University Dance Company concerts feature works from notable guest artists

Wed, 10/26/2011


Michelle Heffner Hayes

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LAWRENCE — The works of two esteemed guest artists will be featured in the University Dance Company fall concerts Nov. 17-18 at the University of Kansas.

Company members will dance two works by guest artists Janet Charleston and Jennifer Hart. The concerts will also feature a series of diverse offerings by KU Department of Dance faculty.

Charleston is a modern dance choreographer who is a visiting lecturer in the KU dance department this academic year. Charleston is a faculty member at the prestigious Merce Cunningham Dance Studio in New York who has worked with several well-known choreographers, including Lucinda Childs, Douglas Dunn, Christopher Williams, David Parker, RoseAnne Spradlin and Kota Yamazaki. She also worked with composer Philip Glass and avant-garde stage director and playwright Robert Wilson in the 1992 world tour of the opera “Einstein on the Beach.” Her choreography has been presented in New York City, Illinois, Arizona and Chile.

Charleston’s new dance, “And Now,” is a group work for eight young women. The piece reflects the inner and outer worlds of the dancers as individuals and as members of a community.

The other guest artist, Jennifer Hart, is the winner of the KU dance department Choreographic Fellowship for 2011-12. Hart is an instructor at Ballet Austin and a choreographer. She has been hailed by as having “an imagination so exuberant that one could not be sure how one movement led to the next.” She has been commissioned by Ballet Austin II, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, The Walker Art Center's Momentum Series, The McKnight Fellowship for Dancers and Metropolitan Ballet Project.

Hart is setting her work, “The River,” on 11 women from the University Dance Company. Set to Philip Glass’s lush compositions for the group Uakti, aquatic upper bodies contrast classical lines of the legs as dancers ebb and flow across the stage.

The concerts’ program will be rounded out with faculty works. They are as follows:

• “Journie to the Faire,” a new work by lecturer Willie Lenoir for nine dancers. It is performed to Celtic music by artists such as Capercaillie, Blackmore’s Night and Steeleye Span.

• “Rustic Songs,” choreographed by associate professor Muriel Cohan. The work is a medley of dances of quickly changing moods, moving from haunting to raucous. It is inspired by the a cappella choral works of Hungarian composer Gyorgi Ligeti.

• “Champagne Polka,” choreographed by associate professor Jerel Hilding. It is a dance for seven women and three men to music by Hans Christian Lumbye. In the spirit of a night at the Tivoli Gardens of the 19th century, the mood is playful and festive as the dancers take turns showing off and enjoying themselves.

• “Pas de Six,” also choreographed by Hilding. The work is set to “Concertino for English Horn in G major” by Gaetano Donizetti. Ribbons tie six decorous young women together in a dance evocative of the Romantic period of the 1830s and ’40s.

The UDC Fall Concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 17 and 18, at the Lied Center of Kansas. Tickets are on sale at the Lied Center and Murphy Hall box offices: $12 public, $10 students, seniors (62 and older) and KU faculty, and $7.50 for children 18 and under.

Tickets purchased before the end of business day on Wednesday, Nov. 16, will be $10 public, $7.50 students, seniors and KU faculty. There is an added $1 per ticket customer service fee and $5 per order mailing and processing on internet/mail phone/orders. Call 785-864-ARTS (2787) for ticket information.

The University Dance Company is a student dance organization supported by the Student Senate, the Department of Dance and the School of the Arts. The UDC produces high-quality performances of ballet, jazz, modern and world dance forms at the Lied Center every semester.

The Department of Dance is one of four departments in the KU School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.

Wed, 10/26/2011


Michelle Heffner Hayes

Media Contacts

Michelle Heffner Hayes

Department of Dance