Bowen McCauley Dance Teams With Signature


(Saturday, June 7, 2008 5:35 AM EDT)

From the Kennedy Center to Schlesinger Hall to the Kenmore Middle School auditorium, Arlington-based Bowen McCauley Dance Company has performed in numerous local venues, and soon, it will have a new one to add to its list.

Closing the Kander & Ebb Festival, the dance company will present “A Smile to Hide the Pain” at Signature Theatre from June 12-15.

Bowen McCauley Dance is the first outside group to perform in the new theater, and the team is very excited about the opportunity.

“Being first allows us to set the standard,” said Bowen McCauley Dance music director and pianist Jeffery Watson. “It's all about potential.”

“It feels great” to be the first dance troupe to perform at Signature, said Bowen McCauley Dance artistic director and choreography Lucy Bowen McCauley.

But putting on a Kander and Ebb show was not the easiest task, Bowen McCauley said.

“It's quite a challenge to take on Kander and Ebb songs, since they've been choreographed by people like Bob Fosse,” she said. “Taking songs like ‘Cabaret' and ‘Razzle Dazzle,' they're so well-known, they can be intimidating.”

The one-hour performance starts with a revival of “What'll Ya'ave Luv?” - a dance set to Henry Purcell's “Tavern Songs,” which Bowen McCauley premiered during the company's first season - and is then followed by seven, world-premiere pieces choreographed to Kander and Ebb songs, including “Life Is” from “Zorba” and “I Miss the Music” from “Curtains.”

On a first listen, Kander and Ebb's music may sound upbeat, but Bowen McCauley focused on expressing the songs' double and triple meanings.

“I think Kander and Ebb is all about the smile to hide the pain,” Bowen McCauley said.

“They've got these happy songs, but behind every one of them is misery,” Watson said.

The show features live music, with vocalists Eleasha Gamble and Stephen Gregory Smith integrated into the dance pieces through more than just their singing.

“There are many surprises in the performance,” Bowen McCauley said.

Signature Theatre's artistic director, Eric Schaeffer, said he is positive about the partnership between Signature and the dance company.

“We're so excited to have Bowen McCauley Dance as part of the Kander and Ebb festival,” Schaeffer said. “Lucy's artistic outlook is really a natural fit for us.”

Performances will be Friday, June 13 at 8 p.m., Sunday, June 15 at 2 p.m. and a gala performance on Saturday, June 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 (gala performance $150) and are available through Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT and the Web site at

For more information on the Bowen McCauley Dance Company, see the Web site at

Among the numbers in Bowen McCauley Dance Company's show is "A Smile to Hide the Pain." (Photo by John McCauley)

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