LUNA NEGRA DANCE THEATER Celebrates the Next Generation of Contemporary Spanish Choreographers with Two World Premieres & Live Music by TURTLE ISLAND QUARTET in “MADE IN SPAIN”

lunaLuna Negra Dance Theater, Chicago’s only contemporary dance company devoted to the Latino choreographic voice, presents “Made in Spain,” its 2013 spring program featuring work by two contemporary Spanish choreographers:  guest artist Fernando Hernando Magadan and Luna Negra company member Mónica Cervantes.  Luna Negra presents “Made in Spain” in one performance only at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Saturday, March 9 at 8 pm.

Inspired by the power of music over both emotion and physiology, Magadan presents Royal Road, a World Premiere created with and performed to live music by jazz legends Turtle Island Quartet.  Set to two pieces composed by the Quartet’s David Balakrishna, “Variations on My Father’s Footsteps” and “Ashwattha,” Magadan draws from two ends of the music spectrum – the improvisational characteristics of jazz, and forms of notating music and dance, including written notes on a page and Labanotation, a way of recording dances on paper.  The resulting work for eight dancers, framed under a cascading “chandelier” of sheets of music and Labanotation pages (set design by Magadan), celebrates the purity of dance as an authentic response to transformative music.

Cervantes presents a World Premiere work for six dancers, Presenté, set to Max Richter’s recomposed variation on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  Inspired by her grandfather and the concept of time and “the present” – in both senses of the word, as in “present moment” and a synonym for “gift” – Cervantes’ work uses a set design of white floor panels leading to a hovering hourglass that slowly drains onto the stage.

The “Made in Spain” program also reprises Magadan’s Naked Ape, a piece which Luna Negra presented the North American Premiere of in 2011.  A work for five dancers created in collaboration with multi-media artist Harmen Straatman, set to music by Erik Truffaz Murcof, J.S. Bach and Jónsi & Alex, Naked Ape explores the opposing human capacity for invention and technology with the need for physical interaction and intimacy.

“This season at Luna Negra, we’re deepening the relationships we began in earlier seasons with up-and-coming Latino choreographers,” said Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, Luna Negra Artistic Director.  “Last fall we brought back Fernando Melo for a World Premiere.  This spring, we do the same with Fernando Hernando Magadan, whom we introduced to Chicago two years ago.  And of course we continue to nurture talent from within, presenting new work by our own Mónica Cervantes.  These artists, plus others you’ll see later this season, represent the next generation of Latino creativity and artistry.”

In related news, longtime company dancer and rehearsal director Veronica Guadalupe has recently been named Associate Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater.


Tickets for “Made in Spain” range from $25 to $65 and are available at the Harris Theater Box Office, by phone at 312-334-7777 or online at

About the Artists

Mónica Cervantes (Tarragona, Spain) received her dance training from Institut del Teatre in Barcelona, Spain.  She has performed with Abc Dance Company (Austria), Cia Metros (Spain) under Ramon Oller (Spain), and Proyecto TITOYAYA (Spain) under the direction of Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, where she also served as rehearsal director.  Cervantes has been the recipient of numerous awards including first prizes for dance at the Castellon International Competition, the Dansa Valencia Lladró Festival, the International Choreography Competition MasDanza in Maspalomas (Canary Islands) and for choreography at the Sevilla International Choreography Competition.  Cervantes joined Luna Negra Dance Theater in 2010 as dancer and rehearsal director.  In January 2013, Dance Magazine named Cervantes one of its top “25 To Watch.”

Fernando Hernando Magadan (Zaragoza, Spain) originally trained as a gymnast before switching to dance when he entered the Conservatorio Profesional de Danza Clasica in Madrid.  He later went on to study in England before dancing with the Santamaria Compañía de Danza.  In 2001 he joined the Netherlands Dans Theater II, later joining the Nederlands Dans Theater I in 2004.  As a choreographer, Magadan has created several works over the course of the past ten years, including pieces for Nederlands Dan Theater, the Curve Foundation Dance Company in Scotland, Cross Connection Ballet Company in Copenhagen, Ballet Mainz in Germany, and most recently the Donlon Dance Company in Saarbruecken, Germany.  He also created the choreography for Nierka, a fully-staged multidisciplinary show by visual designer Tupac Martir, which premiered in London in 2012.  Recently, he was invited to present his choreography The Time is a Housefor the Russian Cultural TV.  He has been invited to teach at the Dance Art Faculty of Rome, Architanz International Centre for Dance in Tokyo, The University of North Carolina, the Incolballet Ballet Institute of Colombia, and most recently, the Hollins University in New York.

Its name derived from creation mythology found in Native American Folklore, the Turtle Island Quartet – made up of David Balakrishnan (violin), Mark Summer (cello), Mateusz Smoczynki (violin) and Benjamin von Gutzeit (viola) – since its inception in 1985, has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings.  Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy® Award for Best Classical Crossover Album, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles, and by devising a performance practice that honors both, the state of the art has inevitably been redefined.  The Quartet’s birth was the result of Balakrishnan’s brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while completing his master’s degree program at Antioch University West.  The journey has taken Turtle Island through forays into folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, new age, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India, a repertoire consisting of hundreds of arrangements and original compositions.  It has included over a dozen recordings on labels such as Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc, soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio credits.

Since its inception in 1999, Luna Negra Dance Theater has established itself as a significant and vital component of Chicago’s arts and cultural community.  Founded by Cuban-born dancer and choreographer Eduardo Vilaro, Luna Negra celebrates the richness and diversity of Latino culture through the creation of works by contemporary Latino choreographers and through intensive, hands-on education programs that encourage discovery and exploration of personal and community identity.  Now under the leadership of award-winning Artistic Director Sansano, Luna Negra has risen to the forefront of American contemporary dance.  Luna Negra is comprised of nine full company members, including Renée Adams, Christian Broomhall, Christopher Bordenave, Nigel Campbell, Mónica Cervantes, Kyra Jean Green, Filipa Peraltinha, Kirsten Shelton and Eduardo Zuñiga.

Luna Negra Dance Theater thanks Mercedes-Benz, Official Auto Sponsor of the 2012-2013 season, and “Made in Spain” Evening Sponsor, BMO Harris Bank.  Additional thanks to the Season Partners, Alphawood Foundation of Chicago, Allstate, City Arts Grants, The Crown Family, Illinois Arts Council, The Joyce Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, The MacArthur Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, and Supporting Sponsors Athletico and Chicago Athletic Clubs.

Upcoming Events

Company member Eduardo Zuñiga was recently named one of four recipients of the 2013 Joyce Awards, a prestigious honor that commissions new work from artists of color.  Zuñiga collaborates with Luna Negra Dance Theater to presentAGORA, a free-to-the-public multimedia dance, video and public art experience in Grant Park.  Zuñiga’s new work will be built on Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz’s piece “Agora,” a permanent installation in the park at 1207 S. Michigan Ave.  Zuñiga and Luna Negra will present sixteen onsite performances over three days in late May/early June (exact dates to be announced), documenting the experience for a dance film that will premiere at Luna Negra’s Luna Nueva Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Luna Negra culminates its 2012-2013 season with the second annual Luna Nueva Festival.  The program features three World Premieres:  Eduardo Zuñiga’s new dance film, new work from Spanish choreographer Iker Gomez and new work from Cuban choreographer Alexis Fernandez.  The Luna Nueva Festival returns to the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., June 20-22.

For more information on Luna Negra Dance Theater visit