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Exchange in D.C.

Despite last-minute scheduling and spring showers, a capacity crowd turned out May 24 at Dance Place, where Washington Reflections Dance Company's concert featured Ballet Clasico Nacional Dominicano in its local debut. The appearance of the Dominican artists was the result of an exchange program that began February 16 when the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  Embassy sponsored Washington Reflections for a week of classes and concerts in Santo Domingo Santo Domingo, pueblo, United States
Santo Domingo (sän'tə dəmĭng`gō), pueblo (1990 pop. 2,866), Sandoval co., N central N.Mex., on the Rio Grande; founded c.1700 after earlier pueblos were destroyed by floods.

"The Embassy's cultural affairs officer thought that it would be a good idea if we performed during Black History Month to show how African Americans celebrate their heritage." Washington Reflections director Fabian Barnes thus explained his company's first venture overseas. "And I felt," he continued, "it was important to expose Dominicans to members of the African diaspora The African diaspora is the diaspora created by the movements and cultures of Africans and their descendants throughout the world, to places such as the Americas, (including the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America) Europe and Asia.  who were proud of their ancestry."

A former Dance Theatre of Harlem Dance Theatre of Harlem, the first black classical ballet company. The group was founded in Harlem, New York City, by Arthur Mitchell, then of the New York City Ballet, the first black principal dancer of a classical company of international standing.  soloist, Barnes is founder of The Dance Institute of Washington, known for its outreach to inner city youth. Its annual Spirit of Kwanzaa has become a holiday tradition at the Kennedy Center (see "Fabian Barnes Puts the Spirit in Kwanzaa," DM, December 2002). Barnes founded Washington Reflections in 2003 to give his students more of the opportunities he feels ballet gave him and to strengthen the African American presence in D.C.'s other dance stages.

The February program had featured Spoken Word, which was Reflections dancer Derrick Spears' homage to the civil rights movement, overlaid with excerpts from Martin Luther King's eloquent texts. Spears restaged the work for Ballet Clasico. "Our audience related to it as if it were their own experience," said company director Monika Despradle Garcia of its recent performance in Santo Domingo.

The quid pro quo [Latin, What for what or Something for something.] The mutual consideration that passes between two parties to a contractual agreement, thereby rendering the agreement valid and binding.  for the Washington audience was Dominican choreographer Carlos Veitia's compelling Hispaniola, performed by Ballet Clasico's Isbell Piedra and Elvis Guzman. In 1981, Veitia's mother, Cuban-born Clara Elena Ramirez, founded the Dominican company with Magda Corbett, a European immigrant. Today, both the troupe and its feeder school Feeder school is a name applied to schools, colleges, universities, or other educational institutions that provide a significant number of graduates who intend to continue their studies at specific schools, or even in specific fields.  are funded by the Dominican government. The partnership with Washington Reflections will extend through 2006. "We have a lot in common," said Despradle. "We are both young, multiethnic mul·ti·eth·nic  
Of, relating to, or including several ethnic groups.

Adj. 1. multiethnic - involving several ethnic groups
 companies and we want to take our place in the dance world."
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Title Annotation:Washington, D.C.; Washington Reflections Dance Company
Author:Durbin, Paula
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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