By Molly Powers, marketing and communications coordinator, School of Dance
The ballet and modern dance programs at the U will share the stage for the first time ever in the School of Dance’s inaugural gala concert March 23-25 and March 30-April 1 at the Marriott Center for Dance. Formed in 2016, the School of Dance is dedicated to the continued legacies of the individual disciplines. In honor of the creation, the gala concert will feature a diverse program, incorporating four unique perspectives on the art of dance including an excerpt of “Swan Lake,” two original faculty works and an excerpt of Stephen Petronio’s iconic masterwork “MiddleSexGorge.”
The program opens with act III of the legendary ballet, “Swan Lake,” boldly adapted by professor Jay Kim and assisted by professor James Ady. The version that will be performed is the 1895 revival staged for the Imperial Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.
School of Dance Director Luc Vanier’s “Triptych Octet” is a distillation of his full-length work, “Triptych.” Created in 2008, the piece was created in collaboration with composer Chris Burns and painter Leslie Vansen.
“The dance’s movement focuses primarily on allowing the body to arch to its full capacity and what this means to the balance between the head, spine and pelvis,” said Vanier. “The clockwork precision timing of the crisscrossing patterns of the two trios was inspired by Vansen’s paintings and the duet explores what it means to be tri-legged. Burn’s percussive score set the spacious rhythmic tone for the work.”
“Enough,” a new work by Stephen Koester, modern dance program coordinator, contrasts visceral, aggressive movement and his signature partnering with a serene sound score by composer Max Richter. The piece begins by asking the question, “As civilization advances, have we become any more civilized or humane?”
“Our history can be said to be littered with our inability to treat others with humanity, kindness and care as beliefs, faiths, greed, need and want trump responsibility to each other,” said Koester. “Juxtaposing a solo figure against a quartet, the dance evokes images of injury, injustice, offense and defeat, building to a sense of desolation and disconnection.”
The exciting final dance on the program is an excerpt of the groundbreaking work, “MiddleSexGorge.” First debuted in 1990, it is the choreographer Stephen Petronio’s signature anthem to gender and power. With heat and volatility, it propels the dancers through space in bold encounters inspired by Petronio’s involvement with ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in the late 80s. The piece is set to a commissioned score by the British post-punk band, Wire.
This is the first time “MiddleSexGorge” will be performed by any university, and it is a great honor for the School of Dance students from both programs to have the opportunity to perform this technically demanding piece together.
Tickets are available online at tickets.utah.edu, by phone at 801-581-7100 or at the door 30 minutes prior to curtain. A celebration dinner precedes the April 1 evening performance. For dinner tickets or more information please visit dance.utah.edu.