March 29, 2008

Meadows presents Spring Dance Concert April 2-6
Features Martha Graham’s “Lamentation,” Twyla Tharp’s “Octet,”
and works by Andrew Parker and Nathan Montoya

DALLAS (SMU) – A selection of contemporary and jazz works varying from emotional to abstract will be presented by the Meadows Dance Ensemble at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts for its Spring Dance Concert, April 2-6 in the Bob Hope Theatre of the Owen Arts Center on the SMU campus. 

Featured will be Lamentation, a 1930 solo masterwork by Martha Graham; Octet by Twyla Tharp; Batucada, a tribute to renowned choreographer Maurice Béjart; and works by faculty members Andrew Parker and Nathan Montoya. Performance times are 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. 

Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students, SMU faculty and staff.  Free parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley or in the garage under the Meadows Museum.  To purchase tickets, call 214-768-2787.

The concert opens with the premiere of Ars Amatoria (Art of Love), a new ballet by faculty member Andrew Parker. Set to Tchaikovsky’s Suite #3 for Orchestra, Ars Amatoria is inspired by the composer’s emotionally complex musical life and reveals a layered web of relationships charged with romance, intrigue and truth.

Next on the program is Lamentation, considered by many to be Martha Graham’s most famous solo work. Premiered in New York by Graham herself in 1930, it honors the experience of grieving. Graham wrote that she wore “a long tube of material to indicate the tragedy that obsesses the body, the ability to stretch inside your own skin, to witness and test the perimeters and boundaries of grief, which is honorable and universal.”

Four male and four female dancers will perform Twyla Tharp’s critically acclaimed 1991 piece Octet, a sleek, spare ballet with a jazzy, playful edge. Set to composer Edgar Meyer’s The Plumed Serpent, the choreography is both complex and intimate. The eight SMU dancers were trained by guest artist Shawn Stevens, a former Twyla Tharp company member who premiered the work in New York. 

Also featured will be Three Pieces, a quirky, abstract duet by faculty member Nathan Montoya. Originally created for the Dallas-based new music group Voices of Change, the dance toured to England in 2003 with the Meadows Wind Ensemble. The music, Igor Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet, will be performed live by Jonathan Jones of the Wind Ensemble.

The concert will conclude with Batucada: A Tribute to Maurice Béjart, featuring a work by the great European dancer/teacher/choreographer, who passed away last year after a long and distinguished career. Myra Woodruff, chair of the Division of Dance at SMU, and a former teacher at the Rudra Béjart ballet school and performer in Béjart’s professional company in Switzerland, prepared the tribute.  The dance is a celebration of the life force of the human body and spirit.  With an original score by Jamal Mohamed based on the batucada, an African-influenced Brazilian percussion style, the work staged for 25 dancers embodies the call to move and dance, a Béjart trademark.

The 2007-08 Main Stage Theatre and Dance Season at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts is sponsored by The Dallas Morning News.

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