Featuring seven choreographers, 33 HWS dancers and three Dance Department faculty performers, the widely-popular annual Faculty Dance Concert will be held on campus in Winn-Seeley Theatre for its 2015 program, bringing together the HWS community and members of the public alike.
This year’s shows will take place on Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.; and on Saturday, April 25, for a 2 p.m. matinee. All events are free to HWS students with their IDs; general admission is $5.
This semester, Colleen Culley ’06 returned to the HWS Dance Department as a guest artist and has choreographed a piece that will be performed during the concert. Culley’s choreography, “At the Jubilee,” is a reflection on contemporary body training practices. A celebration of pain and pleasure, the cast of 12 performers will lunge, punch and skitter in ways both familiar and exaggerated to orchestral adaptations of pop music.
In addition, “Devolvement,” a new solo by Professor of Dance Donna Davenport that deconstructs formal ballroom salsa into Latin Jazz and modern dance will also be performed. The choreography playfully investigates the differences between these dance genres in deference to the rhythm of salsa music.
Assistant Professor of Dance Kathy Diehl will present, “Fragments of a Haunted Mind.” Diehl, along with the eight HWS dancers in the piece, explored the question: What are you haunted by? Answers revealed the universal experiences relative to choices, self-perception, fragmented memories, regrets, loss and the distortion of truth. The piece underscores how it might seem that despite our greatest efforts, haunting can linger, changing expression as it deceptively shifts into various forms of resiliency and acceptance.
Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson created two pieces for this year’s concert. One piece, “Daily Reflection,” is a solo performance by Johnson that marks a synergistic dialogue between text and movement. Set to a motivational speech spoken by Eric Thomas, Johnson provides physical narration, painting her version of the text through movement. Johnson will also present, “In the palm of our hands,” an ensemble piece created with the students in her “Global Dance Techniques” course. “In the palm of our hands” explores social and political concerns for humanity, and is the culmination of a semester of personal investigation aimed at strengthening compassion for others.
Associate Professor of Dance Michelle Iklé’s new jazz ensemble piece is a choreographic investigation of jazz dance’s rich social history, merging many of the popular dance trends with the development of formal concert jazz. The piece takes a playful look at the myriad influences that have defined jazz throughout the decades, demonstrating jazz’s cyclical nature, as well as developments that emerged as time and people brought forth new innovations. At the Faculty Dance Concert, audiences can expect to view “oldies, but goodies” such as the Charleston, Twist, Hustle, Mashed Potato, Lindy Hop, Stroll, alongside more recent favorites. How many will you recognize?
The Faculty Dance Concert will also feature a piece by Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams. It is a new contemporary modern dance piece based on images of following and leading in multiple ways. Some phrases highlight a sequential order of body parts, one following the other, while other sections of the piece explore “follow-the-leader” movement. Phrases based on short stories with the words “follow” and “lead,” and playful interactions with dancers leading and following each other through the space are also common themes in the dance.
Williams and Associate Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier will also perform their contemporary dance duet, “Thirdspace.” “Thirdspace” was created for “Vision of Sound: A Concert of Live Music and Dance” (VOS). Composer Marco Alunno’s piece “Janus” provided the inspiration, with images of facing the past and the future, crossing the threshold of each, and moving through the doorways the Greek god Janus rules over. Administered by the Society for New Music, VOS unites composers with choreographers in the creation of new work. This year, the VOS concert series traveled to Syracuse, N.Y., and New York City, and to Geneva’s Smith Center for the Arts. Williams and Whittier are delighted to present “Thirdspace” on the HWS campus.
The 2016 Faculty Dance Concert is anticipated to be held in the new Performing Arts Center currently under construction at the heart of campus.