Dance, dance revolution

After a brief title intermission, Sam Houston’s Dance Program is bringing back the tradition of “The Dance Spectrum” with “The Return of the Dance Spectrum.” The performances will begin Thursday, November 29 at 8 p.m., and run through Saturday, December 1. All shows begin at 8 p.m. in the University Theater Center with the exception of an additional matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Tickets are $10 general admission, and $8 for SHSU students and senior citizens. For ticket reservations, call 936-294-3988.

At the end of each semester for the past thirty years, the Dance Program has closed with the student performances. This year marks the return of the original name, a decision made after an ill-fated name change.

“We had been ‘Dance Spectrum’ for thirty years, but over the past four or five concerts, we’ve called it the ‘SHSU Dance Company in Concert’ which never really stuck,” Dana Nicolay, choreographer and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “So we went back, and we’re going to do ‘Dance Spectrum’ again.”

The dances were choreographed by faculty members Jennifer Pontius, Dana Nicolay, Jonathan Charles, visiting assistant professor Hilary Bryan and guest artist Joy Kellman. The performers are all student dance majors or theater/theater arts majors.

Jennifer Pontius’s piece is entitled “Ocean”, set to excerpts from “Variations de Phillipe Reverdy” by Phillipe Reverdy. She used oceanic imagery to choreograph the dance for the dancers.

Hilary Bryan’s piece is titled “killkillkill” set to music by Glen Valez, Wimme Saari, Zoe Keating and engineered by Pavmire Records. Her piece is about war and violence and how we deal with the implications.

“She approaches her choreography from a San Francisco point of view. It’s very urban and edgy. There’s a lot of really powerful imagery through the piece- powerful structure,” Nicolay said. “She’s dealing with the inner source of war, and how everybody in them has the capacity to anger. Even in wars we don’t fully buy into, we don’t buy out of them either.”

Dana Nicolay’s piece is titled “This Present Grace,” set to “String Quartet Number Five” by Philip Glass. The dance is a study of the different concepts and perceptions behind the idea of grace.

“I was trying to address a lot of different aspects of what grace might be: graceful movement, the chance not to be judged,” Nicolay said.

Jonathan Charles’s piece is titled “X” and set to music by Prince. It deals with the rise and dangers of HIV/AIDS.

“It’s very provocative, risqu. It’s entitled “X,” like the rating,” Nicolay said. “He does have a note in the program about HIV/AIDS and how a generally promiscuous culture has raised the risk.”

Joy Kellman’s piece is an original titled “Festina Lente (hurry slowly)” and features music by Arvo Part. It was finished during her guest residency in November of 2007.

Costumes were designed by Rebecca Cobo, and lighting by Eric Marsh, Craig Brossman and Tyler Frazier.

The performances are a culmination of the semester’s work for student dancers.

“The ultimate product of a dance training is to do a performance. It’s not just to show what we’ve done but to show the level of achievement in the dancers in the program, and it’s a standard component of our education,” Nicolay said. “They get a chance to see a work through from the very beginnings-with just words-to being on stage with full lighting, full costumes, full sound and support.”

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