LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Department of Dance will host its annual spring performance, showcasing pieces including ballet, swing and hip-hop.
University Dance Company 2018 Concert performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 19-20 and 2 p.m. April 21 at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.
Award-winning choreographer and co-founder of Idaho-based LED, Lauren Edson cast five outstanding KU students to perform “Lines on a Page,” an athletically demanding, contemporary ballet piece that will serve as the concert’s finale.
Edson came to Lawrence in January 2018 as the department’s Janet Hamburg Visiting Guest Artist. She studied at North Carolina School of the Arts and the Juilliard School, among others, and has won several fellowships, awards and commissions from companies and universities throughout the nation. Edson’s original choreography has appeared at the McCallum Theatre, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Winspear Opera House and the Kennedy Center. Her past choreographic commissions include Whim W’him, Northwest Dance Project and Milwaukee Ballet. In 2015, Edson created LED with her husband. LED combines contemporary dance, original music and film into breathtaking cinematic experiences. In 2017, LED was named Boise’s Emerging Organization.
“Expect to see daring athleticism combined with balletic lines from this bold, interdisciplinary artist. Her work challenges our students to take their training to the next level,” said Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair of the Department of Dance and interim chair of the Department of Theatre.
Guest artist and KU dance lecturer Maya Tillman-Rayton choreographed a new hip-hop work, titled “How’d We Get Here?” Inspired by the ups and downs of personal relationships, the dance uses various hip-hop vocabularies to explore connection, conflict and emotional intensity.
“The whole concert is wonderfully robust in showcasing the diversity and strength of the dancers as well as the deep range of talent from KU faculty choreographers,” Heffner Hayes said.
The program will highlight choreography by KU dance senior Emily Bain. Her work “Refraction” is a contemporary ballet in which dancers reflect the music similar to the effect of light in a box of mirrors.
James Moreno, associate professor of dance, plans to use autoethnographic writing and two original videos in his work set to Beethoven piano sonatas resampled in hip-hop style. Patrick Suzeau, professor of dance, is set to present a sound collage and choreography that focuses on a cross-section of players caught in the drama of today’s political scene. Willie Lenoir, KU lecturer, will use music by Parov Stelar, one of the pioneers of electro swing music, in his choreography.
A new element this year is the inclusion of classical ballet divertissements, choreographed by KU Dance Professor Jerel Hilding, which serve as interludes between different choreographer’s pieces.
Tickets are on sale at the Lawrence Arts Center box office: Public $15, KU students $10, seniors (62 and older) $10 and children (under 18) $5. Purchase tickets before 6 p.m. April 18 and save $5 off the ticket price, excluding child tickets. Customer service and processing fees may apply. Call 785-843-2787 for more information.
The University Dance Company’s Spring 2018 Concert is supported by Student Senate.
The Department of Dance is one of four departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.
For more information on the Department of Dance, visit http://dance.ku.edu.