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UW Eminent Artist Residency Concludes with Performances in Riverton, Gillette, Torrington, Lusk


December 2, 2011 — The residency of the University of Wyoming's 2011-2012 Eminent Artists-in-Residence, the celebrated Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, culminates with an evening-length dance concert, "Continuous Momentum: The Works of Bill T. Jones" Dec. 10-13 in Riverton, Gillette, Torrington and Lusk.

Performances all begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. The schedule:

Riverton -- Saturday, Dec. 10, Central Wyoming College, Robert A Peck Arts Center Stage;

Gillette -- Sunday, Dec. 11, Campbell County High School Auditorium;

Torrington -- Monday, Dec. 12, Eastern Wyoming College;

Lusk -- Tuesday, Dec. 13, Niobrara County High School Auditorium.

Performed by UW students, the concert features four pieces from the BTJ/AZ repertory, including "D-man in the Waters," "Continuous Replay," "Duet," and "Power/Full."

"The student performance of Jones' choreography is the highlight of the semester-long project with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dance company Eminent Artist-in-Residence project," says Margaret Wilson, UW dance faculty member who has facilitated the residency. "For the students to have the opportunity to learn about the choreography and perform it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they will never forget."

The pieces, which were reconstructed this fall at UW by BTJ/AZ teaching artists Catherine Cabeen and Nicole Smith, represent several different phases of the company's work.

"The dancers become a part of living history -- recreating works that were set in the 1970s to early 1990s," Wilson says. "The dance world now is a different place than it was at that time, but the dancers validate those works, and the reasons why they were created, by performing them for 2011 audiences."

The concert opens with "Power/Full" (1995/revised 2002), a piece originally devised as a rigorous formal movement study created by Jones in 1995. The score is in two contrasting parts composed by Canadians John Oswald and Laurel MacDonald.

Following is "Continuous Replay," (1977/revised 1991) a piece originally choreographed by Zane as the solo "Hand Dance" and as a duet by Zane and Jones, and later restaged by Jones as an ensemble work.

"Duet," (1995/revised 2002) explores the ideas of pure movement and abstraction. This unusually stark work takes Jones' most sophisticated movement to task and draws on the tension between, and the elegance inherit in, two people moving together in perfect unison.

The concert closes with one of the company's signature pieces, "D-Man in the Waters" (1989), an exhaustive pursuit of water as a metaphor, choreographed to the first movement of Felix Mendelssohn's spirited "Octet in E-flat Major." It is described as "an uplifting and accessible celebration of the resiliency of the human spirit."

"Watching the dancers learn, rehearse and prepare these works for performance has been very satisfying for the UW dance faculty," Wilson says. "Our students are well prepared to do this work with the training that they receive here, and the opportunity to perform the work of a master choreographer like Jones is a validation of all our efforts."

Photo:
University of Wyoming dancers will perform "Continuous Momentum: The Works of Bill T. Jones."

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