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Smith to Host Five College Dance Concert

Once a year faculty artists from the diverse and unique Five College Dance Department come together to showcase the best in dance from the Five Colleges. The Smith College Department of Dance is pleased to host this year’s event Thursday through Saturday, February 28-March 1, at 8 p.m. each night in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center.

The audience will be treated to new works from Rodger Blum, professor of dance, Smith College; Paul Dennis and Tom Vacanti, UMass, Amherst; Tim Early, Mount Holyoke College; Cathy Nicoli, Hampshire College; Fritha Pengelly, Hampshire College; and Wendy Woodson, Amherst College.

While the concert offers up an exciting variety of genres from ballet to jazz to modern, in at least one instance, Tim Early’s dance “Distortion to Static” features a mix of all three set to the music of DJ Miss Kittin and Nine Inch Nails. But this is just one of many delightful surprises in the program.

This year’s concert will be dedicated in memory of Julius Robinson, principal pianist and lecturer in the Smith College Department of Dance, who passed away on February 3 this year. A superb concert pianist and musician who made a career providing music for dance, Julius joined the department in 1981 with Agnes de Mille soloist Gemze de Lappe, and taught classes in ballet and Isadora Duncan technique for several years to Smith College and Five College dancers.

During his career Robinson collaborated with some of the great names in dance, including George Balanchine and Agnes de Mille. He toured as conductor/pianist for de Mille’s Heritage Dance Theatre and was her personal pianist. On de Mille’s death in 1993, she bequeathed him the funds to create two of his three recorded collections of music for ballet class, entitled “Inspirational Interludes,” Volumes 1 and 2. He also toured extensively with vocalists from the Metropolitan and New York City Opera Companies and the New York Quartet under Columbia Artist Management. Robinson studied on full scholarship at the American Conservatory of Music, Juilliard School of Music, and the Mannes College of Music in New York. The Five College Dance Department members will miss his superb artistry, warm spirit, and love for dance.

Reserve tickets ($9 general public, $5 students/seniors) early by called 413-585-ARTS (2787).

2/26/08   Dance department press release
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