Dance Department students present “Les Muses” April 26-28

April 18, 2012

Dance students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will perform "Les Muses," a student concert featuring contemporary dance works by six emerging student choreographers and an original piece by New York artist in residence Pamela Pietro on April 26-28 at 8 p.m.

The works are explosive and experimental, with some developed through improvisation and others inspired by the foreign and the unfamiliar. The concerts will be held in the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall, 1050 University Ave.

Senior choreographer Janelle Bentley presents two works in "Les Muses," a solo entitled "Étude for Soliloquies, Op. 2, No. 5" which Bentley says is a synthesis of abstractions from both operatic performance gestures and quirks as well as early modern dance choreographers like Martha Graham and José Limón.

The piece is "characteristic of opera leaning toward the dramatic with a loose narrative following an aria from Gluck's 'Iphigénie en Tauride,'" says Bentley.

She developed her group piece, "relentless equanimity," through improvisation with her dancers, asking them to create phrases based on obscure prompts and poetry. "I wanted relinquish control over the piece's creation and challenge myself to look for spatial patterns and shape within chaos. The result is an archetypal and expressionist series of mini-vignettes," she says.

"SolidarNoc'," an avant-garde inspired dance by Shoshana Moyer, explores the self-destructive nature of the human condition through extreme physicality. Seven dancers bombard the audience with high-energy explosive gesture and distal movement. Moyer, a junior dance major says chaos is a prominent theme in her piece, "the concept of unraveling, both physically and emotionally."

Rebecca Kesting's "Inoculate" creates an internal system of order and disorder on stage. "Creating a dance is a daunting task," said Kesting, now a senior preparing for graduation. Throughout the process she reflected that "even though no specific end result was in sight" she committed herself to "listen to the dance."

Pietro, an assistant arts professor at New York University Tisch School for the Arts is setting an original piece on twelve student dancers for "Les Muses." Pietro, who is in residence with the Dance Department in April, has combined a successful career as a performer, choreographer and professor of dance.

She has performed with Houlihan & Dancers, Anthony Morgan Dance, Michael Foley Dance, RaceDance and bopi's black sheep/dances and Jennifer Nugent. Her choreography has been presented in New York by Dancespace Draftworks and Dance New Amsterdam, Dancespace in Miami, Booker School for the Arts in Sarasota, Florida, Fuzion Dance Artists in Sarasota, Florida, Momentum Danza Company/Panama, Inspirit Dance Company, Brooklyn, NY, among others.

Also on the program will be Elena Santiago's "Engla Falla," a musically driven, female journey from the foreign to the familiar through hymns and prayers, Melissa Holland's "Wanderlust," a piece that explores identity, as her dancers negotiate relationships with one another to find their niche, and Tori Iannuzzi's "Imagen Corporal" a look at the body/mind connection through movement aesthetics, contrasting the positive and the negative associated with body image.

Admission is $15 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office, 800 Langdon St.; by phone at 265-ARTS; and online here. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door at Lathrop Hall beginning one hour before each performance.