The annual Faculty Dance Concert will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, April 20 and Saturday the 21st, and again at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22 in Winn-Seeley Gymnasium’s Dance Theater, and will feature choreography by Dance department faculty and guest artists and performances principally by students of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Two distinctive worlds — African dance and ballet — merge in a new jazz piece by Assistant Professor Michelle Iklé. In addition to creating a visually appealing dance, Iklé said she wanted “to explore the fusion of aesthetic values found in both art forms, which have defined how we look at jazz dance today.”
The cast of 13 William Smith students, spanning all four class years, has collaborated in the creation of this work, danced to percussionist John Hanks’ “Prelude.”
Professor Cynthia Williams’ “Ascension,” first created in 2001 for eight dancers and restaged this year for nine, is “an exploration of movement phrased in varying subdivisions of nine-count phrases.” The unmetered score created by composer Patrick Long makes it possible for the dancers to move in a variety of movement phrases, “investigating formal spatial patterns and shifting configurations within the ensemble.”
Professor Donna Davenport will present two new works. The first is a modern dance duet she performs with Jeanne Schickler Compisi ’96, titled “'Inside the Box,' which investigates the range of creativity and agency we have even within the restrictive structure of American society.”
The second is a piece exploring gender, called “Scenes from a Different Life,” which features eight Hobart students, one William Smith student and Jim MaKinster of the Education department faculty.
Compisi received her MFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1999. She danced professionally in New York City from 1999 until 2005 with Gina Gibney Dance, Ivy Baldwin Dance and Tap Fusion. Her own work has been presented at Danspace Project, Joyce Soho, Williamsburg Arts Nexus and the Frederick Loewe Theatre in New York City.
Danita Emma, a visiting ballet professor at HWS, will present the “First Movement of Dvořák Dumka Opus 35,” a contemporary ballet set to music of Antonín Dvořák and danced by 12 William Smith ballet students.
Emma was part of the Southern Tier community for more than 20 years as artistic director of the Whitney Center for Dance. She received the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts-New York State Alliance for the Arts Education Award for outstanding contribution to the arts and education. During the fall 2002 semester, she was resident guest artist at the University of Georgia in Athens, where she taught ballet and coached the ballet ensemble.
Seónagh Odhiambo, this year's Fisher Center Pre-doctoral Fellow, contemplates the way power operates in society to create a sense of dehumanization and fragmentation and also how human beings can counteract such forces.
Her “Sand and Bone” was created in a Fisher Center seminar with 12 William Smith students. The dancers experience the body as a kinesthetic force and suggest ways that overly determined cultural-historical codes of bodies and identities can be complicated with alternate images. Music is by Salif Keita and Don Cherry.
Tickets are $7 general admission, $5 for HWS faculty and staff, and $3 for children and students, and are available in the Box Office, in the lobby of Winn-Seeley Gym Theater. Reservations are not necessary, but early arrival is recommended for good seats.
For details, call Donna Davenport, chair of the Dance Department at ext. 3760 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.