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VRDT's "First Showings" offers preview of new works by faculty, student, and professional choreographers, October 8, 2010.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT) season will open on Friday, October 8, with a performance of “First Showings” at 8:00pm in The Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater, Kenyon Hall. This program will allow the audience an opportunity to take a sneak peak at the upcoming dance season, which includes a lively group number performed by the entire VRDT company. The performance is free and open to the public with limited seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. For information, email dancetix@vassar.edu or call (845) 437-7470.  

“The VRDT’s 2010-2011 season promises to be a memorable one, with a line-up of talented choreographers from established dance companies in New York City setting pieces on dance theatre members,” remarked VRDT director John Meehan. Along with works from noted dance faculty members and endlessly creative dance students, Meehan advised that the audience should anticipate a “wonderful year of technical virtuoso and top entertainment.

Thirty-two Vassar students made it through the grueling auditions this year – 23 women and nine men – to join the 2010-11 VRDT company. They are already fast at work on this year’s group ensemble piece that will be choreographed and staged by Vassar’s dance faculty: John Meehan,  Steve Rooks, Abby Saxon, and Kathy Wildberger. Featuring music from the 1980’s pop band The Talking Heads, this will be a quirky, fun, and energetic piece. Individual pieces by Kathy WIldberger and Steve Rooks will also be on the program.

Guest choreographer David Fernandez is currently setting his fun and whimsical ballet with his piece “White Shirt, Black Tie, Black Pants” on the VRDT ballet dancers, who will perform en pointe. The work will create a visual and audio contrast between Bach’s Violin Concerto No 2 and the contemporary look of today’s fashion, and will employ the classical ballet vocabulary as the main medium mixed in with some elements of contemporary dance 

Visiting dance professor Miriam Mahdaviani will choreograph another ballet piece set to music music from timeless tunes by George Gershwin. Her work will have all the classical elements of a traditional pas de deux, but with the addition of touches of jazz throughout.

Vassar dance faculty member, Abby Saxon, will be setting a piece by choreographer Danny Buraczeski entitled “Swing Suite.”  This swing piece will be a romp through 1940s WWII era, with an emphasis on musicians performing for the troops. This is a work that will invite the audience into the dancers’ kinetic joy.

Modern, jazz, and ballet works as well as those featuring eclectic twists from other styles of dance will be offered by VRDT’s student choreographers: Brianna Clark and Dana Christy, Katrina Newman, Chelsea Peterson-Salahuddin, Michaela Kleber, Caitlyn Lamdin, Amanda Sugino and Stephen Xue.  Music by Philip Glass, the soundtrack from Dirty Dancing, Pat Metheny, and Arabica are just some of the selections that will accompany the works.

About the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre

The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre is the resident company of the Vassar College Department of Dance. Since 1983, the VRDT gives dance students of Vassar College the opportunity to perform classic dance works from the ballet and modern repertoire as well as new choreography by faculty, guest artists, and the students themselves.  By allowing students the freedom to create, develop, and present their own new dance works under the guidance of recognized artists in the field, VRDT provides a unique dance experience for the company as well as audience members.

About the VRDT Director John Meehan

John Meehan was a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet and the American Ballet Theater. He was also a frequent guest artist with the New York City Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, and toured with Stars of World Ballet. He has partnered many of the world’s great ballerinas including Dame Margot Fonteyn, Natalia Makarova, Merrill Ashley, Gelsey Kirkland, Cynthia Gregory, Karen Kain and the Australian ballet stars Marilyn Rowe and Marilyn Jones. He 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, The American Ballet Theatre Studio Company (now ABT II), and the Hong Kong Ballet. Before taking his current position at Vassar, Meehan was a visiting professor of dance at the college from 2005 to 2006.

About the Department of Dance

The  Department of Dance offers a non-major, elective course of study at Vassar. The faculty consists of three full-time professors (Jeanne Periolat Czula, John MeehanStephen Rooks), one full-time lecturer of dance and drama (Katherine Wildberger), and one part-time jazz instructor (Abby Saxon). 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 (http://dance.vassar.edu/).


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

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

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, September 30, 2010