LAWRENCE — The University Dance Company is known for its work with talented guest artists and diversity of dances, and this fall’s concert will be no different. The event will feature work from Brooklyn-based hip-hop theatre founder and Bessie award-winner Jennifer Weber, as well as a new contemporary work from KU dance alumna and new faculty member Ellie Goudie-Averill.
The University Dance Company shows will be 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17-18 at the Lied Center of Kansas. Tickets are on sale now at the Lied Center box office and online: $15 public, $10 students, KU faculty and seniors, $8.50 children. Tickets bought before 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, are $5 off.
“At KU Dance, we pride ourselves on developing the whole dancer. The members of the University Dance Company are at ease with hip-hop as well as ballet,” said Michelle Heffner Hayes, professor and chair of the Department of Dance. “They move from the traditional dances of Cuba and Spain to edgy, abstract contemporary work seamlessly. It is a stunning display of athleticism and virtuosity."
Weber’s hip-hop theatre company, Decadedancetheatre, was in residence for two weeks as Janet Hamburg Visiting Guest Artists. Their work “4” is a fusion of a hip-hop and classical dance, and The New York Times called the choreography “intensely emotion and casually streetwise.” The work reimagines Vivaldi’s masterwork “The Four Seasons,” inviting audiences to take a fresh look at both the music and dance.
Goudie-Averill’s untitled work is set to live music by the KU Percussion Ensemble. The piece explores the physical and cultural landscape of Kansas both in terms of being able to take up space and seeing far out onto the horizon, but still feeling limited because of the cultural landscape.
The concert will include the additional works:
“Ballet sans nom” by dance professor Jerel Hilding, a ballet propelled by two sections of Sergei Taneyev’s Suite de Concert, op. 28, beginning simply with a theme and variations and ending with a scintillating tarantella.
Professors Muriel Cohan and Patrick Suzeau have created the modern quartet “FLIGHT/SAFE HARBOR,” where a tension is created in flight between the safety within the group and an external threat. It is set to the choral music of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara.
“Lo que queda/That which remains…” is a new work by Heffner Hayes mixing flamenco and Latin popular dance. The work draws upon the decades Heffner Hayes has studied and researched flamenco and African diaspora forms, and it pays tribute to the ways in which people from these difference cultures found a way to dance. Choreography is set to “Razón de Son (Intro), Razón de Son,” by Raúl Rodríguez, courtesy of Raúl Rodríguez and Fol Música.
“It Ain’t Angst” is a jazz-infused, contemporary work by dance instructor Willie Lenoir, set to “Escaping the Kraken” by Peter Crowley and “Rising Sun” by BrunuhVille.
The Department of Dance is one of four departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.
Photo: KU student rehearse for a previous University Dance Company spring concert. Credit KU Marketing Communications