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Spring Dance Festival at the Berlind Theatre Features Dances by Faculty and Renowned Choreographers

February 8, 2008

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Program in Theater and Dance, presents the 2008 Spring Dance Festival, featuring dances by Mark Morris and Susan Marshall, performed alongside choreography by Ze’eva Cohen, the Head of Dance at Princeton, Faculty Member Edisa Weeks and guest choreographer Marianela Boan, a prominent artist of Cuban origin.

The Spring Dance Festival performances run February 22 through February 24 at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton. There are four performances: Friday, February 22 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, February 23 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.; and a 1:00 matinee on Sunday, February 24th.

The Spring Dance Festival, produced by the Program in Theater and Dance and directed by the program founder Ze’eva Cohen, provides students the opportunity to work with professional artists in the field to further their artistic experience and be mentored in their own choreography. Princeton set a new benchmark this year by engaging world renowned guest choreographers Susan Marshall and Mark Morris, whose companies have performed internationally for more than 25 years.

"This extraordinary opportunity further challenges our tradition of presenting the best of student choreography along side the work of faculty and guest choreographers with national and international reputations. Our students meet this challenge in creative and imaginative ways," said Ze’eva Cohen, Head of Dance at Princeton.

This year’s diverse program, performed by Princeton University student dancers, includes premieres and classics of modern and contemporary dance. Susan Marshall’s new work Name by Name, commissioned by The Juilliard School, New York, will be performed for the first time since its premiere in June 2007. Inspired by Marshall’s mother, the noted feminist Beverly Jones, the dance, evokes the driving and forceful strength of women toppling tradition and creating their own new identity. Name by Name, performed by a cast of 18 women, was staged by Kristen Hollinsworth, Luke Miller, Darrin M. Wright and Petra van Noort of Susan Marshall & Company.

Mark Morris’ Canonic ¾ Studies is a collection short dances set to popular ballet class music and performed by nine students.  Each vignette skillfully explores, illustrates and illuminates the music in an unforgettable fashion. It has been called daring and brilliantly simple. Tina Fehlandt, who was an integral part of the Mark Morris Dance Group for 20 years, staged Canonic ¾ Studies for Princeton. Canonic ¾ Studies had its premiere in July 1982 at the Washington Hall Performance Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

Ze’eva Cohen re-staged Shifting Ground, originally created for her company Ze’eva Cohen and Dancers and  premiered at the Riverside Dance Festival, New York in 1983. The work is choreographed for six women and was taught during the fall repertory classes to two casts of students. It is set to tambourine music by Glen Velez, a breath chant by Charlie Morrow and an a capella chant by Natalie Gilbert. The work is an expression of sensations of losing ground to forces, caused by either nature or humans, beyond one’s control. Survival instincts as well as spiritual strength are in constant play with these destructive forces.

Play, choreographed by Edisa Weeks, is about the rambunctious energy of kids playing in a school yard. Ten dancers revel in boundless, rag doll freedom of kids as they run, slide, twist, flail and project themselves through space. In the piece bodies become monkey bars to vault over, swing under and climb up.

Marinela Boan choreographed Office in collaboration with Princeton dancers to music by Christian and Boan. The cast of eight dancers execute mechanical fast paced movements, carry out imaginary office tasks, wheel office chairs around and perform popular dances derived from different cultural genres. Is this a multicultural office?

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors and $5 for children. All tickets are available through the McCarter Ticket Box Office at 609.258.2787.

Susan Marshall has created more than 30 dance works in collaboration with dancers of Susan Marshall & Company, including One and Only YouThe Most Dangerous Room in the House, Spectators at an Event, Fields of View, Arms, Interior with Seven Figures and Kiss. Ms. Marshall’s collaboration with her company has been the main influence on the development of her choreographic process and work. Ms. Marshall also has created dances for the Lyon Opera Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Boston Ballet and Montreal Danse. Her signature aerial duet, Kiss, is in the current repertory of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Ms. Marshall has directed a movie musical for RIPFest and also has choreographed dances in operas at the Los Angeles Music Center and the New York City Opera.

A 2000 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Ms. Marshall also has received a Dance Magazine Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Brandeis University Creative Arts Citation, the American Choreographer Award, and two NYSCA Fellowships. She has received three New York Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies) for Outstanding Choreographic Achievement; the first came in 1985, following the company’s premiere concert at Dance Theater Workshop, and the second came in 1997 for her collaboration with Philip Glass on Les Enfants Terribles. Ms. Marshall’s third came this past year for Cloudless. Lawrence Rhodes, Director of Julliard’s Dance Division, invited Ms. Marshall to create a new piece for the Julliard dancers because of her popularity among the students and her “beautiful, creative talent.”

Mark Morris was born on August 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, where he studied as a young man with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson.  In the early years of his career, he performed with Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble.  He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980, and has since created more than 120 works for the company.  From 1988-1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium.  Among the works created during his tenure were three evening-length dances: The Hard Nut; L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; and Dido and Aeneas. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Morris is also much in demand as a ballet choreographer.  He has created six works for the San Francisco Ballet since 1994 and received commissions from American Ballet Theatre, and the Boston Ballet, among others.  His work is also in the repertory of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New Zealand Ballet, Houston Ballet, English National Ballet, and The Royal Ballet.  Morris is noted for his musicality and has been described as “undeviating in his devotion to music.”  He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Morris was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991.  He has received eight honorary doctorates to date.  In 2006, Morris received the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture and a WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award.  He is the subject of a biography by Joan Acocella (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and Marlowe & Company published a volume of photographs and critical essays entitled Mark Morris’ L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: A Celebration.  Morris is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, he received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival lifetime achievement award.

Tina Fehlandt was an integral part of the Mark Morris Dance Group for 20 years, from its inception in 1980 to January 2000, appearing in over 50 works choreographed by Mark Morris. With the Group she toured the world and appeared in several television specials, most notably as "Louise" in Mr. Morris' production of The Hard Nut. She has been the subject of feature articles in Self-Magazine, Dance Magazine, and Dance Teacher. The spring issue of Ballet Review 1998 stated, "Tina Fehlandt is one of the most beautiful dancers anywhere."

Ms. Fehlandt has staged Mark Morris' work on American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, English National Ballet, The Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and at New York University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas, Marymount Manhattan College, Barnard College, the Juilliard School and the White Oak Dance Project.

Tina Fehlandt is a well-known teacher of Ballet and Modern Dance. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Dance at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus and on faculty at the ABT Summer Intensives in New York City. She has taught at MMDG workshops at the School at the Mark Morris Dance Center, Skidmore College, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, SUNY Brockport, and the University of Washington, and conducted master classes at the Edinburgh International Festival, Adelaide (Australia) Festival, American Dance Festival, Cornish College of the Arts, Wesleyan University, and The Place in London among others.  Ms. Fehland twas Artist-in-Residence at Barnard College in Fall 2004 and at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in Fall 2005. In addition, she has worked in television as Production Coordinator for the Emmy Award winning Dance in America series.

Ze’eva Cohen is a professor and Head of Dance at Princeton University, having founded the Dance Program and served as its coordinator since 1969. Ms. Cohen came to New York from her native country, Israel, in 1963 to study at the Juilliard School and perform with the Anna Sokolow Dance Company. She was a founding member of Dance Theater Workshop, where she worked as choreographer and dancer from the mid-sixties to the early seventies.

In 1971, she initiated her pioneering and highly acclaimed solo dance repertory program, which toured throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel for twelve years under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Arts Residency Touring Dance Program. The repertory included commissioned works, reconstructions, and her own original choreography comprising a total of twenty-eight solos by twenty-three choreographers. In 1983, she founded Ze’eva Cohen and Dancers, a company for which she developed a diverse group repertory. The Company performed at the Riverside Dance Theater and the Joyce Theater in New York and on national tours.

Cohen has also choreographed works for the Boston Ballet, Munich Tanzproject, Batsheva Dance Company, Inbal Dance Theater of Israel, the Alvin Ailey Repertory Dance Company, and many other national dance companies. Since 1996, she has been choreographing, producing, and performing Negotiations, a program dealing with cultural, political and social issues, and Female Mythologies, an assemblage of solos and duets focusing on women's myths and lives. Her last commissioned work, Meditation on a Square, was premiered in April 2006 for Bodiography Contemporary Ballet of Pittsburgh with support from the Heinz Foundation.

Edisa Weeks is the Artistic Director of DELIRIOUS. Her choreography merges theater with dance to create loosely narrative and physically dynamic works that explore the beauty and complexity of life.

The New York Times described Edisa’s work as having, “A lot of imagination and a gift for simple but striking visual effects.” Edisa grew up in Uganda, Papua New Guinea and Brooklyn, NY. She graduated with a B.A. from Brown University following which she received her first formal dance training at the Alvin Ailey School. She has performed with Spencer/Colton Dance, Jane Comfort, Dance Brazil, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co., Annie-B Parsons’ BIG DANCE THEATER, Reggie Wilson, The Kevin Wynn collection, and Marie Brooks Children's Dance Theater. From 1991-2001, Weeks co-directed Avila/Weeks Dance. The company performed in a variety of venues including Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum, The Cristina Show, The National Black Arts Festival, Emory University, Oberlin College, Inside/Out at Jacob's Pillow, Summerstages Dance Festival, and internationally in Spain, England, Canada and Japan. Edisa was an Alberto Vilar Fellow at New York University where she received an M.F.A. in dance in 2005.

Weeks has taught technique, partnering and dance for the camera classes at the Alvin Ailey School, Agnes Scott College, Alfred University, Bard College, Boston Conservatory, Emory University, Long Island University, Oberlin College, U Mass - Amherst, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Milwaukee University, Saint Ann’s High School, and Brooklyn Friends High School. She received several choreographic awards including a New York Foundation for the Arts Choreographic Fellowship. She has also received grants from Arts International, the Brooklyn Arts Council, The Harkness Foundation, The Allan Gordon Foundation, The Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, as well as choreographic residencies at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, the 92nd St. Y, Djerassi in Woodside, CA, and The Yard in Martha’s Vineyard.

Ms. Weeks has created and set works on Ailey II, Summer Stages Dance Festival, New York University's Washington Square Repertory Ensemble, Agnes Scott College, Adelphi University, Girls Preparatory High School in Chattanooga, TN, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School in Hadley, MA, Julia Richmond Talent Unlimited High School in Manhattan, Brooklyn Friends High School, and students at the Alvin Ailey School.

Marianela Boán is Cuba's best-known avant-garde choreographer. In 1988, she founded DanzAbierta as a vehicle for her choreographic work. Since then, the company has traveled the world performing her "contaminated dance" style. Her work has been presented at many venues and festivals including Grec, Madrid en Danza Cadiz and Fall (Spain), The Place Theater (London), Festival of Nations (Switzerland), Chaillot Theater (Paris), Le Hague Festival (Holland), Cirque Royal de la Monnaie (Belgium), L'Arena de Verona and Goldoni Theater (Venice), Global Dance and Summer Theater (Germany), Edinburgh Fringe and Glasgow festivals (Scotland), and Odin Theater (Denmark) as well as in Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, India, Nigeria and Japan. Since 2000, she has been developing work in the U.S. She lives in Philadelphia where she completed her MFA at Temple University and is now on the faculty as an adjunct professor. In 2005, she founded her new company, BoanDanz Action. Also in 2005, she received a CAF grant to produce False Testimony at Conwell Theater (PA). False Testimony has been performed at La MaMa Experimental Theatre (NY, 2006) and at the Painted Bride Art Center (PA) and Bates Dance Festival (2007).

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. For more information click here.

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