IN Series focuses on cultural exploration through art

Intimate. Innovative. Intriguing. Inexpensive. International. Inspiring. They all describe the multi-faceted performances featured in The IN Series at GW’s Mount Vernon campus.

The IN Series opens its 17th season Friday, with Neruda, A Portrait of a Poet. Showcasing the Nobel Prize winner’s life and work, the evening includes bilingual poetry, music and dance performed by a cast of local Latino artists.

The performance focuses on Neruda’s autobiographical poems and his amazing lyricism. Neruda is widely known for his Twenty Love Poems, among the world’s most famous Spanish love poems. A backdrop to Neruda’s descriptive imagery, the accompanying music ranges from Chilean and Andean folk music to Spanish and French art-songs. The dance performances include stylized folk dance and modern dance.

Tom Mallan of the Washington Shakespeare Company leads the cast, depicting the extraordinary poet on stage. The distinguished Abel Lopez directs the performance.

Throughout the season, The IN Series artistically will explore various cultures, emphasizing multi-cultural discipline.

“A massive part of our artistic heritage has to do with Western civilization,” said Carla H?bner, founder and artistic director of The IN Series. “When you start looking for non-Western parallels, that’s when you come up with the programs we do.”

When H?bner began the program in 1981 by bringing a few musical concerts to Mount Vernon College, she did not anticipate the series would grow so rapidly and achieve such success.

“My intent was only to have something going on on this campus that had nothing going on on it at this time,” she said.

During the past 17 years, the series has undergone changes to reach the respectable status within the performing arts’ community. Soon after H?bner’s initial small concert program, the Concert Series began, featuring 16 events per season. A strong dance facet joined the concerts to form the Performing Arts Series.

In the 1988-’89 season, The IN Series emerged in its current form. The series has continued to expand, adding more components such as a Cabaret Series and a Family Sunday Series. But through all of the transitions, one element has remained the same. The series provides culturally enlightening and entertaining experiences for the community.

“I’m an artist and I wanted to make exciting artistic things happen here that would get people, and I hope students and faculty, excited and inspired,” H?bner said. “To some degree, we have succeeded in doing that.”

Performances of Neruda, Portrait of a Poet are Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 18,19, 25, 26 and Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. All performances take place at the Hand Chapel at GW’s Mount Vernon campus. General admission tickets are $18 and student tickets are $10 for Friday performances. General admission tickets are $20 and student tickets are $12 for Saturday performances. Students must present a valid ID at the door.

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