Theatre Archive News/Events

DanceWise: Amalgamation

DanceWise: Amalgamation poster


Theatre/Sewanee presents DanceWise: Amalgamation, Thursday through Saturday November 20-22, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. CT and Sunday November 23, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. CT at the Tennessee Williams Center’s Proctor Hill Theatre.  Admission is free, but seating is limited.

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Under the artistic direction of Courtney World, Theatre/Sewanee produces the second annual performance of DanceWise. This collection of dances brings together choreography by Courtney World, guest artists Denise Purvis and Daniel Gwirtzman, student choreographers Josie Clark, Claire Hill and Josie Guevara-Torres. Dances will be performed by fifteen current Sewanee students with guest performances by Rochester, NY based dancer Heather Roffe (Fri.-Sun), recent Sewanee Alumna Elizabeth Layman (Thurs.), and musician/composer Linda Heck, a Sewanee resident.

DanceWise: Amalgamation features the premiere of five new choreographic works in a variety of styles ranging from tap to Bachata to modern dance, and two original music compositions. Costume design is by Jennifer Matthews and Ruth Guerra, lighting and set design by Andy Philpo.

The performance includes two new collaborations between Courtney World and Sewanee-resident Linda Heck. The first of these is the performance of an experimental duet, Ego Altered, with Heck playing electric guitar and World tap dancing. For the second collaboration, Heck composed the soundscore for StandForAgainstWith, a dance choreographed by World for five Sewanee dancers, Ellie Clark, Claire Hill, Callie Holloway, Mollie Rochelle, and Yubi Ventura. In StandForAgainstWith, the dancers wrestle with confrontation, appeasement, their roles as individuals, and responsibilities to the group as they navigate between the momentous and the mundane.

Courtney World will perform two additional tap routines from the standard rhythm tap repertoire. She will perform Buster Brown’s Laura, a high energy number to an upbeat version of the classic jazz standard of the same name and arrangement of Doin’ the New Low Down, a dance famously choreographed by Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and widely recognized as one of his signature dances. 

Choreography by students includes Passion y Obsession, a bachata-style duet choreographed by Josie Guevara-Torres, for dancers Fridien Tchoukoua and Sandy Milien, and Symbiosis, a contemporary dance duet choreographed and performed by Josie Clark and Claire Hill that explores the trust, support, love, and conflict of an intimate friendship. 

Daniel Gwirtzman’s Together, is a virtuosic and demanding duet created on dancers Courtney World and Heather Roffe (director of dance, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY), originally for The Duets Project, a show curated by New York State DanceForce and premiered at SUNY College at Brockport in September of 2014. On opening night, Thursday, November 20th, the role of Heather Roffe will be danced by Elizabeth Layman (UofS C‘14). Roffe will perform her role in the duet for the final three performances, Friday through Sunday, November 21-23. In this duet, the movement language alternates between a relaxed pedestrianism and a razor-sharp precision, highlighting the technical skills of the dancers. Complex and unexpected partnering balances the stylized with the casual. The original musical score is by Gwirtzman’s longtime collaborator, Jeff Story, an electronic, instrumental work that contrasts urgency with tranquility. 

Denise Purvis’s BAM!, is a light-hearted trio set to upbeat jazz music. Sewanee students Joey Adams, Brandon Iracks-Edelin, and Arthur Ndoumbe contributed to the re-staging of this work based on the actions of the sounds of onomatopoeia. Purvis (director of Shifting Velocity Dance and Assistant Professor of Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT) worked with these students during a recent week-long guest artist teaching residency in October, 2014 at The University of The South. 

First-year student Mollie Rochelle is highlighted in Crystalline Crux, a lush, sweeping solo that Courtney World created for herself in 2007, as a creative exploration of spatial rhythm through the lens of Rudolf Laban’s theories of Space Harmony. The music is a live recording of an original composition by Greg Ketchum, created in collaboration with World for this solo as part of a larger work. 

Resolute Passage is a new trio by Courtney World, in which dancers Karen Bjerre, Katie Snyder, and Mary Wilcox traverse parallel paths of independent existence toward intimate connection, along a transitional journey between what was before and what is yet to come.