Video feature: Students prepare for Princeton Dance Festival

A semester of dance instruction culminates with the Princeton Dance Festival Dec. 4-6 at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. (Video by the Lewis Center for the Arts)

For several months, professional choreographers and more than 60 Princeton students have been preparing for the annual Princeton Dance Festival.

University students will perform repertory works by Trisha Brown and Bill T. Jones, along with new works by Loni Landon, Dean Moss, Jimena Paz and Brian Reeder. Performances will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and at 1 p.m. Sunday Dec. 6, at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. The Lewis Center for the Arts' Program in Dance presents the festival, which is moving from its traditional February presentation to December.

"Masterworks by Trisha Brown and Bill T. Jones will frame this exciting collection of new dances by contemporary choreographers," said Susan Marshall, director of the Program in Dance. "The program will present a thought-provoking range of movement techniques and artistic thought."

Guest artists Eva Karczag and Vicky Shick, former members of Trisha Brown Dance Company and original cast members of Brown's "Set and Reset," are staging "Set and Reset/Reset," based on a 1983 seminal work by Brown with music by Laurie Anderson. This new interpretation for Princeton students provides a unique opportunity for students to learn the original choreographic directives used by Brown and be guided through improvisations to create a new end result. The performance will feature sets and costumes inspired by the original designs of Robert Rauschenberg.

Stuart Singer, a lecturer in dance and the Lewis Center for the Arts, is restaging Jones' "Continuous Replay," a major postmodern work by Arnie Zane that Jones revised in 1991 with additional material.

The festival will also premiere four new works by choreographers who are serving as guest faculty or guest choreographers during the fall semester.

Loni Landon — a lecturer in dance and the Lewis Center for the Arts, and an award-winning dancer, choreographer and movement consultant based in New York City — collaborated with students in making a new dance, "Tidal." 

Guest choreographer Dean Moss's "jbbd 4x2 w/switching" is a reconception of a dance based on the "board dance duet" from his larger work, "johnbrown," and the new work incorporates video material created by the student cast members who dance with large panels that are white on one side and mirrored on the other. Moss is a dance-based multidisciplinary theater and video artist, curator, and lecturer who investigates perceptions of self and "other," often incorporating transcultural performance collaborations and audience participation.

Jimena Paz, a lecturer in dance and the Lewis Center for the Arts, has created a new work for her students, "Instructions for a Dance," based on a previously created piece, which began with the students identifying words that define them.

Guest choreographer Brian Reeder's new ballet work, "Cult of Line," combines diverse elements from the ballet lexicon with dancers in point shoes, socks and bare feet for an eclectic exploration of balletic styles.

Princeton's dance festival has been held during the spring semester in recent years.

"We decided to move the festival to the end of the fall semester for a number of reasons," Marshall said. "There is an exciting momentum that these courses and rehearsals build over the course of the fall semester. … With a December concert, the energy that builds throughout September, October and November reaches a natural crescendo by semester's end."

The Berlind Theatre is an accessible venue with access details available at the McCarter Theatre Center's website. Assistive listening devices are available upon request when attending a performance. Patrons in need of other access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or

Reserved seating tickets for Princeton Dance Festival are $12 ($11 for students and seniors) when purchased in advance, or $17 ($15 for students and seniors) on the day of performances. Tickets are available online, by calling the McCarter box office at 609-258-2787, at the Frist Campus Center Ticket Office, and at the door on the night of performances.