Washington University Dance Theatre presents 2003 concert Dec. 5-7

Pictured are student dancers performing Cecil Slaughter's *Miles in Between*.
Pictured are student dancers performing Cecil Slaughter’s *Miles in Between*.

Washington University Dance Theatre (WUDT), the annual showcase of professionally choreographed works performed by student dancers, will present its 2003 concert,, Dec. 5-7.

Performances will begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, in Washington University’s Edison Theatre, located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. Tickets are $12, $8 for students and senior citizens, and are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets. The concert is sponsored by the Dance Program and the Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences. For more information, call (314) 935-6543.

Pictured are student dancers dancers are Alessandra Larson and Jun Cai performing Christine Knoblauch-O'Neal's *Joplin's Ragtime Rolls*.
Pictured are student dancers dancers are Alessandra Larson and Jun Cai performing Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal’s *Joplin’s Ragtime Rolls*.

Thirty-eight dancers, selected by audition, will perform seven works by faculty and guest choreographers. Cecil Slaughter, artist-in-residence and director of WUDT, noted that celebrates the richness and variety of St. Louis arts and culture.

“This is arts and culture in motion,” Slaughter said. “ pays homage to dance, music and visual art by St. Louis artists both past and present. At the same time, it also embodies — through its sheer diversity of forms and styles — the amazing artistic and creative diversity that resides here.”

Slaughter’s own contribution, Miles In Between, is inspired by the life and music of jazz great Miles Davis, a native of East St. Louis. The piece, for ten dancers, also features imagery by St. Louis artist Riccardo Hayes.

Pictured are student dancers performing Jennifer Medina's *Arcadia*.
Pictured are student dancers performing Jennifer Medina’s *Arcadia*.

Miles in Between is not a literal interpretation of Davis’ music,” Slaughter explained, “but an impetus for the dancers to celebrate the energy and moods that went into the creation of the music itself.”

Similarly, Joplin’s Ragtime Rolls — a works for six dancers by Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, senior artist-in-residence and director of the PAD’s Ballet Program — is inspired by the music of ragtime pioneer Scott Joplin and a strong sense of local history.

“The work is set in any of the pavilions or grassy areas in Forest Park just following the St. Louis World’s Fair” in 1904, Knoblauch-O’Neal explained. “The choreography blends both classical ballet and ragtime ballroom dances such as the tango, the waltz and the castle walk.”

Pictured are student dancers performing Asha Prem's *Narasimha*.
Pictured are student dancers performing Asha Prem’s *Narasimha*.

Other works on the program give testimony to the breadth of contemporary St. Louis dance. Mary-Jean Cowell, coordinator of the Dance Program, choreographs On Location IV: Perspective(s), the latest in a series of modern pieces exploring “the effect of the moving figure in relationship to specific spatial configurations.” The work, for 15 dancers, also features visual projections of videographer Susan Volkan, adjunct faculty member in the PAD.

Adjunct faculty member Asha Prem, founder of the company Dances of India, choreographs Narasimha, an expressive, rhythmic piece for five dancers dedicated to the titular half-man, half-lion incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu. The work reflects the angular, Bharatha Natyam style of Indian classical dance, characterized by tight coordination of footwork with hand and eye movements.

Pictured are student dancers performing an untitled work by David Marchant.
Pictured are student dancers performing an untitled work by David Marchant.

David W. Marchant, senior artist-in-residence, offers an untitled work for 10 dancers that explores “our increasingly distant, technological communication media” and the meaningfulness of touch as expression and interpersonal communication.

“Human touch is a basic human need, vital to our health and relationships with others,” Marchant explained. “Where words fail us, the depth of direct, physical contact is the most simple and profound way to reach one another.”

In addition to faculty choreographers, WUDT will feature works set by two fall visiting artists. New York’s Carlos Fittante, a celebrated performer of both Baroque and Balinese dance, has choreographed a series of eight Baroque dances, set to selections from Jean Phillippe Rameau’s opera Les Indes Galantes. St. Louis’ own Jennifer Medina — a young dancer/choreographer teaching at Webster University — offers Arcadia, a work for 10 dancers inspired by Nicholas Poussin’s painting Et en Arcadia Ego.