Author: Kirstie Spadie

UNCSA 2023 Spring Dance Blooms

UNC School of the Arts 2023 Spring Dance featured world premieres by budding choreographers and the much-anticipated rebirth of Merce Cunningham‘s Travelogue. Curated by new Dean of the School of Dance, Endalyn Outlaw (née Taylor), Spring Dance exemplified the strength of the two distinguished ballet and contemporary programs. In the majestic green and gold Stevens Center, which will see a 28-million-dollar renovation this coming fall, high school and undergraduate students showcased UNC School of the Arts’ high caliber of athleticism and artistry in full bloom. As a UNCSA graduate in Contemporary Dance (1987-1991), it was a privilege to return to the school that cultivated my contemporary dance training.

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This place, this stage, this community of dancers sharing their art to the fullest with a live audience was deeply moving. Nothing was left unsaid with the dancers’ final pose, on the floor pointing up towards the sky as if daring the dance gods to give them more. Even though This Place was second on the program, it drew a well deserved standing ovation.

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Paul Taylor Dance Company is Diverse, Dynamic, Daring at ADF

Paul Taylor Dance Company first performed at the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College in 1961. Six decades later, the company brings a diverse and daring ensemble of highly gifted dance artists. Paul Taylor, a world-renowned choreographer, studied dance at Julliard and danced with Martha Graham for seven seasons. In 1954, he started his own company and became a prolific dance maker, earning him the MacArthur Award, the Samuel H. Scripps ADF Award, and the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. Upon his retirement, Taylor tapped company dancer Michael Novak as artistic director. Under Novak’s leadership, the company of dancers represents a continuing powerful hold of modern dance.

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ADF Opening Night:Pilobolus’ Big Five-Oh! is Big Fun-Oh!

Pilobolus is celebrating 50 years of rebellious art making. In 1971, Moses Pendleton, Jonathan Wolken and Steve Johnson created their first dance composition ‘Pilobolus’ and the name stuck. The opening night at this year’s American Dance Festival spanned works from 1975 to an ADF-commissioned world premiere. Co-artistic directors Renee Jaworski and Matt Kent, who are also former company members of Pilobolus, introduced the dancers: Nathaniel Buchsbaum, Quincy Ellis, Paul Liu, Hannah Klinkman, Marlon Feliz, and North Carolina native Zachary Weiss. Full administration and dancer bios can be found here.

Untitled (1975) by Robert Dennis featured costume design by Kitty Daly and Malcolm McCormick: Two women, on a summer evening, are in a whispered conversation. Assisted by male dancers under their dresses, the women are dizzyingly elevated, and their dresses elongate. Two men, dashingly dressed, enter and try to gain their attention. They duel to the death for the women’s attention. Superbly acted by Klinkman and Feliz, the women end by rocking away as the sun fades on their summer evening.

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