H-T PREVIEW: IU theatre expands into contemporary dance in winter concert


By Joel Pierson H-T columnist
Jan 8, 2017


Morgan Johnson, Natasha Radford and Katie Lea in rehearsal for Jose Limon’s “Psalm”

As you may know, the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama has expanded to include contemporary dance, and this week, they dance — contemporarily. The 2017 winter dance concert, titled “Roots to Wings,” is a celebration of modern dance through the years. The chosen name, according to Director of Contemporary Dance Elizabeth Shea, refers to the “historic journey of modern dance from its inception to where we are now.”

The concert will feature nine dance works from faculty and guest choreographers. Among the performances:

“Twoness” is a solo piece performed by Broadway dancer Gregory King. It features music from Miles Davis and Steve Reich. “Five Pillars” explores the five pillars of Islam, in the interest of bringing understanding of the faith. These two pieces are choreographed by assistant professor of contemporary dance Nyama McCarthy-Brown. Inspired by the music of the ragtime era of American culture, “Josephine and Louise” is choreographed by Selene Carter, assistant professor of contemporary dance.

Iris Rosa, director of the African American Dance Company, will choreograph a performance, as will retiring professor George Pinney. His piece is titled “Last Dance, elusive inspiration.”

Elizabeth Shea choreographs two performances for this production. The first, “Hunger Moon,” tells the story of a community of women who explore their feminine and masculine energies (represented by the moon and sun, respectively). It incorporates video projections by Xiaoyuan Zhu. The second production, “The Rise of Otherness,” deals with society’s inclination to separate and polarize its citizens.

Two guest artists are on hand to provide choreography. The first is Andrea Miller, founder and artistic director of Gallim Dance in New York City. Her piece, “Spill,” works with both professional and student dancers. The concert concludes in grand style with Jose Limon’s “Psalm,” which is based on the story of the 36 Just Men. Jewish folklore states that in every generation, 36 saints are born, and the fate of the world depends upon their goodness. In keeping with the concert’s theme of dance through the ages, “Psalm” premiered 50 years ago, when Limon was dying of cancer. A former company member named Jennifer Scanlon reconstructed the work, also serving as a guest instructor for dance students during her stay at IU.

Dance fans are usually up for anything IU presents, but there are some people out there who think dance just “isn’t for them.” These are the folks I want to encourage to come see “Roots to Wings.” With a combination of new and classic pieces, the concert celebrates the rich history of contemporary dance. It might just make you a fan of the art form in the process.

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

WHO: Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance

WHAT: 2017 Winter Dance Concert: “Roots to Wings”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 13-14, 2 p.m. Jan. 14-15

WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theater, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: $15-$25. Call 812-855-1103 or visit theatre.indiana.edu

Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. Find the original article and more Arts around town at http://www.heraldtimesonline.com.

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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