PREVIEW: Stuart Loungway at Dance Place

From the DC Dance Journalism Project

Preview: Stuart Loungway at Dance Place
by Taryn Brown

Bold. Limitless. Fierce. Innovative. Multi-dimensional. These are not the standard words used when describing stock ballet choreography. Yet, when it comes to Stuart Loungway’s Terra Firma Dance Theatre, these are accurate descriptions of their contemporary style. Examples of Loungway’s exciting work will be on display this weekend at Dance Place, as he is Dance Metro DC’s 2016 Fall Presentation Choreographic Recipient.

Within the past year, Loungway has been making his mark in the DC metro landscape. Through his teaching at both Washington Ballet and CityDance, he has been able to pass down the extensive lexicon of classical ballet technique. The dissemination of aplomb doesn’t stop with classroom experience for Mr. Loungway, however. Several dancers from CityDance will appear as corps de ballet apprentices along with Terra Firma Dance Theatre’s professionals in their upcoming show at Dance Place.

Terra Firma can best be translated as “solid earth.” In an ephemeral, transient world of dance art, Loungway seeks to make work that is permanent in its essence. He wants to create dances that not only exist within their given time of performance, but also as art work that can withstand the test of time, akin to sculptures and canvas on art gallery walls.

As Marcel Duchamp posited, it will be up to the spectator to determine posterity of work. Thusly, you are invited to see Terra Firma Dance Theatre’s work and fulfill the audience member role. Expect to see repertory dances including Mockingbird, Stagioni, and Chamber Duet. The dances will range from large groups to solos, joviality to melancholy, and rapidity to adagio. According to Loungway, he wants to invigorate ballet by making fresh and progressive work that will “challenge and inform the audience” while equally focusing on audience inclusivity. Additionally, he desires to highlight “how ballet applies to the now.”

Developing a fully realized contemporary ballet company can warrant its own challenges, which include fundraising and developing an audience following. Loungway hopes to develop Terra Firma Dance Theatre into a sustainable model with a 15-20 week season within the next several years. His goal is to create an environment where professional dancers can thrive both financially and creatively. In terms of spectators, he wants to “cultivate fresh audiences for ballet (and dance in general)” with an emphasis on creating a lasting relationship with them.

Stuart Loungway is no stranger to a vast amount of balletomanes from various geographies across the globe. His career highlights include performances with the Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and American Repertory Ballet. However, this show will be Loungway’s largest debut in his new DMV area headquarters. When asked about the transition he stated, “we love our new home.” You can be a part of the unofficial welcome wagon by catching Terra Firma Dance Theatre’s performances at Dance Place this weekend.

Performance Information:

Saturday, September 17th at 8pm
Sunday, September 18th at 7pm

Dance Place
3225 8th St NE
Washington, DC 20017

$15-25 online
$30 at the door