Rhode Island Dance Company News
NEWS 2005

Two of Rhode Island's own will present their choreography at the Steinhardt School of Education's Dance Education Program Masters Dance Concert, which will take place November 18, 19 and 20, 2005. Carla Fazio, a 2002 RIC graduate, and North Kingstown resident Denise Brown are both completing their Masters degree in Dance Education at New York University. As part of their program, they have created new works for the Masters Concert.

Carla Fazio & Denise Brown will present their choreography at this weekend's Master's Concert in New York City
This year the concert includes two separate programs featuring the work of eight Masters Candidates. The dances are all original works and the dancers featured in the concert are current New York University students and alumni.

Choreographers in the Dance Education program bring a variety of backgrounds and experiences to the program. The themes of femininity, sexuality, maturing and relationships are explored in this year's concert in dance genres including Ballet, Jazz and various forms of Modern dance. Several pieces will be accompanied by music composed specifically for these dances. Other works feature the use of video and computer technology, devices utilized in many NYU courses as creative tools.

The concert will be presented on November 18, 19 and 20, 2005. Program A, with the work of choreographers Carla Fazio, Jill Cecil, Whitney Dubose, Elyssa Dru Rosenberg, Pam Szalavetz, Eva Wieland, Alicia Voodre, and Chippy Raunelle Zuniga will be presented on November 18 at 7 pm and November 19 at 2 pm. Program B, with the work of choreographers Denise Brown, Jennifer Brodzinski, Adrianne Falda, Kathryn K. McGrath, Jillian Perkins, Meredith Sheppard, Reghan Sybrowsky, and Georgia Teperikidou will be presented November 19 at 7 pm and November 20 at 2 pm.

Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for students and can be reserved by calling 212.998.5400. The dances are all original works premiering at the Fredrick Loewe Theatre at 35 W. 4th Street.

The Dance Education Program, located in NYU Steinhardt School of Education's Department of Music and Arts Professions, provides professional development in the theory and practice of dance education for teachers, choreographers, performing artists and research scholars in the fields of dance and education. By facilitating the development of creative and critical thinking abilities, increasing knowledge and expertise in dance and dance education, and developing the mind and body in the context of cultural practices, the program gives Masters students the opportunity to expand their careers as artists and educators and to develop the field of dance as an intellectual, creative and academic pursuit.

The Distinguished Masters Concert is the culminating performance, where Masters candidates have the opportunity to present their own artistry influenced by their experience in the program and their years of intellectual examination and reflection.

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OCTOBER 18, 2005
Festival Ballet's Davide Vittorino has torn a calf muscle and will be unable to perform the role of Mercutio in this weekend's Romeo & Juliet. Alexander Akoulov will play Mercutio. In belated news, Festival Ballet dancers, Heather O'Halloran and Eivar Martinez were married last July at St.Augustine Church in Providence.

Dorothy Jungels, in 1997, receiving
Pell  Award on  behalf of  Everett
Dance  Theatre,  the recipient  of
the First Rhode Island Pell Award.
Senator Claiborne Pell on the left.
Photo courtesy of Trinity Rep
On October 17, 2005, Everett Dance Theatre will receive the Tom Roberts Award for Creative Achievement in the Humanities. The award will be presented during an evening honoring both Everett and Senator Claiborne Pell, who will be recognized for his legislation establishing the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts forty years ago.

Everett Dance Theatre, also the recipient of the First Annual Rhode Island Pell award in 1997, is excited to be recognized once again in conjunction with Senator Pell, whose legislation created such meaningful and important support for the arts.

In its 20 year history, Everett has received continuous and significant support from the National Endowment for the Arts, first through fellowships to Artistic Director Dorothy Jungels and then through numerous organizational grants.

Everett Dance Theatre is nationally recognized for its theme-based evening length concert works. These original works use dance, theater, and video to explore topics ranging from science to labor to family. Works include Home Movies (2004), Somewhere in the Dream (1999), Body of Work (1996), The Science Project (1992), Pandora Restaurant (1990), and Flight (1989). Everett's concerts have toured to sites such as Dance Theater Workshop, New York; Spoleto Dance Festival, South Carolina; and Walker Arts Center, Minnesota.

In addition to the First Annual Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1997, Everett has received the Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) Jabez Gorham Award for "Unwavering Commitment to Excellence" (1992); a Bessie, New York's Dance Choreography and Creator Award (1996) for its Body of Work concert; the Meeting Street Center's Visionary Award for an Outstanding Level of Concern and Commitment for Rhode Island's Children and Adults with Disabilities (1997); and the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts Award (2000). As well as Choreographer Fellowships from the NEA, Artistic Director Dorothy Jungels has received a Rhode Island Foundation Fellowship and four Fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

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Efrosyni Iosiphidis
& Timothy Sorrentino
Two Rhode Island couples recently competed in the 2005 USA DanceSport National Championships held in St. Paul, Minnesota, August 12 through 14. Two hundred sixty couples registered for this annual ballroom dance competition which featured top amateur couples vying for national titles in numerous. events.

Representing Rhode Island at the event were:
Michael Obara of North Kingstown, RI and Jayne Pawasauskas of Warwick, RI
Timothy Sorrentino of Dartmouth, MA and Efrosyni Iosiphidis of Cranston, RI

In Pre-Championship American Smooth, a category that consisted of competition in Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz, Rhode Islanders took second and third place, with Tim and Efrosyni placing second and Michael and Jayne bringing home third place. Timothy and Efrosyni also made it to the semi-finals in Adult Pre-Champ Latin, which included Cha-Cha, Samba, Rumba, and Jive. They were semi-finalists in Adult Championship Smooth, and placed first in the Adult Novice Latin competition (Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba.) Michael and Jayne also were semi-finalists in Adult Championship Smooth.

Both of these amateur couples compete throughout the United States and Canada and perform at social functions, fundraising events and dance events. In addition, each of these accomplished dancers donates time and talent to support amateur dancing in Rhode Island. Jayne Pawasauskas is President of the Rhode Island Chapter of USA Dance, Inc.; Efrosyni Iosiphidis is Vice President; and Mike Obara maintains the chapter's web site. Tim Sorrentino coaches the University of Rhode Island Dancing Club, and Efrosyni and Tim also work with the Johnson & Wales University Ballroom & Latin Dance Team.
Jayne Pawasauskas & Michael Obara

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Providence's Phaze II Hip-Hop Dance Group presents Step Into My World at The Carriage House Theatre, July 15 through 17. Phaze II members have danced together as a group for the past five years. having met in 2000 in the Rhode Island College Dance Company. From the RIC Dance Company, the popular
Phase II (from l to r) Brooke Young, Meaghan McDonough, Christina DiBiasio, Kristen Penza
and Tosya Lewis will perform this weekend
hip-hop group, Dance Planet, emerged. While in Dance Planet, members performed throughout New England and New York City at nightclubs, charity events, corporate events, and concerts. In addition, Dance Planet dancers were the resident dancers at Envy at the Strand, in Providence in 2003.

In October 2004, Dance Planet's choreographer, Derek Perry, and his twin brother took their talents to Los Angeles, California where they continue to dance as Dance Planet. Upon their departure, five remaining dancers, Christina DiBiasio, Tosya Lewis, Meaghan McDonough, Kristen Penza, and Brooke Young, regrouped into their next phase of dance, from which Phaze II began. Phaze II has recently performed at Providence's Bright Night, the Dancetravaganza, Newport's Chowder Cook-off, and Diesel.

Step Into My World will consist of 14 energetic pieces ranging from Jennifer Lopez's number one, Get Right to Tina Turner's hit, Proud Mary. Audiences will be energized and enchanted by the mix of classic jazz, LA and New York style hip-hop, as well as a touch of lyrical-modern.

In addition to the talented members of Phaze II, Alicia DiMasi and Doug and Derek Perry of Dance Planet will erformed. Singer Amy Vinhateiro will be featured. Step Into My World is suitable for all ages.

Step into Phaze II's world July 15 through 17 at the Carriage House Theatre, 7 Duncan Ave., in Providence. Performances include, Friday, July 15th at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, July 16th at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 17th at 3:00 p.m. A public reception will immediately follow Friday's performance. For more information and tickets, call 401-439-8487 or visit www.PhazeII.com.

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Newport, RI's resident contemporary ballet company, will travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for the west coast premiere of Consent to Gravity, a "fruitful collision" of dance, drawing, music, text and photographs based on the creative genius of Frederick Sommer. Consent to Gravity was created in partnership with The RISD Museum, as part of a joint celebration of Sommer's life and work. It premiered at the Rhode Island School of Design in March. The Company will perform Consent to Gravity and Colin Connor's ballet The Rose Garden on June 4, 2005 at the Howard Auditorium at the J. Paul Getty Museum, which will also feature an exhibit of Sommer's drawings and photographs through September 4, 2005.

The two pieces blend music, dance, and visuals into a singular, dramatic form. Consent to Gravity is inspired by the art and writing of photographer Frederick Sommer, who believed that all art forms are interconnected. Rose Garden, set to Spanish motets and canciones from the 15th century, has been compared to a visual tone poem with an intensity of color, movement, and sound.

For the June performance in Los Angeles, the Company will be joined by the choreographers, Daniel McCusker and Carol Somers; the Project Director, Thomas Palmer; and the musicians including the Providence String Quartet and singers Sarah Davis and Bradford Gleim. The collaborating artists will join Getty Curator Julian Cox for a question and answer session after the 8pm performance. Information about tickets will be available from the Island Moving Co. at 401 847-4470 and from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile IMC's has announced details of their Summer dance festival, Flight of Steps, as well a reprise of last season's sensation, The Invisible Sins of Fort Adams, a site specific performance piece choreographed by New York choreographer Noemie Lafrance for the tunnels and hidden spaces of the Fort. In September, IMC will present a one-day version of its popular site-specific dance and art festival, featuring free performances by dancers and artists throughout Newport Rhode Island - details of which have yet to be announced. Call 401-847-4470 for more information.

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Island Moving Co. returns for a fifth season of Flight of Steps, an annual festival of outdoor performance on the parade ground of historic Fort Adams in Newport, RI. The Company presents performances July 15 through 17 and July 20 through 24 at 6:30pm. This year, audiences can also see a reprise of the sensation of last season's Open for Dancing festival, The Invisible Sins of Fort Adams, a site specific performance piece choreographed by New York choreographer Noemie Lafrance for the tunnels and hidden spaces of the Fort. The Invisible Sins of Fort Adams will be shown at 3, 4 & 5pm on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17th, with a special preview performance on Friday night, July 15th at 5:30pm. A special combination ticket allows audiences to come to both the Invisible Sins and the performance on the mainstage at 6:30pm.

The mainstage concerts for the first weekend will feature a performance by the dancers of the Island Moving Co. as well as Debra Noble and Colin Connor, who bring a program of solos and duets. Noble and Connor are based in California where they teach at California State University at Fullerton and at CalArts, respectively. Connor is nationally known as a ballet choreographer, having created three works for the Island Moving Co. as well as work for the Richmond Ballet, Hartford Ballet and Ballet Pacifica, among others. Connor created the Company's The Rose Garden, which premiered last summer at Flight of Steps. The second weekend will feature IMC's repertory - details of which have yet to be announced.

Tickets for Flight of Steps are $15; $10 for children and seniors. Tickets for The Invisible Sins of Fort Adams are $10 for all, with a combination ticket available. Tickets will be available beginning in May at www.arttixri.com. For more information, contact the Island Moving Co. at 401-847-4470.

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Festival Ballet Providence company member Andrew Skeels has been accepted to compete in the prestigious 2005 New York International Ballet Competition. This is the 8th tri-annual competition since its founding in 1983. Competitors are an internationally select group of 17 to 24 year-old dancers.

Andrew Skeels
Photo: Ty Parmenter
Currently completing his first year as a member of Festival Ballet Providence, Mr. Skeels sent a written application to the NYIBC in February and received notice of his acceptance in March. He is one of 48 accepted in the competition and will be in New York's Lincoln Center for the entire three-week duration of the competition, from June 4 to June 27th, with all expenses covered, including housing, meals, daily classes, coaching, local transportation and entertainment.

Before leaving Rhode Island, Mr. Skeels will prepare a contemporary solo to perform, and once he arrives in New York will be taught three pas de deux with an assigned partner from Cypress. The first two weeks are spent learning and perfecting the four pieces. During the third week, the 24 competing couples will perform in several rounds before the final award-winners are chosen. Round I, Classical Pas de Deux. Round II Contemporary Pas de Deux and prepared solo. Round III Classical Pas de Deux. The program will be determined by NYIBC and announced at Orientation June 5, 2005.

New York International Ballet Competition has established itself as one of the world's premier dance competitions. Held every three years, its purpose is to identify promising young dancers, enhance their professional education, provide them with career opportunities that would be difficult to achieve otherwise, and promote international understanding and good will.

NYIBC's unique format distinguishes it from all other international ballet competitions. Upon the arrival of the dancers the repertory is announced and all dancers are taught three pas de deux by world renowned teachers and coaches during the first two weeks of NYIBC. After three elimination rounds the dancers with the highest scores are chosen. In the Gala Performance, medal winners are joined by selected dancers from this year's NYIBC and alumni.

It is a wonderful opportunity for Andrew to be surrounded by some of the best young dancers in the world, and to be seen by some of the most influential personalities in dance today. Andrew, from Arlington, Massachusetts, trained on scholarship at Boston Ballet School and Nutmeg Conservatory. He danced the 2003/2004 season in Indianapolis with Ballet Internationale and joined the company on tour to Taipei in spring 2004. He has performed with Cincinnati Ballet and apprenticed with Prometheus Dance. This is Andrew's first season at Festival Ballet Providence. Skeels noted, "It is a tremendous opportunity. I feel honored and proud to be part of the experience."

Festival Ballet Providence artistic director Mihailo Djuric was pleased to see one of his dancers singled out in this international event. "This has been a great season for Festival Ballet Providence, with our local reputation growing, the expanding reputation of our artists. It's reassuring to know that our reputation is not limited to our home but far beyond Rhode Island as well. After the recognition earlier this year of Leticia Guerrero by the Venezuelan Minister of Culture, this invitation for Andrew to participate in the NY International Ballet Competition at the end of the season wraps it all up! Andrew is a young, talented, hard-working and promising young dancer. All of us at FPB will give him all the support he needs to excel in New York."
For more information about the competition, see below.

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Website: www.nyibc.org
New York International Ballet Competition, Inc. (NYIBC) is the premiere program of its kind in the world providing dance education and employment opportunities for young dancers ages 17-24. Held triennially at Lincoln Center, the 8th NYIBC will take place June 4-27, 2005. NYIBC will honor Violette Verdy at the closing Gala on June 26, 2005.

NYIBC is a tuition-free, three-week intensive study program. Unlike any other study program or competition, NYIBC is financially responsible for the forty-eight dancers for their entire three-week stay. This includes room, board, intra-city transportation, classes, teaching of repertoire, studios, entertainment and cultural activities. This provides an equal opportunity across economic lines and allows the dancers to be completely focused on the training. It allows them to perform and present themselves at their highest artistic level. Awards can be monetary or one year contracts with American Ballet Theatre or the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

Comprehensive applications are submitted to NYIBC. Forty-eight dancers are paired to create twenty-four couples. They come from around the world and are selected to participate by the Artistic Board. It is only after the dancers arrive in New York that they learn the exact repertoire they will be studying. All the dancers learn the repertoire with the same teachers and coaches under the same conditions. This experience allows the dancers to expand educationally and artistically. NYIBC is an experience that enriches and often defines the course of these young dancers lives.

NYIBC begins with two weeks of technique classes and the learning and rehearsing of two classical and one contemporary pas de deux. The repertoire, chosen from ballet's rich heritage, is taught by world-renowned teachers and coaches. They are masters of their profession. In teaching the repertoire, they pass their artistry of classical ballet to this younger generation. The opportunity to learn such outstanding repertoire from such extraordinary artists provides the dancers with professional training they could not receive elsewhere. Coaches have included Irina Baronova, Winthrop Corey, Eleanor D'Antuono, Alexandra Danilova, Judith Fugate, Cynthia Gregory, Nathalie Krassovska, Victoria Simon, Violette Verdy, Deborah Wingert, Igor Youskevitch to name a few.

A typical day during the first two weeks consists of all the dancers taking a technique class together from 9 to 1030am. The dancers are then split into three groups. The groups rotate every two days. At the end of the week they have worked with the three coaches and learned the three pas de deux. The rehearsal day is from 11am to 6pm. In the evening the dancers are taken to see performances at New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and a Broadway show. Sunday they rest.

NYIBC attracts the best in ballet to adjudicate. The 2005 judges are:
Stanton Welch - Australia- Artistic Director, Houston Ballet
Andre Lewis - Canada - Artistic Director, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Xin Li Li - China- Artistic Director, Shanghai Ballet
Dame Merle Park - England - Former Artistic Director, Royal Ballet School
Hans van Manen - The Netherlands - World Renown choreographer
Alexei Ratmansky - Russia- Artistic Director, The Bolshoi Ballet
Victor Ullate - Spain - Artistic Director, Victor Ullate Ballet
Victoria Morgan - President of the Jury-USA- Artistic Director, Cincinnati Ballet
Maria Eugenia Barrios - Venezuela - Artistic Director, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas

Since the first NYIBC in 1984, more than half the participating dancers have been offered contracts with major National and International Companies. They have gone on to shine with the foremost companies here and abroad, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Paris Opera Ballet, The Stuttgart Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Royal Danish Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Feld Ballets/NY, among many others.
The following is a partial list of past NYIBC participants and where they are today:
1987 - Jose Manuel Carreno, Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre
1987 - Maximiliano Guerra, Principal Dancer, Teatro alla Scala di Milano
1984 - Victoria Mazzarelli, Principal Dancer, Zurich Ballet
1993 - Bernard Courtot de Bouteiller, Principal Dancer, Miami City Ballet
1996 - Carlos Molina, Soloist, American Ballet Theatre
1987 - Petrusjka Broholm, Principal Dancer, The Royal Danish Ballet
1987 - Anders Nordstrom, Principal Dancer, The Royal Swedish Ballet
1990 - Diliana Nikitorova, Principal Dancer, The National Ballet of Bulgaria
1996 - Gillian Murphy, Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre
NYIBC's distinguished format makes NYIBC unique from all other international ballet competitions because:
* All female dancers must be between 17 and 23 years of age. All male dancers must be between 18 and 24 years of age. All dancers must compete and dance with competing partners
* All dancers arrive with a prepared solo of their choice
* All dancers are informed of the Announced Repertoire upon arrival and then taught the Announced Repertoire (three pas de deux) during the first two weeks of NYIBC. They are given daily technique classes during the entire three week event;
* All dancers must live together in housing provided by NYIBC and remain for the entire event
NYIBC's format is hailed by the dance world for its artistry and fairness. The dancers learn the essence and artistry of the repertoire from our world renowned coaches and teachers. An international panel of judges, acclaimed in the dance world, adjudicates the dancers.

The third week of NYIBC consists of five performances in three rounds held in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The performances are educational as well as entertaining. The audience becomes completely familiar with the repertoire. Company directors, teachers, students from around the world, and the general theater-going public attend. As a direct result, dancers are often offered contracts with major national and international ballet companies.

NYIBC culminates with a Gala performance followed by a dinner dance. Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, as well as monetary awards, are presented at the Gala performance. NYIBC dancers are selected to perform at the closing Gala in addition to performances by NYIBC alumni.

NYIBC is responsible for the dancers from their arrival to their departure. This includes room, board, intra-city transportation, classes, teaching of repertoire, studios, entertainment, and cultural activities. Every dancer has a host family to introduce him or her to New York life.

The dancers not only learn their dances, but also learn about each other and form an international community that fosters sharing, understanding, and friendship. Many dancers continue their relationship with NYIBC and cherish their new friendships. NYIBC is a highlight of their dance education and a tremendous boost to their careers. Every dancer takes home a great personal, educational, and performing experience and the ability to perform the NYIBC repertoire.

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Andary Dance celebrates AIDS Project Rhode Island's 20th Anniversary with a benefit concert.
Providence's newest contemporary dance company known as Andary Dance teams up with Aids Project Rhode Island to celebrate their 20th Anniversary by hosting a benefit concert to continue raising monies and awareness for HIV prevention and education. This year, all proceeds from the Andary Dance Concert will go directly to help the Aids Project Rhode Island's mission, which is, "To provide a non-judgmental safe environment where people afflicted by HIV can access resources to make informed decisions regarding their quality of life, and to stop the transmission of HIV through advocacy, prevention, and education programs."

The Andary Dance creates thought provoking and exquisite work. Artistic Director, Nathan Andary uses a keen sense of choreography and multi-media in his work, which makes for an exciting innovative show. He says "The fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS is very near and dear to me. I believe in the work of APRI and am glad that I get to use my talents to support a cause that I believe in."

The first piece, Released features the music of Bjork and an original video accompaniment by Providence based video artist-Alison Powell. Dancers include Rhode Island based Nikki Carrara, Kimberly Miller, and Paige Parks. With the political controversy that surround us: threat of the Roe vs. Wade Decision being overthrown; the idea of living in a country where democracy pervades, Released was bred out of a field trip to the zoo and responds to the idea of freedom. While at the zoo, the observations and sensing the human emotion placed on the caged animals makes one think that all animals, including humans, are bound by some type of cage, either literally or metaphorically.

Garden Mystique features dancers Ellen Godena, Kimberly Miller, and Paige Parks. Music is courtesy of Blu Mar Ten and She Moves Through. Garden Mystique was conceived from the book and movie Midnight, In the Garden of Good and Evil and mixes modern dance and the Japanese Avante Garde movement, Butoh. The Butoh dancer offers the spiritual force behind the interactions of the playful modern dance statuary within a video garden created by Providence video artist-Alison Powell.

A Stream of Consciousness is a solo dance piece being performed by Kerrie Jean-Hudson. A Stream of Consciousness is a reflection of mindless moments found in our day to day lives and how powerful they can be in taking us from place to place. The music comes from an original score created by Jude Goergen.

Other Rhode Island based modern dance choreographers are contributing works at the concert and will present their pieces in tandem with Andary Dance to support the efforts of APRI.

Andary Dance is Providence's newest contemporary dance company. A consortium of dance performers dedicated to the creative and innovative advancement of post modern dance and the arts, Andary Dance was founded on 2001 by Nathan Andary. The company recently completed a highly successful series of performances in Chicago and has excited audiences throughout the country. In 2004, Nathan Andary received his first grant for choreography from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts.
PERFORMANCE The Carriage House Theater 7 Duncan Avenue Providence, RI 02906 Friday, May 13, 2005, 7 p.m. Tickets $12, kids and students $10 Contact: (401)831-9479 for tickets

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January 7, 2005
Festival Ballet dancers Heather O'Halloran and Eivar Martinez have announced their engagement. Heather is a RI native who received her training at Festival Ballet. She rapidly moved up from the junior company and is a lovely gentle dancer with plenty of range. Eivar, known for his virtuoso dancing, hails from Venezuela and is in his 3rd season with the company.

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January 6, 2005
Red and Blue states, moral and immoral pairings, lives vs. life, or enlightened intervention vs. imperial aggression, these contrasts and conflicts ultimately resolve, like dance, to the level of the use and management of human bodies and desires. And like dances in the round, we are sometimes center stage or viewing from an impermanent and inherently limited perspective - our bodies/their bodies, bodies valued or devalued, bodies seen or obscured, and in extremity, bodies that live and those that must die.

The complex, evanescent, and curious 'dance of life' in all its polyvalence and polymorphism is the compelling subject of contemporary dance. Disarmingly entertaining and diverting works are often fraught, upon closer analysis, with affirming or subversive content; 'meaningful' works are sometimes revealed as hollow and flaccid exercises in well-worn conventions. But a diversity of approaches to the body and to the traditions of performance is the generative and regenerative impetus for the dances and bodies to be featured in the spring 2005 dance program offerings.

Premieres to be unveiled in the Rhode Island College Dance Company Annual Spring Concert Series on March 3-6 will include works by New York-based Alexandra Beller and Kwikstep and by prominent local choreographers Paula Hunter and Melody Ruffin Ward. Rehearsal direction for the Spring Concert Series will be provided by Angelica Vessella.

Beller is a former member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and currently making dances and directing a small project company. Her powerful performance technique and non-traditional 'plus size' have always drawn attention in the dance world, and now her highly physical and issue-driven dance works are gaining notoriety and a strong following. Beller's January 2004 remake of her or are you just happy to see me? for the RIC Dance Company was her first commission for RIC, and a second work created in January 2005 will be premiered in March.

Kwikstep is half of the husband and wife team Gabriel 'Kwikstep' Dionisio and Anita 'Rokafella' Garcia, a South Bronx hip-hop company, Full Circle Productions. Their mission - "to celebrate 360 degrees of NYC hip-hop culture" - has produced Soular Power'd, an evening-length and multi-layered performance work combining break-dance, graffiti/visual art, DJing, spoken word/poetry, beat box and rap music. Faith Pilger of The Dance Insider provided this assessment of their talents: "It is quite clear to me that these are some of the best dancers in the hip hop scene. Period. ...I promise you: You have not seen dancers with such clarity, stamina, charisma and truly awesome tricks until you've witnessed Full Circle." A new hip-hop work by Kwikstep, created for the RIC dancers during a January 2005 residency, will be featured.

Works premiered in fall 2004 will include Andrea Woods' glorious celebration of feminine solidarity, Palomas Para Linda, and Nugent+Matteson's offbeat postmodern deconstruction of choreographic form and human fidelity, Fare The Well. New works by Paula Hunter and Melody Ruffin Ward will do double duty as premieres in the Spring Concert Series and as entries in the March 31-April 1 concert, Legible Bodies, Hearts and Minds: Works by Paula Hunter and Melody Ruffin Ward.

Hunter, a Providence choreographer and performance artist, has created quirky, bittersweet solo dances for over 20 years. Her unique voice - both tragic and hilarious - is irrepressible, as if she cannot stop making dances that both reveal too much about her zany life and at the same time, leave the audience wanting more. Hunter will look both back and forward, performing several of her classic solos including, Stray Girl, One in One, and Blink as well as a premiere, Obituary. Obituary is a nod to Hunter's reporter Dad ("Obits for you," he'd chant, reminding his 6 kids that obituaries were doled out to reporters as a punishment) and it is an imagining of her own death notice. Hunter's work has been produced in many locations throughout the U.S. Dance Magazine's Julinda Lewis wrote about a performance of Hunter's at PS 122, "One in One, Walk the Dog and Petrochemical Mom all make you feel as if you've crossed into a time zone where human motion follows laws you've never learned and may never understand."

Melody Ruffin Ward is an associate professor of dance at Rhode Island College and her annual concerts have become a highlight of our programming. Ruffin Ward's work informs our present through rewriting our past. A powerful and expressive performer and choreographer, her works explore human struggle through individual histories - attempts at legibility within a too often exclusionary normative. Poet Tim Seibles describes Wards choreography and dancing as "...having the physical capacity to articulate the delights and lyrical mysteries of being human. ...Her work bears witness that we all live in bodies and that it is only through our vulnerable flesh that we enter and come to know the world."

Drawing on personal experience, Ruffin Ward's work, Stop, Pause, Breathe, this March will focus on issues of identity and racism and the sense of voicelessness frequently experienced and felt by African American dancers. "The past year I have been examining the sense of identity that is wound so tightly around the 'black dancing body' within the construct of American concert dance. UnRemember, an evening-length work in progress and process, explores my visceral experience in a 'black dancing body'. Stop, Pause, Breathe is a collection of new and past works that continually move me towards UnRemember. They are pieces that reflect my interest in memory, identity and the body's history."

New student works will be presented in the April 28-29 Student Choreography Showcase in the Forman Theatre. These works are the result of course work and independent projects completed throughout the academic year, and this annual Showcase provides our advanced students with an ideal venue for their work. Rhode Island independent artist/choreographer Christina Tsoulas will serve as rehearsal director and lighting design will be provided by RIC theater major Melissa Sparks.

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Deborah Nash at dn@riDance.com
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