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Three workshop performances are offered by the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, November 18-20, 2010.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT) presents three workshop performances of its “Final Showings” on November 18, 19, and 20. Free and open to the public, each of the programs will begin at 8:00pm in the Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater in Kenyon Hall. Reservations are suggested. Please email dancetix@vassar.edu, noting name, the number of tickets, and the performance date requested.

VRDT director John Meehan remarked that “this will be the first workshop presentation of the repertoire that the company has been working on since early September and will include 14 works, 11 of which will be world premieres. Each work will be seen in two of the three programs, with the exception of "Burning," the finale, which will feature the entire company of 32 dancers, and Keigwin’s "Caffeinated," an exuberant modern work that will close the first half of each performance.”

Using music of the Talking Heads entitled "Burning Down the House," dance faculty members Abby Saxon, Kathy Wildberger, Steve Rooks and John Meehan have joined together with all of the students, especially Caitlyn Lamdin ’11, to create "Burning," the spirited finale to each evening’s concert.

"Caffeinated," a high-energy, high-spirited work, is the first piece by popular New York choreographer Larry Keigwin to be presented by VRDT. A perfect work for a college dance company, "Caffeinated" will remind everyone how important a cup of java can be to the intense schedule of many a Vassar student.

David Fernandez, who is also based in New York City, has re-worked his "White Shirt Black Tie Black Pants" for the talented ballet dancers in this year’s company. Set to familiar music by Bach, his work features five women and combines contemporary ballet vocabulary with casual chic fashion.

Three faculty members have created new works. Steve Rooks, the VRDT resident choreographer and chair of the Dance Department, has choreographed a new modern piece entitled "Hidden Folk/Dance" to music of the celebrated contemporary American composer Lou Harrison. This will be an “abstract” on two scenes from the life of Oskar Schindler.

VRDT assistant directory Kathy Wildberger has created "Redhawk", a piece inspired by the spirit of the Red Tailed Hawk. With overtones of emotion and sensitivity that place us between two worlds, "Redhawk" features original music by multi-talented Vassar graduate and VRDT alum Max Hershenow ’10.

Miriam Mahdaviani, who danced for many years with New York City Ballet and has choreographed with distinction since retiring from dancing, is an adjunct assistant professor in dance this semester at Vassar. She has created "Between the Lines," a jazzy balletic duet to George Gershwin’s Three Preludes, arranged for piano and violin. 

Abby Saxon, an adjunct instructor in dance, has joined with her frequent collaborator Martha Ross Tobias ’83 to re-stage Danny Buraczeski’s jazz masterpiece "Swing Suite" to music of Benny Goodman. This piece is returning to the VRDT repertoire by popular demand and is an example of jazz choreography at its most beguiling.

Eight student choreographers have set new works for VRDT this year: Michaela Kleber ’11, Caitlyn Lamdin ’11, Katrina Newman ’13, Chelsea Peterson-Salahuddin ’13, Amanda Sugino ’11, Stephen Xue ’11, and the BCDC choreographic team, Brianna Clark ’11 and Dana Christy ’11.  

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.
The members of the 2010-2011 Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre company are: Charlie Biers ’13, Emma Burke ’14, Jeremy Busch ’14, Dana Cass ’11, Dana Christy ’11, Brianna Clark ’11, Eleni Dembo ’13, Mallory Easton ’11, Mike Graceffa ’13, Katharine Gripp ’13, Kelly Harrington ’14, John Hayden ’13, Brian Heil ’14, Thomas Hochla ’13, Michaela Kleber ’11, Isabella Kosmacher ’14, Nicole Krenitsky ’11, Jenna Kronenberg ’13, Caitlyn Lamdin ’11, Max Lapides ’14, Simone Levine ’13, Desiree Melendez ’13, Katrina Newman ’13, Niya Nicholson ’14, Matt Ortile ’14, Brittany Ouyang ’11, Chelsea Peterson-Salahuddin ’13, Juliana Rodzinski ’14, Alex Spyropoulos ’11, Amanda Sugino ’11, Anna Wilen ’13, Stephen Xue ’11.

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 Meehan, Stephen 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 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 Wednesday, November 10, 2010