April 7, 2011
The 2011 Webster University Dance Ensemble Performs
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The 2011 Webster University Dance Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Beckah Reed, presents a concert full of images, emotions and kinetics that explore new territory for audiences and performers alike. This year there are seven choreographers and 34 students involved in the production featuring original choreography, a historical ballet and the reworking of two older works. The Webster University dancers are trained in ballet-pointe, jazz, modern, contemporary, aerial and fluidly express themselves through their technique. The Dance Ensemble performs on the Browning Mainstage of the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road on Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. Sunday’s performance on May 1 begins at 2 p.m. only Admission is $12 for the general public and $6 for seniors. Call the fine arts hotline at 314-968-7128 for tickets, and 314-968-6936; or email@example.com for more information.
In "Another Izimbra," Kirven Boyd and Antonio Douthit test the dancers' technique and physicality. The inspiration for the ballet came from the music. Set to the sounds of Bojo and the driving beats of The Highlit Tribe, this up-tempo piece is sure to excite. Mr. Kirven Boyd and Antonio Douthit are current dancers with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Maggi Dueker has created a new work, "Impetus," for Webster dancers that will premier in April at the American College Dance Festival in Wichita, Kansas. It is a driving, strong, group piece that explores relationships and rhythms. Ms. Dueker has been on the faculty of the Webster University Department of Dance since 2005 where she teaches all levels of ballet and jazz. She is a Summa cum Laude graduate of Webster with a BFA in Dance and a BA in History. Upon graduation, she moved to Chicago where she performed regionally and internationally with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago II and as a freelance artist with Melissa Thodos and Dancers and Chicago Arts Project, among others. She taught dance at Giordano Dance Center, Northwestern University and at various studios throughout Chicago and St. Louis. She also appeared in the Equity Ensemble for the MUNY and has worked for Royal Caribbean International, serving as dance captain to the cast.
In her latest work, "Meditation Suite," Visiting Assistant Professor, Alicia Graf Mack, explores the various emotions that are aroused when attempting to achieve deep and reflective thought. While abstracting some of the 26 poses from the practice of Bikram Yoga, the work takes the audience on a journey from experiencing the calm rush of peace, to hearing the brash and incessant thoughts that flood the mind when it is trying to focus. Set to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, and accompanied by the department's Musical Director, Alan Shilling, Meditation Suite utilizes 21 dancers. Alicia Graf Mack has taken a three-year hiatus from full-time performing to pursue a master's degree in Nonprofit Management from Washington University and to teach dance at Center of Creative Arts and Webster University in St. Louis. Before moving to St. Louis, Alicia was a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem. She has also guest performed with Alonzo King's LINES Ballet and in international dance festivals in New York, Chicago, Aspen and Milan, Italy. Mrs. Mack will return to New York City in the summer.
"Longing,"choreographed by Monica Newsam and set to music by Um Anjo by Egberto Gismonti, is a solo aerialist/dancer partnering with a trapeze. The performer desperately wants something, tries hard to get it…as someone climbing a mountain…but in the end does not make it to the top. Ms. Newsam began performing aerial dance in her native Panama in 2002. She has performed in France, Italy, India, Ecuador, Salvador, Cuba, Bahamas and Missouri. Currently Monica teaches aerial dance and choreographs for Webster University. She also works as an independent choreographer and performer with local companies like ANNONYArts and Circus Harmony. In March of 2011 Monica directed her first aerial dance concert in St. Louis bringing together artists from Panama and St. Louis
Beckah Reed, Artistic Director of Webster University Dance Ensemble and Chair of the Department of Dance at Webster University has created "Caged," a piece inspired by the book "Half the Sky" by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The significant challenges women face globally in regards to trafficking and abuse is reflected through the metaphor of bamboo birdcages, pedestals and fabric. The sound score is vocal self-accompaniment, both live and recorded, with a minimal movement vocabulary creating a sense of ritual and a sustained sense of time.
Webster University is honored this year to perform excerpts of Dark Elegies by Antony Tudor. This performance of "Dark Elegies," © 1977 Antony Tudor,presented by arrangement with The Antony Tudor Ballet Trust, salutes the artistry, vision, enduring relevance of Antony Tudor’s work. Mr. Tudor was a remarkable artist, who truly was a forerunner of bringing contemporary dance vocabulary and concepts into the traditional ballet world. Sally Brayley Bliss, trustee of the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust, and Kirk Peterson, who among his many credits had a very distinguished career with American Ballet Theatre, are both masters of Tudor’s works and worked diligently with Webster to set Dark Elegies on the dancers. There will be live accompaniment for Dark Elegies; Alan Schilling, Music Director in the Department of Dance will play piano, while Jeffrey Carter, Chair of the Music Department will sing the beautiful, haunting music of Mahler.
"Two Movements for Webster," choreographed by Michael Uthoff, Executive and Artistic Director of Dance St. Louis, is an original work created to two movements of different concertos of Camille Saint Saens (Cello Concerto and Piano Concerto). Its sole purpose is to challenge the dancers to understand the concept of body lines, standing still, moving with purpose and challenging the confines of the space defined by the stage and limited by the time of the music all within the opportunities offered by the technique of classical ballet. Michael Uthoff danced with Jose Limon, Joffrey Ballet and First Chamber Dance CO. of NY., founded Hartford Ballet and was Artistic Director of Ballet Arizona and Ballet Estable del Teatro Colon. He has choreographed and directed various operas throughout the world, has taught at Juilliard, New World School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase, UMSL and Webster, as well as serving as a guest teacher throughout the country. Michael Uthoff has been awarded a Laureates Degree from St. Joseph College in Hartford, CT and Doctorate of Fine Arts Honoris Causa from UMSL.
Nina Reed once again brings her innovative costume designs to the stage, collaborating with the choreographers to bring their vision to fruition.