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 Post subject: BALAM Dance Theatre Welcomes 3 New Dancers to the Company
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:38 pm
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BALAM Dance Theatre

A new vision of contemporary dance

Carlos Fittante-Artistic Director, Islene Pinder-Founding Director



Media Contact: Luhrs & Associates, Publicist, 201-592-9126

BALAM Dance Theatre-Carlos Fittante, Artistic Director, 646-361-9183

(March 20, 2011; BALAM Dance Theatre (BALAM) announces the appointment of three new dancers -- Olsi Gjeci, a release technique specialist and Albanian folk dancer; modern dancer and street dance artist Atsushi (Atsu) Yahagi; and ballerina Dianna Warren -- to the company for the 2011 season. BALAM is a New York based contemporary dance company inspired by Balinese theatre.

They will debut in the company’s new production, BALAM Dance Theatre: From Bali to the Bronx, at the Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College on Thursday, April 28 from 12:30-1:45. Gjeci and Yahagi will perform in the company’s premiere of the revised fire gods duet, “Primordial Embers”. Warren will appear as the Golden Deer in BALAM’s signature work, “Ramayana-Abduction of Sita”, an action packed story ballet inspired from the Hindu epic.

"The BALAM dancer serves the community. Olsi, Atsu and Dianna offer wonderful movement skills to BALAM's fusion repertoire. Their dancing integrates physicality and emotion that expresses the concepts of the choreography. This allows an audience to be touched on many levels,” said BALAM’s Artistic Director Carlos Fittante.

Meet the New Dancers

Olsi Gjeci, a specialist in the release technique, is originally from Vlore, Albania. He has trained and performed professionally Albanian folk dance. As a principle dancer with the Folkloric Group, Laberia, he performed throughout the world, including France, Spain, Israel, Italy, Turkey, Lithuania and Macedonia. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Dance and Philosophy from Hunter College and choreographs and performs throughout New York. This year, Gjeci makes his Baroque dance debut in the Boston Early Music Festival’s 2011 production of the 17th century opera “Niobe-Queen of Thebes”, co-choreographed by Carlos Fittante.

Ballerina Dianna Warren, a Michigan native, trained with a scholarship at the Chicago City Ballet and Joffrey Ballet School in New York. Her credits include performing with the Washington Ballet, Cleveland Ballet, Ballet Met and Das Berner Ballet Switzerland, where she performed various solo roles. Warren’s excellence in balletic movement, ranging from lyrical to quick and brilliant, has earned her a successful career as a guest artist both nationally and abroad. For the past six years, she has performed as a member of the Ballet/Chorus of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

Modern dancer Atsushi Yahagi, a martial arts aficionado, started his career as a street dancer in Tokyo, Japan. He moved to New York to become a professional modern dancer and attended the Professional Studies Program of The Limón Institute, where he has performed important José Limón works from the repertoire. Yahagi performs with several companies, including the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble directed by Jim May, the FT Dance Company directed by Luis Gabriel Zaragoza and the prominent Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company, and he studies Ashtanga yoga with Eddie Stern.

The BALAM History

BALAM offers a new vision of contemporary dance that emanates from a cutting-edge fusion of diverse cultural dance styles and movement techniques. The company’s fusion repertoire presents an opulent dance theatre that blends contemporary choreography, eclectic music, striking masks, imaginative props, and vibrant costumes to create a performance that appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

In 1979, Islene Pinder, a Lehman College dance educator, founded the company and brought the mesmerizing Balinese dance theatre style to New York audiences. Under the directorship of Spanish-American choreographer Carlos Fittante, BALAM’s repertoire blends boldly divergent movements genres, including ballet, Spanish, Lester Horton, Baroque, Latin, Hip-Hop, drag, Noh, and karate, as well as Balinese.

BALAM has been featured at several distinguished festivals and venues, such as First Night New York; Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors; La Mama Experimental Theatre, New York, New York; Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Lee, Massachusetts, and many others. The company has also appeared internationally at the Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar, Bali and the 2nd Encuentro Internacíonal de Danza Contemporánea in Cancún, Mexico.

The company’s work has received critical recognition from the New York Times and Village Voice. The Governor and people of Bali and the Indonesian Consulate of New York have highly commended its performances.

For further information, please call 646-361-9183 or visit BALAM Dance Theatre on the web at


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