W&L Repertory Dance Company and University Jazz Ensemble Present Public Performance The groups will present a combined dance and music performance on March 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. on the W&L campus.
Washington and Lee University’s award-winning W&L Repertory Dance Company and University Jazz Ensemble will present public performances March 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Keller Theater on the W&L campus.
Inspired by Preservation Hall, a music hall dedicated to preserving New Orleans musical traditions, the Keller stage will be transformed into a 1940s New Orleans jazz club featuring student musicians and dancers, guest artists and faculty collaborating to create original artworks. Syncopation, complex cords and improvisation will drive rich, experimental choreography and powerful movement. The University Jazz Ensemble’s driving beat, led by W&L Professor of Music Terry Vosbein, will be front and center as musicians share the stage with dancers interpreting such diverse works as “Summertime” by George Gershwin, “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione and “It Don’t Mean A Thing” by Duke Ellington.
The performance is open to the public. For tickets, visit the W&L Lenfest website at my.wlu.edu/lenfest-center or call the box office at 540-458-8000.
This concert will feature eight works containing the fruit of five artistic residencies throughout the semester. Nationally renowned choreographers Charlotte Boye-Christensen, Caroline Calouche, Anne Van Gelder, Eric Rivera and Melanie Richards spent several days on the W&L campus holding intensive choreographic rehearsals and teaching master classes for students.
Calouche, director and founder of the Charlotte Dance Festival, worked with aerial soloist Kate Fisher ’23 to create a silks piece that is”challenging but buoyant with interesting variation,” and Vosbein arranged his version of “Summertime” to accompany it.
Van Gelder, director of dance and artistic director of University Dancers at the University of Richmond, adopted a previous trio for jazz music and transformed it into a quartet.
“Working with students in dance in the liberal arts is one of the most rewarding things that I do,” said Van Gelder. “They bring varying points of view to the conversation, infusing the dance with a maturity and richness that is inspiring.”
Rivera, assistant professor of dance at Virginia Commonwealth University, was inspired by the quote, “dance simply put is the strength of a muscle, the grace of a pose, the corporal memory of a sequence of moves, and the infinite joy of being true to oneself,” and crafted his piece to reflect the beauty in shape and line.
Internationally renowned dancer/choreographer and actress Richards created a tap duet inspired by Duke Ellington’s music.
“Bringing together guest artists, faculty and students creates a beautiful synergy,” said Jenefer Davies, professor of dance and director of the Repertory Dance Company at W&L. “A palpable force of teaching and learning is created through the artistic process.”
Davies has a featured piece in the concert that is part of an international choreographic exchange project by award-winning Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. De Keersmaeker created the revolutionary concept of looking at dance as intellectual property and as a shared experience. De Keersmaeker shared six 4-count phrases and challenged choreographers to create original works based on those counts and upload them to share. Davies challenged herself to transform 24 counts into a six-and-a-half-minute dance piece set to “The Chicken” by Pee Wee Ellis.
Also included in the concert are two dance works that are the product of senior dance independent studies that look at the limitations of aerial bungee, choreographed by Irina Koleva ’22, and “corde lisse,” choreographed by Zach Baldridge ’22.
Masking is optional in indoor performance spaces on campus.