Dance Gala Concert
Join us for our crowning season event, the Mason Dance Company Gala Concert
[Update: August 10, 2020] All in-person performances and events have been suspended through fall 2020. Learn More
Each Spring, Mason dancers perform works by renowned choreographers in the Concert Hall in the Dance Gala Concert. This extraordinary evening features a dynamic performance of technically demanding and intensely driven work by talented students as they embark upon their promising dance careers.
In 2020, the gala will feature Drive, by Kyle Abraham; new work by Micaela Taylor; a premiere by Christopher d’Amboise; and Variation 10 by Rafael Bonachela, with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra performing music by Benjamin Britten. See full guest artist bios at the bottom of the page.
The Mason Dance Fête held prior to the Dance Gala Concert performance, features wine, hors d’oeuvres, and student showcases exploring the featured choreography. The Fête raises much needed School of Dance scholarship funds.
Dance excerpts in the video below include works by Nacho Duato (Na Floresta), Andonis Foniadakis (Kosmos) and Lucinda Childs (Dance 1), at the 2019 Dance Gala Concert.
Guest Choreographer Bios
Kyle Abraham began dancing under the tutelage of the Civic Light Opera Academy and studied at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He went on to study dance in New York, receiving a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Abraham performed with several modern dance companies prior to starting his own, A.I.M. (formerly Abraham.In.Motion). Prior to working with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, in 2007 he joined David Dorfman Dance. In 2009, Abraham was listed in Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” where he was described as “equal parts power and grace.” He has received a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant (2008), a Bessie Award and a Princess Grace Award (2010), and in 2013, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. In addition to creating work for his company, Abraham has also been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the New York City Ballet. Abraham’s choreography has been presented around the United States at venues such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Center.
Micaela Taylor is a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer from Los Angeles, where she trained at Marat Daukayev School of Ballet and Los Angeles County High School of the Arts. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts and earned a BFA in dance in 2014. She has worked and performed with Ate9 Dance Company, Zoe Scofield, Camille A. Brown, Kate Wallich, and BODYTRAFFIC. Her choreographic passion led her to found the Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company The TL Collective in 2016. Taylor has received commissions to choreograph and teach from LA Contemporary Dance Company, AMDA College, Springboard Danse Montreal, MoveNYC, California State Long Beach, and Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre. Her work has been presented by Gelsey Kirkland Performing Arts Center, ACE Hotel, Raymond Kabaaz Theatre, Grand Performances, and Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. She is the inaugural EMERGE Choreographic Award recipient.
Rafael Bonachela was born in Barcelona, where he began his early dance training before moving to London in 1992 and joining the legendary Rambert Dance Company. He remained with Rambert as a dancer and associate choreographer until 2006, at which time he successfully set up the Bonachela Dance Company to concentrate on the rapid rise of his choreographic career. As a choreographer, Bonachela has been commissioned to make works for Candoco, George Piper Dances, ITDANSA Danza, Contemporanea de Cuba, Transitions Dance Company, and Dance Works Rotterdam, amongst others. In 2008, Rafael premiered his first full-length production for Sydney Dance Company (Australia), and less than six months later, he was appointed artistic director of the company. In February 2013, Bonachela was honored with an Officer’s Cross of the Order of Civil Merit by His Majesty the King of Spain. In 2016, he premiered Lux Tenebris for Sydney Dance Company’s CounterMove. In 2019, Bonachela celebrates his 10-year anniversary as artistic director of Sydney Dance Company.
Born into a family of dancers, Christopher d’Amboise has had many careers: dancer, director, choreographer, playwright, and teacher. He became a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, where he worked closely with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, dancing all the major roles, as well as originating several works. He left the company in 1983 to pursue other interests, including performing in the Broadway production of Song and Dance, which earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for a role in which he only danced. From 1990 to 1994, he was artistic director, president, and CEO of the Pennsylvania Ballet. He’s created more than 80 ballets for numerous international companies. Tribute premiered with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center in 2007. For musical theatre, he choreographed productions of High Society and the rock musical William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a project conceived by his brother-in-law, Terrence Mann. Television credits include appearances on the Kennedy Center Honors, Live from Studio 8H, and the Emmy Award-winning documentary He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing. He is currently a Heritage Professor in the School of Dance at George Mason University.