FROM THE DIRECTOR
It has been a great year thus far. Chamber Dance Company and Faculty Dance Concert performances were beautifully produced and very well attended. The University Ballet Company, now in its second year, just concluded a series of sold out performances and the Dance Student Association’s SPIN concert was the largest ever.
There are a number of exciting performances, master classes and events yet to come this spring, including the Dance Majors Concert (5/25-5/28 @ 7:30pm), under the artistic direction of Jürg Koch, who joined our faculty winter quarter. Jürg is originally from Switzerland but lived and worked in the UK for several years before moving to Seattle. For the last three years, Jürg performed, taught and choreographed for the London-based dance company CandoCo, one of the world’s leading integrated dance companies. We are very fortunate that he will be sharing his expertise in integrated (disabled and non-disabled) dance pedagogy and composition with students this summer and next fall.
Students and audiences will have a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in Trisha Brown’s artistry this quarter. On May 6th, UW dancers begin performing Floor of the Forest, a feature of the Henry Art Gallery’s presentation of Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001. This dance is a wonderful example of Brown’s early equipment pieces, which delved into the relationships among dancers’ movements, special rigging, and environmental space. Shelley Senter, a former member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company came to campus in March, just prior to the opening of the retrospective exhibit, to work with dancers from the UW Dance Program, Cornish College of the Arts Dance Department and alumni from both programs. The dance is performed on a 12’ x14’ pipe frame across which a grid of ropes are tied and densely threaded with clothes. The frame is suspended horizontally at eye level, so that the clothing is parallel to the floor. Working two at a time, performers dress and undress their way through the suspended grid of clothing, revealing to observers the vertical pull of gravity as they move in and out of clothing horizontally. Through these weekly performances of dance in the Henry Art Gallery space (Thursdays @ 6:15 and Sundays @ 2:00, 5/6-7/18) —dancers will expose new audiences to Brown’s unique brand of contemporary dance.
In addition, Dance Program students will be treated to a residency with Sandra Grinberg and Trina Thompson, current members of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, from May 17-19. The residency was made possible with support from a College of Arts & Sciences Exchange Grant, and is being held in conjunction with the UW World Series presentation of the Trisha Brown Dance Company in Meany Theatre (5/20-22).
This June, we will see a record number of dance majors graduate. I know my colleagues share my sense of pride and sadness as we ready ourselves for their departure. They are an impressive group of artists and scholars. Among them are recipients of the Mary Gates Leadership Award, Mary Gates Scholarships, an Undergraduate Research Award from the Office of Undergraduate Education, as well as members of the Dean’s List and the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Many of them will be performing or presenting their original choreography for the Dance Majors Concert. I hope to see you at these performances.
Last year, I encouraged you to reconnect with the Dance Program by visiting campus, attending concerts or dropping us an email. It has been wonderful to get responses from a number of you and gratifying to learn how much your UW dance experiences have meant to you. Please keep your correspondences coming.
I especially want to thank all of you who have donated to the program this year. With your support, graduate students have been able to present their research at international conferences and undergraduates have performed and studied at the American College Dance Festival in Salt Lake City. Your contributions help us award scholarships to meritorious students, to build costumes, and to buy healthy bottled water for all the hard working dancers in the program. Many of you have contributed in other ways as well, by creating dances for the University Ballet Company, through gifts-in-kind, volunteering your time, or by bringing a few new friends to one of our dance concerts. On behalf of the Dance Program faculty, staff and students, I thank you wholeheartedly.
Betsy Cooper, Director
|Scenes from Trisha Brown's Floor of the Forest
Dancers are, from top: Josselyn Levinson, Sera Kim Huenergard, Ichiho Hayashi, Michael Helland, Leah Schrager