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Vassar Repertory Dance Theater offers a showcase performance of works in progress on October 9, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT) will present its “First Showings ’09–’10,” of new and reconstructed works in progress on Friday, October 9. The program, free and open to the public, will begin at 7:00pm in Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater of Kenyon Hall. Reservations are recommended, and can be made by emailing dancetix@vassar.edu. For additioanl information, call Department of Dance at (845) 437-7470. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and please note that reservations not claimed on the performance evening by 6:45 pm will be forfeited. 

The October VRDT performance of ballet and modern dance repertoire will include four faculty and six student pieces, as well as a work by the guest choreographers Patrick Brown and Deirdre Lowry of Solas An Lae. All of the pieces shown in this performance are previews of complete works to be presented during the VRDT’s Final Showings, November 19, 20, and 21.

“It’s very impressive—to be able to present dance of this quality with a company and choreographers of this calibre, in the Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater, a theater of such distinction.” enthused John Meehan, VRDT director and professor of dance at Vassar, when asked about the upcoming First Showings and The Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater. About the VRDT, Meehan noted that: “We try to operate as much as possible as a professional dance company. We take dance very seriously."


The works by Dance Department faculty members will include a reprise performance of Abby Saxon’s jazz piece, Rush Hour. Rush Hour, returning to the repertoire by popular demand. Steve Rooks has created a dramatic piece set to music by Vassar College Adjunct Artist and Resident Composer ’09-‘10, Howard Kilik. The title of Kathy Wildberger’s new work, which is created around the theme of social justice. John Meehan, a veteran of dance performance and choreography with over 39 years of professional experience who recently joined the dance faculty at Vassar and is the director of VRDT, has choreographed a work for ballet, Mozart Variations.

 Closing the program will be a work featuring all the VRDT company members choreographed by special guests Patrick Brown, who also is a professional aesthetic designer, musician, artist, photographer and filmmaker, and Deirdre Lowry, artistic director and founder of Solas An Lae (Gaelic for "Light Of Day"), an Irish Dance company based in Rhinebeck, New York. Solas An Lae is committed to breaking free from the status quo of contemporary Irish dance by redefining the movement, imagery, and sound of the medium.

The student choreographers represented in the programs will include: Joey Army, Caitlyn Lamdin, Max Hershenow, Nicole Krenitsky, Dan Ming, Stephen Xue, and Alex Rodabaugh.

John Meehan was appointed a Principal Dancer at the Australian Ballet (1974) and the American Ballet Theater (1977); appeared frequently as a guest artist at the New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and toured with Stars of World Ballet. His has choreographed ballets for
The Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Washington Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Company, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Meehan was also the artistic director of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet (1990–93), The American Ballet Theatre Studio Company (1997–2006), and the Hong Kong Ballet (2006–2009). Before taking his current position at Vassar, in 2005 – 06 he was a visiting professor of dance at the college.

The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre is the resident company of the Vassar College Department of Dance. Since 1983, VRDT has provided Vassar dance students with an opportunity to perform significant dance works of the classic ballet and modern repertoire, as well as original works by faculty, student, and visiting artists in the dance field.

The Department of Dance offers a non-major, elective course of study at Vassar. The faculty consists of three full-time (Jeanne Periolat Czula, John Meehan, Stephen Rooks) and two part-time teachers (Abby Saxon, Katherine Wildberger). Dance’s Resident Lighting Designer, David Ferri, lights all dance department productions. There are three Adjunct Artists who serve as accompanists and who compose, direct, and sometimes perform with the student company, the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, which is directed by John Meehan. 

Following the VRDT’s First Showings, the Department of Dance will offer several other public events this fall at The Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater in Kenyon Hall including: the lecture by Balanchine ballerina, Merrill Ashley (10/13, 8:30pm); a performance by the Dance Theater of Harlem Ensemble (11/8, 3:00pm); and the VRDT performance Final Showings ’09–’10 (11/19-21, 8pm). Additional details will be announced. For advance reservations for the performances, please email dancetix@vassar.edu.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar Campus are available online at www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, October 1, 2009