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2010 Spring Dance Festival Opens at the Berlind Theatre


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

(Princeton, NJ) Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts presents the 2010 Spring Dance Festival on February 19 through February 21 at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton. This year’s dance festival marks internationally renowned choreographer Susan Marshall’s first season at Princeton as director of the recently established independent Program in Dance.

The dance concert features more than 50 students from a range of academic departments performing in new student work, three world premieres by guests and faculty, Twyla Tharp’s historic The Fugue and Mark Morris’ signature Polka from Grand Duo. The premieres include a ballet on pointe by American Ballet Theatre star Susan Jaffe, a contemporary dance by New York choreographer Camille A. Brown and faculty member Rebecca Lazier’s comedic dance set to the music of Pink Martini. In addition, six student dances chosen from fall choreography courses will be performed.

“Our program courses and extracurricular offerings provide students with numerous opportunities to work directly with renowned choreographers and professional dancers to advance their understanding of dance performance, technique, choreography, history and theory,” said Susan Marshall, Director of Dance at Princeton. The Spring Dance Festival highlights the accomplishments of the past semester and showcases student choreography along side the work of proven masters, our esteemed faculty and celebrated professional choreographers. For our students, performing on the beautiful Berlind stage after months of work is one of the most fulfilling and catalytic experiences of the year,” she emphasized.

Guest choreographer Camille A. Brown, 2006 winner of the Princess Grace Award in Choreography, has received numerous commissions from national companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street II and Philadanco. For Princeton, Brown will premiere City of Rain, set to a commissioned score by composer, performer and engineer Jonathan Melville Pratt and dedicated to the memory of Greg Boomer. “Support this woman. It’s for your own good,” said New York Times dance critic Claudia La Rocco.

American Ballet Theatre star Susan Jaffe, declared by the New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina” and currently a guest ballet choreographer at Princeton, will premiere Pulse. This contemporary ballet with four movements on pointe is set to the atmospheres and rhythms from Donald Knaack's funky album, Junkman, which is music produced solely on instruments made from recycled materials. Jaffe’s new style infuses ballet technique with contemporary movement that explores asymmetry, rhythm and inversions as a means for expression.

Rebecca Lazier, senior lecturer in the Program in Dance, will present Night Blooms to the music of Pink Martini. Inspired by shifting desires, changing clothes and hearts, Night Blooms will be performed by 16 Princeton dancers. Lazier is a Brooklyn-based dancer, choreographer and founder of the dance company Terrain, which The Village Voice has called “Hyperactive bodies in attractive disorder… intelligent, fine control of complex material… visually memorable and boisterous…”

Mark MorrisPolka premiered at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom on April 7,  1992 and became the keystone and final movement of Mark Morris' great  work, Grand Duo.  (The full work premiered at the University of Massachusetts on February 16, 1993). The original version of Polka was for 16 dancers and was later reduced to 14 when incorporated into Grand Duo.  Lecturer in dance Tina Fehlandt, a principal dancer with Mark Morris Dance Group for 20 years, staged the Polka for 12 Princeton students. Grand Duo has been in the active repertory of the Mark Morris Dance Group since its creation. The Boston Globe has referred to the Polka as “…a great circle dance rooted in the squats, stomps and slaps of Eastern European folk dance, (that) remains one of the most viscerally charged passages in the annals of modern dance.”

Twyla Tharp’s The Fugue, premiered at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on April 1, 1970 “…might as well stand for the quintessential Tharp dance,” said Arlene Croce, Ballet Review. The Fugue’s primary phrase of movement is a 20-count theme that its dancers variously execute by way of reversal, inversions and re-sequencings, all shaded by individually graded “attacks and coordinations.” Actual tones accompany the dance as vivid pulse because of the “internal accompaniment” dramatically created by The Fugue’s footfalls on an electronically amplified stage. The Fugue will be staged at Princeton by Class of 1932 visiting lecturer Jennifer Way Rawe, a member of Twyla Tharp Dance from 1975-1988.

This year’s concert will also highlight the choreography of Princeton University students Lilly Akerman, Jeffrey Kuperman, Hannah Rich, Sarah Simon, Ariel Trilling, Eva Marie Wash and Bridget K. Wright.

There are four performances of the Spring Dance Festival: Friday, February 19 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, February 20 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.; and a 1:00 matinee on Sunday, February 21. Tickets 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.

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