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Department of Dance press releaase   Date: 11/19/09 Bookmark and Share

New Works Featured in Fall Faculty Dance Concert

In addition to performances of original choreographies by Smith dance professors Susan Waltner and Rodger Blum, the Fall Faculty Dance Concert, the season’s most anticipated dance event, will feature a dance by guest choreographer David Dorfman, artistic director of David Dorfman Dance, and the William Meredith Professor of Dance and Chair at Connecticut College.

Closing the evening will be Mark Morris’ celebrated Gloria. A masterwork from a master American choreographer, Gloria has been called a “choreographic praise to the heavens.” Jonathan Hirsh will conduct the Smith College Orchestra and Chamber Singers in the lush Vivaldi score.

Performances will take place Thursday, Nov. 19, through Saturday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. each day in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center.

Special guest choreographer David Dorfman has received a Guggenheim fellowship and his company was presented at the American Dance Festival and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and continues to tour internationally. Dorfman described his piece, Dance To The Music/Every Body Is..., as “a celebration of the joy of dancing and the funk of living.” Eighteen dancers take the stage in this energetic piece set to music by Sly and The Family Stone and Above/Below.

Rodger Blum’s new contemporary ballet for 12 dancers is set to the vivid, rusty, and evocative music of Zach Condon and his talented multi-instrumentalist troubadours, Beirut. He describes this work Open Arms as “exploring open space and open hearts.”

Susan Waltner’s work includes four members of The Dance Generators, a Northampton-based intergenerational dance company, and MFA student Caitlin Johnson, in a work that looks at the tension between leaving and being left.

The concert’s final work, Gloria, premiered at the Dance Theater Workshop in 1981 and was the first piece the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Morris’ works have mostly been performed to live music throughout the company’s history. His seminal work, and the oldest one to be performed on a regular basis, Gloria is set to Vivaldi’s composition Gloria in D, RV589. Its performances have garnered numerous accolades: “One of Morris’ masterpieces, beautiful, lush, virtuosic—one of those pieces where you can see the unbelievable connection between the movement and the music.” (Greater Boston Arts); “Gloria pleased ear and eye alike.” (The New York Times.)

In keeping with the tradition of live music, Vivaldi’s score will be performed by the Smith College Orchestra, Chamber Singers and soloists, under the direction of Jonathan Hirsh, senior lecturer in music. The piece, for 10 dancers, has been restaged for dancers from the Five College Department of Dance under the direction of long-time Mark Morris company member Marjorie Folkman.

The production of Gloria is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.

Gloria and the commissioning of David Dorfman is also made possible by the Sharonjean Moser Leeds Endowment, a generous fund created by Sharonjean (SC ’67) and Richard Leeds for the Smith College Department of Dance.

Tickets ($9 general public, $5 for students/seniors) for the three performances are always in high demand; early purchase is recommended. Call or email the box office, 413-585-ARTS (2787),

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