LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Department of Theatre & Dance will stage the University Dance Company’s repertory concert this week, featuring original works by KU faculty members Ashley Brittingham, Tristian Griffin and Maya Tillman-Rayton, as well as alumna Ashley Ebner. Ballet, modern/contemporary and hip-hop works will explore the fascinating, fun and complex ways that bodies and texts align, collide and work together under the concert’s theme, "Bodies of Text."
The production opens at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19, with additional showings at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21. Tickets are available at dance.ku.edu, by calling 785-864-3982 or in person at the box office in Murphy Hall. Masks will be required for attendees, per KU’s guidelines. The UDC Fall Concert will be released digitally on demand Dec. 13-31.
“We’re thrilled to have the University Dance Company performing in person again,” said Henry Bial, chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance, “especially when we have the opportunity to share new works by these four outstanding choreographers.”
Ashley Brittingham, lecturer in dance, will present "Summer," a contemporary ballet in three sections featuring partnering and ensemble work en pointe and inspired by Antonio Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" violin concertos and poems.
The newest faculty member in the department, Tristian Griffin, assistant professor of the practice, presents "within a day," a conceptualized work illustrating how we go about the day in stages in modern/contemporary style. The full-length piece exposes normality and the desire to be normal by oppressing individuality.
Maya Tillman-Rayton, lecturer in dance, presents "Irons in the Fire," an up-tempo, ensemble-based hip-hop work about trying to maintain a normal pace in life and starting fresh when keeping pace isn’t attainable.
Ashley Ebner, a guest choreographer and recent alumna of the department, presents "L’amour et la Mort," an original modern/contemporary piece exploring the relationship between love and despair and incorporating the poem "Love Letters or Suicide Notes" by Doc Luben.
The scenic and lighting designer for the UDC Fall Concert is Dennis Christilles, associate professor of theatre, and the costume designer for the concert is Jamie Urban, costume shop manager.
Cast members for the UDC Fall Concert are Ray Alaniz, a senior from Overland Park; McKenna Bizal, a first-year student from Overland Park; Claire Buss, a senior from Salt Lake City, Utah; Ashleigh Contos, a junior from Castle Rock, Colorado; Gabrielle Corporal, a senior from Bowie, Maryland; Johnny Dinh Phan, a junior from Overland Park; Sydney Ebner, a sophomore from Shawnee; Maya Gold, a senior from Vernon Hills, Illinois; Anna Hastings, a junior from Olathe; Alex Hunt, a sophomore from Farmington, Minnesota; Gabriella Isabel, a junior from Lenexa; Olivia Johnson, a junior from Des Moines, Iowa; Aubree Johnston, a sophomore from Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Grace Josin, a senior from Medina, Minnesota; Hannah Kempskie, a senior from Holden, Massachusetts; Alyssa Kendrick, a senior from St. Louis; Claire Kirchner, a senior from Fayetteville, Arkansas; Mary Kozar, a first-year student from Orono, Minnesota; Rachel Kricsfeld, a first-year student from Omaha, Nebraska; Cullen Krishna, a first-year student from Bellevue, Nebraska; Lucie Lane, a first-year student from Overland Park; Annalee Larsen, a senior from Papillion, Nebraska; Grace Lepper, a senior from St. Louis; Madison Meade, a senior from Auburn, Nebraska; Mira Pawlewicz, a senior from Overland Park; Olivia Pennell, a junior from Springfield, Illinois; Ashley Plowman, a first-year student from Minneapolis, Minnesota; Hayley Robinson, a sophomore from Overland Park; Anna Shelton, a first-year student from Hesston; Annie St. John, a senior from Waukee, Iowa; Cicely Stevenson, a senior from Nauvoo, Illinois; Rory Sweedler, a sophomore from Louisville, Colorado; Olivia Taylor, a junior from Lenexa; and Annie Tripp, a junior from Kansas City, Missouri. Many of these cast members will perform in multiple works.
The University Dance Company’s Fall 2021 Concert is supported in part by KU Student Senate. The University Dance Company is a production wing of KU’s Department of Theatre & Dance. For more information about the University Dance Company, visit dance.ku.edu.
The Department of Theatre & Dance is one of three departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies. For more information on the Department of Theatre & Dance, visit theatredance.ku.edu.
Photos: Rehearsal of "L’amour et la Mort." Credit: Cassie Schmidt.