What: Faculty Dance Concert: Standing on Shoulders, featuring original dance works choreographed by guest artist William “Bill” Evans and teachers from the Department of Dance and Theatre at the University of North Texas.
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 9-11 (Thursday-Saturday) and 2 p.m. Feb. 12 (Sunday).
Where: University Theatre, Radio Television Film and Performing Arts Building.
Cost: Tickets cost $7.50 for students, UNT faculty/staff and seniors and $10 for adults. Audience members can purchase tickets at the box office, which is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and one hour before each performance at the Radio Television Film and Performing Arts Building. For more information, call 940-565-2428, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Department of Dance and Theatre online.
Parking: Due to recent changes in parking regulations, patrons are encouraged to park in the parking garage in the Union Circle. Please see the Transportation website for more information.
The annual event, presented by the Department of Dance and Theatre, takes place at 8 p.m. Feb. 9-11 (Thursday-Saturday) and 2 p.m. Feb. 12 (Sunday) at the University Theatre, Radio Television Film and Performing Arts Building.
The guest artist piece is called For Nana, choreographed by Evans and set to the music of Claudia Howard Queen, associate professor of music for dance. The work was inspired by mutual friend “Nana” Shineflug, founder and artistic director of the Chicago Moving Company, one of the first modern dance companies in the Midwest.
Queen’s CD, 7 Vignettes for 7 Choreographers, featured a composition, “Nana’s Adage,” and Evans chose to create a dance from that music.
“I witnessed how one mentor can transform many lives,” Evans said.
Queen was especially pleased that Evans – who has performed all over the world and founded the Bill Evans Dance Company – was choreographing the work to her music.
“His work is always beautiful; it is always moving,” Queen said. “It has depth. He embodies the music. He makes an understanding of the music visible in the human body.”
The music will be conducted by UNT alumnus Jason Lim, who is artistic director and conductor of the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra in Denton, and will be leading a piano sextet for the Faculty Dance Concert. The music, reflecting Nana’s deep resonant voice, will feature a cello, a deep rich instrument, and the music and dance work moves slowly before coming to a big build and crescendo.
Evans, who rehearsed with the dance students for 10 days last fall, was impressed with their work ethic.
“They are openhearted to just about anything,” he said.
The students also will be performing dances choreographed by UNT faculty.
“In ‘Dirt,’ six dancers will move as though the earth is being grounded, pulling people along,” said Mary Lynn Babcock, associate professor of dance. “The dance serves as a mediation of contemporary thought of rising up in affirmation of life for all people, and it contrasts urgency against calm to explore the power of all voices that, like dirt, can erode and renew over time.”
“Keep the Blue Side Up and Take the High Road,” choreographed by dance professor Shelley Cushman, was inspired by her experience at a memorial service for a pilot. The pilot was guided in life by the saying “keep the blue side up” which refers to an instrument on the plane that helps the pilot to keep the plane right side up.
Teresa Cooper, senior lecturer of dance, will present the theatrical piece, “What if?,” that features three vignettes with costume changes onstage – with inspirations including the court attire and dance of King Louis XIV; torch nightclub singers reminiscent of the early 1900s; and England’s Royal Ascot Race.