The Dance Program of the Department of Drama at the University of Virginia presents its Spring Dance Concert on April 9, 10, and 11 at 8:00 p.m. in the Ruth Caplin Theatre. The Spring Dance Concert will showcase 11 pieces including the works of three faculty members, two guest artists, and six students – four of whom will graduate in May.
Fourth-year student Olivia Howard’s piece, titled Cumulonimbus, is an exploration in partnering and geometric shapes. She states she was “inspired by the circular space in the Ruth Caplin Theatre, as well as harnessing the skills of my cast. The piece is athletic and colorful, and juxtaposes elements of nature with linear movement.”
Brad Stoller, lecturer in Dance, was “looking for the most authentic way to both give a sense of the intimacy of contact improvisation and allow the audience to pick up what often takes a long time to develop” in his piece Eye Witness which features the live music of the group Blood Moon. He and his dancers worked with several structures including some with eyes closed that allow a dancer to respond to many different qualities of touch and sensation, but ultimately settled on a simple structure where a dancer initiates a duet to an eyes closed dancer through a process they work-shopped. Stoller said that “the musicians will be as instrumental in the response to each other as a dancer and they too will riff off our interactions.”
Katie Schetlick, lecturer in dance, and local musician Marie Landragin created faith enough to disbelieve, that draws parallels between the transformative powers of sacred practices and rock concerts. Arbitrarily derived gestures, both physical and sonic, find palpable meaning through faithful repetition and steadfast interpersonal relations. The final resulting gesture brings the felt, bodily experience of profundity into focus and questions the importance of our separate paths.
The Department of Drama’s Dance Program is honored to include the work of two well-known guest artists in this concert. Guest artist Helen Simoneau is re-staging a work – Flight Distance II - from her company, Helen Simoneau Danse, with U.Va. dancers. Simoneau is a native of Québec, Canada and has received commissions from the American Dance Festival, the Bessie Schönberg Residency at The Yard, Springboard Danse Montréal, and the Swiss International Coaching Project (SiWiC) in Zurich. She was a resident artist at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC and Bates Dance Festival in Maine and has received fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation and from the North Carolina Arts Council. Simoneau said, “The dance students at U.Va. are so receptive and attentive that we delved right into the core of the piece, its intention, and the subtle performance choices needed for this work to come to life. It is very satisfying to see their commitment to embodying the work and remaining present, connected to each other, throughout the process. When restaging a work from my company, I usually like to give the dancers tasks from the original process in order for them to create their own response to the same prompt so they can find a sense of ownership of the piece. Even though it was not originally created on them, it was restaged with a flexibility and an openness that hopefully allows each of them to find their own relationship to the fabric of this dance.
Guest artist Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre also set a work on our students entitled Re:Bound. The work was originally work-shopped last fall during a guest residency of Yaa Samar! at U.Va. Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre (YSDT) is a multimedia performance company based between New York City and Palestine, led by Artistic Director Samar Haddad King and Associate Director Zoe Rabinowitz. Founded in 2005, YSDT is a non-profit organization that uses art and technology to create performances across disciplines, cultural geographies, and physical borders.
Tickets for the Spring Dance Concert can be purchased online at www.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu, by calling 434-924-3376 or in person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the U.Va. Drama Building, open Monday through Friday from noon until 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, U.Va. Faculty/Staff, and U.Va. Alumni members, and $5 for students. Full-time U.Va. students may receive one free ticket if reserved at least 24 hours in advance of their desired performance date. Free parking on performance nights is available in the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, located next to the Drama Building.