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April 8, 2009

The Kennedy Center

Awarded to
Free Millennium Stage Performances
September 10-11 & 17-8 at 6 p.m.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced today that the
2009 Local Dance Commissions have been awarded to Jason Ignacio and Tehreema Mitha. The
commissioned pieces, choreographed specifically for world premieres on the Millennium Stage, will be
performed as part of the Center’s free, daily 6:00 p.m. performance series September 10-11 and 17-18,
The Kennedy Center created the Local Dance Commissioning Project (LDCP) in 2001 to foster
new dance works by local artists, and present these artists to the widest possible audience via the
Millennium Stage and the internet web-casts. A select number of Washington, D.C. metro area
choreographers are chosen each year from a pool of more than 50 applicants. The project provides
funds for each artist to create a new piece, a venue to premiere the work, as well as rehearsal space and
technical assistance. In addition, each commissioned work will have a second showing at Dance Place.
Past LDCP recipients have included Nejla Yatkin, Jason Hartley, Ed Tyler, Boris Willis, Meisha
Bosma, Ludovic Jolivet, Helanius J. Wilkins, Aysha Upchurch, Gesel Mason, Karen Reedy, Vincent
Thomas, and Cassie Meador.

2009 Local Dance Commissioning Project, page 2

JASON IGNACIO, September 10-11, 2009:

Jason Garcia Ignacio, named Outstanding Emerging Artist at the 2009 Mayor’s Arts Awards, began his
dance training at the age of 12 in Manila, Philippines. After studying and training with Ballet
Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater, Steps Dance Studio, University of Theatre of Nations (Seoul,
Korea), he toured and performed as a member of Earth Savers Dreams Ensemble. In 2001, Mr. Ignacio
continued his dance training in New York City on scholarship at Ballet Hispanico where he also served
on the faculty. A fellowship student at The Ailey School, he also toured nationally with the Martha
Graham Ensemble. His teaching credits include Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance,
Maryland Youth Ballet, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, The Yard at Martha's Vineyard, and he is
currently on faculty at CityDance Center. He has performed with the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance
Company, Diversity of Dance, Cortez and Co., Connecticut Ballet, Zig-Zag Ballet, American Repertory
Ballet, Verb Ballets, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and is currently a company member of
CityDance Ensemble. A principal dancer in the off-Broadway musical Traumnovela, Jason Ignacio was
named a "Top 20 Showstopper" by Washingtonian Magazine in 2008.
Jason Ignacio’s commissioned piece The Mountain focuses on Filipino culture, environmental
preservation, and the need for economic moderation. Ignacio was inspired by and incorporates two
“mountains” in the Philippines: the volcano Mt. Pinatubo which erupted in 1991, and the landfill used
as metro Manila’s waste disposal facility for decades dubbed Smokey Mountain. A collaboration
between Ignacio and physicist Domenico Vicinanza, the score incorporates music made from the
seismic rumblings of active volcanoes.

2009 Local Dance Commissioning Project, page 3

TEHREEMA MITHA, September 17-18, 2009:

Artistic Director Tehreema Mitha, originally from Pakistan, has been choreographing and performing
professionally for over 22 years. She brings a repertoire of more than sixty dances to Tehreema Mitha
Dance Company, a pioneering South Asian American dance company known for its signature
presentations and unique style. The company’s programs include dances from the classical repertoire,
moving fluidly into the classical/contemporary, and onto contemporary dances. Mitha believes that
seeing all three styles on the stage in the same evening shows the progression of a generation in sync
with the world of today yet unwilling to leave its roots behind—forging ahead without losing its
identity. Tehreema Mitha Dance Company’s dancing is athletic, intricate, and dramatic—at times
intensely emotional, at other times humorous, and accompanying music is especially composed and
produced for each piece, as are the costumes. Thereema Mitha’s work covers a variety of topics,
touching on literature, science, philosophy; daily life; and the joys and complications, confusion and
despair of modern times. Her dances feel personal even when discussing global or social issues.
Thereema Mitha’s commissioned piece Blue Jeans focuses on immigrants and immigration.
The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, and American culture has imbibed much from the colorful cultures
of various immigrant populations. As new people arrive, everyone—the recently immigrated and those
more established in America—experiences a period of adjustment. Blue jeans are a symbol of freedom,
as well as an equalizing factor amongst classes. Some immigrants view jeans as a uniform for leisure
time, as well as a means of acceptance, a way to blend in with the masses. The music for the piece
includes Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans,” combined with North Indian classical music and

Applications Sought for September 2010

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is currently seeking applications for the 10th Local
Dance Commissioning Project in September 2010. Applications are due by January 8, 2010. For more
information about the program, please visit:


Erin Dowdy (202) 416-8453 (202) 467-4600; (800) 444-1324
Please do not publish contact information.