Four World Premieres take stage in UDT's Dance Revolutions, Dec. 4-7
Four world premieres will take center stage in University Dance Theatre's Dance Revolutions at the Rarig Center December 4 through 7. This dazzling collection of innovative work by guest choreographers Greg Dolbashian, Justin Jones, Maurya Kerr, and Scott Rink, all Cowles Visiting Artists, will be performed by the university's dance program students. Dance Revolutions is directed by Toni Pierce-Sands, co-founder of St. Paul's award-winning TU Dance and adjunct professor at the university's Theatre Arts & Dance Department. Dance Revolutions plays December 4, 5, 6 at 7:30pm and December 7 at 2:00pm. Tickets are available by visiting dance.umn.edu or by calling (612) 624-2345.
The program of premieres begins with LOOP, LOOP with choreography and sound design by Justin Jones. The piece looks at the ways in which a simple rule sets can generate complexity: three dancers independently learn a floor pattern in a small space, then three dancers learn how to walk the same floor pattern while holding hands without disconnecting while the piece evolves further. "The simple becomes complex and the process of learning the material becomes relational," says Jones. His work has been presented in New York City at The Thalia, LaMama Etc., Sarah Lawrence, EMPAC and in Minneapolis at Bryant Lake Bowl, Red Eye, The Southern Theater and the Walker Art Center. Mr. Jones is the recipient of the 2007 McKnight Fellowship for Choreography and was awarded a 2003 NYFA Fellowship for Performance Art and Multidisciplinary Work.
Maurya Kerr's new work FLANK, she describes as a punk/folk piece exploring war, and its subtext of rage. " I am interested in freeing young people, young women in particular, from the bondage of prettiness and conformity, and giving them, in the words of one of my dancers, the 'agency to be loud'," noted Kerr. FLANK completes the first segment of the program. Kerr is the director and choreographer of tinypistol, a San Francisco and project-based dance company she founded in 2010 after a twelve-year career with Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Her dance company has been honored by a Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition award. Her work has been commissioned and presented by Ballet Nouveau Colorado (now Wonderbound), the Aspen Fringe Festival,WestWave Dance Festival, and REVERBdance Festival/APAP.
INSIST by Greg Dobashian opens the second half of the program. According to the choreographer, "the work offers a view into the leadership identity of an individual and was built through a very collaborative process." INSIST displays "the will within a person to affect their surroundings and to influence the outcomes of their own ambitions and pursuits." Dobashian has created his first international work for Springboard Montreal and is winner of several international choreographic competitions. He has received commissions from Atlanta Ballet, TU Dance in Minnesota, and CityDance Ensemble in D.C. Five years ago he founded his own company, The DASH Ensemble which has presented works at the Skirball Center, DTW, The Gershwin Hotel, Riverside Theater, Summer Stage, and The JOYCE Theater. Dolbashian was honored at NYC's DanceNOW challenge for his company's work. Recently his company premiered a film at New York's Tribeca Cinemas in collaboration with fashion film director Charlie Wan.
PAST (PRESENT) TENSE with choreography by Scott Rink completes the quartet of premieres. "In a world where oppression exists in differing societal forms with regard to sexual identity, race and gender," observes Rink, "we as human beings have two potentialities: the magical, where the individual is celebrated in all their unique glory and power and the pedestrian, where the individual is erased and becomes part of a faceless group. Do we see each other as divine creatures or do our judgments diminish the other? When we become bystanders are we complicit through our inaction?" Mr. Rink's choreographic work has been commissioned by recognized companies such as Ailey II, American Ballet Theatre II, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Oakland Ballet, RDT and others. Rink choreographed for and directed his own company danceRINK based in New York City for 15 years, and has choreographed award winning Off-Broadway new musicals and revivals as the resident choreographer for NYC- based Transport Group. Additionally, he has worked as choreographer on other independent film projects, regional musical theatre and commercial Sage Cowles Land Grant Chair
For the academic year 2014/2015 Cowles Visiting Artists and Scholars are Gregory Dolbashian, Justin Jones, Maurya Kerr, Susan Kikuchi, Since 1987, through the generosity of Sage and John Cowles, the University of Minnesota Dance Program has annually hosted four to six dance professionals of international renown in residencies ranging from one to ten weeks. The guests teach, choreograph new dance work, rehearse repertory, and lecture in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance, and the Twin Cities' community at large. The Cowles Land Grant Chair connects nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars with dance students, exposing them to contemporary artistry,masterwork and new thinking in dance studies.
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