A silver anniversary of dance

April 22, 1999|By Jill Hudson Neal | Jill Hudson Neal,SUN STAFF

Modern dance choreographer Eva Anderson readily admits to being shocked that her dance company is still alive and kicking after 25 years.

"It doesn't seem like it's been that long," the 66-year-old Anderson says with a laugh. "It feels good, you know, because to be an arts organization means being totally dependent on grants and individual donations.

"Running a dance company is not the easiest thing in the world," she adds. "It's tough, but we're still here."

The Eva Anderson Dancers will celebrate its silver anniversary with a concert Saturday at Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts in Columbia.

Anderson's Columbia-based troupe -- which has a modern-dance style blended with African-American music, themes and designs -- has the longest tenure of any professional modern dance company in the state.

The concert will feature performances of repertoire favorites, including "Sister Sadie and Brother Andrew," with a score by Horace Silver and Max Roach.

Former Eva Anderson dancers Jill Blizzard and Jennifer Blizzard-Sisk will help celebrate the company's quarter-century on the local dance scene with a performance.

Anderson has choreographed about 60 new works over the past 25 years, some of which were commissioned -- notably "The Elephant" for Washington's National Zoo. She also did the choreography for the Barry Levinson movie "Avalon," filmed in Baltimore and performed by the company's dancers.

Last year, Anderson moved her base of operation from Baltimore to Columbia, where she has lived for 27 years. Once known as Baltimore Dance Theater, the dance troupe began as an after-school program at Dunbar High School in Baltimore.

The Eva Anderson Dancers is the company in residence with Howard County Arts Council in Ellicott City.

The troupe has toured the United States, Germany, Austria and Italy, and Anderson has taught dance at Adelphi University on Long Island, N.Y., Goucher College and Howard Community College.

The troupe celebrated its 20th anniversary with a performance and a party, "just in case we didn't make it to 25," Anderson says. "Now that we've made it to 25, we're really going to celebrate."

Anderson says she has no immediate plans to retire from choreography and keeps a busy schedule outside the dance troupe. She teaches a modern dance class at Howard County Center for the Arts, Columbia's Supreme Sports Club and the Athletic Club for people older than 50.

Performances by the Eva Anderson Dancers' 25th Anniversary Concert are at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. A reception follows the evening concert. Tickets for the matinee performance are $10. General admission for the evening performance is $15. Admission to the evening performance and the reception is $25. Tickets are available at the door or by calling the Eva Anderson Dancers Ltd. at 410-997-3899.

Pub Date: 4/22/99

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