Dallas DanceFest Profile: Ewert & Company

Ewert & Company members Rebekah Caffey and Lela Bell. Photo: Sharen Bradford
Ewert & Company members Rebekah Caffey and Lela Bell. Photo: Sharen Bradford

Artistic Director Anna Marie Ewert-Pittman on building her company, Ewert & Company, and performing at the inaugural Dallas DanceFest.

Dallas — Like many dance companies across North Texas, Ewert & Company was created out of Artistic Director Anna Marie Ewert-Pittman’s need to express herself. “I wanted to do something different than what I was doing,” Ewert-Pittman says. “And I wanted more of a voice in the work.” At the time she was a member of Dancers’ Unlimited Repertory Company in Dallas. When Dancers’ Unlimited disbanded in the early ’90s Ewert-Pittman saw it as an opportunity to start making her own work, and in 2000 Ewert & Company was formed.

Over the last 15 years Ewert & Company has built up an electric repertory that critics have called dramatic, witty and original. But finding her choreographic voice didn’t happen overnight. “I would say my movement choices were more Graham-based in the beginning. I think after I got my MFA I was able to step outside my little box and expand my artistry.”

Ewert-Pittman holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University and a MFA in Performing Arts-Dance from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She currently teaches for Brookhaven College and Tarrant County College as well as for the Dallas Youth Repertory Project which holds classes at Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

The piece Ewert & Company will be presenting at the Dallas City Performance Hall (PCDH) as part of the inaugural Dallas DanceFest is Ewert-Pittman’s Not So Carefully Kept (2012). The work features music by Henry Purcell and is performed by company members Haylee Barganier, Lela Bell and Rebekah Caffey. “Many of my dancers I know from my days at Dancers’ Unlimited.” The piece also features excerpts from the book The Velveteen Rabbit read by James Mio, rearranged. “Not So Carefully Kept deals a lot with remembrance and loss. It’s a pretty layered piece that I think everyone will be able to relate to in some way.”

Anna Marie Ewert-Pittman. Photo: Sharen Bradford
Anna Marie Ewert-Pittman. Photo: Sharen Bradford

While discussing her creative process Ewert-Pittman admits that she doesn’t follow a particular format each time she starts a new project. “Sometimes I start the process with the music and sometimes I don’t. I really like listening to opera and soulful music, but whether I use it or not really depends on the subject matter.” The one constant she says is the time she spends researching the subject before going into the studio to explore.

Ewert-Pittman considers herself a team player when it comes to supporting other up-and-coming dance companies in the area. “I have had a few emerging companies reach out to me for advice. I try to help as best I can and if not then I direct them to someone I think can help them.”

» Ewert & Company will perform Not So Carefully Kept at the Friday night showcase, 8 p.m. Aug. 29, at Dallas City Performance Hall. The other companies performing Friday are: Dallas Ballet Company, Indique Dance Company, Rhythmic Souls, Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Texas Ballet Theater, Southern Methodist University Meadows Dance Ensemble, Dallas Black Dance Theatre.

» Companies performing Saturday are: Chamberlain Performing Arts, Chado Danse, Houston METdance, Avant Chamber Ballet, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Rep I and II companies, Tarrant County College Movers Unlimited, Mejia Ballet International, Bruce Wood Dance Project

» The Dance Council Honors are Sunday at 2 p.m., honoring Nita Braun, Ann Briggs-Cutaia and Joe Cutaia, Buster Cooper, Dylis Croman, Suzy Jary and Beth Wortley, with performances by Ballet Ensemble of Texas, Bruce Wood Dance Project and 2014 Dance Council Scholarship Recipients.

This profile was originally posted on TheaterJones.com.



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