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W&L Dancers Create…

“With a broad range of dance styles represented, the eclectic nature of the performance offers a spectrum of ideas, designs and shapes.”

On Nov. 10-12, the award-winning Washington and Lee Repertory Dance Company will perform “W&L Dancers Create….” Presented by the Department of Theater, Dance and Film Studies, the evening concert, under the artistic direction of Jenefer Davies, associate professor of dance and theater, will be comprised of work choreographed, designed and performed by students, showcasing the diversity and talent within the dance and theater programs.

“With a broad range of dance styles represented, the eclectic nature of the performance offers a spectrum of ideas, designs and shapes,” said Davies. “A contemporary ballet piece that looks to Native American poetry for a connection between nature and spirituality is juxtaposed against two abstract works that question identity and relationships. Innovative post modern pieces offer conceptual movement that contrasts sharply with more light-hearted pieces that deal with varying stories of love, loss and finding oneself. A heart wrenching love letter to a grandmother recently departed is performed alongside an anthropomorphic look at self-doubt. And a marine science major incorporates her research and love of the ocean in a piece about marine conservation.”

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The concert’s student choreographers collaborated with fellow students who were responsible for lighting the works. Overseen by Shawn Paul Evans, associate professor of theatre and chair of the department of theatre, dance and film studies, the lighting designers used the performance as a practical culmination to a semester-long class containing lecture and smaller projects. The student choreographers and designers worked in tandem, learning how to express their ideas and art with one another in order to create the work presented to an audience.

“Through actual hands-on experience, the designers used what they are learning about the science and craft of lighting to help provide visual context to the dance,” explained Evans.

In conjunction with the performance, the W&L dance company is reaching out to young audiences through a second collaboration with W&L social media group, wlulex. During pre-determined breaks in the concert, hashtag #WLUDance will be projected onto a 40-foot on-stage screen, inviting audience members to open their phones and share their thoughts and questions about the work they are witnessing. At the same time, dancers backstage will Instagram what’s going on behind the scenes and respond to Twitter and Facebook questions. Moderators, will choose tweets to display in between dances on the massive stage screen.

“This experiment in reaching out to new audiences was so successful last year, that we are anxious to repeat the process,” said Davies. “It is our hope that, once again, young and old alike will be inspired by the concert and engage in dialogue about the work. Whether it’s over social media or in the lobby following the performance, the more people that understand our artistic goals and processes, the more involved they will be in the performance. Our goal is to create active and engaged audiences.”

Collaborating with Professors Davies and Evans, the W&L Repertory Dance Company and these student choreographers, dancers and designers, have dedicated countless hours in the creation of an expressive concert of new dance works. It is their hope that the audience will feel inspired to participate actively by attending the performance, engaging in the social media fun and supporting the dance conversation.

7:30pm Nov. 10-12
Lenfest Center for the Arts
All tickets are $5
Purchase: 540-458-8000  or https://www.wlu.edu/lenfest-center/current-season/wandl-dancers-create