imagination Stage. Atlas Arts Partner Step Afrika! returns in December for its annual Magical Musical Holiday Step Show delighting audiences with their high-energy performances.
The sixth annual INTERSECTIONS Festival will feature more than 125 performances from 700+ artists. Building upon the success of its inaugural year, Atlas Underground: Not Your Usual Gala (October 17) will feature food from H Street’s award-winning restaurants and non-stop entertainment in four of its spaces.
Atlas mini-festivals offer a collection of performances and audience engagement activities centered on a theme.
Explore a New World (October 10-17) features performances from New York jazz artists Dickens Campaign and Ryan Keberle’s Catharsis. The Library of Congress presents Intelligence of the Human Machine, a duet for cello and brainwaves and for the very young, Imagination Stage will stage Wake Up, Brother Bear.
Inside Identity (October 24 – November 8) asks “What makes us who we are?” Multiple Grammy Nominee, Guggenheim Fellow and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Miguel Zenon presents a thrilling evening of music, language, and images cross-cutting between his native Puerto Rico and New York in Identities Are Changeable: Tales of the Diaspora. Rorschach Theatre, Gin Dance, playwrights The Welders and new music trendsetters Fuse Ensemble are also part of the Inside Identity series with works that delve into relationships and identity.
The Rhythms (March 13 – 28) mini festival includes contemporary national and international artists. The Atlas welcomes back jazz great Matt Wilson with John Medeski and new music dynamos Sō Percussion.
Top New Takes (April 17 – May 2) presents the “Atlas All-Stars,” local artists Christylez Bacon, Paige Hernandez, B-Fly Entertainment, Brad Linde, Goldie Dean, and Chitra Kalyandurg. Performances from this gifted class of artists are shaping the performing arts scene in DC and beyond.
About the Atlas
The Atlas Performing Arts Center is located in a historic movie theatre complex on H Street, NE. H Street had been a bustling retail corridor for decades before the 1968 riots. In 2003, spurred by Jane Lang’s vision and commitment to restore the Atlas as a performing arts center, the city adopted a plan to rebuild the corridor and identified the Atlas as central to the revitalization. Vacant for years, the Atlas movie theatre re-opened in November, 2006 following an extensive four-year renovation. In addition to its theatres and dance studios, the Atlas also has administrative offices, dressing rooms, lobbies, a café and production and rehearsal spaces. The center is home to a diverse group of locally renowned theatre and dance companies, symphony orchestras, choral groups and arts education programs.
Through its programs and service to the community, the Atlas seeks to honor and maintain the history and traditions of H Street NE while also fostering the changes taking place to renew the H Street corridor. The Atlas has become the artistic heart of a community struggling uneasily with its transformation, and it seeks to be a center for community conversation, where a range of artistic and individual expressions can come together to be shared and celebrated.
The mission of the Atlas Performing Arts Center is to foster the artistic growth of professional and aspiring performing artists throughout the region; to create a new model for collaborative arts management; to establish a unique community-centered venue for training and education in the performing arts and stagecraft; and to energize and sustain the revitalization of H Street, NE and the surrounding community.
For information on the Atlas and the 2014-15 season, visit atlasarts.org.
Follow the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Facebook and on twitter @AtlasPACDC.
(Washington, D.C.) The Atlas Board of Directors has named Douglas Yeuell Executive Director of the Atlas Performing Arts Center. His appointment comes four months after serving as Interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) following the departure of former Executive Director Sam Sweet. During his tenure as Interim COO, Yeuell has overseen all aspects of operations, administration and programming in advance of the Atlas’ 2014-15 performance season.
“The Atlas Board of Directors is delighted that Doug will assume the leadership of the Atlas,” says Atlas Board Chairman and Founder Jane Lang. “He is an outstanding and highly regarded arts leader with a profound commitment to the mission of the Atlas, as well as the ability to achieve our goals in the arts and the community.”
Committed to the Atlas’ mission of fostering the artistic growth of professional and aspiring artists, Yeuell’s key initiatives include maintaining a high quality roster of contemporary performances and partnerships with DC’s vibrant and emerging performing artists in theatre, music, spoken word, dance and choral arts. Yeuell will also focus on enhancing current arts partners’ relationships within the arts community and at the Atlas.
“The Atlas is a state-of-the-art performance venue well-known for presenting new and contemporary performances and for nurturing a diverse range of artists,” shares Yeuell. “Additionally, the Atlas is regarded as the main catalyst for the revitalization of the H Street NE community. I am pleased to be part of that success and ever-evolving growth.”
Yeuell also plans to increase the Atlas’ profile in arts education through the development of outreach and educational programs.
“The Atlas is a model of artistic excellence due to its performances and community engagement activities,” continues Yeuell. “I look forward building its reputation as a leading performing arts venue and destination for art, culture and connection in the Greater Washington metropolitan area.
Prior to joining the Atlas and since 1989, Yeuell served as the Executive and Artistic Director of Joy of Motion Dance Center (JOMDC). His ability to leverage Joy of Motion’s “Dance is for Everyone” mission resulted in growing the organization from a one-room studio to a financially strong performing arts organization with 3 locations serving tens of thousands of children and adults every year. Under his leadership, Joy of Motion reaches over 500 District of Columbia school children each school season through 10 partner schools and provided scholarships to more than 70 youth students during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Yeuell’s 25 years as a leader and arts educator is evidenced through his work in the development of numerous and significant education programs for adults and youth coupled with substantial outreach and volunteer initiatives. His “Dance is For Everyone” platform became the mission of Joy of Motion Dance Center and has succeeded in uniting Washington’s diverse communities through dance and the arts. During his tenure, Joy of Motion Dance Center received two Mayor’s Arts Awards for Excellence in Service to the Arts (2002) and for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2009).
About Douglas Yeuell
For nearly 25 years, Douglas Yeuell was the Artistic and Executive Director of Joy of Motion Dance Center. During his tenure, JOMDC has expanded from a one-room studio to a major performing arts organization with 3 locations. In addition to increasing the scope of dance classes, workshops, and performing ensembles offered by JOMDC, Yeuell launched outreach initiatives to schools in Maryland, Virginia, and the District, and secured the designation of JOMDC as a regional dance center for the DEA Youth Dance Program. Yeuell was integral in the development and construction of new dance studios for JOMDC as part of the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Northeast DC in 2004. Yeuell, in addition to his administrative work, has had an active career as arts educator and artist at numerous institutions throughout the country and world. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States, has been a guest teacher for Dance Masters of America, and has taught internationally in Italy, Russia, and Austria. As a dancer and artist, Yeuell has performed throughout the region as a soloist and choreographer, and was also the director of his own jazz dance ensemble, Jazzdanz/dc, as well as student based dance groups. Actively engaged in the local arts community, Yeuell has served on the Board of Directors of the Capital Region Educators of Dance Organization, the Grants Committee of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and the Arts and Entertainment Advisory Committee of the Bethesda Urban Partnership. He served as the Chair of the Board for Dance Metro DC and is currently the Chair of Dance Bethesda – an annual dance festival held in downtown Bethesda, Maryland, and a member of the CulturalDC Board of Directors. Yeuell was awarded the Alan M. Kriegsman Award at the 2008 Metro DC Dance Awards for his service to the dance community.
The Atlas is back.
For three days last week, art patrons donned tuxedos and evening
dresses to mingle, listen to music and take in a play at the Atlas
Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. The black-tie events were part
of a five-day grand opening that organizers hope will serve notice that
one of the city’s historic commercial hubs is resurrected after a
hiatus that began during the turbulent 1960s.
The riots in 1968 sent many businesses running to the suburbs, leaving
strips such as H Street barren and boarded up. But gradually, as the
city’s fortunes have risen, so have those of H Street, attracting
condominiums, bars and, more recently, the arts.
The Atlas, which opened in 1938 as a movie house, is part of that
renaissance. Three dance studios that are part of the complex have been
open for more than a year. But for many residents, the recent
celebration was their first time seeing the new facility, which boasts
two performance theaters, a cafe, dressing rooms and offices.
“This is beautiful,” Nina M. Martin, 76, and a resident of the District
since 1955, said as she entered the sparkling new building. Martin
remembered attending 25-cent movies on Saturdays, a memory shared by
her neighbor, Mary Hinson, 71.
“We need this,” said Martin, recalling how the riots after Martin
Luther King Jr.’s assassination sent the nation and the city reeling.
Smoke rose over the city as stores and homes burned to the ground,
youngsters clashed with police and troops flooded the streets. “I
couldn’t get home. I have never seen a place look so bad.”
Nearly four decades later, things are looking up on H Street. In
addition to the Atlas, which bills itself as a community performing
arts center that will house companies currently without a base, there
are new yoga studios, coffee shops, fitness centers and restaurants
hoping to rekindle some of the magic old-timers remember.
Meredith “Ann” Belkov, for instance, remembers her father’s grocery
store, McBride’s variety store, a lady’s dress store named Kopy Kat and
her alma mater, Eastern High School. Although the city was segregated,
Belkov said her family regularly mingled with people of other races and
religions and volunteered at a black church after the riots.
“It was one of the saddest times to see smoke rising across the city,”
said Belkov, who is a member of the Atlas board of directors.
A former director of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration
Museum in New York, Belkov was all smiles this weekend, watching a
children’s hip-hop dance group perform and as hundreds took in a
musical commissioned for the opening that recounts the lives of
immigrants — Jews, Irish, German — who once lived around H Street,
co-existing with black residents. The play’s title is “Coming Home.”
Officials said the goal is to make the Atlas feel like home to others.
Among the partners that will use the space are the African Continuum
Theater, Joy of Motion Dance Center, Capital City Symphony and Levine
School of Music. Groups that use the space are required to perform
community outreach and education programs.
The gleaming, expansive space that begs outsiders to come in is a far
cry from what the center’s principal founder, Jane Lang, saw five years
ago when she had the idea to create such a space. She said it was
More than $20 million later, Lang has changed her tune.
“I couldn’t visualize it,” she said during the recent celebration. “So
every time something was completed, I would say, ‘Oh, this is what this
is going to look like.’ “
At the opening, what it looks like got plenty of accolades.
Click here to read the article from the Examiner