KU News Release

April 21, 2011
Contact: Kristi Henderson, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 785-864-3663

University Dance Company concerts feature work of KU’s first choreographic fellow

Photo by Mike Manley

Photo by Mike Manley

More Information

LAWRENCE — An intensive two-week residency this spring allowed dance students at the University of Kansas to work with a celebrated guest choreographer and learn one of his works, which they will perform April 28 and 29 in the University Dance Company spring concerts.

Brooklyn-based, Czech-born choreographer Dušan Týnek is the first recipient of the Choreographic Fellowship from the Department of Dance, which has a rich history of invited guest artists who enhance the professional preparation of students. He was selected from among 135 applicants in the international competition.

“The choreographic fellowship represents an opportunity for a dancemaker to share and further develop his or her work while students experience what it is like to be involved in an intensive rehearsal process with a professional choreographer,” said Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair of the Department of Dance.

While at KU, Týnek taught technique classes and set his work “Transparent Walls” on members of the University Dance Company. He will travel from New York for the Midwestern premiere of the work in the spring concerts.

Performed to an orchestral work of the same name by acclaimed contemporary Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, “Transparent Walls” examines organized chaos, where individuals break free from life’s tumultuous machinery to find moments of connectedness and humanity. Roslyn Sulcas of the New York Times describes Týnek as “an undoubted talent, a choreographer who seems fascinated by movement itself and the strange, subtle ways in which it communicates. The dance — and dancing — is the thing.”

In addition to the guest artist work, the spring concerts feature a series of diverse offerings by dance faculty.

“Threads” is a suite of dances blending the richness of the Indian classical dance vocabulary with the freedom of Western contemporary dance. Inspired by the intricacies of Indian music, associate professor Muriel Cohan and professor Patrick Suzeau created two solos performed by Suzeau and two octets performed by the company. The suite will be accompanied by the live music of Ras Mandala, a locally based music group that fuses traditional Indian vocals, strings and percussion with Western harmony. This collaboration creates a fusion of east and west, ancient and contemporary music and dance.

“My Aine Countrie” (My Radiant Country) by associate professor Jerel Hilding takes its name from the text of a Scottish folk song, “Alistair McAlpine’s Lament,” set by Ralph Vaughan-Williams in 1912. It is one of a selection of folk songs set by Vaughan-Williams that provide the background for dances about love, death, conviviality and celebration. “Limehouse Blues,” a new work by lecturer Willie Lenoir, uses movements from the tradition of musical theater in a lighthearted celebration of big band jazz.

Heffner Hayes reinvents a 2007 work, “Cradling Persephone,” with a new, original score by Kansas City composer and KU School of Music alumnus Joseph Eidson. The work reexamines the Greek myth of Persephone. Placing the young girl at the center of the narrative, this contemporary dance theater work explores adolescence as a point of entry into the adult world of violence and sexuality. Through the athletic partnering and voluptuous phrasing of the movement for eight dancers, the piece imagines a space of transcendence in the re-emergence of spring following the hardships of winter.

The University Dance Company Spring Concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 28 and 29, at the Lied Center. Tickets are on sale at the Lied Center and Murphy Hall box offices: $15 public, $10 students, senior citizens 62 and older, and group sales. KU students are eligible for a $5 advance purchase price before the day of the show. Call 785-864-2787 for tickets.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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