The Lewis Center presents Dusk to Dusk, featuring choreography by New Jersey residents Alexis Branagan and Eva Wash
(Princeton, NJ) Princeton University’s Program in Dance presents Dusk to Dusk, a senior thesis production featuring choreography by Alexis DeWan Branagan and Eva Marie Wash. Performances run April 14-16 at 8:00 p.m. in the Patricia and Ward Hagan ’48 Dance Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau Street. This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome.
In Dusk to Dusk, choreographers Alexis DeWan Branagan and Eva MarieWash, both New Jersey residents, explore types of experience that are ubiquitous but also transcend our comprehension. Dreaming and waking, dying and rising, these are integral concepts that drive the choreography, music, and design of their dance thesis performance. Though working quite separately, their pieces converge on their preoccupation with time, nature, and the human experience of both. Drawing upon their studies of dance, art, and literature at Princeton, they have integrated various media as the inspiration for and substance of their choreographic works, "With Awaken'd Eyes" and "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang."
Branagan, of Roselle Park, NJ, is an English major and dance certificate student at Princeton. Her piece, "With Awaken'd Eyes," is inspired by the Romantic poet John Keats' Odes of 1819: Ode to Autumn, Ode to Psyche, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode on Indolence, Ode on Melancholy, and Ode to a Nightingale. The work depicts the poet's subconscious thought, informed both by Branagan's imaginative interpretations of the poems and by Keats' letters, in which he poetically articulates his philosophies. "With Awaken'd Eyes" brings the audience to an imagined world of visions and waking dreams composed of continuously transforming ideas, music, and movements. Branagan chose music composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, Vince di Mura, and original music by Vince di Mura based on "Real Flowers," a lullaby by Cornelia DeWan, Branagan’s great grandmother.
Branagan is the founding Artistic Director of Princeton University Ballet, a student-run company established in 2008. Before arriving at Princeton, she trained at the New Jersey School of Ballet and performed in NJ Ballet's productions as a member of their Junior Company. She also trained yearly at summer intensive programs including the summer dance program at The Juilliard School. For the past two years, Branagan has received the Lewis Center of the Arts' Outstanding Work in Dance Award.
Eva Marie Wash is an Art History major from Metuchen, NJ. The title of her piece, “Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang,” is derived from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73. As a poem about the process of human aging and dying and its mirror in the temporal seasons, the sonnet relates intimately to the concepts that Wash hopes to embody in this dance: the integration of music, dance, and other creative acts in the life and religious faith of a community and the different stages of such lives through time. Her experiences studying chant in the Republic of Georgia and farming and art-making at a Benedictine monastery last summer have been incorporated into both the live music and the narrative of the performance.
Wash has been dancing since she was a child, and though one of her main artistic passions, it's always been balanced with her love of the visual arts and music. At Princeton, Wash has been active in the Program in Dance, performing professional and student choreography, and even some of her own works, in the Spring Dance Festivals, senior theses and special performances projects. Her older brother, Isaac Wash, is a collaborator and musician for her thesis.
“This is an extraordinary undertaking for our students, who in addition to fulfilling the demanding course requirements for gaining a Certificate in Dance, choose to create and produce a dance work independently. Both of these young artists have brought together aspects of their academic studies and dance experience in the creation of these multi-faceted dance works”, said Susan Marshall, Director of the Program in Dance.
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.