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Spring 2009 Dance Festival
Spring into Dance

Spring into Dance: Princeton University’s Spring Dance Festival

Opens at the Berlind Theatre   

(Princeton, NJ) Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Theater and Dance presents Spring into Dance, the 2009 Spring Dance Festival. This year’s concert features students performing works from the company repertory of Zvi Gotheiner and Takehiro Ueyama and premieres by Rebecca Lazier, Cherylyn Lavagnino and Edisa Weeks, alongside seven dances choreographed by advanced Princeton University students.  

Spring into Dance performances run February 20 through February 22 at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton. There are four performances: Friday, February 20 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, February 21 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.; and a 1:00 matinee on Sunday, February 22th.

Presented by the Program in Theater and Dance and directed by Rebecca Lazier, Acting Head of Dance, Spring into Dance features choreography that is politically provocative, emotionally charged and intimately poetic. Music ranges from a Bach Cantata to original scores by Vince diMura, Scott Killian and Arthur Solari.

"The goal of our program is to challenge students in curricular and co-curricular contexts to further their performance, choreography and critical understanding of dance. Spring into Dance celebrates the culmination of a semester's work and provides students with a venue for self expression and the opportunity to integrate their work along side of the work of renowned faculty and guest choreographers," said Rebecca Lazier, Acting Head of Dance at Princeton.

Zvi Gotheiner, lecturer in Princeton’s Program in Theater and Dance, has staged his seminal work, Chairs for nine advanced students from the University’s Chamber Dance course. An athletic and lyrical dance with music by Scott Killian, Chairs, has been called flawless, visually stunning and beautifully shaped. The solos, duets and quartets in Chairs reveal the full spectrum of human emotion in a fierce and haunting piece that explores the relationship of individuals to each other and their environments. The result, both edgy and accessible, is an emotionally charged universe.

Guest choreographer Takehiro Ueyama, artistic director of Take Dance Company and former Paul Taylor dancer, will present an excerpt of One, inspired by Gregory Colbert’s exhibit Ashes & Snow.   Created for his company in NYC, One is set to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Showing traces of Ueyama’s Japanese heritage, this piece explores the beauty of nature and the nature of humanity by juxtaposing ecstatic, uncontrolled movement with simple gestures. This piece embodies the universal idea that we come from the past, live in the present and move into the future. One shows the interconnectedness of humanity, nature, life and death. Nine Princeton students will perform the final section, which was commissioned by the International Summer Dance in Burgos, Spain, July 2005.

Rebecca Lazier, Acting Head of Dance, will premiere Small Rooms, choreographed in collaboration with nine Princeton students. A commissioned score by Arthur Solari, currently the music director Martha Clarke's Garden on Earthly Delights, will be performed live by Matt Ferry on percussion. Small Rooms explores what makes us want to sink into someone's arms yet later push them across the room.   At once tender and harsh, and then vulnerable and explosive, Small Rooms depicts a landscape where people are pulled, dragged and carried yet simultaneously struggle to break free.

Guest ballet choreographer Cherylyn Lavagino, Chair of the Dance Department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, will premiere Surrender My Soul to Rest, a Princeton University commission.   Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata BWV 82, this ballet for 12 women explores human spirituality through dance.

Edisa Weeks, lecturer in Princeton’s Program in Theater and Dance, will present We Are Slowly But Surely Achieving Our Objective, choreographed with contributions from the 11 student dancers.   This poignant commentary about the devastation of war blends happy-go-lucky dancing with the words of former President George W. Bush. The accompanying soundscape by Darryl Hell   features excerpts from Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler, Get Happy (Judy Garland); E.Y.Harburg/Harold Arlen, Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland); Michael Gordon, Weather One (Ensemble Resonanz); and George W. Bush On Iraq War Progress and Vision, delivered on June 28, 2005, Fort Bragg, NC.

This year’s concert will also highlight the choreography of advanced Princeton University students. Kadeem Gill will present Caer Perdiendo, a forceful dance set to classical Spanish music which raises compelling questions on how to go on after suffering a tremendous loss.  Tonight at Noon will feature choreography and performances by Alexis Branagan, Sibley Lovett, Claire-Marine Sarner and Katerina Wong in coming of age stories that reveal glimpses of private moments and personal struggles. Original music by Vince diMura performed by a live band fronted by Princeton student trombonist Mark Nagy.  Shawn Cruz and Kia Tavernier will present Box No. 21a, a physical comedy evocative of travelling circus in the 1920s.   Sydney Schiff will perform Cirque de Chantal, a humorous and poignant piece about coming to terms with perfectionism and personal fixations.  Julie Rubinger and Elizabeth Schwall will present Serenity Now, a hilarious take on a stereotypical young professional yoga practitioner in New York City.   What starts as a spoof on personalities differences evolves into a full duel in stark contradiction with yoga as a means to guide one’s quest for serenity.    Alexis Branagan and Pancho Mulongeni will perform George’s Possession, a witty rendition of how modern technology is replacing human contact.   The more we are bombarded with emails, text messages and other forms of technology the more overwhelmed we become. What is meant to enhance communications and draw people together leads to spending more time online and therefore further physical isolation from friends and family.  Eva Marie Wash and Sydney Schiff will perform Me: Self, a duet that unleashes two sides of one person: one who only wants to play and be free versus the one who is compulsive about work and getting things done. The dancers struggle to reconcile the differences of being flighty and playful as well as serious and determined.

Tickets for Spring Into Dance are $15 for general admission and $10 for faculty, students, seniors and children. All tickets are available through University Ticketing at 609.258.9220 and the McCarter Ticket Box Office at 609.258.2787.

The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

Media Contact

Marguerite d’Aprile-Smith
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

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