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Eisenhower Dance’s Silver Anniversary Gala on Saturday, January 23rd, represents an evolution in choreography for Laurie Eisenhower, the dance company’s founder and Artistic Director.

“Not only has the work changed, the dancers have changed. We’ve seen the growth of the company over the years.”

Reflecting on the differences in dance style one may see, Eisenhower says that “the movement seems simpler to me.”

The one-night-only performance at the Detroit Opera House features a new work choreographed by Eisenhower, A Thousand Miles, dedicated to Maggie Allesee; Bolero, which debuted last season and will include dancers from Wayne State University; Evermore, one of the company’s earliest productions, and Rite of Spring, with pianists Eugene and Elisabeth Pridonoff and the Percussion Group of Cincinnati performing Igor Stravinsky’s score. All incorporate the principles of ballet and modern dance, highlighting what Eisenhower describes as “the physicality of movement.”

Rite of Spring, Eisenhower reminisces, was “a real labor of love,” saying that she “probably worked harder on that piece than anything.” The score was so complex, and was one that so many famous choreographers had tackled, that she says she “decided to wait until I was over 50 to choreograph it.” Saturday’s performance will feature the same live musicians who debuted the work at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.

A quarter century of performances in an industry beset with such a physically demanding schedule is especially remarkable considering the company’s humble origins. Eisenhower notes that she just wanted to choreograph, and dancers were looking to perform. Her initial goals included making enough money to pay the dancers.

The group of dancers currently performing have all been dancing with Eisenhower for the past five years. Her Associate Artistic Director, Stephanie Pizzo, was a founding member of Eisenhower Dance 25 years ago, performing on stage for 20 years. The longevity of both the performers and artistic staff is paramount to the organization’s growth and success.

Over time, they grew from a part-time group to having regular and touring performances. A dream was always to perform at the Detroit Opera House—Saturday marks their fourth performance at the storied venue.

“We definitely felt like we’d arrived when we performed there,” Eisenhower recalls. She describes the Opera House as “one of the most prestigious theaters in the United States. It’s right in our hometown, so we’re really privileged.”

The 25th year finishes up with an anniversary celebration on April 30th at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. Eisenhower calls this a more casual complement to the January gala, and will bring back many alumni dancers.

And then it’s on to the 26th year, which Eisenhower is already scheduling. “I don’t want to keep doing the same thing. You either become a museum or a dinosaur if you’re not challenging yourself. You have to not repeat yourself.”

To purchase tickets, click here