April 8, 2009
The Webster University Dance Ensemble 2009 PerformsFor high quality vertical image: www.webster.edu/news/releases/images/dance2.jpg
Dance students Matthew Schmitz and Tara W.F. Cacciatore
For high quality horizontal image:
Dance students Louis Williams, Alison Brandon-Watkins and Matthew Schmitz
The Webster University Dance Ensemble 2009, under the artistic direction of Beckah Voigt, presents a dynamic, diverse program that is both thought provoking and entertaining. The dancers bring a variety of dance forms to the stage: ballet-pointe, jazz, modern, contemporary and aerial. The Webster University Dance Ensemble concert is full of images, emotions and kinetics that reach into the depths of one’s soul featuring more than 30 students performing in ten dances, choreographed by seven choreographers, two collaborating composers and three pieces with live music. The ensemble performs on Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18 at 8 p.m.; Sunday’s performance on April 19 begins at 2 p.m. only. All performances are on the Browning Mainstage Theater of the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road. Admission is $12 for the general public and $6 for seniors.
Call the fine arts hotline at 314-968-7128 for tickets, and 314-246-7744; or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Iyun Harrison joins Webster’s full time dance faculty this year, bringing a wealth of knowledge from Juilliard School, and Hollins University (Fall '09). His professional credits include: Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Ailey II and National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. He has appeared in PBS’ Setting the Stage 2007, NBC’s ‘20th Hispanic Heritage Awards, PBS’ Who’s Dancin’ Now? – Arts Education in Your Community and The South Bank Show in England.
When asked about his choreographic philosophy: “My work is concerned with athleticism and the potential of the human body, said Harrison, “exploring human form and its capacity for deep physicality that conveys emotion, extremeness of body-line articulation and dynamic shifts in energy and flow. I endeavor to comment on eurocentric conceptions of beauty by placing africanist movement values on the classical ballet and traditional modern dance vocabularies.”
Harrison has created two very diverse works for the Webster University Dance Ensemble. Panamanian artist Monica Newsam returns for her third season to premiere a sensual aerial duet and to rework “Natural Existence,” which premiered in spring of 2008. The work has expanded to include more dancers and more silks. The dancers create a jungle environment, as creatures living comfortably among themselves, on the earth and in “the trees.”
Christine Kardell has choreographed a ballet to the music "Groovebox Variations" by composer Kenji Bunch, who wrote it for the Ahn Trio.
Six dancers are accompanied by the live performance of Alan Schilling, Music Director of the Dance Dept., on piano, with Marcia Mann on cello and Paul Huppert, violin. The score provides a rhythmic groove with a classical resonance evoking an ancient pulse. This is Christine Kardell’s third season with Webster University Dance Ensemble. Her work, Basho's Haiku is a contemporary pointe piece inspired by the writings of the celebrated Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho.
Three Ensemble members will perform the remounting of a complex, contemporary, rhythm tap piece, which is set to five of J. S. Bach's piano inventions and sinfonias. Bach Suite, choreographed by adjunct faculty member Jan Cosby, is accompanied by Alan Schilling.
Beckah Voigt, Head of the Dance Program at Webster University, has choreographed a large group piece focusing on the Year of International Human Rights, with an original composition performed by St. Louis artist, Tory Z. Starbuck. Voigt has also created a quirky quartet utilizing strange cage-like skirts, teacup hats and folding chairs, with an original zany music composition utilizing soprano, tuba and piano, by St. Louis and Webster University composer Bob Chamberlin Independent choreographer Mary Ann Rund, based in St. Louis, has choreographed a beautiful women’s trio with lush, full-bodied movement, a large circular platform stage set and flowing, silky costumes.
Chicago guest artist Eddy Ocampo, has set a powerful, driving piece entitled “Beckon,” for nine dancers, with strong, gestural lines and abrupt changes in level and tempo.
Nina Reed continues to bring her innovative costume designs to the stage, collaborating with the choreographers to bring their vision to fruition.