American Repertory Ensemble

'You got dance in my classical.' 'You got classical in my dance.'

Classical musicians may often play for dancers, and dancers perform with classical musicians, but when it comes to organizations, they typically go their separate ways. Symphony and chamber groups here, ballet and dance troupes there, and never the twain shall meet. Well, not so with the newly formed American Repertory Ensemble. Figuring dance and music to be two great tastes that taste great together, the folks behind ARE are out to bring those art forms together in an organizational peanut-butter cup.

Heading this new enterprise are, quite naturally, a choreographer and a composer. David Justin is artistic director of Dance Repertory Theatre and a professor in the UT Department of Theatre & Dance. Rob Deemer chairs the composition department at the University of Oklahoma, but he just completed his doctorate in composition at UT, where he assistant directed the New Music Ensemble. Together, they hatched the idea of this cross-disciplinary ensemble developing programs of shorter works from Stravinsky and Brahms to Costello and, well, Deemer, as well as from Balanchine to Robbins to Justin, and touring them nationally and internationally. Joining ARE's roster of artists for its inaugural season of concerts at One World Theatre, free performances for students of the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive at UT, and a summer tour to Amsterdam and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival are the Tosca String Quartet, pianist Michelle Schumann, and 10 dancers from across the country.

To generate some support for its debut, ARE is hosting First Taste, an evening that offers a little something for the appetite (wine and hors d'oeuvres) and, more to the point, a sampling of the company's artistic wares: music by Schumann and the Tosca String Quartet, and two works by Justin, performed by Christine Winkler and John Welker, principal dancers from the Atlanta Ballet.

American Repertory Ensemble's First Taste will take place Thursday, Feb. 23, 7-10pm, at One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Caves Rd. For more information, call 762-4125 or visit

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