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Denver dance company to perform, hold classes at Center for the Arts

The Zikr Dance Ensemble will present “Sacred Spaces” on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 24 and 25, at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and can be purchased by calling 731-7469 or online at www.pagosacenter.org.

For the “Sacred Spaces” concert, the Zikr Dance Ensemble will explore a variety of cultural expressions through dance that focus both on certain locations on earth, which have always been known to contain special vibrations, along with sacred dance movements whose design and purpose was to create an experience of transcendence.

Master classes from artistic director David Taylor and dancer Jennifer Begley will be offered Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Pagosa Center for the Arts.  Each class will be roughly one and a half hours in length, and will cost $20 per class.  The classes are open to intermediate to advance students.   Taylor will teach a classic ballet class. Begley will teach a “Lyrical” class that fuses modern dance, jazz and ballet.  The first class begins at 1 p.m., the second at 3. Call the Pagosa Center for the Arts to register.  Registration is limited.  

Begley was born in Manila, Philippines. Her early training began with Metropolitan Academy of Dance and International Ballet School (Denver), and later with American Ballet Theatre (NYC) and The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. Upon graduation from high school in 2007, she joined Ballet Ariel in Denver, where she danced for four seasons. There, her principal roles included the lead in La Vivandiere, the waltz variation in Les Sylphides, Sapphire Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Carlotta Grisi in Pas De Quatre, Kitri in Don Quixote, Figs of My ... And Storm choreographed by Gregory Gonzales, Gamzatti in La Bayadere and the original role of Molly Brown in the ballet Avoca, which was created for her by Ilena Norton and assisted by Patricia Renzetti. In 2009 she joined Zikr Sacred Dance Ensemble and, in 2010, the role of Apsara was created for her by Zikr artistic director David Taylor. Jennifer also recently completed her first season with Dawson-Wallace Dance Project.      

Taylor has been professionally involved in the Colorado dance community for the past 42 years. He began choreographing in 1976 during the course of a 12-year dance career and since then has created over 100 original works. In 1979, he founded the David Taylor Dance Theatre, for 32 years one of the Rocky Mountain Region’s most well known and respected dance organizations, and Denver’s original contemporary ballet company. As the principal choreographer for 27 years, Taylor’s unique creative focal point became a fascination with the ritual of ancient cultures, metaphysical concepts and multi-media collaborations that served to put DTDT on the map nationwide as a company to watch. He received the City and County of Denver’s first Individual Artist Fellowship Award for Dance in 1987, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1997 and The Carson-Brierly Dance Library’s “Living Legends of Dance” Award in 2006.  A recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts grants, his productions of The Nutcracker and Rainforest have been presented throughout the United States and he has also been commissioned to stage ballets for the Dayton Ballet in Ohio, the Lone Star Ballet in Amarillo, Texas, the Canyon Concert Ballet in Fort Collins and for the Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet.  Taylor currently teaches dance history at CSU in Fort Collins, and ballet technique, pas de deux, pointe, variations and dance history at Denver Ballet Theatre and Longmont Dance Theatre. He also conducts workshops on sacred dance for various statewide and national organizations and continues to be in demand as a Summer Intensive guest teacher for ballet programs throughout Colorado. Taylor founded his new company, the Zikr Dance Ensemble, in the summer of 2009. The company’s roster includes some of the finest ballet-trained dancers from various companies along the Front Range and Zikr has already presented successful performances in Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Carbondale, Grand Junction, St. Paul, Minn., and Long Beach, Calif., to critical acclaim.

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