MONMOUTH – The Theatre/Dance Department at Western Oregon University is once again presenting the annual Spring Dance Concert from Thursday May 7 through Saturday May 9 at Rice Auditorium. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. nightly and tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and $7 for students.
“This year’s concert has something for everyone one - the exciting rhythms of African dance and tap, to visually rich movement landscapes weaving modern, hip hop and Latin flavors,” said director and dance professor Deborah Jones.
Jodi Melnick is the guest artist, and this year’s guest choreographer for the Theatre/Dance Department. Melnick is a two-time winner of the Bessie Award (2001, 2008) and a New York City-based freelance dancer, choreographer and teacher. She graduated from SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and was a featured dancer with Twyla Tharp.
Her most recent choreography’s, “Fanfare” and “Suedehead”, were presented February 2009 at The Kitchen in NYC, with “Fanfare” in collaboration with artist Burt Barr. In NYC, other works have been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, and La Mama. Additionally, work has been commissioned by Rex Levitates in Dublin, Ireland at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and for the Dublin Dance Festival. Her work has also been commissioned for Bates College in Maine and throughout Estonia, Russia and Japan.
As a teacher, she has taught master classes, technique, improvisation, and workshops throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Her gift as a teacher has been to translate movement into a format accessible to all bodies and all disciplines. Currently, she is teaching at Barnard College in New York.
Jodi Melnick, set her modern piece “Three Square Pigeon” on eight talented WOU dance majors. This dance features intersecting duets, trios and quartets that culminate in a melee for the entire ensemble. An articulate, intimate setting gains momentum and tumbles into a
dense, wildly physical dance laced with subtle, gestural, quiet moments all along the way.
Several students have choreographed their own work for the dance concert. The first is by Andee Martin, San Dimas, Cal., and is titled “Saturday Morning Bath Time Feud.” This is the riveting tale of the epic conflict that spans from the Jurassic period to the Era of Swashbucklers. The imagination will be delighted as the audience will hop into the mind of a child, splashing through the misadventures of favorite tub toys.
Chelsea Bowman, North Bend, choreographed "That which connects..." This is a piece of body, mind or soul that connects to one of many halves in life that one sometimes feels disconnected from. “We Are From” was choreographed by Erin Mackall, Beaverton. This piece is described as: “We are individuals, yet we come from the same place. This place we live...it causes angst, it causes distress, it causes fear...but if we come together as a group, as a unit, we can overcome the obstacles of where we are from.”
Rebecca Chadd, Monmouth, choreographed “Rescued,” a commentary on the isolated, distracted and discontent state of contemporary American society and a revelation of a possible alternative. It is comprised of five minutes of riveting dancing by nine dancers, the piece journeys from a place of unsatisfying isolation and disconnectedness to one of peaceful and joyful intimacy.
“Rejoice,” choreographed by Nastassia Zacarias, Ontario, Ore., is a fusion of Latin Rhythms and Latin dances. This is a celebration of cultures, friends, and the joy of dance itself. Emily Hargraves, Molalla, Ore., choreographed “Rock, Paper, Scissors," a transformation of the simple three gestures into captivating shapes and lines of design.
WOU dance faculty also choreographed works for the dance concert. Deborah Jones choreographed “Break(ing) Through,” which creates a dreamscape experience about boundaries, limitations and breaking free. Darryl Thomas choreographed three pieces. The first is "Yankadi/Marcu", a dance of seduction performed in the villages of Guinea, West Africa. The second is "Men Dancing: Freedom", which is set in a prison. The dance features athletic movement and hip hop exploring the desire for freedom. Lastly, "Light Flight", featuring aerial choreography and self-illuminating costumes the dance explores one woman's mystical journey to flight. The third faculty choreographer is Sharon Oberst. “Posin” is an energetic tap dance set to the 1930’s swing music of Jimmie Lunceford and his orchestra.
For tickets and more information contact the WOU Box Office at 503 838-8462.
Caption: Guest artist Jodi Melnick
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Professor of dance
503-838-8263 or email@example.com