Guest artists, technology enliven Fall Dance Concert

The Department of Theatre and Dance Fall Dance Concert far surpasses any expectations one might have of a typical modern dance revue. This year, the department is working with guest choreographer Nicholas Leichter and has received a grant from the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities to invest in new technology. Unlike the more traditional concerts of the past, this fall the Department’s six pieces are diverse, colorful and intriguing.

Leichter, an up-and-coming choreographer based in Manhattan, contributes two pieces to the concert. Leichter is best known for his ability to combine conventional modern dance with hip-hop and African dance, creating works that cross cultures and boundaries.

In “Bliss” Leichter blurs the lines between various styles of dance to create a contemporary and catchy pop piece. Leichter’s dance, entitled “Good Cop, Bad Cop” is about a pimp and a prostitute and will be performed on Saturday night only. It is definitely something to see.

Along with an extraordinary guest choreographer, the department was able to utilize the technology grant awarded by the D.C. Commission. The grant allowed Maida Withers, creator of the piece “Surveillance,” to invest in a tiny camera that a dancer wears on her chest, adding a unique glimpse into what goes on backstage and in the audience as the dancers perform.

Each piece is as distinctive as its title suggests. Of note is the pleasurable piece “Declining Unit – a work in progress” which was choreographed by Deidre MacDiarmid. In the piece dancers penetrate the bleak, dark stage clothed in dynamic red garments. Julie Marshall’s “Chimera Control” will arrest your attention as the dancers emerge, bound by bands, constrained and struggling to escape. There is something exceptional to be found in each piece, from the traditional couple performance and synchronized group dances to the live music and innovative use of technology.

One emerges from the concert with a sense of satisfaction because, unlike most performances, this one allows the audiences to gather their own meaning from what is presented.

A post-performance discussion will be held on Thursday immediately following the concert at which time you learn about the choreographers and their works. Tickets may be purchased at Ticketmaster – $8 for students and $10 for everyone else.

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