Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre Spreads Its Wings
By Hal de Becker
Four years ago, Bernard H. Gaddis choreographed a work for a local “Dance For Life” program which convinced him that Las Vegas could provide the talented dancers needed to form the locally based dance company he envisioned.That vision is now Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre and it’s already flying high.
In addition to its extremely successful local concerts, LVCDT has already appeared in NYC, Florida, Chicago and Mexico.The attention it’s attracted has resulted in upcoming bookings in Ohio and Canada and a re-engagement in Mexico.It has also been contracted for three performances at Las Vegas’ soon-to-debut Smith Center.Presently under negotiation are exchange programs with China and Israel.
Mr. Gaddis is currently a lead dancer in Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere.”His many other credits include eight years dancing principal roles with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and appearing on Broadway in “The Lion King.” In addition to being Founding Artistic Director of LVCDT he is also its most prolific choreographer having created more than 20 works for the troupe.
photo credit: Jason Skinner
Understanding the importance for his dancers to constantly extend their skills in ballet, jazz, modern, and ethnic dance disciplines, Mr. Gaddis established a studio, school and rehearsal facility that also serves as the company’s base.Here, under his guidance and that of other outstanding instructors, his dancers train, prepare and create.
LVCDT doesn’t hold open auditions.Some of its 14 dancers were ‘discovered’ by Mr. Gaddis who observed them performing elsewhere.Others, having heard about LVCDT, or seeing its website, initiated contact themselves and were ultimately engaged – in one instance from as distant as Germany!The dancers are paid, but not as much as they might earn elsewhere.They are there because it’s where they want to be and where they feel they belong.A refreshing aura of ‘family’ emanates from the troupe.
The company performs at West Las Vegas Library Theatre May 6th ,7th and 8th. Impressive excerpts from three of the works that will be presented were unveiled during a recent media preview. Included were “Sacrifus, ” an exploration of love and the sacrifices it sometimes involves and “PHIB,” an amusing frog-like dance, both choreographed by Mr. Gaddis. Zane Booker’s “Portraits” paid homage to some of the leading figures of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s who opposed racism and homophobia and who worked to advance the feminist movement. Ticket information is on line at www.LVDance.org or by calling 1-866-967-8167.