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Friday, February 22, 2013

Performing for Dance Company Explores the Human Experience @ University of Utah Department of Modern Dance (SLC: Feb 28 - Mar 9)

·      Performing Dance Company, Department of Modern Dance
·      Feb. 28 - Mar. 9, 2013
·      Merce Cunningham’s, “Cross Currents”
·      Guest Artist Yannis Adoniou
·      Marriott Center for Dance, University of Utah
·      www.kingtix.com
·      801.581.7100

For immediate release
Contact Sara Pickett sara.pickett@utah.edu  801.585.6237
February 15, 2013-- The University of Utah Department of Modern Dance presents Performing Dance Company in the Hayes Christensen Theatre, opening February 28, 2013.  Addressing the human journey, relationships, drama and the love of movement, this concert features works from Department of Modern Dance faculty members Shaun Boyle, Eric Handman, and Steve Koester.  Also in the concert is a Merce Cunningham classic and a new work from Guest Artist Yannis Adoniou.  Performances run February 28 and March 7 at 5:30PM and March 1, 2, 8, & 9 at 7:30PM.
Ben Mielke (Photo by Chelsea Rowe)
American avant-garde choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham (1919-2009) is considered one of the most important choreographers of the 20th Century, and the Department of Modern Dance is delighted to present Cross Currents for the first time on the Hayes Christensen stage.  Staged by former Cunningham dancer Daniel Squire, the work was first performed in London July of 1964.  Cunningham archivist David Vaughan said of the work, “The title comes from the way the dancer's paths frequently intersected, and from the original rhythmic qualities of the ballet, where each dancer had their own, different rhythms, but they would all come together at the end of the phrase.”  Cross Currents is performed to music written by Conlon Nancarrow and arranged by long time collaborator and friend of Cunningham, John Cage.

Another guest work in the concert is naivete in minor by choreographer Yannis Adoniou.  As part of an extensive Guest Artist in Residence program in the Department of Modern Dance, Adoniou spent six weeks with dance majors teaching master classes and creating the new work naivete in minor, which came to life during his time working with the cast of 11 students, is about vulnerability and desire, a human journey through dance and song.  Jessica T. Pearson, a Morales Fellow in the department, has been working with the cast as rehearsal director to bring the piece to the stage since Adoniou completed his residency.  Adoniou is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of critically acclaimed dance company KUNST-STOFF.  The company, based out of San Francisco, is a Goldie Award winner and just celebrated its 10th Anniversary Season.

Professor Eric Handman will premiere, Good Morning Midnight, a physically vivid work full of new movement invention.  With five dancers he explores several emotional, mysterious and physically intense episodes in which partnerships emerge, disintegrate and form again. “Dances take on a different level of significance when I see characters altered by their journey -- even if these relationships are somewhat open to interpretation,” said Handman. “A little mystery is a good thing.”

Tenderly We Bite created by Professor/Lecturer Shaun Boyle in collaboration with the dancers was inspired by notable literary figures and legends of the Jazz Age Era, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. The work examines both the ‘beautiful’ and the ‘damned’ nature of this prominent couple’s life together.  Boyle delicately sheds light on the juxtaposition of the Fitzgerald’s lives as beloved writers and artists and as exploited figures in the media plagued by financial struggles, alcoholism, and psychiatric hospitalization.  Costume designer Steve Rasmussen and set designer James Larsen have been instrumental in the overall design and appearance of this piece creating a well crafted environment to evoke the style of the 1920’s.  The audience will truly be immersed into the Fitzgerald’s world in Boyle’s Tenderly We Bite.

Closing the concert is a piece from the Department Chair Stephen Koester titled Reconstruction of a New Work (a.k.a., Because I’m Old and It Makes Me Happy).  In his new piece set to Bach’s 2nd Brandenburg Concerto, Koester returns to a past when dance could simply be about the movement, the joy of moving and moving through space.  While referencing more traditional dance al a Paul Taylor’s Esplanade, artists Mark Morris and Murray Louis, and his own roots with Hanya Holm protégé Nancy Hauser, the work may also return to the question of why we dance in the first place, for the experiencing of kinesthetic, physical pleasure and the opportunity to dance with others.  

Stunningly performed and produced in the Hayes Christensen Theatre at the Marriott Center for Dance on the University of Utah campus, PDC's concerts are always innovative and electrifying.  Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30PM and Thursday shows begin at 5:30PM with a special 2-for-1-ticket offer for University of Utah faculty and staff.  The show runs February 28- March 9, 2013.  Visit www.kingtix.com for tickets or call 801-581-7100.  Tickets are also available at the door 30 minutes prior to curtain. Tickets are $12 general admission and $8 for faculty, staff and non U of U students and free for U of U students under the U and the Arts Program. 

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