April 11, 2014

Barbra Berlovitz directs HAMLET, opens April 17 in Rarig's Stoll Thrust

Minneapolis, MN--"Who's there? Stand and unfold yourself." With that opening demand, Shakespeare's Hamlet signals an evening of probing questions and revealing truths. Under the direction of associate faculty member Barbra Berlovitiz (co-founder and co-artistic director of Theatre de la Jeune Lune) this production uses a lean, athletic approach to the text, as the action unfolds in a devastated world within an abandoned, crumbling playhouse. Hamlet will be performed April 17 through 27 on the Stoll Thrust stage, and marks the 450th anniversary of the playwright's birth. For tickets call visit theatre.umn.edu or call (612) 624-2345.

While Hamlet was first performed over 400 years ago, it is a play that stays forever in the present. It asks human questions: What do we do when faced with what seems inevitable? How do we avoid what looks like an inescapable path towards destruction?

"In this production, we have set our play in the near, or is it distant, future," explained director Berlovitz. "Much of what this cast of characters knew of the world is gone--only the bones remain. 'What have we done to the world?' they wonder." A group of actors, the few survivors seeking refuge in what was once a theatre, "take on the task of re-telling the story of Hamlet--the story of revenge, love, hate, murder, death. Maybe this time we will learn something," she paused. "Let's hope so."

Barbra Berlovitz co-founded the 2005 Tony Award-winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune and served as co-artistic director of the company for 25 years. She is a graduate of Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France, where she also studied at the National Circus School. In recent years she has studied with Patsy Rodenburg and Philippe Gaulier. For Jeune Lune, Berlovitz wrote, directed, acted, and taught. She staged the first American production of a major work by Pavel Kohout, August, August, August and a critically acclaimed production of Thomas Bernhard's The Force of Habit. She also directed a new adaptation of Emile Zola's Germinal, co-written with Paul Walsh. Her acting credits with TJL include Lulu, Arkadina, Medea, Gertrude, Milady, and Antigone. Half of her work at TJL involved creations. In 2009 she wrote and starred in Stories As Told in a Bed. She most recently performed the role of Mother Courage with Chicago's innovative Bricklayer Company.

Ms. Berlovitz has directed and taught at Carleton College, Augsburg College, University of California San Diego, Fairfield University, and the Eugene O'Neill National Theater Institute. As a member of the associate faculty in the Theatre Arts & Dance Department of the University of Minnesota, Berlovitz has directed Romeo and Juliet, The Oresteia, King Lear, Cabaret, and The Suitors. Honored with a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, she has also received a McKnight Fellowship, a Theatre Communications Group/ITI grant, and a Fox Fellowship for Distinguished Actors.

On April 25, English Department Professors Katherine Scheil and Tom Clayton will join director Barbra Berlovitz for a lively informative post-performance panel discussion, which is free and open to the public.

The Hamlet cast includes the following performers: Edward Euclide (Hamlet), Glen Geppert (Polonius), Max Giles (Bernardo/ Priest), John Graves (Player), Sylvia Hill (Ophelia), Alec Lambert (Gertrude), Alec Lambert( Player), Rick Miller (Laertes), Jacob Mobley (Player King), Evan O'Brien (Marcellus/ Osric), Austin Ruh (Francsico/Gravedigger), Bree Schmidt (Horatio), Ashton Schneider (Player Queen), Nico Swenson (Claudius/Ghost), and Jordyn Wick (Player).

The production's creative team creative team includes the following: Elias Arkham (Assistant Director), Carra Martinez (Assistant Director /Dramaturg), Cole Bylander (Costume Designer), Anne Henly (Set Designer), Aaron Preusse (Fight Choregrapher), Elizabeth Nash (Vocal Coach), Devin Nee (Lighting Designer), Kevin Springer (Sound Designer). The production's stage management team includes Katie Henely (Stage Manager), with Andrew Buckholtz (Assistant Stage Manager) and Aviva Gellman (Assistant Stage Manager).
For tickets and information call: U of M Arts/Events Ticket Office at 612 624-2345 or visit theatre.umn.edu Customer parking is available the 21st Ave. Parking Ramp, located across from the Rarig Center, on the University of Minnesota West Bank Campus.

Quick Facts
What: HAMLET by William Shakespeare
Who: University of Minnesota Theatre Arts & Dance
When: April 17-27, 2014
Where: Rarig Center's Stoll Thrust Theatre, West Bank Arts Quarter.
330 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis
Tickets: $6 Students; $11 U of M faculty and staff; $16 General Public.
U of M Ticket Office (612) 624-2345 or online at theatre.umn.edu
Tickets are also available at the door one hour prior to performance.

HAMLET Performance Schedule April 17-27, 2014:
7:30 pm April 17 Opening night
7:30 pm April 18
2:00 pm April 19
7:30 pm April 19

7:30 pm April 24
7:30 pm April 25 Post play discussion
2:00 pm April 26
7:30 pm April 26
2:30 pm April 27

University Theatre Arts & Dance is a laboratory for performance and practice of content taught in the Department's academic programs. In keeping with the University of Minnesota's three public purposes - research, and discovery; teaching and learning; outreach and public service - the mission of the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance is to educate students and audiences about the performing arts, and about the social issues and human emotions the arts speak to so powerfully. We are committed to realizing this mission by creating, producing, and studying works of theatre and dance, and performing them publicly for diverse audiences drawn both from the University and the community at large. Patrons should expect to see performances that challenge the mind and are produced with the highest possible quality.

March 31, 2014

Mia Jenneman (U of M '02) Featured on HerLife Magazine Cover

Mia Jenneman, University of Minnesota Dance BFA alum, was featured on the cover and in the Inspirations section of HerLife Magazine this February. She is the founder, owner and a teacher at Barre Bliss Studio.

After waiting tables to support herself as a full time student and professional dancer, and then opening her own business, Jenneman more than qualifies as an inspiration already. But the article focuses on her other accomplishments: positive thinking and balance. HerLife Magazine explains that Barre Bliss Studio, the culmination of Jenneman's efforts, "combines the joy of dance with the mind/body practices of yoga."

Jenneman's sister, Nora, is the University of Minnesota Dance Department Coordinator. Passion and dedication run in the family!

The online issue can be found here.

March 24, 2014

Mark Siegel (U of M '69) to Share His Hollywood Career

Meet visual effects artist Mark Siegel this Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 10:00am at the Regis Center for Art in the In-Flux Gallery.

Siegel's exciting career path started with a Theatre Arts degree at the University of Minnesota. He is now a visual effects artist for major motion pictures and has worked on such monumental films as Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean. He was kind enough to share some special images and stories as a sneak preview to his upcoming visit.

"People often ask me what my favorite movie I ever worked on was. And the answer, invariably, is Ghostbusters."

SlimerSiegel (in the plaid) sculpted the Slimer's teeth and tongue and was one of the puppeteers.

"Some people know this, but not a lot. Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, when they were creating Ghostbusters, wanted John Belushi to be part of the project, but John Belushi had already passed away and so the intention was that this character, The Slimer... was supposed to embody kind of the spirit of John Belushi, especially his character in Animal House, you know, who's really kind of horrible looking and, you know, stuffing his face all the time, but somehow manages to be charming and funny at the same time."

ET stamp
Photo credit Sean Casey, Photoshop composite by Mark Siegel.

Siegel was asked to create a model of ET for the filming of remastered scenes in the 20th Anniversary Edition of the movie. This project involved a personal meeting with Steven Spielberg. The legendary director was amazingly open, down-to-earth and hands-on. "When he got to talking about some of the sequences and some of the things he wanted to see in the updated animation," Siegel recalls, "he was up on his feet acting things out." A few years later, Siegel's work was featured on one of the US Postal Service "American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes" stamps. You can see his fingers!

The incredibly passionate and humble U of M graduate is eager to share his stories and advice with the community this Friday.

February 26, 2014

UDT's New Dance/New Space opens newly Renovated Kilburn Theatre and Larry Liu Stage

University Dance Theatre presents New Dance/New Space, in an evening of innovative pieces on the new Larry Liu stage in the Rarig Center's freshly renovated Kilburn Theatre, February 27 through March 9. Directed by Erin Thompson, the program offers a range of contemporary work from Larry Keigwin's Runaway restaged by Kile Hotchkiss of Keigwin and Company, to Joanna Rosenthal's Grey Noise, created for Same Planet Different World Company. Both Mr. Hotchkiss and Ms. Rosenthal are Visiting Artists through the Sage Cowles Land Grant Chair. In a special preview, audiences will see the UMTAD faculty/student works by Ananya Chatterjea, Elander Rosser and Darrius Strong which will represent the University of Minnesota at the regional American College Dance Festival conference later this spring at the University of Wisconsin.

Director Erin Thompson, honored with the Sage Award for Outstanding Dance Educator in 2008, began her dance career with the Minnesota Dance Theatre. She continued her career in New York City during the 1980s with the companies of Nina Wiener and Bebe Miller earning the New York Dance and Performance Award "BESSIE" in 1986. Thompson joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota's Department of Theatre Arts & Dance in 1990 as well as at Zenon Dance Company and TU Dance, where she continues to provide advanced professional modern dance training for the Twin Cities' dance community. She is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.

Ananya Chatterjea, Director of Dance and founder of the Ananya Dance Theatre, presents Neel, a Blutopia for Interrupted Dreams, which explores dreams and their effect on our lives. According to Chatterjea, "the dreams we weave sustain us with hope while facing the harshness of life; sometimes that harshness interrupts the dream with the reality of life's troubling march." Ms. Chatterjea is dancer, choreographer, dance scholar, and dance educator, who envisions her work in the field of dance as a "call to action"(Dance Magazine) with a particular focus on women artists of color.

She is the Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre, a company of women artists of color committed to the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice, (www.ananyadancetheatre.org) and serves as Director of the Dance Program and Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota. She is the proud recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Artist Fellowship for Choreography. She was named "Best Choreographer" by City Pages in 2007 and has received awards from the BIHA (Black Indian Hispanic Asian) Women In Action organization, the MN Women's Political Caucus, and the 21 leaders for the 21st Century Award from Women's E-News for her work weaving together artistic excellence, social justice, and community-building. She was honored by the Josie Johnson Social Justice and Human Rights Award at the University of Minnesota (2008).

Joanna Rosenthal, choreographer, dancer, teacher and Artistic Director for Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, has been performing professionally and teaching dance since 1996. Grey Noise focuses on "various relationships, aggressive behavior, sustaining control and an anxiety of isolation by way of hyper physicality," according to Rosenthal. Inspired by film noir, she shows "a picture of individuals living in constant isolation because of a fear and the inability to commit, communicate and relinquish oneself to another. The piece depicts the dancers craving to make connections by way of sexual manipulation, aggressive behavior, formation of liaisons, and cautious observation."

Rosenthal received her BFA in dance from the University of Iowa and was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa where she earned her MFA in Choreography. Rosenthal has been on faculty at the Dance Center of Columbia College since 2004 and has taught at Lou Conte Dance Studio and Visceral Dance Center. Rosenthal has also taught at Roosevelt University, Joffrey Ballet Academy, Chicago's Academy for the Arts, Illinois State University, The University of Iowa, St. Paul's School and other local schools. She has performed extensively in Chicago, dancing for seven seasons with Mordine & Company Dance Theater, where she also served as director of the Mordine & Company Youth Dance Company, and as Associate Artistic Director. She performed for five years with Lucky Plush Productions.

Chicago Sun Times described Rosenthal's dancing as technically outstanding. Her choreography has been widely praised by critics in Chicago as well as Minneapolis. Lucia Maura of the Chicago Tribune describes her choreographic work as bold and exacting. Her work Grey Noise, which won an award from the Joyce Soho Foundation's A.W.A.R.D Show, has been described by Minneapolis critic Camille Lefevre as "a gripping work of astute intelligence and raw tension filtered through an economical movement vocabulary of barely controlled violence." Rosenthal's work has been presented in Chicago, Minneapolis, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York and St. Louis, Missouri.

Larry Keigwin, Artistic Director of KEIGWIN + COMPANY with his Associate Director Nicole Wolcott have created and presented an electrifying brand of contemporary dance since 2003 when Keigwin founded this unique company. K+C reaches national and international audiences invigorating diverse communities with a refreshing vision of dance that embodies a theatrical sensibility of wit, style, and heart.

In Runaway (2008), a fashion-inspired choreographic ride, Keigwin explores the dynamics behind the predatory world of runway modeling. Using a mathematical base and geometric structure, he creates a world within the lines and lanes of a runway show. To contrast this restrictive environment, the physical movement ranges from a modeled strut to propelling ravenously through space with a sense of abandon. Personal interactions and partnering follow a similar path- predator vs. prey relationships, stalking mentalities, and more. Runaway was proclaimed by Vanity Fair, "a thrilling coup d'theater."

Since K+C's premiere performance at Joyce Soho in 2003, Keigwin has created 24 dances, including the acclaimed large-scale community project, Bolero, which has been commissioned in seven communities across the country, and Runaway (2008). Over the decade, K+C has presented performances throughout NYC and nationwide at venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Summerdance Santa Barbara, New York City Center, The Joyce Theater, the American Dance Festival, and Bates Dance Festival.

In 2010, Keigwin was named the Vail International Dance Festival's first artist-in-residence, during which time he created and premiered a new work with four of ballet's most prominent stars. Also he staged the opening event of Fashion Week: "Fashion's Night Out: The Show," which was produced by Vogue and featured over 150 of the industry's top models. In 2011, Keigwin choreographed the new musical Tales of the City, at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, as well as the new off-Broadway production of RENT, now running at New World Stages. Keigwin received the Joe A. Callaway Award for his choreography in RENT in 2011. Keigwin most recently created a new ballet with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

U of M undergraduate Darrius Strong created in his piece "Is There Only One Way..." as a very visually stimulating perfect picture, then transforms it. "This piece is meant to let the audience think and interpret the movements and a story line on their own. I have my own thoughts about the piece; however, I want to leave lots of room for thoughts when it comes to interpreting the piece." Everything is not as it seems.

Elander Rosser, student choreographer of Earth Song, drew inspiration from composer Frank Ticheli's choral work of the same name. Rosser's dance strives to convey the composer's "bid to find inner peace in a world that seems eternally bent on war and hate" (Source). Beginning with three seemingly violent duets in which the oppressed triumph over the oppressors, only to become oppressors themselves, the work depicts the never ending circle of power.

Quick Facts
What: University Dance Theatre's New Dance/New Space directed by Erin Thompson
Who: University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts & Dance
When: February 27-March 9, 2014
Where: Larry Liu Stage of Kilburn Theatre Rarig Center
330 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55454
Tickets: $6 Students; $11 UMN faculty and staff; $16 General Admission.
U of M Ticket Office (612) 624-2345 or online at dance.umn.edu

Subject to availability, tickets will be sold at the door ONE hour before each the performance.

University Theatre Arts & Dance is a laboratory for performance and practice of content taught in the Department's academic programs. In keeping with the University of Minnesota's three public purposes - research, and discovery; teaching and learning; outreach and public service - the mission of the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance is to educate students and audiences about the performing arts, and about the social issues and human emotions the arts speak to so powerfully. We are committed to realizing this mission by creating, producing, and studying works of theatre and dance, and performing them publicly for diverse audiences drawn both from the University and the community at large. Patrons should expect to see performances that challenge the mind and are produced with the highest possible quality.

February 4, 2014

TU Dance & Penumbra Theatre, both founded by TAD faculty, each awarded $500,000 by Knight Foundation

Two of St. Paul's vibrant arts groups shared Twin Cities headlines when TU Dance Company and the Penumbra Theatre each received a $500,000 award from the Knight Foundation last week. Each was founded and blossomed under visionary artistic leaders, Toni Pierce-Sands and Lou Bellamy; both are faculty members in the department of Theatre Arts & Dance. In announcing these gifts to the St. Paul arts scene, Knight Foundation officials recognized the exciting work of both organizations and their ability to attract and engage audiences.

TU co-founder Toni Pierce-Sands commented, "We are delighted, so very happy for the Knight Foundation's support of our dream. As TU continues to grow its dance company and dance school we believe will have enormous impact on the city of St. Paul and the Minnesota dance scene." Launched in 2004 by Toni Pierce-Sands and her partner Uri Sands, TU Dance has garnered audience and critical acclaim for its diverse repertory and versatile artists, and for performances that are engaging, dynamic and generous. Modern dance, classical ballet, African-based, and urban vernacular movements are combined in inventive and unpredictable ways.

The StarTribune reported that Pierce-Sands, who grew up in St. Paul remembers taking the 16A bus with her sister to Minneapolis for dance classes. Now, TU will use its grant to fund dance classes for low-income St. Paul youths. "This is going to help us change the perception that St. Paul is Minnesota's political capital and Minneapolis is the arts capital," Toni commented. Visit http://www.tudance.org/ to learn more

Penumbra Theatre, which successfully overcame financial setbacks a year ago, will receive $500,000 to create two positions -- a marketing director and development director. Both were cut from the theater in 2012, according to the Pioneer Press. "This request was the first test of our recovery, of our business plan, of my vision," said Sarah Bellamy, recently named Penumbra's co-artistic director to Lou Bellamy. "Knight asked challenging and thoughtful questions. This award is testimony to their faith in our work, our mission, and our future. It is inspiring, not only for Penumbra but for the larger community. We are very grateful for their leadership, for taking such a bold and public position with Penumbra. It is a strong incentive to succeed."

Penumbra Theatre Company was started in 1976 by Lou Bellamy to create a forum for African-American voices in the Twin Cities' well-respected theatre community. Through its commitment to provide realistic, inspirational works that redefine the consciousness of its audience, the company flourished. As Minnesota's only professional African American theatre, (one of only three African American professional theatre companies in the nation presenting a full season), Penumbra has stayed on the cutting edge of the national theatre scene and continues to present groundbreaking work. It has achieved national recognition for its quality productions and leadership role in launching the career of many respected playwrights, including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson. Visit http://penumbratheatre.org/ to learn more.

January 17, 2014

Dance Magazine spotlights Carl Flink and his Black Label Movement

"I never want to lose that passion to move, to be alive in my skin," says Carl Flink, founder/ Artistic director of Black Label Movement (BLM) in Dance Magazine's January issue. Flink, who also heads Theatre Arts and Dance department, is interviewed in a feature story titled "Flying through Space." Onstage and in TED Talks, Flink's Black Label Movement stretches the boundaries of physical possibility, according to this national arts publication.

Dance Magazine's article by Linda Shaprio is excerpted here:

Black Label Movement gives new meaning to risky behavior. Coming from a serious soccer background, founder Carl Flink has what he describes as "a commitment to flying into space without being worried about the impact." Onstage, his dances explore wildly physical action and dramatic subjects, such as the fate of people trapped in an airtight compartment of a sinking ship. Offstage, his collaborations with scientists have used dance to simulate molecular processes and navigate zero-gravity environments--and have become a sensation at TED Talks, the global big ideas conferences.

"When I was young, movement was about running, jumping, falling, catching," Flink says. "I never want to lose that passion to move, to be alive in my skin."

That full-throttle approach has made Flink into a dream choreographer for a certain kind of adrenaline-junkie dancer. "I'd never seen movement done that way--so visceral, dynamic, big," says Lauren Baker, who studied under Flink at the University of Minnesota before joining BLM in 2011. "It tore my world apart."
Presenters are also taking notice: Flink has recently gotten several commissions, and his Twin Cities-based company is increasingly touring beyond Minnesota's borders. His wide-ranging vision has brought BLM from the concert stage to science laboratories and the viral upper echelons of YouTube.

Flink, who holds a law degree from Stanford University, sees his work as an attempt to "manifest political statements in the work of the body." He first began taking dance classes at the University of Minnesota while majoring in political science and women's studies. After graduating in 1990, he performed with the Limón Dance Company in New York for six years, eventually moving back home to Minneapolis to work with the Farmers' Legal Action Group. He began teaching men's and partnering classes at the U of M, and in 2004, he left his career in law to become director of the dance program and later chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.

When Flink launched BLM in 2005, he named the company after generic food brands because of their no-nonsense way of communicating: "I liked those unrelenting black and yellow labels saying exactly what's inside--like 'peas.' "

Flink also calls his 10 dancers (many of whom are U of M graduates), "movers." He likens them to surfers trying to find ease riding natural forces they can't control.

This approach is part of why Flink has become an appealing collaborator for scientists. Biomedical engineer David Odde worked with Flink to develop "bodystorming," a technique where dancers model scientific theories, such as the tumultuous function of particles in a cell. That led to a dance entitled HIT that explores the impact of bodies colliding and finding, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune put it, "the unexpected poetry within aggression."

In 2011, BLM and John Bohannon, a Science magazine correspondent and the founder of the annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest, performed A Modest Proposal during TEDx Brussels. The 11-minute presentation examined ways that dance, science and communication could intersect to become an alternative to the dominant medium of PowerPoint. When posted on the main TED website, the video went viral. (Play Video of BLM in A Modest Proposal at ted.com/talks)

That success led to BLM working with Bohannon and the Minneapolis band Jelloslave to create a new presentation for the 2012 TED: Full Spectrum conference. Called "Let's Talk About Sex," it discusses how to explain the evolutionary nature of sex to young people. (Ed. note: Minneapolis showing March 27-29, 2014 at Cowles Center) Later that year, Flink's award-winning choreography for a Twin Cities production of Spring Awakening took some of those ideas to embody adolescent passion and pain, with dancers literally bouncing off of the walls.

- See more at: http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/January-2014/Flying-Through-Space#sthash.LRDlHdQU.dpuf

January 7, 2014

Scott Rink joins Dance faculty as Visiting Professor; starts Spring '14

University of Minnesota's Theatre Arts & Dance Department (UMTAD) is pleased to announce the Dance Program has hired New York based dance artist Scott Rink as a contracted Faculty Assistant Professor. Beginning in the upcoming spring semester of 2014, Mr. Rink will be teaching a combination of Modern Dance and Dance Composition courses. "We are delighted to welcome four -time Sage Cowles Land Grant guest artist Scott Rink back to the our department," commented Ananya Chatterjea, Dance Program Coordinator. "Scott brings a rich wealth of professional experience as a choreographer/director to share with our students. His energy, vision and artistry are highly regarded both on stage and in the studio classroom."

As a teacher Mr. Rink has held visiting professorship positions at Harvard University, The Ailey School, UNCSA, University of Minnesota (Cowles Chair 2013, 2003, 2000, 1996), University of Utah, among others and taught master classes throughout the US, Europe and South America. Scott Rink has performed in the companies of Eliot Feld, Elisa Monte, Karole Armitage and Lar Lubovitch.

As a director/choreographer, Rink's work has been praised as "an unusual hybrid genre in which dance is part of a larger theatrical whole" (The Village Voice) using the dramatic text as a musical score where "patches of pure dance heighten dramas like light shining from beneath colored glass" (New York Times). For this fall's Dance Revolutions at the Barker Center for Dance, Rink re-created Here We Are based on a short story by Dorothy Parker, in which he links a duet and quartet with dancers and speakers. Premiered in 2003 at the University of Minnesota, the work performed by University students was selected to be presented the following spring at the 2004 American College Dance Festival national performances at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Mr. Rink is a returning Cowles Visiting Artist who first was in residence re-staging a work by Lar Lubovitch in 1996.

Rink's Off-Broadway choreography credits include, Queen of The Mist (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cumming III), Hello Again (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Being Audrey (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Crossing Brooklyn (Transport Group,Dir. Jack Cummings III) Songs For a New World (George St. Playhouse, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Nor'mal (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Minimum Wage (45 Bleeker, Dir. Guy Stroman).

His commissioned works include dances for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre II, American Ballet Theatre II, Oakland Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Repertory Dance Theatre, The Ailey School, Harvard University, and UNCSA. Mr. Rink has created a number of works for danceRINK performed in NYC most notably at Joyce Soho, Symphony Space, American Theatre of Actors, HERE, The Kitchen and Tribeca Performing Arts Center as well as other national and international dates. He has adapted, directed and choreographed three dance films from the works of Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut.

Department Chair Carl Flink commented, "Scott is a multi-faceted artist who brings nationally recognized depth as a performer, dance maker and instructor into our dance program's research and learning community."

Mr. Rink's assistant choreography credits include: BROADWAY The King & I (Dir. Christopher Renshaw), Allegro Encore Production (Dir. Susan Schulman); REGIONAL What The World Needs Now ,Roundabout Production (Dir. Gillian Lynne); TV World Music Awards (Chor. Lar Lubovitch); CONCERT DANCE American Ballet Theater, Royal Danish Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (Chor. Lar Lubbovitch).


December 16, 2013

Theatre Department Alums Shine in Guthire's Born Yesterday and A Christmas Carol

This month Guthrie stages brim with holiday fun-- Garson Kanin's classic comedy Born Yesterday and Charles Dickens' perennial favorite A Christmas Carol now in its 39th season. Both companies shine with U of M alums -- talented actors who learned their craft through the Theatre Arts & Dance Department.

Nearly half of the professional actors in this year's A Christmas Carol cast trained and graduated from the U of M's theatre program earning B.A., B.F.A, and M.F.A. degrees. All have appeared on the Rarig Center's stages during their student days. Several gained invaluable experience performing on the University of Minnesota Centennial Showboat. Those in the U of M/Guthrie Theatre BFA Actor Training Program have studied in London for a semester.

From Young Scrooge (Paris Hunter Paul) and Belle (Eleonore S. Dendy), to Mrs. Crachit (Virginia S. Burke), to nephew Fred (Hugh Kennedy), to Mrs. Fezziwig (Suzanne Warmanen) and her daughter Dora (Virginia S. Burke), Deirdre (Anna Reichert), and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Torsten Johnson) all are former students strutting their stuff on the Guthrie's thrust stage.

Anna Reichert, who plays several characters and sings as a chorister identified training for the stage as one of her most valuable lessons. "You can always take [it] with you. When I feel I'm a bit too tired, I have come to depend on my physical training. I learned to be alive and present on the stage. Through training I can always rely on being there." The movement classes taught in the BFA program "with the dance and physical warm-ups, keep me physically fit ...yes, training and technique carry you through," especially on multiple show days. With the large number of characters in Dickens' tale, the play's production requires many actors to perform multiple roles making lightning-quick costumes changes and instant character transformations.

Another connection to the Guthrie is the costume design by award-winning U of M faculty member Mathew J. LeFebvre, creator of both the evocative Victorian costumes for A Christmas Carol and the elegant 40's look (described as "amazing" by the StarTrib) for Born Yesterday. Reflecting on that experience and the theatre program's Guthrie association, LeFebvre, said, "It's so gratifying to see all that work on stage--amazing to me because all those artists--the tailors, drapers, the dyers, technicians make me look better than I deserve. They invest so much of themselves into making them, so the result is always richer...I grew up in the profession working in this theatre, I learned so much in my sixteen years at the Guthrie. In a way, it's been my alma mater."

Behind the scenes, alums Jason Clusman (Assistant Stage Manager) and Joseph Stodola (Assistant Director) keep the large cast of 20 professional players, 11 non-speaking performers-- Party Guests, Pallbearers and Carolers, plus 14 children right on cue for every entrance. A Christmas Carol continues on the Wurtele Thrust Stage through December 29, 2013.

Asked about the most valued lessons learned, theatre arts alum Stuart Gates was quick to answer, "Interaction with local artists. Artists who had lectured, or taught as us as professionals, or people I had workshopped with, who I had seen on stage that was powerful...As someone starting out, you can say 'I speak the same language' because you were there (at the U)... A few years ago I had a class on the nuts and bolts of auditioning taught by director John Miller- Stephany, working with someone in the profession makes you rise to the challenge." Little did Gates know five years ago that he would be in the Born Yesterday company at the Guthrie directed by John Miller-Stephany.

The Born Yesterday company boasts five U of M theatre grads including Jennifer Blagen as Mrs. Hedges (BA), Stuart Gates as Hotel Manager (BFA), Miriam Schwartz as Manicurist (BFA), Michael Hanna as Bellhop (BFA) and Warren C. Bowels (MA and Ph.D). Calling the cues in the control booth, you'll find BA alum, Karen K. Wegner (Stage Manager) from the Duluth campus and Noah Bremer (Assistant Director ) trained at the U of M-Twin Cities helped with rehearsals notes and staging.
Two current seniors, Ryan Colbert as Waiter and Michael Fell as Bellhop, just 5 months shy of completing their Guthrie Theatre BFA Actor Training requirements, take stage complementing the Gopher contingent. Born Yesterday continues through January 5, 2014 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.

In addition, Theatre Arts faculty/ associate faculty members made artistic contributions to the productions. Marcus Dilliard (Lighting Designer), Lucinda Holshue (Voice & Dialect), and Marcela Lorca (Movement) helped to bring Born Yesterday to life on stage, while Ryan Connealy (Recreated Lighting Design) and D'Arcy Smith (Voice & Dialect) added to the the success of this season's A Christmas Carol.
To paraphrase Tiny Tim, "God bless 'em everyone!"

December 6, 2013

Theatre Faculty Member Marcus Dilliard's work broadcast on PBS World Premiere of "Silent Night" by Minnesota Opera

On Friday, December 13, 8pm CST, as spotlights bring the stage to life for the national PBS broadcast of Minnesota Opera's Silent Night, the production's lighting designer Marcus Dilliard, who also heads U of M's Theatre Arts graduate program in Theatre Design and Technology, can smile with a sense of accomplishment.

"Silent Night has been quite the journey--starting in St. Paul, then on to Philadelphia, and now sharing it nationwide," said Dilliard, who has designed for opera, theatre and dance across North America and in Europe. His numerous Minnesota productions include work for the Guthrie Theater, Theatre Latte Da, Children's Theater Company, Minnesota Dance Theater and Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Recent designs include Born Yesterday for The Guthrie Theater, The Tempest and Metamorphoses for PlayMakers Repertory Company, Steerage Song for Theatre Latte Da, The Mikado for Lyric Opera Kansas City and Cosi fan Tutte for Boston Lyric Opera.

In the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winning opera Silent Night, composer Kevin Puts recalls an incident during World War I in which Scottish, French and German soldiers negotiate a Christmas truce and share their provisions and personal stories. The opera's libretto, by Mark Campbell, is in English, German, French, Italian and Latin. It was commissioned, and then developed through the Minnesota Opera New Works Initiative with the Philadelphia Opera Company.

While press notices were very enthusiastic for Silent Night as a whole, one reporter commented that Dillard created "a vibrant lighting display... capable of shifting from the chaos of battle to the tranquility of evening" (examiner.com). Another remarked the production was "evocatively lit by Dilliard" (Lorenzo Bassi, GB Opera).

"Theatre -- but especially opera -- is always a rich collaboration of artists," noted Mr. Dilliard. "Every production is a unique experience, but giving life to a new work like Silent Night is particularly challenging and rewarding. Each production element needs to be in harmony, working together, always telling the story."

In a related item, Mr. Dillard's lighting design supports Theatre Latte Da's production All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, in another portrayal of the ceasefire, at Minneapolis' PantagesTheater this holiday season.

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November 22, 2013

Sage Cowles, pivotal supporter of University's Theatre Arts & Dance Department, Dies at 88

Artist, thoughtful advisor, understanding friend and visionary philanthropist, Sage Cowles passed away peacefully November 21, 2013. "Sage along with her husband John Cowles, who died last year, were pivotal supporters of dance and theatre in this community, across Minnesota, and the United States," stated Carl Flink, U of M's Theatre Arts & Dance Department chair. "Together they have left an enduring legacy within our department that will likely touch it as long as it exists through the Sage Cowles Land Grant Guest Artist Chair program, their support of the Barker Center for Dance, the new Guthrie Theater building, the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, and so much more."

Sage Cowles' passionate support of the U of M's Dance Program literally rescued it from being eliminated in the mid-1980s and transformed it into the nationally regarded program it is today. When a conventional block-style building on the University campus was being proposed to house the dance program, benefactors Sage and John Cowles stepped forward and suggested that new building should "leap skyward," and donated the necessary funds to create today's soaring Barker Center for Dance. Opened in 1999, the Center located at 500 21st Ave on the West Bank of the Twin Cities campus, provides much-needed classroom and studio space.

In 1987, she established the Sage Cowles Land Grant Chair connecting nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars with dance students, exposing them to contemporary artistry, masterwork and new thinking in dance studies. University of Minnesota Dance is unique for its extensive use of renowned professional artists in the education and training of students. There have been many notable artists and scholars on campus over the years, as well as licensing of masterworks including Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Jose Limon, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Bill T. Jones, Lar Lubovitch, Trisha Brown, Lin Hwai-min, Donald Byrd, and others.

The program has also commissioned of new work through the Cowles Land Grant Chair including artists such as David Dorfman, Zvi Gotheiner, Bebe Miller, Tere O'Connor, Doug Varone, Sardono Kusumo, Nora Chipaumire, and many more. Notable dance scholars have also been invited to speak on campus and interact with performances and symposia, including Thomas DeFrantz, Susan Foster, and Brenda Dixon Gottschild to name a few.

"Her gift has helped to make us one of the most cherished and respectable dance programs in the country," commented Ananya Chatterjea, Director of Dance. "Our students have benefited from the exposure and opportunities to train with wide ranging artists, explore historical to contemporary works, techniques and approaches."

UMTAD Chair Carl Flink recalled "Sage and John Cowles enthusiastically attended student performances of Dance Revolutions by University Dance Theatre each year to nurture and support the next generation of performing artists. They will be greatly missed."

November 6, 2013

Kristin Linklater,Theatre Artist & Creator of JOAN:Voices in the Fire joins Talk-Back November 15, Rarig Center

Author, vocal coach, gifted teacher and theatre artist Kristin Linklater, one of the original creators of Joan: Voices in the Fire, joins the cast for a post-show discussion at the Rarig Center Friday, November 15th as part of her University of Minnesota residency. The public is invited to this free post -performance event in the Stoll Thrust Theatre. Linklater's visit to the University of Minnesota and this post-performance dialogue is made possible by a generous gift from Professor Andreas and Elisabeth Rosenberg.


Joan: Voices in the Fire reinvigorates the Joan of Arc story, seamlessly weaving together movement, rap, and hip-hop with excerpts from works by Shakespeare, Shaw, Anouilh, Voltaire, Twain, plus contemporary material. Exploring the narrative from a 21st century point of view, Joan: Voices in the Fire was originally devised by MFA students at Columbia University, together with renowned theatre artist Kristin Linklater, Rebecca Wright, and Stacy Davidowitz. This unique tale with music is directed and choreographed by Austene Van will be performed November 14-24, 2013 by the BFA/Guthrie Theater Actor Training program senior class on the Stoll Thrust Stage in the Rarig Center. For Joan: Voices in the Fire tickets and information visit: theatre.umn.edu or call 612 624-2345.

Trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Kristin Linklater developed her own innovative vocal methods to become major influence within the theatre over the past five decades. She has coached voice at the Stratford Festival, the Guthrie Theater, the first Lincoln Center Repertory Company, the Open Theater, the Negro Ensemble Company , the Manhattan Project, and NYU's Graduate Theatre Program (now Tisch School of the Arts). Kristin Linklater currently teaches in the graduate program at Columbia University. (see http://www.kristinlinklater.com/linklater.htm)

She has authored two ground-breaking books Freeing the Natural Voice ( published 1976 Drama Publishers) now revised and expanded in a new format, and Freeing Shakespeare's Voice (published 1992 Theatre Communications Group). She has written articles and presented workshops in the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Russia. Moreover, she has trained teachers in her methods who now teach in the majority of actor-training programs in the US, and in Australia, England, Germany, Italy, Belgium , Finland, Spain and Russia.

In 1978 Linklater co-founded, with Tina Packer, Shakespeare & Company, in Lennox, Massachusetts, and later in the 1990s she created and co-directed with Carol Gillgan the Company of Women, an all-female Shakespeare company.

October 29, 2013

Dance Faculty Women Recognized For Leadership in Diversity

Minneapolis/St. Paul -- University of Minnesota Dance Theatre (UDT) faculty member Rachmi Diyah Larasati teams up with Dag Yngvesson of the Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department to present "Poetics of Labor: Citizenship and Invisibility," this Thursday, October 31st at 4:00pm for a film screening and discussion. Lasarati who authored, The Dance That Makes You Vanish, published by the University of Minnesota Press published earlier this year, has just been nominated for the Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Social Interaction, presented by the Media Ecology Association. Her book describes the intricate irony between the tranquil style of dance and the violent government of mid-1960s Indonesia. Her background as an Indonesian national troupe dancer informs her work as both an author and UDT instructor.

On October 12, another UDT faculty member, Toni Pierce-Sands, was recognized for
her "lifetime of service to the community" through the arts at the Emerald Service
Awards, Inc., founded by The Links, a group of African American female leaders supporting culture in communities around the country. Pierce-Sands is a fitting recipient of such an award, as co-founder of TU Dance Company and School and as a UDT instructor. TU Dance performs a fusion of dance styles to celebrate and promote diversity, and teaches classes for all ages to encourage public involvement in the arts. She is an involved UDT faculty member, contributing most recently as the director of "Dance Revolutions."

A TU Dance colleague, UDT instructor Kenna Cottman was also recently awarded for her contribution to the local arts scene. She won Outstanding Performer at the SAGE Awards on October 15th for Pramila Vasudevan's "F6" and Angharad Davies' "Pretend." Cottman, like Pierce -Sands, explores and communicates her identity as an African American woman through dance. In addition to her work at TU Dance, she studies traditional and contemporary drumming, and the oral tradition of storytelling. Her company, Voice of Culture Drum and Dance, strives towards social change by performing and hosting workshops in schools.

The SAGE awards, first presented in 2005 to provide recognition amongst the Minnesota dance community, are named for Sage Cowles, who performed on Broadway and TV and founded the Minnesota Independent Choreographers' Alliance. Amirah Sackett (U of M '98) was also honored at the SAGE Awards for Outstanding Ensemble in "We're Muslim Don't Panic."

Warm congratulations to these dedicated UDT instructors whose passion influences the community every day!


October 22, 2013

Actor/Writer Ricardo Vazquez ( U of M '07) wins Ivey Award

At the recent Ivey Awards hosted by Minneapolis' historic State Theatre, U of M alum Ricardo Vazquez ('07) earned the title of "Emerging Artist of the Year". The actor-writer claims that it could have been anyone, but most would agree that his outstanding work ethic and performance energy have something to do
with it.

After his portrayal of Gabriel Goodman in Next To Normal at the Mixed Blood Theatre last year, critics called him "a heartthrob-in-the-making... a vivacious spirit [with] affecting emotionality" (Star Tribune). In The Seven at Ten Thousand Things, he brought "palpable sensuality" to the stage as Tydeus the poet (Pioneer Press).

Vazquez recalls his time at the University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance Department as a time of growing. "Everything is about practice and discipline," he says, "I owe this mentality to the program." Performing as Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest on the University of Minnesota Centennial Showboat proved a turning point for him. "I remember wanting to make each of those shows different, exciting, and alive," he says of what then seemed like a "marathon" of 89 shows.

"Work. Work. Work. And after that, find more work." This mantra has taken Vazquez far since graduation, resulting in numerous roles on stages across the Twin Cities including a fellowship at The Playwrights' Center. "[I] want to always be doing something."

Coming up, he stars as Rene in the film Death To Prom, premiering next month at The Minneapolis Sound Unseen Festival. Look for him on stage next at Park Square Theatre in Of Mice and Men, also this November.

October 14, 2013

Opening Oct. 18 UDT/ Dance Revolutions premieres New Work by Chatterjea, and selected innovative work by Chipaumire, Flink, Rink, & Sands

Minneapolis, MN -- UDT / Dance Revolutions presents the premiere of "Neel, a blutopia of interrupted dreams" and a collection of innovative work by choreographers Ananya Chatterjea, Director of Dance, founder of the Ananya Dance Theatre, Carl Flink, Department Theatre Arts & Dance Chair, founder of Black Label Movement, Uri Sands, co-artistic director of TU Dance, and Nora Chipaumire and Scott Rink, both world renowned choreographers and visiting Cowles Artists. UDT/ Dance Revolutions takes center stage October 18 through 20 under the direction of Toni Pierce-Sands, faculty member and co-artistic director of TU Dance. This season's concert unfolds in the intimate setting of Studio 100 in the Barbara Barker Center for Dance.

Ananya Chatterjea premieres a new work titled "Neel, a blutopia for interrupted dreams" exploring dreams and their effect on our lives. According to Chatterjea, "the dreams we weave sustain us with hope while facing the harshness of life, sometimes that harshness interrupts the dream with the reality of life's troubling march." Shaped by the blues, dreams can swing to the indigo depths of pain or be tinged with the azure of hope, explained the artist.

Ms. Chatterjea is dancer, choreographer, dance scholar, and dance educator, who envisions herwork in the field of dance as a "call to action" with a particular focus on women artists of color. She is the Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre, a company of women artists of color committed to the intersection of artistic excellence and social justice (www.ananyadancetheatre.org). She is also Director of the Dance Program and Professor in the Department of Theater Arts & Dance in the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She is the proud recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Artist Fellowship for Choreography. She was named "Best Choreographer" by City Pages in 2007 and has received awards from the BIHA (Black Indian Hispanic Asian) Women In Action organization, the MN Women's Political Caucus, and the 21 leaders for the 21st Century Award from Women's E-News (http://www.womensenews.org/21leaders2007.cfm), for her work weaving together artistic excellence, social justice, and community-building. She was honored by the Josie Johnson Social Justice and Human Rights Award at the University of Minnesota (2008).

Nora Chipaumire, who restaged her signature solo "Dark Swan" with nine male U of M students in 2010 for the "Continuously Rich" symposium and performances, now has re-cast this controversial work for with 21 women for UDT/Dance Revolutions. Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe, Nora Chipaumire has been challenging stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body, art, and aesthetic for the past decade. "Dark Swan" takes expectations of African dance performance (specifically, drums and fierce movements, according to the artist), and turns them on their heads. The choreographer started with a classic European ballet, Black Swan, "And I sort of had my way with it," Chipaumire said. "Being fed up with labels being put on who I am and the expectations of what my work should be, I wanted to use this very classic dance and classic music to sort of try and put cold water on people's assumptions."

Ms. Chipaumire is a 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts recipient and 2011 United States Artist Ford Fellow. She is also a two-time New York Dance and Performance (aka "Bessie") Awardee: in 2008 for her dance-theater work, Chimurenga, and in 2007 for her body of work with Urban Bush Women, where she was a featured performer for six years (2003-2008) and served as Associate Artistic Director (2007-2008). She has studied dance in many parts of the world including Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and South Africa), Cuba, Jamaica and the U.S. A graduate of the University of Zimbabwe's School of Law, Chipaumire holds an M.A. in Dance and M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from Mills College (CA). She is the recipient of the 2009 AFROPOP Real Life Award for her choreography in the film, Nora. She has also been awarded the 2007 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University Center for the Arts, and a MANCC Choreographic Fellowship in 2007-2008.

Her recent works include The Last Heifer (2012), commissioned by Danspace Project for Platform 2012, Parallels; Visible (2011), commissioned by Harlem Stage and created in collaboration with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; Kimya (2011), a work for Jokajok!, a female ensemble based in Kenya; I Ka Nye (You Look Good) (2010), created and performed with choreographer Souleymane Badolo and musician Obo Addy; Silence/Dreams (2010), created and performed with Fred Bendongue and named one of the ten best dances of 2010 by the New York Times dance critics. She is featured in several films, including "Dark Swan" (dir. Laurie Coyle, 2011); the award-winning, "Nora" (dir. Alla Kovgan & David Hinton, 2008); and the documentary "Movement (R)evolution Africa --a story of an art form in four acts" (dir. Joan Frosch & Alla Kovgan, 2006).

Carl Flink, contributes to the evening's program "A Modest Proposal." This work, originally created with his Black Label Movement company and John Bohannon for the 2011 TEDx Brussels, has subsequently become an Internet hit. Flink, the choreographer and artistic director of Black Label Movement based in the Twin Cities (www.blacklabelmovement.com), is also the Nadine Jette Sween Professor of Dance and Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

From 1992 - 1998, he was member of the New York City based Limón Dance Company, performing the works of Jose Limón, Donald McKayle, Ralph Lemon, and Daniel Nagrin among others. A short list of other dance companies and choreographers he has performed for includes Creach/Koester Men Dancing, Paul Taylor, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Paul Taylor, Janis Brenner and Shapiro & Smith Dance. His choreography is recognized and embraced for its intense athleticism, daring risk taking and humanistic themes that often address diverse social, scientific, political and working class subjects in addition to more abstract dance approaches.

Dance programs and arts institutions across the United States have presented or commissioned his choreography including the Bates Dance Festival, Minnesota Orchestra, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Stanford University, University of Iowa, Mount Holyoke College, Brigham Young University, Carleton College and Roger Williams University. His new commission "HIT" premiered at The Dance Center of Columbia College of Chicago March 10, 2011. He is currently in the third year of a creative collaboration called The Moving Cell Project with biomedical engineer David Odde which resulted in "Science + Dance = Body Storming" published in Trends in Cell Biology (November 2012) and was first presented in its dance form at Washington, D.C.'s TEDMED conference earlier this year.

Scott Rink created "Here We Are" based on a short story by Dorothy Parker, in which he links a duet and quartet with dancers and speakers. Premiered in 2003 at the University of Minnesota, the work performed by University students was selected to be presented the following spring at the 2004 American College Dance Festival national performances at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Mr. Rink is a returning Cowles Visiting Artist who first was in residence re-staging a work by Lar Lubovitch in 1996.
As a director/choreographer, Scott Rink's work has been praised as "an unusual hybrid genre in which dance is part of a larger theatrical whole" (Village Voice) using the dramatic text as a musical score where "patches of pure dance heighten dramas like light shining from beneath colored glass" (New York Times).

His Off-Broadway choreography credits include, Queen of The Mist (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cumming III), Hello Again (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Being Audrey (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Crossing Brooklyn (Transport Group,Dir. Jack Cummings III) Songs For a New World (George St. Playhouse, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Nor'mal (Transport Group, Dir. Jack Cummings III), Minimum Wage (45 Bleeker, Dir. Guy Stroman). Commissioned works include dances for Ailey II, American Ballet Theatre II, Oakland Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Repertory Dance Theatre, The Ailey School, Harvard University, UNCSA.

Mr. Rink has created a number of works for danceRINK performed in New York City most notably at Joyce Soho, Symphony Space, American Theatre of Actors, HERE, The Kitchen and Tribeca Performing Arts Center as well as other national and international dates. He has adapted, directed and choreographed three dance films from the works of Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut.

Uri Sands presents one of his own TU Dance's signature pieces, "Earth" (2009) and explores the connection between the senses and the elements according to the Hindu Ayurveda philosophy. The belief contends everything in the universe is made up of five elements - air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are said to be represented in the mind, body and souls of humans, expressed through the five senses. Radiating with energy, "Earth" is a journey into the earth's very core, a primal ritualistic dance that fervently honors an ancient wisdom. The dance is "...awe-inspiringly athletic and simply amazing to behold," praised St. Paul's Pioneer Press and described Sand's piece as "a primal, tribal tone, conveying a daunting danger that left (one ) breathless and the audience on its feet." Uri Sands has also been a visiting artist and instructor three times prior to the licensing of this signature work. His work this fall will be re-staged by two TU dance artists.

A native of Miami, Sands performed as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet as a guest artist Complexions under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, and as principal dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre. His recent choreographic commissions include, among others, VocalEssence, Zenon Dance, Penumbra Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. In addition to several film and television credits, he has taught extensively throughout America and Europe. He was awarded the McKnight Artist Fellowship (2004) and earned the Princess Grace Award in Choreography (2005). TU Dance founders Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands were named "2005 Artists of the Year" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

For tickets and information
Call U of M Arts / Events Ticket Office at 612 624-2345 or
visit theatre.umn.edu
Customer parking is available in a surface lot across from the Barker Center on 21st Ave. and on the 21st Ave. Parking Ramp, located across from the Rarig Center, on the University of Minnesota West Bank Campus.

Quick Facts
What: UTD/ Dance Revolutions directed by Toni Pierce -Sands
Who: University of Minnesota Theatre Arts & Dance
When: October 18-20, 2013
Where: Barbara Barker Center for Dance, West Bank Arts Quarter.
500 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, 55454
Tickets: $6 Students; $11 U of M faculty and staff; $16 General Public.
U of M Ticket Office (612) 624-2345 or online at dance.umn.edu
Subject to availability, tickets will be sold at the door ONE hour before each the performance.
October 18 8:00 pm Opening night Performance
October 19 2:00pm Matinee, 8:00 pm Performance
October 20 2:00 Matinee 8:00pm Performance

University Theatre Arts & Dance is a laboratory for performance and practice of content taught in the Department's academic programs. In keeping with the University of Minnesota's three public purposes - research, and discovery; teaching and learning; outreach and public service - the mission of the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance is to educate students and audiences about the performing arts, and about the social issues and human emotions the arts speak to so powerfully. We are committed to realizing this mission by creating, producing, and studying works of theatre and dance, and performing them publicly for diverse audiences drawn both from the University and the community at large. Patrons should expect to see performances that challenge the mind and are produced with the highest possible quality.

October 1, 2013

Eurydice opens Theatre Arts & Dance season this week, plays Oct. 3-13 Nolte Xperimental Theatre, Rarig Center


With contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists and breathtaking visual effects, Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl presents a fresh look at a timeless story of love, loss and family. Directed by faculty member Lisa Channer, (co-founder of Theatre Novi Most), this modern retelling of the classic myth of Orpheus is reimagined through the eyes of his bride Eurydice. When she dies too young on her wedding day, Eurydice is required to travel to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. Presented in the Rarig Center's Nolte Xperimental Theatre on the West Bank Campus, Eurydice opens October 3, and plays through October 13, 2013. Seating is limited.

"The language of Eurydice has been incredible to work with for me and my talented team," director Channer commented. "Ruhl conjures a truly unique world of mourning, loving and remembering as she takes us on a journey to both the underworld and our own soft hearts. She manages to juxtapose the mundane with the epic in remarkable ways." Indeed, The New York Times praised Ruhl's play as "rhapsodically beautiful...weird and wonderful ...a moving theatrical fable about love, loss and the pleasures and pains of memory." In the decade since writing Eurydice, Ms. Ruhl was named a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Clean House, and received the 2006 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the "genius grant " for her playwriting.

In addition to co-founding Theatre Novi Most with Valdimir Rovinsky, Lisa Channer is an associate professor at the University's Department of Theatre Arts & Dance and holds an MFA in directing from Yale School of Drama, with additional training at the St. Petersburg Academy of Theatre Arts in Russia. Her directing and performance work has been seen in New York at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre, Chicago's Organic Lab Theatre, Amsterdam's IT's Festival, Belfast's Old Museum Arts Centre, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Russia's Bodyword Festival and many Minneapolis venues. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award for her work in Russia in spring of 2011 and is a current fellow with the Shannon Leadership Institute. She was co-founder of Sleeveless Theatre in Massachusetts from 1989-1997. Together with Mr. Rovinsky in 1998, she co-founded Theatre Novi Most, "to adapt or create new works for the stage through a rigorous process of exploration and improvisation that mixes Russian theatre techniques and traditions with physical theatre methods from the U.S. and Europe." See http://www.theatrenovimost.org/about.html

The Eurydice cast includes the following performers: Edward Euclide (Orpheus), Kiara Jackson (Eurydice), Rick Miller (Loud Stone), Evan O'Brien ( Little Stone), Nico Swenson (Nasty Interesting Man /Lord of the Underworld), Gaosong Vang (Big Stone) and Nathan Tylutki (Father).

The production's creative team creative team includes: Eric Norton (Assistant Director), Michael Mellas (Dramaturg), Katie Wicker (Costume Designer), Annie Henly (Set Designer), Kevin Springer (Sound Designer), Kathy Maxwell (Lighting Designer), Audrey Rice (Stage Manager), Sylvia Bay (Assistant Stage Manager), Andrew Buckholtz (Assistant Stage Manager). Musicians for the production are Aviva Gellman (Cello), Glenn Geppert (Guitar), and Bree Schmidt (Cello).

For tickets and information call: U of M Arts / Events Ticket Office at 612 624-2345 or visit theatre.umn.edu Customer parking is available the 21st Ave. Parking Ramp, located across from the Rarig Center, University of Minnesota West Bank Campus.

Quick Facts
What: Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
Who: University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance
When: October 3-10, 2013
Where: Rarig Center's Nolte Xperimental Theatre, West Bank Arts Quarter.
330 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis
Tickets: $6 Students; $11 U of M faculty and staff; $16 General
U of M Ticket Office (612) 624-2345 or online at theatre.umn.edu
Tickets are also available at the door two hours prior to performance.


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