With Farragut talent, Go! dance ‘20th’ kicks off with reGENERATION

KNOXVILLE — GO! Contemporary Dance Works will celebrate its 20th anniversary by opening its 2023-24 season with reGENERATION, an outdoor performance at Tennessee Amphitheater, in World Fair area, beginning at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29.

reGENERATION brings together inter-disciplinary choreographic works by some of the most experimental dance-makers in Knoxville. Premiering is Xocoyotzin, “by award winning international choreographer danah bella, the founding chair of Dance Department at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University who has presented choreographic works at the Cool New York Festival, the United States Asian American Festival and the Bates Dance Festival, as well as in Mexico and Italy,” A Go! press release stated.

“The evening’s versatile repertoire will bring Knoxville (metro’s) artistic community together,” “the release further stated. “‘Voicing,’ co-choreographed by director Lisa Hall McKee and Jill Frére, will interweave live musicians and dancers on the stage.

McKee describes Voicing as a true collaborative effort between musicians, dancers and choreographers.“The all female string quartet Inner Voices joins us on the Tennessee Amphitheater stage this year,” she said. “I saw these ladies performing the piece, Strum, and I was fascinated with their connection to their instruments, the score and to each other. I immediately wanted to work with them.”

Additional new works will include NAD 213, an experimental ballet that explores ADHD and how those with the “disorder” have creative insights and Rhythm of Regeneration, a celebratory and bold blend of African and modern dance.

“Takia Faniyi, a local African dancer, worked with the cast on African dance movement vocabulary that we incorporated into GO!’s signature style. The piece is extremely visual, athletic and energizing,” McKee said

With a roster of 50 pre-professional and professional dancers — including Natalie Nettles, a Farragut High School sophomore, and Lily Beth Shugart of Farragut — GO! and reGENERATION celebrates new with the old. This performance will bring back to the stage favorites such as Convergent Boundaries by Denise Njuguna and Revenge of the Wallflower by Jackie Kinsman.

“We are still dreaming big and growing,” said McKee, a 1982 FHS graduate. “As artistic director, my primary focus is to keep us moving forward and not become stagnant. We bring in new artists and we create new work while keeping true to our history. This performance is evidence of that.”

reGENERATION will include a pre-show event with live music by Mal Nombre and free refreshments at 7 p.m. for ticketholders. Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door and can be purchased at gocontemporarydance.com or at Studio Arts for Dancers by calling 865-539-2475. All seating is general admission.

Looking back, “We started small with one annual show, and now we’ve gotten to the point that we have up to 50 dancers and a company at the same time,” McKee said. “We have a professional group of dancers who performs with us. We bring in international and national choreographers to work with us.”