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Dance Dept. press release   Date: 2/3/11 Bookmark and Share

Four Choreographers Featured in Annual MFA Concert

Northampton, Mass.—While the celebration of the graduates of the 35-year-old Smith Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance program continues, it’s that time of the season to highlight and celebrate the amazing work of the current second-year MFAs in the crowd-pleasing, annual MFA Thesis Dance Concert.

A scene from the MFA Dance Concert 2010.

This year’s event, with performances Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 10 through 12, will feature the choreography of Stephanie Frey, Crystal Gipe Nilsson, Erin Law and Phaelon O’Donnell.

All shows are at 8 p.m. in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts.

Stephanie Frey has choreographed two dances. The first, an ensemble piece, is an abstract commentary on contemporary society’s lack of direct connection and communication. She employs continuous, high-speed movement and electronic music to articulate the battle of conflicting priorities we choose. The second dance is a solo that invites us to reflect upon and challenge our own struggles with perfection and outside expectations.

Inspired from the works of artist M.C. Escher, a dance by Phaelon O’Donnell is a composition of lively movement, whimsical interaction, and design. A cast of four dancers explores the themes of space and place in quartets, trios, duets, and solos, forming a collage of images that highlight what it means to be grounded or displaced.

Crystal Gipe Nilsson’s piece, “Not a Box,” explores the visual metaphor and analogical juxtaposition of people–and boxes—from many different angles: “What is a box?” she asks. “When is a box not a box? How is a person like a box? What relationship exists between a person and a box? What about other people’s boxes?”

In a wrestle between tenderness and aggression, Erin Law’s dance work inquires what is normal in human relationships, in gender expression, how arbitrary the rules of gender are and how alternative sexualities can fight to exist within a compulsory heterosexual matrix. The piece includes an original collaborative sound score composed by Mauricio Abascal, Matt Murphy, and Erin Law.

Tickets ($9 adults, $5 students/seniors) can be purchased online up to two hours before the performance or by calling the box office, 413-585-2787. All tickets must be paid for at the time of reservation or by 4 p.m. on the afternoon of a performance (4 p.m. on Friday for a Saturday performance).

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