Behind the Scenes: Twenty Years with Love

Our 20th Anniversary Performance and Soirée is around the corner! Enjoy a weekend of dance, music, and celebration at The Kennedy Center. On Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19 at 7pm, live music, and dance will fill the stage for Bowen McCauley Dance’s 20th anniversary concert. Learn more about Twenty Years with Love.

On March 19, join us at The Kennedy Center Roof Terrace Restaurant for a Platinum Soirée post-performance anniversary celebration with the cast, complete with a two-decades anniversary toast, scrumptious bites, and silent auction.

To make your reservations or to purchase tickets, click here or call (703) 910-5175.

Much work, planning, and rehearsing goes into preparing for such a special event as this. Below are “behind the scenes” segments on Twenty Years with Love, the making of Ars Amatoria, and feedback from the Dancers on BMD’s legacy.

Larry Alan Smith Discusses the Process of Creating of Ars Amatoria


The Ars Amatoria is a poem in three books that sets out to teach the arts of seduction and love. Once we decided to go with Ars Amatoria, Lucy and I both read the three books.  Each book has many chapters, and our first step was to decide what chapters and elements we wanted to use.  Lucy and I would compare notes, and I would then weave a storyline through the music I was creating.  My storyline for Book I is quite specific with notes throughout the score indicating the way the plot develops.  Once the music was written, Lucy was, of course, free to add her imagination and interpretation once she started to choreograph.  This is where the collaboration gets really interesting because what I saw in Book I and brought to the musical storyline has been further transformed and enhanced by Lucy.  New elements started to surface as she worked.  For instance, the prominent role of Cupid was one of Lucy’s many inspirations/innovations. Book II followed, and I was a little less specific about the storyline.  Still, I included notations in the score that Lucy could decide to follow or not follow.  The notations enabled her to know where I was in the material we decided to feature. By the time I was writing Book III, I had seen most of the choreography for Books I and II, and it definitely inspired the final segment of the work for me.

Lucy and I have worked together as collaborators several times, and I think we have found a process that works well for us.  I try to write music that gives her a great deal of flexibility.  In Book III, Lucy actually wanted some additional music in two specific places, and I was happy to provide it.  The ballet grew by two minutes at that point!  This is definitely a collaboration . . . from the day we first discussed Ovid right through to the present.  I can’t wait to see how Book III ends!  I know how it ends musically, but I don’t know what Lucy is planning for the ending.  Writing music for dance is really exciting, and collaborations are tremendously rewarding!

It is ALWAYS a treat to see the music danced, and I am really impressed with what I have seen.  I wrote very “visual music” for this piece, but the vision was inside my head.  Suddenly, it is right there in front of me.  Lucy has a wonderful musical sense, and I know that she will bring out the musical elements through her choreography.
I hope that everyone has a great deal of fun realizing how little things have changed with regard to the art of love during the past two thousand years!  

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Dancers’ Thoughts on BMD’s Legacy and What to Expect at the Performance

unnamed (3)Alicia Curtis, Rehearsal Director, 8th Season

The rehearsals for Twenty Years with Love have focused on the creation of Ars Armatoria. The biggest challenge for me has been developing my character to bring the storyline to life. It’s always rewarding to be part of a new work, so just being involved in the creative process has been really fun.

The company has touched so many people over the past 20 years – not only audience members at theaters, but children in schools and outreach programs, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, and the elderly. There’s been a huge focus on bringing dance to the community in a variety of avenues, which is so special.

The audience can expect three very different works, really excellent live music, and the exciting premiere of a new piece! And anyone attending the Soirée following Saturday’s performance, should plan to have a fabulous time!


Dustin-Ars AmatoriaDustin Kimball, Dancer, 6th Season

Lucy has always said, “Comedy is hard!”  Ars Amatoria has presented a big challenge in that it’s the most narrative piece I think BMD has ever done.  The most rewarding moments to me are always when that certain step or section hasn’t been working the way you want, then you make a small change and suddenly it does.

BMD has always set a high standard for contemporary dance in the DC area and continues to do so.  People who first came to see a performance were so surprised at how many pieces of music were played live; now they ask, “Who are you getting to play for you this year?” This also opens up a larger audience who might simply wish to come see a favorite musician play and then we have new fans as well.

Audiences can expect a nice range of choreography and and all live music for Twenty Years With Love.  Each piece can speak to someone, whether they love movement, music, or both!  This year is also to thank the community for being so supportive over the last two decades.

unnamed (5)Joan Ayap, Dancer, 2nd Season

I really enjoyed working on Ars Amatoria. It has challenged me not only as a dancer, but also as an actor. It involves a lot of acting; and we, as dancers, sometimes forget to apply detailed emotions into our dancing as we only focus on the material itself and not on how you want to portray your character. So I guess that was my biggest challenge in this show.

From dance performances, to serving the community through residencies and Dance for PD- Bowen Mccauley Dance has played a big role to the DC dance community. Not only does it caters to different artists, but also it has created a niche that dance is for everyone, and that the possibilities are endless. Truly, BMD has made an impact to our community.

Just expect the unexpected because this show is full of surprises!

unnamed (6)Samuel Horning, Dancer, 1st Season

The makings of 20 Years With Love stems from Lucy’s unbeknownst care and compassion for the art of making dances. It drives her, I think. And so, as a dancing muse if you will, I often feel as though I am a firsthand witness to this love. Perhaps I am also a messenger, one of the many post-men and women who deliver these notes of love to the recipients on behalf of Lucy. I feel qualified and capable to be this post-man and the process of delivery is skillfully distilled to the actions: learn, remember, repeat, perform. The creator/messenger relationship between Lucy and myself is archival and has years of influence beyond just the two of us. I find ease knowing that I am not the first or the last to be involved in this type of work. For me, it’s all about turning this deftness into social value and into artistic meaningfulness. That is the biggest challenge and simultaneously the biggest reward when executed.

I’m incredibly honored to be a part of an arts organization that provides as sustainable and rewarding of a career as BMD; a sure rarity in this profession. The greatest influence BMD has had to the community in 20 years is seen through the extensive outreach program.

I have found that dance and movement composition can often seem distant, cerebral, and confusing to populations and really, to our audiences. I think BMD makes dance accessible. BMD takes the audience into consideration and works for them. The audience who attends our show at The Kennedy Center will experience viscerally charged relationships, the construction and deconstruction of space and time, and the everlasting power of virtuosity. Our new work, Ars Armatoria, is clever, comical, and really quite a journey from beginning to end. The heterosexual relationship is unzipped and highly examined through Lucy’s interpretation of Ovid’s infamous trilogy.

*Photos courtesy of Jeff Malet featuring the rehearsal of Ars Amatoria.

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