press release


Annual spring dance concert welcomes guest artist Jacob Mora

for release: April 5 , 2010

MONMOUTH – This year’s Western Oregon University Spring Dance Concert, directed by dance professor Deborah Jones, will take place Thursday, May 6 through Saturday, May 8 on the Rice Auditorium main stage. The concert includes choreography by dance faculty, students and guest artist Jacob Mora from Colorado. General tickets are $12, $10 for senior citizens and $7 for students. More information and tickets can be purchased by calling the WOU Box Office at 503-838-8462.

Jacob Mora will perform “Antes Angelus (Before Angels),” which is a section from a larger work that is rooted in the ideas of “Desire Dreams and Prayers.” As individuals that live in a cluttered imperfect world, some have rooted their faith in nothing and the greed and humility that they call life. Others pray to saints angels and gods asking for many different prayers wants and needs. The piece comes from a few different perspectives from these thoughts. Born and raised in Denver Colo., Mora is the artistic director of Moraporvida Contemporary Dance, a company based on urban experiences and human emotions. Mora has had the pleasure of working with and dancing the works of choreographers such as Donald Mckayle, Betty Jones, Ron Brown, Milton Meyers, David Rousseve, Eleo Pomare, David Dorfman and Lisa Race among many. Mora choreographs and teaches around the country using a unique blend of contemporary and traditional techniques, fusing modern, jazz, hip hop, poetry and ethnic and urban culture. He has been on faculty with the University of Wyoming and  the New York Institute of Dance, as well as guest artist and teacher for may other schools, festivals and institutions.

jacob mora

The WOU dance faculty are each choreographing a piece for the concert. Sharon Oberst’s piece, "In Tandem," is a collaboration with music professor, Joe Harchanko. The music for the piece is composed for cello and live computer. The computer is used to capture the cello's sound in real-time and create the textural layering of the piece. The ballet features eight dancers whose movements and use of space connect in a variety of ways to one another as well as to the music. Deborah Jones has created a modern piece, entitled “Song for Mara,” that explores the love for a child over time. Darryl Thomas’s piece, “Melt,” combines visual elements, fiber optic costuming and daring physicality. Choreographers Thomas and Valerie Bergman collaborated on this piece inspired by the recent trends in climate change, the stage and the human body become a microcosm of our global environment.  Thomas also choreographed “Men Dancing: Sticks & Stones,” sports iconography inspired the newest work in the Men Dancing repertory, and is an athletic exploration of the stick as the enduring icon of masculinity in sports.

A number of WOU students have also choreographed pieces. Allie Boyden of Eugene, Ore., created a modern piece exploring the worldwide issue of the sex trade industry that has been occurring for centuries, and is based, in part, on personal experience she had working with girls who were taken out of the sex trade in Thailand. Through this piece she intends to show the reality of what is happening in the world and to bring a sense of hope to the issue as the female dancers resist this terrible pressure and find a community of love and support within each other. Barbie McGehee’s (Lebanon, Ore.) modern dance piece about loneliness, which is set to the song “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles and explores the lives of several ghost-like characters. Karissa Zirk of Gresham, Ore., created a dance that reflects the distractions of life that pull us away from what we know is in our best interest and keep us from living a balanced life.

Malia Moore’s (Oregon City, Ore.) dance is about exploring a place, becoming a part of it and experiencing the greatest joy. Kaitlin Bauld, of Hood River, Ore., has created a modern dance piece that is about discovering the power and strength of the female, and the realization that power isn't something they can get from an external source. Sierra Spring’s (Corvallis, Ore.) dance is about a fun, free-spirited day at the beach, complete with lifeguards and beach beauties.  

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