Lucy Bowen McCauley reflects on 25 years of her celebrated dance company

Bowen McCauley Dance Co.: "Petit Four" dancers Alicia Curtis, Patrick Green, Eve Holmes-Varner, Dustin Kimball -- Photo: Jeff Malet
Bowen McCauley Dance Co.: “Petit Four” dancers Alicia Curtis, Patrick Inexperienced, Eve Holmes-Varner, Dustin Kimball — Photo: Jeff Malet

“I grew up in the dance earth, in the ballet world, so I have experienced quite a few gay good friends in my existence,” Lucy Bowen McCauley states. “And beginning at an early age, I recognized what it intended.” Throughout her extended and celebrated dance job, Bowen McCauley also arrived to understand just how devastating and impactful a big community overall health disaster brought on by a deadly virus can be.

“I approved a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet University in New York Metropolis,” she explains. “I moved there in 1977, and the AIDS epidemic hit home extremely before long soon after that in New York. I lived in the Village. I missing so a lot of mates and mentors, like Mr. Joffrey. It was so horrible! So terrible. I know so many names on these quilts. It vastly influenced my life.”

By contrast, the 2nd big community wellbeing disaster of her everyday living has been “hard and disappointing, and matters bought delayed,” but the largest problem from COVID-19 for Bowen McCauley has been to maintain herself and the dancers in her eponymous company in very good shape, both of those physically and psychologically.

Bowen McCauley started off the chamber-sized modern dance enterprise approximately two many years into her profession, and just after she experienced moved from New York to D.C. to be nearer to her sister. “I took two diverse dancing positions, and I beloved it. Pretty honestly, I was a even larger fish in a scaled-down pond,” she states. In a subject “so actual physical that most dancers retire by age 35 or 40,” Bowen McCauley began noticing there were lots of other nearby dancers “who weren’t completely utilized dance-smart [but were] possibly 30 a long time aged. [They] still experienced a whole lot to provide, but weren’t going to be in a complete-time ballet enterprise any longer. So I observed this prosperity of dancers on hand, and wanting to choreograph, I started the organization.”

Bowen McCauley Dance
Lucy Bowen McCauley Dance

A signature hallmark of Bowen McCauley Dance in excess of the class of its 25-12 months background has been a dedication to are living songs, hiring musicians to accompany its dancers in performances — in a equivalent trend to that of modern-day dance pioneer Mark Morris. “If I modeled my dance company just after anybody’s, it is his,” she suggests. “Live tunes is way more high priced, but it’s so significantly better. Mark constantly states, ‘We really do not inquire you to occur to the theater and then view a movie of the dancers dancing.’ You want live dancers and you want are living audio.

“I’m an exceptionally tunes-driven choreographer. I grew up playing piano and cello, neither extremely nicely, but I realized how to study tunes. I just have this genuinely athletic and visceral reaction to tunes [and] I choreograph to a large range. Likely my choreography is superior for particular forms than other folks, but I’m out there experimenting.”

Bowen McCauley intends to keep experimenting in the many years to occur — just not via her firm. In point, she’s in the ultimate stretch of shutting down for great. “It has been a passion and a blessing and great, but 25 several years is adequate,” she claims. “All excellent items have to stop sometime, and so it seems like the suitable timing.”

Future 7 days, Bowen McCauley Dance will current eight dancers accompanied by eleven dwell musicians for its remaining functionality at the Kennedy Centre, the place the company has done numerous occasions a calendar year, typically in the Terrace Theater, for the past two many years. Its remaining bow will mark its debut in the bigger Eisenhower Theater. “We’re likely out with a bang,” she says. “Some providers that wind down do retrospectives and provide a lot of older functions again — oldies but goodies. And there’s unquestionably practically nothing wrong with that. But because of COVID, I have two pieces that have not experienced a possibility to appear to lifetime.”

Bowen McCauley will carry on 1 of the company’s systems that grew out of a partnership with Mark Morris Dance Team. “The Dance for Parkinson’s Ailment is really dear to my heart, and we have been undertaking it for 15 years for free,” she claims, including that the software has “huge” positive aspects. “It’s not just the bodily, but it’s psychological and emotional — men and women with Parkinson’s ailment come to feel very isolated, some are pretty home-certain and they shut down. And which is form of the wrong detail to do to battle the disorder.”

Bowen McCauley Dance
Bowen McCauley Dance

The software elicits actual physical exercise in the pursuit of artwork, carried out in a social and communal location. The consequence is to “really sluggish down the results of Parkinson’s disease over the yrs, growing longevity and [improving] high quality of lifetime — even though sharing the pleasure of dance.”

Bowen McCauley intends to share her pleasure of dance in other ways as well.

“I just can’t go chilly turkey. I like dance too substantially and working with dancers. And I think creativity also will help retain you younger,” she states, noting her plan is to work as a choreographer for hire. “I just want to preserve choreographing undertaking by venture as everyday living goes on, simply because I do feel like more than the yrs I’ve only improved. And I truly feel like I’m generating at my peak right now.”

Bowen McCauley Dance Company’s “25th Period Remaining Performance” is Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., at the Kennedy Centre Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $50. Contact 202-467-4600 or stop by

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