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Live music and premiere collaborations highlight the spring dance concert

Thursday, April 21, 2016

LAWRENCE – Featuring two pieces with live music and work from a guest artist, two recent alumnae and two current students, the University Dance Company’s spring concert will be full of original, exciting work. The shows will be held at the Lawrence Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. April 28-29 and 2:30 p.m. April 30.

Tickets are on sale now at the Lawrence Arts Center box office or online: $15 public, $10 students, KU faculty and seniors, $8.50 children. Tickets bought before 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, are $5 off.

“It’s no secret that music moves us, but the relationship between live music and dance in performance is a particularly powerful experience for artists and audiences,” said Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair and professor of dance. “When a talented choreographer like David Justin or Willie Lenoir plays with this relationship, it’s like watching sound made visible and palpable, you can feel the charge in the air.”

David Justin, formerly a principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet (UK), a soloist with San Francisco Ballet and Boston Ballet, and a critically acclaimed choreographer, was a guest artist in the Department of Dance this semester. His work for the spring concert is a contemporary ballet featuring live violin accompaniment.

“Kurabadon, Sorosomet and Kuku” is a set of three djembe compositions by Dylan Bassett featuring a debut collaboration with the KU West African Drum Ensemble. It is choreographed by Willie Lenoir, instructor of dance.

Master faculty choreographers Muriel Cohan and Patrick Suzeau created “Diptych,” where Suzeau performs a solo of “The Seer” to the music of Toby Twining. The work is rounded out by “Exiles,” a 17-dancer suite of images evoking perilous voyages.

“Emerging choreographers bring fresh ideas and innovative movement to the stage,” said Hayes. “They have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the world in an immediate and engaging way.”

“Fusione” is a synthesis of contemporary dance styles exploring the eclectic variations of jazz guitar and electric music dynamics through movement. This work was created by recent KU dance graduates Kelly Casper and Cora Schimke.

Sarah O’Keefe’s work, “Between Self and Sky,” is an exploration between literal storms and their reflection of storms experienced in one’s life. O’Keefe is a senior in dance.

“Synergy,” a duet choreographed by Brennon Madrid, was selected for an encore performance after premiering in early March. Madrid is a junior in dance experienced in tap, modern, improvisation, ballet and teaching.

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.