University Dance Company employing variety of musical styles for fall concerts

There's something old and something new on the program of the University Dance Company's fall concerts.

Featured will be a contemporary ballet by guest artist and former Joffrey principal Carl Corry, and two major revivals by Muriel Cohan and Patrick Suzeau, both associate professors of dance.

Also on the bill are new works by resident faculty: an unconventional take on Baroque music by Willie Lenoir, instructor of dance; a Spanish-influenced ballet by Jerel Hilding, associate professor and director of dance; and an earthy, contemporary work by Muriel Cohan.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. today and Friday at the Lied Center. A dialogue with the choreographers and performers will take place after tonight's show.

Guest choreographer Carl Corry pays tribute to the power of pop songs and the choreographic possibilities they inspire when combined with the athleticism and grace of contemporary ballet in "Pop Trio." Set to Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," the Beatles' "Let It Be" and Soraya's "Reason to Believe," the piece uses clean lines and sweeping momentum to set the melodies and lyrics in motion.

"Caligula," a work choreographed by Suzeau, is said to "transcend any question of originality or technique" (Soho News). Performed in silence, it is a stark portrait of the decadent Roman emperor in which the textures of madness and cruelty appear. Suzeau will perform the work, which he first performed in its 1973 premiere, to critical acclaim.

Past Event

University Dance Company

  • Thursday, November 16, 2006, 7:30 p.m.
  • Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, KU campus, Lawrence
  • All ages / $7 - $10

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"On the Brink of Time," Suzeau's 1986 revival for the company, is set to traditional Japanese music and the poetry of Marc Kaminsky from his book "The Road to Hiroshima." The piece makes a strong antiwar statement.

By contrast, Muriel Cohan offers "Rustic Song," a light-hearted, exuberant new work for 14 undergraduate dancers set to a cappella choral works of Gyorgy Ligeti.

Jerel Hilding's ballet "Gitanas" features 10 undergraduate dancers working in the Spanish classical style. The score, sections of Bach's Lute Suite in E minor, challenges the dancers to execute intricate footwork and partnering within the precise phrases played on classical guitar.

"Girls and Boyce" is choreographer Willie Lenoir's playful juxtaposition of the 18th-century British composer's collection of Trio Sonatas with the body isolations and rhythmic syncopation associated with jazz dance. The seven female undergraduate dancers explore the contrasts and surprising resonances between the Baroque composition and the vocabulary of the African-American dance form.

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