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Dance students to present 'Pleiades'

Friday and Saturday, March 27-28, 2009, 8 p.m. · Berlind Theatre

"Pleiades," a senior thesis concert featuring choreography and performance by certificate students in the Program in Theater and Dance in the Lewis Center for the Arts, will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 27-28, in the Berlind Theatre.

The seven seniors -- Stephanie Chen, Chelsea Kolff, Amy LaViers, Sarah Outhwaite, Julie Rubinger, Jennie Scholick and Elizabeth Schwall -- have elected to do a creative thesis in dance in addition to projects in the departments in which they are majoring.

Drawing on her major in computer science, Chen will present a piece that merges technology and dance. In this solo, wireless accelerometers attached to the dancer interface with a computer that processes data about the dancer's motion and renders graphics based on her efforts. Chen's second piece creates a whimsical world combining illusion and dance through the use of props and careful staging.

As an ecology and evolutionary biology major, Kolff is intrigued by the movement quality of animals. Her trio, "Wave," explores movements seen in nature and the forces of the underwater world. Kolff's inspiration is the animals she researched for her academic thesis, including the bottlenose dolphins she observed during a summer spent at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She also will present a solo about gaining confidence in a dance.

LaViers will perform a solo she choreographed through the exploration of the body's physical reaction to anger. She will be accompanied by musicians Vince and Dré di Mura, who play a score composed by Vince di Mura based on a traditional Nigerian hymn and jazz improvisation. The final section of the work features dancers with no formal training, demonstrating that movement can be a universal channel for the experience and expression of emotion. LaViers is studying patterns in human movement and dance for her thesis in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Outhwaite, a comparative literature major, has choreographed and will perform in "Signal and Noise," a solo that comes up against the limits of communication over great distances. With music created in remote collaboration with Vince di Mura, from text and sound sent from Cambodia, "Signal and Noise" is a practical experiment in the instantaneous but difficult connection between people far away.

Rubinger, an East Asian studies major, will perform a solo, "Gradient." The piece explores the act of performing with rich, passionate movement that juxtaposes extreme tension with billowy softness. In another piece, "Hotaru," danced to the live music of sophomore John Preston and junior Fletcher Heisler, Rubinger uses six female dancers to portray a startling twist on the typical "loss of innocence theme." Shifting between intimate partnering and solos that identify individuality, the piece attempts to find unity among the group.

Scholick, a comparative literature major, will present two pieces. The first, "For One to See the Other," is a duet choreographed with junior Kelsey Berry that explores the terrain of an unnamed relationship. The second, "Things She Carried," is a solo that explores the idea of nostalgia, memory and time. A series of themes and variations based on popular music, but performed to Princeton professor Paul Lansky's score of the same name, this piece investigates the power of music to give meaning to dance.

Schwall, a history major, will present a group piece, "From the Tumult, Caravan Up." Choreographed to the song, "Hafsól" by Sigur Rós, the piece is a study in unsteadiness, as nine dancers make their way shakily onto stage, only to fall as they attempt to reach higher.

In addition, the seven seniors will present "Vanish," choreographed by Rebecca Lazier, acting head of dance at Princeton, accompanied by music by the internationally acclaimed Brentano String Quartet. "Vanish" is an extravagant and detailed physical kaleidoscope where bodies fly across space and lurch onto each other.

Tickets for "Pleiades" are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for general admission. Tickets are available online through University Ticketing or by calling (609) 258-9220 or online through the McCarter box office or by calling (609) 258-2787.

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