H-T Preview: Spring season at Indiana University starts with innovative dance

By Joel Pierson, H-T Theater columnist

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama has expanded to incorporate contemporary dance. In the years since this has occurred, the department has presented a number of innovative and exciting dance performances, featuring cutting-edge techniques, guest choreographers and a heightened spirit of theatricality.

If you’re thinking a dance performance only means a ballet recital of “Swan Lake,” I encourage you to check out “Leading Edges” and see how contemporary a contemporary dance presentation can be.


Photo by Jeremy Hogan

“Leading Edges,” opening Friday for four performances only, features a program of original dances, performed by more than 50 Indiana University students. Choreographers Kyle Abraham and Angie Hauser have created the program for the dancers to bring out their best artistry in a celebration of modern American dance.

Angie Hauser is the winner of a 2006 New York Dance and Performance Award (also known as a Bessie Award) and a member of the Bebe Miller Company. She came to campus to collaborate with undergraduate dance students on “Undertakings in Three Parts.” Hauser specializes in improvisation and collaboration and strives to include the individual styles and talents of her dancers into her choreography.

Kyle Abraham is a well-known and well-respected New York City-based choreographer and dancer. He describes his style with the phrase “mellifluous fluidity,” a harmony of hip-hop and classical styles. He’s also won a Bessie Award, as well as appearing on prestigious lists of performers to watch. His piece, “Radio Show,” was inspired by the loss of black-oriented radio in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Jeremy “Jae” Neal, a member of Abraham’s company, Abraham.in.Motion, visited IU to teach the choreography to the students.

Also featured will be Connie Dinapoli, Adriane Fang and Arturo Garcia, with music by the Jacobs School of Music’s professor of music composition Don Freund. The performance also includes original works by Iris Rosa, director of the African American Dance Company at IU, as well as IU Theatre and Contemporary Dance faculty Nya McCarthy-Brown, Selene Carter, Stephanie Nugent and George Pinney.

Elizabeth Shea, director of IU’s contemporary dance department, had this to say about the experience: “Our vision for the dance program is intentionally broad. One year we might bring European contemporary ballet, and the next we’ll bring in more of an experimental New York aesthetic. We want our students to experience a vast spectrum in their training, and we hope that at least one point in that spectrum speaks to them, personally.”

Art that speaks to the performers also speaks to the audience. Make time this coming weekend to attend “Leading Edges,” and see how theatrical dance can be.

Contact Joel by sending an email to features@heraldt.com with “Pierson” in the subject line.

Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. See original article at http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/entertainment/spring-season-at-indiana-university-starts-with-innovative-dance/article_b27b4b7e-246c-5ae9-a616-8930cae4d34e.html


About IU Theatre Department

Welcome to the 7th & Jordan blog. This blog is a peek behind the curtain at the productions and people at Indiana University's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
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