The Hobart and William Smith Dance Department will present its 2017 Faculty Dance Concert on Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, April 22 at 2 p.m. in Deming Theatre of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts.
The concert presents choreography by notable guest artists William “Bill” Evans and Claire Porter, as well as new works for HWS Dance Ensemble students created by Associate Professor of Dance Michelle Iklé, Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson and Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier. Unique to this year’s concert, all five faculty members of the Dance Department will present a piece called “Looming,” specially composed for them by Evans.
The concert will open with a solo piece created by Porter for Professor and Chair of Dance Cynthia Williams, who commissioned the work. Supported by a Faculty Research Grant and an award from the New York State DanceForce consortium, the solo piece explores the concept of attraction to rules and the consequences of their disappearance.
The first solo will be followed by Ikle’s choreography for Dance Ensemble students, “Holding Patterns,” a work that looks at some of the emotional and physical patterns of holding embodied in individual experiences. Music by Ólafur Arnalds provides the sonic landscape for the 11 student dancers, who assisted in creating the piece. Professor of Dance Donna Davenport will present a new solo piece, “Relax: Cobra-Crow-Lizard-Warrior,” a commentary on the irony of practicing yoga under stress.
Concluding the first half of the concert, Whittier will present “Roundabout,” a lighthearted piece that first debuted in 2006. “Roundabout” includes 12 dancers and multiple exercise balls of various colors and sizes. With lively music by the Penguin Café Orchestra, the energetic choreography presents as a light-hearted, joyous and playful dance.
Evans’ piece “Looming” will open following intermission. Created during his December 2016 residency at HWS, Evans’ choreography showcases the Dance faculty in a mysterious and haunting piece, in a world of ball gowns and idiosyncratic movement signatures utilizing stools as props.
To close the concert, Johnson’s work, “The Common Piece,” will feature the dancing and vocals of 38 HWS students alongside local musician Justin Swank. A guiding question in Johnson’s choreographic process was: “What would happen if we listened to understand more than we listened to respond?” “The Common Piece” encourages the cast – and audience members – to reflect on their own personal narratives, and acknowledge the beauty within each lived experience while simultaneously demonstrating compassion for those around us.
Tickets for the Faculty Dance Concert will be available at the Gearan Center box office from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April 19-21, or beginning an hour before each day’s performance.
General admission (faculty, staff and Geneva community members) is $5; HWS students are admitted free of charge. For information, please contact Cynthia Williams at (315) 781-3495, or call the Gearan Center at (315) 781-3406.