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September 24, 2013

Justin Reiter, U of M '13, chosen by Celebrated Choreographer to open Seattle's Spectrum Dance Theater season

After graduating just this May, Justin Reiter (U of M '13) has leapt into a professional dance career with Donald Byrd's critically acclaimed Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle. This influential company introduces world premieres and explores traditional pieces to bring them new meaning. Mr. Byrd, a "brutal, magnificent talent" (Seattle Times), has tapped Justin Reiter, of Sioux Falls South Dakota, to join his company.

Mere months ago, Reiter completed his Dance BFA at the University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts & Dance, where he reflects, "I was given the insight I needed to become a contemporary dancer in a global context." The December 2012 production of Dance Revolutions on Rarig's Whiting proscenium stage provided an opportunity for him to showcase his talents, performing pieces by acclaimed choreographers Bill T. Jones, Shapiro & Smith and Donald Byrd.

When Mr.Byrd came to speak at the Barbra Barker Center for Dance and guide students in the revival of his piece, Jazz 1 (1997), he recognized in Reiter the special skill, talent and passion demanded of Spectrum Dance Theater artists. This summer, Reiter was invited by Byrd himself to participate in a Spectrum Dance Theater workshop, and two weeks later was chosen to join the company. Subsequently, Reiter moved to Seattle to pursue his wildest dreams.

Next week on October 4, Spectrum Dance Theater's 2013-2014 Season: America: Sex, Race & Religion opens with Byrd's Prodigal and Justin, four months after his graduation, will celebrate his debut as the newest Spectrum Dance Theater company member.

September 17, 2013

Chatterjea's MOHONA, Estuaries of Desire at O'Shaughnessy Sept.20-21,8pm


Ananya Chatterjea, Director of the U of M Dance Program, brings to the O'Shaughnessy stage Mohona: Estuaries of Desire, a multi-disciplinary, total theater experience on St. Catherine's University campus this weekend Friday and Saturday, September 20-21 at 8pm.

Mohona: Estuaries of Desire relates stories and layers images of women's work and lives in relation to water. The performance space is imagined as an estuary - located at the confluence of multiple marine flows, rich in possibilities--where dancers layer breath, movement, and voice to explore themes.

"It is predicted that any future war will be around water, and this will affect women greatly," says Chatterjea, the award- winning dance activist stated in Dance Magazine (September, 2013). "In India, corporations are buying up huge bodies of water and distraught farmers are committing suicide, leaving behind their wives. My idea is to connect all of these elements and explore the ideas through movement. Dancers are storytellers."

Chatterjea's Ananya Dance Theatre was recently nominated for a SAGE Award as "Outstanding Ensemble" in recognition of last season's innovative Moreechika in which the company explored the role women play in the fight for the resource of oil. Through dance, shadow puppets, and multi-media, environmental destruction and social violence were traced to the reckless pursuit of oil. Dancers in that production included several UM Theatre Arts & Dance department alumni -- Sarah Beck-Esmay, Orlando Hunter, Brittany Radke, Renee Copeland and dance major Alexandra Eady in addition to the talented Sherie Apungu, Ananya Chatterjea, Rose Huey, Lela Pierce, Chitra Vairavan, and Hui Niu Wilcox.

Mohona: Estuaries of Desire is created by Ms. Chatterjea in collaboration with Mankwe Ndosi and the dancers of the Ananya Dance Theatre, and is scored by Greg Schutte with Mankwe Ndosi and Pooja Goswami Pavan. Sets and costumes design are created by Annie Katsura Rollins.

Tickets are available by calling 651-690-6700 or visiting www.theoshaughnessy.com