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Recognizable, new on Ferst Center ‘10-’11 season

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The just-announced 2010-’11 season at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts offers an interesting mix of well-established star power, including Debbie Reynolds and Michael Bolton, and rising stars.

The biggest “get” among the latter is New York choreographer and media artist Jonah Bokaer, one of six artists who will be making Atlanta premieres starting in the fall at the 1,159-seat Ferst.

The April 2, 2011, performance by 28-year-old Bokaer will be the culmination of ARTech, a year-long dance residency program being launched by the Ferst. In fact, Bokaer will create one piece, “Filter,” during his time on campus. It will be premiered at Ferst.

Throughout his residency, Bokaer will explore the use of motion capture in performance, working with Georgia Tech’s interactive computing department and the school’s College of Architecture and Music Technology program.

In his first year as Ferst director, George Thompson is trying to extend the center’s reach beyond isolated nights of entertainment. In addition to ARTech, the Ferst will present two free outdoor concerts of “cello rock” by the group Break of Reality on Sept. 17 at the amphitheater adjoining the center. During February, it will host free programs by Jazz Reach Inc. introducing school groups to the world of jazz.

Other innovations include “Dance Dialogues” with performers following all six of its dance programs, and WCLK-FM host Jay Edwards giving “Jazz Connect” pre-show talks before the six jazz shows.

The 2010-’11 season includes:

Dance: Diavolo (Oct. 15), Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company (Nov. 12), Step Afrika! (Jan. 29), Doug Varone and Dancers (March 5), Nrityagram Dance Ensemble (March 27), Jonah Bokaer (April 2).

Jazz: David Sanborn (Oct. 1), Branford Marsalis Quartet (Nov. 5), A Peter White Christmas, with Rick Braun and Mindi Abair (Dec. 10), Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New Yorkcq, “of New York” is part of name (Feb. 12), Eric Marienthal (March 25), Peabo Bryson (April 16).

More music: Debbie Reynolds (Sept. 11), Break of Reality (Sept. 17), Rockapella (Oct. 3), Michael Bolton (Oct. 28), Kathy Mattea Christmas (Dec. 5), Melinda Doolittle (March 12).

Comic fun: Paula Poundstone (Oct. 22), Cirque Mechanics (Feb. 18), Margaret Cho (Feb. 19).

Beyond Bokaer, others making Atlanta premieres are Break of Reality, Diavolo, Lily Cai, Step Afrika! and Nrityagram Dance.

Six-show ticket packages, at a 20 percent discount off individual tickets, are on sale via the Ferst box office, 404-894-9600. Individual tickets, $28-$95, go on sale Aug. 10. More information: ferstcenter.org.

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