WMU News

Fall Concert of Dance features students, alumni, faculty

Oct. 17, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- The Department of Dance at Western Michigan University will present the Fall Concert of Dance Oct. 20-21 and 26-28. A matinee performance at 2 p.m. is scheduled for Oct. 21. All other performances begin at 8 p.m. All performances will be held in the Dalton Center Multi Media Room on the WMU Campus.

The concert features ballet, jazz, modern, tap and movement theatre with choreography by faculty, students and alumni. Seating is general admission. Tickets are available through the Gilmore Theatre Ticket Office, 616 387-6222.

A free, pre-concert discussion will precede the Oct. 21 matinee beginning at 1:15 p.m.

David Curwen, who joined the dance department as a full-time faculty member this year, will contribute two works to the program. Sextet Duet, originally commissioned by the Kalamazoo Ballet for adjudication and subsequent performance at the Regional Dance America Festival in Minneapolis, has been restaged for four students who will perform the duet on alternating evenings. The highly charged duet explores a relationship fraught with alienation and complicated by ritual and habit. As artistic director of the department's new performance ensemble, The Western Dance Project, Curwen will also present In the Beginning. Both dances feature the music of Steve Reich.

Sharon Garber's new ballet, Her Picture Was in His Wallet, was inspired by the devastating events at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado during which a teacher bled to death in his students' arms. During his last hours, he looked at family pictures from his wallet. Garber has tried to capture his final "spiritual" dance with his wife.

Professor Emerita Clara Gamble created Rara Avis I: Flagellae upon the request of Bachelor of Fine Arts senior Erin Malley. Gamble retired in 1989 and occasionally returns as a guest choreographer. Malley will perform the modern dance solo to music by Vladimir Cosma.

Two alumni have also created dances for the concert. Derrick Evans last performed on our stage in 1989 and has choreographed a funk jazz romp for twelve dancers to the music of Janet Jackson. A guest artist for the entire fall semester, Evans is sharing with our students his experiences as a professional performer and choreographer based in New York City.

Patricia Plasko (B.F.A. 1981), who directs Kalamazoo's Education for the Arts dance program, has collaborated with new-media artist Paul Marquardt on a movement-theatre work entitled Common Things. The dance looks at human commonality through the use of objects and actions using an interactive set in which performers trigger sound and projections.

Two senior dance majors will also have their work premiered for the first time in a WMU concert. Jessica Graves of Romulus, Mich., has created a delightful tap dance that plays with rhythm using taps, sticks and the improvisational music of two students from the School of Music. Lari Lawrence of Freeport, Mich., choreographed a modern dance quintet, Inside & Out, Altogether, for herself and four other seniors. She was inspired by the personal strength, individuality, and friendship of the performers and uses the music of Yo-Yo Ma.

Media contact: Jane Baas; 616 387-5833; jane.baas@wmich.edu

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