Lehrer Dance sets off for fourth annual Russian trip

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –  Lehrer Dance, based in Buffalo, is known for its strong, inspiring, choreography.  Internationally known. The eight-person troupe is just back from a European tour, and they’ll spend the next two weeks in Russia.

“We are visiting three cities, doing four performances, and teaching at local arts universities,” the artistic director and founder of the company, Jon Lehrer said.  “Also for the community for younger dancers, and I will also be setting a piece of choreography on some collegiate dancers there.”

This is the fourth time Lehrer has led his dancers on a Russian cultural diplomacy trip.  The tradition started in 2012, when the United States Consulate in the port city of Vladivostock invited them.

“They chose us out of every single dance company in the United States to represent the U.S.,” Lehrer said. “That first tour went so well, that we have been back every year since.”

This year, Lehrer’s company will perform for a group of dancers from the indigenous state of Chukchi, who they saw dance last year.

“It was so amazing, that I was inspired to create a tribute to them,” Lehrer recalled. “They gave me their original music, so I created a tribute piece, which many people in Buffalo have seen, since we premiered it here last year. And now we’re bringing it back to Russia.”

Lehrer Dance will celebrate its 10th anniversary next fall. When they’re not touring the world, they’re rehearsing at one of their two home bases: UB Center for the Arts, or American Academy of Ballet in Williamsville.

“People believe in us, and let us use their space, so we can create the best art, and the best dances we can, and show them to the world, and really just proudly carry the Buffalo name everywhere we go,” Lehrer said.

The dancers will stay home for the summer. Lehrer will stages new choreography, inspired by their travels.

“We will continue touring all over the world, and bringing our brand of dance to as many people as possible,” Lehrer said when asked about his vision for the future. “That’s always been the goal, and I will not quit until all those goals are realized.”

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