WMU News

Seven performances set for Winter Concert of Dance

Feb. 1, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's Department of Dance presents its Winter Concert of Dance Feb. 6-9 and 13-15 in the Multiform Theatre of the Gilmore Theatre Complex.

Evening performances are Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 6-8 and 13-15, and begin at 8 p.m. The lone matinee performance begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9. Post-concert discussions with the cast and crew members are scheduled to follow the Friday, Feb. 7, and Thursday, Feb. 13, performances. Following the Feb. 9 matinee, a reception will honor of Helen and Kaye Skougis, life-long students, aficionados and supporters of dance to whom this year's Winter Concert of Dance is dedicated.

General admission tickets are $16 and are available through the Gilmore Theatre Ticket Office at 269 387-6222. Tickets for WMU faculty and staff, senior citizens and members of Partners in Dance are $12. Student tickets are $7 with a valid ID.

The concert features two productions from the dance department's Great Works Project and choreography by WMU faculty members, students and an alumna. This season's concert will include an exciting and diverse repertoire that is reflective of the Department of Dance curriculum, which focuses on ballet, jazz and modern dance.

The first selection from the Great Works Project is Act II of the ballet masterpiece, "Giselle." Sharon Garber, associate profesor, has restaged the original 1841 choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, with music by Adolphe Adam and libretto by Theophile Gautier. Instructor David Curwen has served as the rehearsal assistant, Milwaukee Ballet provided the sets and props from their production and Elaine Kauffman has designed costumes based on drawings and lithographs of the originals.

The ballet "Giselle" marked the pinnacle of the Romantic era and is a masterpiece that continues to be a favorite with audiences worldwide. It is a timeless love story depicting such universal themes as life and death, the physical and spiritual, love and hate, redemption and deception. Act II is a substantial work in its own right, and all of the principal, soloist, and Corps de Ballet roles will be performed by WMU students.

The second Great Works Project piece is a Jazz dance titled "Sing, Sing, Sing," set to a Louis Primus big band composition of same name. Jazz master Gus Giordano originally set this work on his own company, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago in 1983. WMU's Dance department was honored to have Giordano personally officiate the auditions for this piece. Giordano company member Lizzie Mackenzie reconstructed the dance for a total of 16 dancers in two separate casts of WMU dance students. WMU alumna Heather Vaughn and Derrick A. Evans, a former rehearsal director for Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, served as rehearsal directors for the piece. This big band romp is a non-stop adrenaline rush sure to keep the toes tapping and the fingers snapping.

Also featured at the Winter Concert of Dance, is faculty member Nina Nelson, who will premiere "Pastorale," a modern dance work for nine women. The dance builds upon the folk-like, joyful quality of the music composed by minimalist Terry Riley and recorded by the Kronos Quartet.

WMU alumna Kristen Legg will reprise her piece, "Beauty--budding but not bloomed," originally performed in her April Graduating Presentation Concert. Inspiration for this work stems from the Monty Python comedy troupe as well as Legg's own strange dreams and other odd memories from her childhood. Legg considers "Beauty--budding but not bloomed," a warped look at the world of female adolescence. When developing this work, Legg drew upon the individual strengths and artistry of her dancers.

WMU dance students, senior Brooke Holliday and junior Krista South, will present their co-choreographed work "Twisted." As first time collaborators, the two choreographers worked over a period of two semesters to develop their work. A non-literal, first function dance, "Twisted" is a celebration of movement for movement's sake.

Media contact: Shauna Thieman, 269 387-6222, shauna.thieman@wmich.edu

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