Wylliams/Henry Fall 2019 Concert Season

Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company fall 2019 concert season will present Southern Exposure on October 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. in White Recital Hall at the Performing Arts Center on the UMKC campus. Southern Exposure is a dance/theater piece by Mary Pat Henry delving into experiences of racism and hatred in the South during 1960s segregation and integration. Using archival photographs and film, spoken word and music from the period, Southern Exposure is a multi-media work supplemented with photographs and artwork from “The Klan Room” by William Christenberry. Southern Exposure forces us to look into our past to examine current race issues in the United States today. This expanded recreation of this original work has been made possible by an Arts/Works Award from The National Endowment for the Arts.

In addition, Wylliams/Henry is honored to present “Fragment,” a new cutting-edge work by Los Angeles choreographer Christian Denice, a new work by Chicago choreographer Frank Chaves (commissioned by New Dance Partners) and “Enemy at the Gate,” a signature work about the Holocaust by internationally renowned choreographer Christopher Huggins. This season will be an evening of thought-provoking social works with beautiful, dynamic dancing that speaks to the heart and the humanity we all share amidst our society’s most difficult moments.

Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Kansas City, MO — National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has announced the first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $10,000 to Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company for the re-staging of Southern Exposure by Artistic Director, Mary Pat Henry. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program.

Read more

Review | New Dance Partners celebrates 5 years with four world premieres

New Dance Partners, the collaborative effort between the Carlsen Center and some of the area’s best dance ensembles, has yielded much fruit in its five years.

Besides the obvious benefit of Kansas City’s dance companies learning from one another and working together, the program has resulted in 17 new works of choreography.

But perhaps the best thing about New Dance Partners are the actual performances of these works.

New Dance Partners will present the Kansas City Ballet, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance and Störling Dance in four world premieres Sept. 21 and 22 at Yardley Hall.

See more at:

Review | Kansas City New Dance Partners puts local dance front and center

KANSAS CTY, MO — Kansas City New Dance Partners is an initiative launched in 2013 at Johnson County Community College (JCCC), located in the sprawling suburbs on the Kansas side of the two cities who share the same name. The goal of New Dance Partners is to elevate the local dance scene and bring it to the attention of students, as well as Kansans reluctant to venture downtown. Each year, a select group of local (and sometimes regional) dance companies are paired with reputable choreographers from across the county to create new works, and Friday’s showcase at the magnificent Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts treated members of the Dance/USA national service organization to a version of the initiative as the main stage event of its annual conference. It’s important for mid-size cities to host companies on tour from the coasts or Europe to seek inspiration, but — similar to Dance St. Louis’ New Dance Horizons initiative on the other side of Missouri — New Dance Partners invests in Kansas City’s home companies to bring out their best and raise the bar locally. The high caliber of the project’s choreographic commissions serve another purpose, too: projecting Kansas City’s profile outward and affording this small but robust community a megaphone to say, “Hey! There’s good dance here!” So it is likely that Dance/USA conference goers were surprised by the New Dance Partners showcase, which only goes toward proving its purpose for this city’s growing dance scene.

Read more

Review | 25th anniversary season concert features world premieres, repertoire favorites

Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, marking 2 1/2 decades dedicated to creating and presenting exemplary modern dance that addresses social justice issues and examines human interactions. The performance Saturday in the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s White Recital Hall included world premiere works as well as highlights from the company’s repertoire.
Read more

KC’s Top Contemporary Dance Company Celebrates 25 Years of American Choreography

It all started over lunch, during a festival in Vancouver, B.C., where Mary Pat Henry and Leni Wylliams were discussing their favorite dancers and choreographers. She was a dance teacher from South Carolina and he a rising star in the New York dance scene, but the two discovered they had remarkably complementary visions of dance and its history. Both were nationally respected dancer-choreographers who had worked with major companies, but in the coming years they would embark on building a new company that would change the face of dance in the Midwest.