Living in the Momentum Dec. 3-5

Washington University Dance Theatre highlights multicultural works

Impression of the Red by guest artist Ting-Ting Chang will be part of Living in the Momentum, the 2010 concert by Washington University Dance Theatre. Photo by David Marchant. Download hi-res image.

Washington University Dance Theatre (WUDT), the annual showcase of professionally choreographed works performed by student dancers, will present Living in the Momentum, its 2010 concert, Dec. 3, 4 and 5 in Edison Theatre.

Performances — sponsored by the Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences — will feature more than 50 student dancers, selected by audition, in seven original works by faculty and guest choreographers.

Living in the Momentum will begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3 and 4, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5. Tickets are $15 — $10 for students, senior citizens and Washington University faculty and staff — and are available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets. Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-6543.

Living in the Momentum

Pushpanjali, choreographed by Asha Prem. Photo by David Marchant. Download hi-res image.

“This year we have a strongly multicultural program,” says Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in dance and director of WUDT. “Pieces range from ballet and contemporary dance to works drawing on Chinese, West African and classical Indian traditions.”

In addition, the concert will include works by three guest artists, each representing a distinct dance idiom.

Diadie Bathily, founder of Afriky Lolo, a St. Louis-based West African dance troupe, worked with 14 dancers to set The Two Kingdoms: Snake and Bird, an excerpt from his evening-length The Goddess Zaouli. Based on traditional folktales of the Guro people of Ivory Coast, it follows a pair of rival suitors, the bird and the snake, as they seek the young goddess’ hand in marriage.

Ting-Ting Chang, PhD, a former postdoctoral fellow in the PAD who now teaches at the National Taiwan University of Arts, returned to the Washington University campus to set Impression of the Red, a work for nine dancers that combines traditional Chinese movements with contemporary compositional structures.

Jennifer Medina, founder of Common Thread Contemporary Dance, a new St. Louis troupe, set 10 Women, a modern ballet work that “celebrates the energy and power of women.”

“I think that whenever choreographers are working in close proximity — whether on a show or simply in the same facilities — there’s always some theme or connection that seems to emerge,” Slaughter says. “Sometimes it’s through particular movements; other times its through ideas and concepts.”

For Living in the Momentum, Slaughter points out that all seven dances “are based on some established style, to which the choreographers then add their own particular twist or characteristics.

“We keep coming back to this idea of borrowing from the past,” he concludes, “in order to create something in the now that will move us forward into the future.”

Also on the program will be:

Shall We…?, choreographed by Mary-Jean Cowell. Photo by David Marchant. Download hi-res image.

Shall We…?: Mary-Jean Cowell, PhD, associate professor and coordinator of the Dance Program, choreographs a series of imaginary social dances — featuring unconventional partner positions and signature steps — that together comment on ballroom conventions and the “performance” of gender.

The Edge: Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, professor of the practice in dance and director of the Ballet Program, choreographs this work for four dancers, which enlists the movement vocabulary of classical ballet to explore an atmosphere of almost gothic mystery.

Pushpanjali: Adjunct instructor Asha Prem, founder and director of Dances of India, choreographs this colorful classical Indian work — an offering of flowers to the gods — for seven dancers.

CARAVAN: Slaughter choreographs this large-scale piece for 18 dancers, which was inspired by Gypsy music and nomadic culture.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Washington University Dance Theatre

WHAT: Living in the Momentum

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3 and 4, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.

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

COST: $15; $10 for seniors, students and Washington University faculty and staff. Available at the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets.

INFORMATION: (314) 935-6543

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