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James Sewell Ballet and Ahn Trio to share the WMPAC stage

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By Sarah Gianelli EBS Senior Editor

BIG SKY – In what has become a perennial favorite of Big Sky audiences, James Sewell Ballet returns to the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on March 10 at 7:30 p.m. Sewell’s dance company will once again be accompanied by the Ahn Trio, three sisters that combine their talents on the piano, violin and cello in innovative performances that reflect their worldly background.

James Sewell Ballet and the Ahn Trio presented a workshop performance of their collaborative new project at WMPAC in July 2017 to a full house. Featuring new music by jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny and arrangements from the Prince album “Purple Rain,” the show seamlessly integrates contemporary music and ballet into a compelling narrative.

This collaboration is another original production in an ongoing partnership between WMPAC and presenting organizations in Minnesota, the home state of James Sewell Ballet.

James Sewell Ballet was founded in New York City by James Sewell and Sally Rousse and brought to Minnesota in 1993. Combining their expertise, vision and determination they formed a close-knit company of 10 dance artists who were willing to challenge their physical limits as well as their notions about ballet. In the course of two-plus decades, the ballet company has amassed critical acclaim for enlivening that vision through productions that explore and stretch the technical and conceptual boundaries of ballet.

Since WMPAC opened in 2013, James Sewell Ballet has played an integral role in the development of the center’s winter season, and the Big Sky Conservatory, a summer residence program that brings together performing arts professionals, talented amateurs and youth to create, develop and collaborate.

Sewell’s distinctive choreography dovetails effortlessly with the sound of the Ahn Trio. Both the dancers and the musicians are steeped in classical training, a sturdy foundation from which they can take their art forms to new and exciting heights.

The Ahn sisters-Lucia (piano), Angella (violin), and Maria (cello)-were born in Seoul, Korea, and educated at the Juilliard School in New York City. Shaped by the two cultures they grew up in, and extensive touring around the world, the trio invigorates the chamber music genre with a welcome fresh energy and passion.

Hailed as “exacting and exciting musicians” by the LA Times, Maria, Lucia and Angella thrive on dissolving the barriers between art forms. They have fused their work with a range of artists and musical genres, from dancers and lighting designers to DJs. They toured extensively for a collaborative production with the David Parsons Dance Company, and enjoy inviting surprising guest artists to join them on stage, among them the Kin, a two-brother rock band from Australia, and electronic music artist Juno a.k.a Superdrive from Berlin.

“Put an enigmatic and worldly piano trio with a group of contemporary dancers who all love the mountains, and greatness ensues,” said WMPAC Director John Zirkle.

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