KU dancers to introduce new work by 'punk ballerina'

"Power Surge," a romantic and lyrical dance created by "punk ballerina" Karole Armitage provides a compelling finale for the University Dance Company fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Lied Center.

Armitage choreographed the dance during a residency with the KU dance program earlier this fall.

"Power Surge" begins with six women performing virtuoso ballet, modern dance and pop dance moves to the driving "Mishima String Quartet" by Philip Glass. Solos for a woman and man follow, developing into a climatic duet about coming together despite the pull of outside forces. The couple and the sextet then ride the powerful music to a quiet ending.

After studying dance in Lawrence where she grew up, Armitage trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts and then performed with the Geneva Ballet and Merce Cunningham Company. She directs the Ballet de Lorraine and travels worldwide to choreograph works for dance, opera, music video and film productions.

Members of the KU dance faculty also have created dances in a wide range of styles for the concert. The program begins with Jerel Hilding's ballet "Allegro con Brio," which has been restaged for 13 women and two men. The dancers move energetically through a sequence of solos, duets and ensemble sections, propelled by Felix Mendelssohn's "String Symphony in G Minor."

In "Oxford Suite, Part I," Willie Lenoir has created a lyrical dance. The music was composed by Ed Alleyne-Johnson and features his signature sound of an electric violin. Five women in flowing dresses that accent their movements visualize the images of the music throughout the performance.

Patrick Suzeau responds to current events in his "Opus 2001," playing an exorcist hoping to hold in check the powers of a hostile world. Suzeau's choreography for 17 dancers echoes the intensity of a World War II poem by Henri Michaux, forcefully set to a percussion score of Slovenian composer Milan Stibilj.

"Figure Humaine" also was inspired by French poetry, this time the work of Paul Eluard. Muriel Cohan choreographed the dance to a magnificent a cappella piece by the composer Francis Poulenc. Eluard's poetry was written during a period of great darkness and probes the depths and heights of the human condition. Cohan's dance embodies some of the same haunting ideas.


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