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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dance closes series with ‘Spring Collection’

    As the semester draws to a close, a legacy is also nearing its end. For the University of Arizona’s School of Dance, this farewell appears in the form of a celebration: the final concerts in its “”Legacy Series”” season.

    During the next two weekends, the UA Dance Ensemble will present two concert events on alternating dates, a culmination that forms a fusion of skilled aficionados and eager novices that serve to honor the past and celebrate the future.

    While new works will make their world premiere in the department’s annual “”Spring Collection”” concert, such as James Clouser’s “”The Man in the Chair”” and Barbea Williams’s African Dance Ensemble, the program ultimately recognizes and pays homage to those things from which we draw our inspiration. Whether it be gothic architectural icons, which are brought into the modern world in Sam Watson’s “”Gargoyles,”” or the unforgettable melodies of Johnny Cash and Rodger Miller, emanating through the dancers’ physical movement in Elizabeth George’s “”The Road,”” the concert looks to rejoice in revitalizing the past.

    As part of its commemorating performance, the ensemble will also breathe life into the masterwork of a legend, as they present Donald McKayle’s illustrious “”Rainbow Round My Shoulder.””

    A prominent modern dancer, choreographer and teacher, McKayle visited the School of Dance in January to audition and cast students for “”Rainbow,”” one of his most prominent and socially conscious works. Created in 1959, “”Rainbow Round My Shoulder”” is a poignant narrative which traces the lives of chain gang prisoners in the American south. Through visions of a beautiful woman and dreams of memories past, McKayle portrays the captive men’s longing to be free, and the powerful choreography, set to the bittersweet resonance of traditional African folk music, captures the grueling reality of their physical labor.

    However, in addition to its veneration for former greats, the future greats will also get their chance to shine on the Stevie Eller stage.

    “”The Next Generation,”” the student spotlight concert that will alternate stage time with “”Spring Collection,”” is a show featuring only student choreographed works. Showcasing pieces created by freshmen and seniors alike, the show reveals the new era of artists that are ready to leave their mark on the performance scene.

    From a neo-classical ballet pas de deux, to a piece inspired by the compelling songs of Celine Dion, “”The Next Generation”” represents the versatility of the school’s dancers and has long since been an audience favorite.

    “”(The Next Generation) is such a great opportunity to showcase our talents and choreography as students at the university”” said Annie Kim, a dance junior and student choreographer. “”As students we are swamped with classes, projects and tests, but some students go above and beyond to showcase there artistic creativity. The satisfaction of presenting our hard work and creativity in front of an audience makes the sweat, tears and 11 p.m. rehearsals worth every moment.””

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