November 1, 2010 — The University of Virginia's Dance Program and the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences' Department of Drama will once again extend the boundaries of how audiences think about dance with the Fall Experimental Dance Concert.
The concert, which will feature choreography by students, guest artists and students and the internationally renowned choreographer David Dorfman, will feature a variety of pieces that integrate elements of theater and video. Audiences should be ready for anything and everything on the Helms Theatre stage, from a piece that salutes some of the true masters of funk to others that incorporate everything from bicycles to large video screens, to another that takes "good taste" to a new level.
This fall's concert will be presented in the Helms from Nov. 11 to 13, at 8 each night, as well as a Nov. 13 matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $10 for adults and seniors, and $5 for U.Va. students, children, faculty, staff and U.Va. Alumni Association members.
Tickets are available online here or by calling 434-924-3376. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the U.Va. Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the U.Va. Drama Building, weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.
"My goal every semester is to challenge the students to integrate something else with dance," U.Va. Dance Program director Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp said. "This year I thought it would be kind of fun and interesting to choose text or media or some other artistic element that must be included in the pieces.
"For so many of the dancers, it is scary to work with elements like text and video. Many of them come from a background of straight dance, where you are not supposed to talk on stage, and can barely breathe on stage, never mind be yourself and talk and just be a person who is dancing with the audience."
The students had the opportunity to work with a choreographer known for incorporating these disparate elements into his work in Dorfman.
Raja Kelly and Meghan Bowden, performers in David Dorfman Dance, recently worked with the U.Va. dancers on "Prophets of Funk," a dynamic piece based on the music of Sly & the Family Stone. They spent some 20 hours working with the students and will return with Dorfman to work on it again prior to the concert.
"The piece brings out the funk in everyone," student dancer Jessica Smith said, "even those who have to dig way deep to find it."
Beauchamp is responsible for one of the evening's most unique offerings.
"People sit and watch dance through their kinesthetic sense and, of course, through their visual and auditory sense," she said. "I remember going to a show once where there were smells on stage and I was really interested in the idea of what happens when an audience has that to experience as well. Does it alter their experience?"
With that in mind, Beauchamp created a piece that is built around eating and feeding.
"It sounds crazy, but there will be food on stage, dancers will be eating and feeding each other and generally playing with movement that has to do with eating and biting and cooking," she said. "It is going to be a lot of fun."
Fun will be a theme for the concert, Beauchamp said, including a piece by student choreographer Smith in which dancers interact on stage with bicycles. "She will have three bikes on stage, and is working with this contrast of really slow, free modern dance movements set against the movements of the bicycles."
A pair of pieces will feature video, Beauchamp said, including one by student Cornelia Granberry, done and presented entirely on video, and another that will combine live dancers with video of dancers filmed in the space, from a variety of angles, thus doubling the number of dancers on stage and adding a unique perspective to their work.
Other highlights will include pieces by adjunct faculty members Susan Barnard and Jessica Barzell.
Free parking is provided in the Culbreth Road Parking garage, located next to the U.Va. Drama Building.
For information, visit the dance program website.