Modern dance solos and duets will share the stage with hip hop, ballet, flamenco, West African and Indian classical dance when Washington University presents Dance CloseUp Sept. 6-8.The intimate, informal concert — which has helped launch St. Louis’ fall performing arts season since 1995 — showcases new and original works by dance faculty in the Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences.
“Dance CloseUp is a unique event on the St. Louis dance calendar,” says artistic director Mary-Jean Cowell, PhD, associate professor and coordinator of the Dance Program. “This year’s concert is distinguished by a larger-than-usual number of participants, including some recent additions to the faculty.”
Another special feature will be the program’s final work, a large-scale collaboration featuring most of the evening’s performers.
“Tentatively entitled Hot Seat, the dance deliberately echoes some theatrical practices associated with post-modern dance,” Cowell says. These include “structured improvisation and optional (verbal) participation by audience members.”
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 6 and 7; and at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. Performances take place in the Annelise Mertz Dance Studio, located in Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.
Tickets are $17 for the general public and $12 for students, children, senior citizens and WUSTL 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 and through all MetroTix outlets.
For more information, call the Box Office at (314) 935-6543.
In addition to Hot Seat, the program will feature 11 new works:
Behold and Beheld: Cecil Slaughter, senior lecturer in dance, and Mary Ann Reis, adjunct instructor, choreograph and perform a pair of related duets. The latter is set to Jane Siberry’s The Valley. The former is set to k.d. lang’s cover of the same song.
For Presentimental Reasons: The husband-and-wife team of David and Holly Marchant present a spontaneous composition exploring “the realm of intuition.” David is professor of the practice in dance; Holly is the PAD’s Marcus Lecturer in Residence.
Cadence: Adjunct instructor Beth Steinbrenner performs a Flamenco dance, accompanied by the PAD’s Henry Claude on Afro-Cuban drums.
Billy Jean: Adjunct instructor Ashley L. Tate presents this playful solo, set to Jamie Cullum’s acoustic remix of Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music.
Wild is the Wind: Adjunct instructor Mariko Kumanomido performs this short solo about a woman in love, set to music by Cat Power.
(A Dance to the) Mislaid: Cowell choreographs and performs a solo work inspired by the dance cartoons of Jules Feiffer.
Celestial Witness: Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, professor of the practice in dance and director of the PAD’s Ballet Program, performs this solo work by guest choreographer Jennifer Medina.
Lessons From Oscar: Adjunct instructor Wendy Ballard choreographs and performs an homage to jazz great Oscar Peterson.
Mask Ritual & Initiation: Adjunct instructor Diadie Bathily presents this contemporary take on a traditional mask dance from Africa’s Ivory Coast.
Madhuram (The Sweetness of Krishna): Adjunct instructor Asha Prem choreographs and performs this contemporary take on Indian classical dance.