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Dance concerts will feature Israeli choreographer’s work

Friday, November 08, 2013

LAWRENCE — The University Dance Company fall concerts Nov. 21-22 will honor the legacy of a founding faculty member of the University of Kansas Department of Dance.

The Janet Hamburg Visiting Artist Series supports residencies by visiting artists at KU each semester. The late professor Janet Hamburg worked tirelessly to establish and grow the Department of Dance at KU for more than 30 years.

This fall, the visiting artist whose work will be featured is Israeli dancer Talia Beck. Beck is principal dancer and rehearsal director for Israeli contemporary dance company Inbal Pinto/Avshalom Pollak. Her own choreography has been performed around the world, and in 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Ministry of Culture Award for Young Choreographer.

“We have long featured guest artists as important teachers, mentors and professional connections for our students for many years. However, now we have the modest means to continue that practice as a regular habit with private funds,” said Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair of the Department of Dance. “The stability of this funding has allowed us to attract other funding opportunities to bring the best of what the world has to offer to our students.”

Beck has been in residence at KU for the fall semester, teaching, rehearsing and sharing a global view of the world of contemporary dance with students. Residencies in the department have typically lasted only a few weeks; however, through support from the Hamburg series and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the visit could be extended. The foundation supported 10 Israeli artists to conduct residencies in the United States this year. Each host institution pays a portion of the funds to support the residency, but the bulk of the expenses are absorbed by the foundation.

Beck has set sections of a 2004 work, “What Good Would the Moon Be,” on members of the University Dance Company. Merav Yudilevich of YNET calls it “a gorgeous work, a heartwarming sunbeam on a cold, rainy winter day that never ceases to surprise from lifting to lowering the curtain.” The work has been performed internationally, across Europe, Asia and South America.

The University Dance Company is a student dance organization supported by the Student Senate, the Department of Dance and the School of the Arts. The UDC produces high-quality performances of ballet, jazz, modern and world dance forms at the Lied Center every semester.

The University Dance Company concert will also feature works by faculty choreographers.

  • Jerel Hilding has created a new pointe work, "Kaprysy," to music by Tchaikovsky.
  • Dance faculty member James Moreno and visual arts faculty member Ben Rosenthal have collaborated to create an interactive multimedia work called “Human/Next.”
  • Patrick Suzeau will perform a classical East Indian dance solo, and has created “Breath,” a group work that explores kinesthetic architecture to gamelan orchestra music.
  • Muriel Cohan has choreographed “Emergence,” a trio exploring the mystery of life forms unfolding. It is set to contemporary percussion music from Brazil.
  • Willie Lenoir’s “Folias y Follias” contrasts themes from two Renaissance-era compositions using contemporary dance.

The University Dance Company Fall Concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21-22, at the Lied Center of Kansas.

Tickets are on sale at the Lied Center and Murphy Hall box offices: $14 public, $10 students, seniors (62 and older) and KU faculty and staff, $8.50 children. Or, buy tickets early and save. Discounted prices for tickets purchased before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20: $10 public, $8.50 students, seniors (62 and older) and KU faculty and staff, $8.50 children. There is an added $1 per ticket customer service fee and $5 per order mailing and processing on internet and mail orders. Call 785-864-2787 for more information.

The Department of Dance is one of four departments in the KU School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.