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Princeton dance students present "Intent" at the Berlind Theatre

(Princeton, NJ) The Lewis Center for the Arts is excited to present “Intent,” a creative thesis production comprising choreography and performance by the ten certificate students in Princeton’s Program in Dance. Concluding an intensive program of modern technique and composition courses as well as performance in the annual Spring Dance Festival, the creative thesis is a culminating statement – and an optional endeavor. This fond farewell concert will be performed at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center on Friday, December 4 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 5 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.

The student choreography of six of the certificate students will be joined by the work of New York based choreographer Mark Morris. Princeton faculty member Tina Fehlandt, a founding member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, coached the certificate students in Stampede, an excerpt from Morris’ 1993 work Grand Duo. Fehlandt performed Grand Duo, an energetic piece set to an elaborate score by American modernist Lou Harrison, from its premiere until her retirement from the company in 2000. “It has been an incredible experience to share an excerpt of this great dance with my wonderful students,” Fehlandt remarks.

A member of the faculty since 2007, Fehlandt notes, “When the seniors first approached me about staging a Mark Morris work for the thesis concert I thought long and hard about what would be appropriate and exciting.  I wanted to celebrate both their individuality and the collective journey they had taken together through their years in Princeton’s dance program.  Mark’s Grand Duo immediately sprang to mind.  Indeed much of his choreography is exactly this: unique people dancing together and the power of that ritual to create a sense of community and belonging.” But, she emphasizes, Grande Duo’s distinctiveness lies in that “it never failed to leave me exhilarated and flushed with the sense of being in the right place at the right time with the right people.”

Kelsey Berry, a philosophy major and neuroscience certificate student, presents a group piece, Rote. Choreographed to the song Glósóli by Sigur Rós, the piece utilizes repetitive movement schemes to embody the concept of steady routine in life. Invoking the powerful image of the monastic lifestyle, the piece explores the idea of finding transcendence and release within the pattern of simple routine.

Drawing on his studies in the politics department, Shawn Cruz presents Choti Dinaya (Little World), an ensemble piece that explores the tensions created between local and global forces in contemporary society, and the anger and hope that this tension invokes. His second piece, a duet with Jeffrey Kupperman ’12, confronts a great personal fear. Performed to Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s Silence the duet strives to finds strength, fragility, fluidity and haunting beauty.

Brad Kern, a molecular biology major with a certificate in engineering biology, is presenting two pieces in the concert. Jump, set to JS Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 mvt. 3 Allegro, explores the spontaneity and enthusiasm of the swing dance idiom and the timeless connection between dance and music. His second piece, A Moment, with a soundscape created by Vince di Mura, was inspired by the ubiquitous struggle for connection in a crowded metro.

Grey Matter, a group piece choreographed by Laura Robertson, attempts to visualize the act of thinking, where thought becomes nearly material and awareness of characteristic patterns is rarely achieved. An art and archaeology major, Robertson took the topic of her thesis – filmmaker Tacita Dean and her archival, dance-focused lens – as the inspiration for Grey Matter’s structure.

Claire-Marine Sarner’s group piece, Maelstrom, explores the effects of an external driving force on dancers seeking to keep or take control. Cyclical in nature, Maelstrom siphons in the dancers only to reject and conquer them. A civil engineering and architecture major, Sarner will also present a solo in the concert, a piece centered around a mountain of shoes.

Katerina Wong, an anthropology major with a certificate in East Asian studies, explores the underbelly of classic American musical choreography in a group piece set to an original composition, A Meeting with Gershwin at The Café De Flore by Vince di Mura. Drawing inspiration from vaudeville styles, eleven dancers confront ideas of conformity, repetition, rebellion, ambivalence and spectacle, accompanied by the live music of Allison Wood ’10, Mark Nagy ’11, Matt Goff ’12 and Pilar Castro Kiltz ’10. The second piece, a solo accompanied by Phyllis Heitjan ’11 on vocals and guitar, explores the simplicity, vulnerability and intimacy of a dancer’s relationship to his or her song.

Sydney Engle, a Classics major, is performing in Stampede for the thesis concert. Pilar Castro Kiltz, a senior in the Department of Music, is also performing in Stampede. Kiltz is pursuing a certificate in theater and will present an original work in the Matthews Acting studio as part of her creative thesis work for both certificates. Ben Oliver, a civil engineering major and geological engineering certificate student, will be performing in Stampede for the thesis concert, as will Tamara Spitzer-Hobeika, a politics major with a certificate in French literature.

Tickets for "Intent" are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. For advance tickets please call University Ticketing at 609.258.9220 or the Berlind 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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