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Dance Theatre

A new vision of contemporary dance


Carlos Fittante-Artistic Director, Islene Pinder-Founding Director

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Joyce Luhrs, Publicist, 201-592-9126, luhrsassocpress [at] verizon.net


Carlos Fittante, Artistic Director, 646-361-9183

BALAM Dance Theatre Welcomes Three New Dancers to the Company

(March 20, 2011; New York, NY) --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,
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BALAM Dance Theatre Welcomes Three New Dancers to the Company
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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
www.balamdance.org.
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Photos of the dancers available upon request.