Webster University Dance Ensemble Performs April 13-15

| March 30, 2012

Dance Ensemble performs April 13-15

The 2012 Webster University Dance Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Beckah Reed, presents a concert exploring relationships and struggles, musicality and calls for change. This year there are nine works in the production, including a historical ballet. Many original works will also be performed showcasing the dancers’ technical training in modern, ballet, jazz, tap, aerial and traditional Philippine dance.

Date/Time: Friday & Saturday, April 13 and 14, 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m.
Location: Browning Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Center
Admission: $12 for the general public, $6 for senior adults, free for Webster students, faculty and staff with current Webster I.D. For reservations, call the fine arts hotline at 314-968-7128.

Webster University is honored to perform Dark Elegies by Antony Tudor again. Last year the Dance Ensemble performed four of the five songs, but this year all five will be included. The performance of Dark Elegies, 1977 Antony Tudor, presented by arrangement with The Antony Tudor Ballet Trust, salutes the artistry, vision, and enduring relevance of Antony Tudor’s work.

There will be live accompaniment for Dark Elegies: Alan Schilling, music director in the Department of Dance, will play the piano, and mezzo-soprano Nicole Weigelt, referred by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for the role, will sing the beautiful, haunting music of Mahler.

In “Velitation,” Fall 2011 visiting assistant professor, Kathy Diehl, explores the unfolding history of four women as they individually enter and inhabit a mutual space. While each dancer embodies a unique voice, their similarities lead them to simultaneously seek moments of connection through shifting proximities and physical contact.

Michael Uthoff, artistic and executive director of Dance St. Louis, brings two pieces to the stage this year, “Hasta la Vista Baby,” and “Ode to Jose.” “Hasta la Vista Baby” was created last year for the New World Dance Ensemble in Miami in honor of Daniel Lewis’ retirement. The work depicts the encounter of two young dancers, their journey through dance in the different chosen fields of modern and ballet, and the everlasting friendship that was born out of competition and love for the art form.

“Ode to Jose,” also choreographed by Uthoff, is set to the popular Cannon in D of Pachelbel and was created in memory and honor of his mentor, Jose Limon. Inspired by Limon’s own movements, Uthoff conveys the beauty of a man, his spirituality and his humbling simplicity.

“Kappa Malong Malong,” choreographed by Spring 2012 visiting assistant professor, Leonard Cruz, is a Maranao dance of the Philippines that shows the many ways of wearing a malong, a simple tubular yet highly functional piece of cloth. This traditional women’s dance shows this cloth of countless colorful designs. Though most typically used as a skirt, the malong can be woven in many different ways depending on the purpose of the wearer.

Cruz also created “Call To Take a Stand,” a piece centered on protest and activism. Inspired by Time Magazine’s 2011 person of the year, “The Protester,” he encouraged the dancers to reflect on issues and themes that affect their generation and identity. The movement material stems from a fusion of Asian/Pacific Islands, African and modern dance forms, though the live vocals stem directly from the students. St. Louis percussionist Lance Garger has collaborated with Cruz to create a powerful sound score for this explosive work.

Guest artist Heather Brown created “Vivir para el Ritmo,” a tap work set to the lively music of Bixiga 70. It is inspired by the music’s instrumental composition of Brazilian, Latin and African beats. Brown has created a dynamic piece that drives the audience to explore the layers in the music in relation to the dancers’ rhythms and movements.

“Trapped,” choreographed by Monica Newsam and set to original music by Robert J. Miller-Allegretto and “Serenade,” is an aerial silk duet about the problems that overtake life and the struggle to become free from them. Newsam explores this trapped feeling and the overwhelming desire to resolve not only our own problems, but others’ problems as well.

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Beckah Reed, artistic director of Webster University Dance Ensemble and chair of the Department of Dance, is collaborating with Zlatko Ćosić, an internationally renowned video artist and filmmaker. Their work, “Liminal Rituals of Refugees,” utilizes fragments of memories, sensations of the past with visions of the future and moments of the now…all aspects of anyone’s life experiences, but focused directly in this artwork on refugees.

It is the International Human Rights Year of the Refugee at Webster University. “Liminal Rituals of Refugees” is in recognition of the many refugees of the world, including those who come to America, to St. Louis, to Webster University.

Reed is on the Board of Directors for the American College Dance Festival and artistic director of ANNONYArts, a St. Louis based organization dedicated to supporting a consortium of independent movement and performing artists presenting original works and providing arts education.

She has toured extensively with an all women’s contemporary dance theatre company (GASH/VOIGT Dance Theatre), sharing her work with people in Russia, Taiwan, Costa Rica, China, Turkey, Greece and Hungary.

Category: The Arts, Webster Events

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