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Preview: “Faculty Dance/Collaborations” from UW Dance

The cast from "The Rite of Spring"

The cast from “The Rite of Spring”

Collaboration in the UW Dance Program is nothing new. Most UW Dance productions feature partnership with one or two departments, said Betsy Cooper, M.F.A. ’97, director of UW Dance. But no program in recent memory has featured as much teamwork as the next UW Dance production, Faculty Dance/Collaborations. “Dance is a particularly collaborative art form,” she said. “To see the majority of us in the performing arts coming together and working on this level, I’m excited by that.”

Faculty Dance/Collaborations, the second UW Dance Program production this season, spotlights contributions from community performers, the School of Drama, the School of Music, and the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media. “I think the level of collaboration is unique,” Cooper said. “Everybody has come together.”

Jennifer Salk, associate professor in the UW Dance Program, choreographed the first performance of the evening, “A Small Piece of the Story.” The production, created specifically for this event, spotlights Seattle Symphony pianist Kimberly Russ onstage and interacting with the dancers, Cooper said. It also includes a set piece designed by visual artist Celeste Cooning, ‘07.

The second piece, “Dances for Isadora,” pays homage to Isadora Duncan – dubbed by some dancers “the mother of modern dance,” according to Cooper. The production, choreographed by José Limón, is made up of five solos, each representing a different phase of Duncan’s life; those phases touch on Duncan’s youth, her sexuality, and some of her life’s tragedies, including the deaths of two of her children.  Undergraduate dancers will perform the first four pieces; their teacher, Brenna Monroe-Cook (who has also performed with the Limón Dance Company), will cap the performance with her own solo.

The final piece, “The Rite of Spring,” features collaboration across generations. Nearly 25 dancers will perform to Igor Stravinsky’s piece, including dancers from the Seattle dance community, UW students, and UW Dance alumni. Those on stage will range in age from 8 to their mid-70s.

“The Rite of Spring,” choreographed by Assistant Professor Jürg Koch, will feature costume design from the School of Drama, with hooded outfits designed to emphasize themes of identity. The music will be performed on a pair of Disklaviers – computer-programmed pianos; the Disklaviers were programmed by Josh Parmenter, a research artist in the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media, with help from doctoral students in the School of Music. Learn more about Koch’s take on “The Rite of Spring.”

If You Go

What: Faculty Dance/Collaborations, the latest production from the UW Dance Program. UWAA members can sign up as part of the Arts Dawg promotion, which includes a pre-show reception with free wine and appetizers, as well as a talk with UW Dance Program Director Betsy Cooper.

Where: Meany Hall for the Performing Arts, UW Seattle campus.

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18; the pre-show reception will start at 6:30 p.m. in the Meany Hall theater lobby.

Cost: $18 in advance, $20 at the door; $16 in advance for UW faculty/staff and UWAA members, $18 at the door; $10 in advance for students, $12 at the door.

Information: Arts Dawg at ArtsUW.

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