The Final Showings performance of ballet, jazz and modern dance repertoire will feature a selection from 14 works to be presented in rotation through the three evenings. The program will include two world premieres by internationally renowned choreographers Larry Keigwin and Edwaard Liang, presented as part of Vassar College’s sesquicentennial celebrations. Four faculty works, seven student pieces, and a work from the classical ballet canon will also be featured.
These performances will offer a preview for the 30th annual Gala Performances that the company will present in spring 2012 at Poughkeepsie’s historic Bardavon 1869 Opera House.
“Take Off,” is the title of the new work by renowned modern dance choreographer Larry Keigwin, who created this piece here at Vassar during the recent fall break. Set to the music of exciting young composer Jonathan Melville Pratt, “Take Off” celebrates youth, energy, dance and flight.
Edwaard Liang, who danced with New York City Ballet and later performed on Broadway in the musical Fosse, has developed his distinct choreographic voice using a vocabulary that fuses traditional ballet and contemporary movement. His mysterious work “Whispers in the Dark” is a radical reworking of a contemporary ballet last seen in the repertoire of the Bolshoi Ballet. This will be its North American debut.
Katherine Wildberger, senior lecturer in dance and drama and assistant director of VRDT has collaborated with Vassar College adjunct artist and VRDT resident composer, Howard Kilik, to create “Drumlin,” based on the poem Buck in the Snow by alumna Edna St Vincent Millay (Vassar 1917). This commission, which also celebrates Vassar’s 150th anniversary, will be accompanied by live music at each performance.
Steve Rooks, chair of The Department of Dance and VRDT resident choreographer, has created “Social Network(s)” a dramatic piece set to music of the composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Stacey Widelitz, and Thomas Newman.
The jazz work “Voodoo Rendezvous,” was created by Abby Saxon, adjunct instructor in dance. Co-choreographed with Martha Ross Tobias (Vassar 1983), “Voodoo Rendezvous” was first presented by VRDT in 2005-06. Set to the music of Ben Charest, this entertaining piece has returned to the repertoire by popular demand.
The Final Showings program will also highlight VRDT’s classical ballet dancers as they perform “The Dance of the Odalisques,” from the Marius Petipa ballet “Le Corsaire” with music of Adolphe Adam and Cesare Pugni. This excerpt was set by VRDT director John Meehan.
“Jai Ho,” the hit song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire written by A. R. Rahman, inspired the VRDT company finale, which was choreographed by the dance faculty in collaboration with the dancers of VRDT.
Student choreographers represented in the program will include Mickey Mahar ’12, Elly Dembo ’13, Michael Graceffa ’13, Katherine Gripp ’13, Niya Nicholson ’14, Matt Ortile ’14 and Emma King ’15.
About the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre
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 (http://dance.vassar.edu/vrdt/).
About the VRDT Director John Meehan
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/).
People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. 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.