PAD presents Dance Close Up Sept. 9-11

Biennial faculty concert marks unofficial launch of professional dance season

Cecil Slaughter will perform Hallelujah, a new solo work, as part of the biennial Dance Close Up concert Sept. 9-11. Download high-res image.

Multimedia solos and structured improvisations will share the stage with Flamenco and classical Indian works in Dance Close Up, the biennial concert of new and original choreography by faculty in the Dance Program in Washington University’s Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences.

Performances begin at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 9 and 10; and at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11. Performances take place in the Annelise Mertz Dance Studio, located in Room 207, Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

Tickets are $17 for the general public and $12 for students, children, senior citizens and Washington University faculty and staff. Floor-mat seating — in keeping with the event’s intimate, informal atmosphere — is available for $6. Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office in Mallinckrodt Center and through all MetroTix outlets.

For more information, call the box office at (314) 935-6543.

Launched in 1995, Dance Close Up — which alternates with Young Choreographers’ Showcase, a juried student concert — serves as the unofficial kickoff to St. Louis’ professional dance season. This year’s showcase will feature 10 works created and performed by full-time and adjunct faculty.

“The style and objectives of works presented are highly diverse, reflecting the breadth of dance faculty interests and expertise,” says Artistic Director Mary-Jean Cowell, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of the Dance Program.

“Many of the works clearly reflect national trends in the dance world,” Cowell says. These include, “the exploration of connections between dance and other media or technologies; the post-modern interest in reinterpreting and synthesizing historic styles; and structured improvisation between musicians and dancers.”

For example, Cowell’s Source Tracings — created and danced in collaboration with Dawn Karlovsky and Mary Ann Rund, both adjunct instructors in dance — is a contemporary work that combines set and improvised movements based on the technique and aesthetic of modern dance pioneer Michio Ito (1893-1961).

David Marchant will perform Leonardo’s Chimes v3.1, a multimedia improvisational piece. Download high-res image.

David Marchant, senior lecturer in dance, choreographs and performs Leonardo’s Chimes v3.1, a multimedia improvisation in which a laptop and a Nintendo Wii create music based on the dancer’s movements.

Also employing multimedia is Karlovsky’s Two Step, which combines video and live movement to explore a cycle of progression and resistance based on the phrase “two steps forward, one step back.”

“Dances in flamenco and classical Indian styles add cultural diversity to the evening,” says Cowell, adding that such diversity “is typical of Dance Close Up concerts and of the growing interest in dance expression outside of Euro-American traditions.”

Also on the program:

Rooms: Rund choreographs and performs this solo, which she describes as “a sense-and-response experience” inspired by somatics, a field of study focusing on mind/body integration.

Oracle: Percussionist Henry Claude, music director for the Dance Program, creates and performs in this improvisational work for three dancers and three musicians. Exploring ideas of chance and indeterminacy, the piece consists of music and movements created in direct response to the constant realignments of a mobile, or “divination tool,” suspended from the ceiling. Dancers will be Marchant, Karlovsky and Cowell. Musicians will be Claude; guitarist William Lenihan, director of jazz performance; and cellist Tracy Andreotti.

A Palo Seco: Adjunct instructor Beth Steinbrenner and dancer Kristin R. Christy, both of St. Louis’ Los Flamencos, join Claude for this special Flamenco performance. Literally translated as “a dry stick,” the title refers to the importance of the beat in Flamenco, many forms of which are based on strict adherence to a distinctive 12-count rhythmic pattern.

Me to Them, and Back Again: Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, professor of the practice in dance and director of the Ballet Program, choreographs and performs this solo set to the music of Enya.

Mudras of Bharatha Natya: Adjunct instructor Asha Prem, founder of Dances of India, choreographs and performs this solo based on hand movements in Bharatha Natya, one of the oldest forms of Indian classical dance. “There are 33 single hand movements and 23 double hand movements,” Prem explains, as well as accompanying rhythm patterns and facial expressions.

Hallelujah: Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in dance, choreographs and performs this solo, which explores “an emotional turning and the confirmation of lost or misguided love.” Set to the song of the same title by Leonard Cohen, performed by Rufus Wainwright.

Don’t Stop the Music: Adjunct instructor Ashley L. Tate, artistic director of Ashleyliane Dance Company, performs this playful solo, which combines choreographed and improvised movements. Set to an acoustic remix of the song originally recorded by Rihanna and later covered by Jamie Cullum.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Washington University dance faculty

WHAT: Dance Close Up

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 9 and 10; 5 p.m. and p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.

WHERE: Edison Theatre, Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

COST: $17; $12 for seniors, students and Washington University faculty and staff; $6 floor-mat seating. Available at the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets.

INFORMATION: (314) 935-6543