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Spring dance concerts focus on collaboration and creative risk

Friday, April 11, 2014

Contact: Heather Anderson (handers@ku.edu), School of the Arts, (785) 864-3667

Spring dance concerts focus on collaboration and creative risk

LAWRENCE – The University Dance Company spring concerts will showcase eight works choreographed by a senior dance major, two guest artists and KU faculty members. The event will be held at the Lawrence Arts Center on April 25, 7:30 p.m. and April 26, 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are on sale at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire: $15 public, $10 students, senior citizens 62 and older, and group sales. KU students are eligible for a $5 advance purchase price before the opening day of the show. Call (785) 843-2787 for tickets.

”The themes of collaboration and risk run through the works in this evening of dance,” says Michelle Heffner Hayes, professor and chair of the Department of Dance. “Musicians and dancers combine their efforts to transform both movement and sound in a shared vision, while other choreographers mine very old ideas for contemporary meaning, or popular music for timeless messages. There are breathtaking moments in this concert.”

Although University Dance Company concerts regularly feature professional and faculty choreographers, occasionally they highlight an exceptional work by a student. Overland Park Senior Amanda Rixey created “Walk In, Walk Out” as a tribute to her late father. Exquisite and spare, the work features contemporary ballet dancers in moments of light and darkness, echoing the sense of memory and loss in music by Arvo Part.

Chicago-based guest artist, Autumn Eckman, performance “Yes And…!” is a work inspired by one of the basic tenets of acting improvisation. Improvisation applied to movement as a means of conversation allows for surprise, openness and unexpected possibility. Eckman currently serves as the Assistant Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of Giordano Dance Chicago and as a member of Ron De Jesus Dance and RPM Productions.

The University Dance Company also commissioned a new work from local choreographer, Carly Malsom, of Point B Dance Studio. “Yesterday Was Hard on All of Us” is a fusion of hip hop and contemporary dance exploring trust and human relationships.

Master faculty choreographers include: Muriel Cohan with “Ooka the Wise,” a Japanese folk tale where pathos and humor coalesce featuring narration and live music by composer, Jay Metz; Jerel Hilding with “Allegro con Brio,” a ballet work for 13 women and one man which is propelled by Felix Mendelsson’s “String Symphony #12 in G Minor;” Willie Lenoir with “Folia Venezolana” an adventurous juxtaposition of jazz motifs on top of 16th-century classical music; Patrick Suzeau with “Ode,” a kinesthetic meditation on nature set to traditional Tibetan chant and Japanese flute and James Moreno with “Dis-Assemble/Assemble,” an exploration of music by Dmitri Shostakovich, Cody Case, Nikola Kesici and Moreno in which Shostakovich’s score is digitally “disassembled” offering a reflection on how one categorizes authorial intent and divisions between high and low art.

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.