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University Dance Company Fall Concert Is Nov. 15 and 16, Features Choreography by Mariana Oliveira

Monday, November 12, 2018

LAWRENCE — The University Dance Company Fall 2018 Concert will feature choreography by a guest artist who has created works for the Joffrey Ballet, Richmond Ballet, New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, American Midwest Ballet and the Kansas City Ballet, among others. 

Originally from Brazil and now living in Chicago, Mariana Oliveira studied at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and was a trainee dancer at the National Dance Company of Wales. At the age of 19 she was invited to perform with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. Now she works solely as a professional choreographer. In 2009 she founded The Union Project Dance Company. Oliveira is a recipient of the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts Fellowship. Her works have also been presented at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and for two consecutive years she has been a finalist of the McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival. 

Oliveira came to Lawrence in September 2018 for an intensive residency made possible by the John M. and Francis R.B. Peterson Guest Artist Fund. Her piece titled “Fearing the Unknown” explore the fears and anxieties that people develop along their lives. 

The program will also highlight choreography by the following KU instructors: Michelle Heffner Hayes, Jerel Hilding, Patrick Suzeau, James Moreno and Willie Lenoir. 

“Expect music that is dramatic and a little dark. From Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with a Vampire’ to Michel Fokine’s ‘The Dying Swan,’ the University Dance Company’s fall performance embraces the concept of adaptation, often used in theatre. We’re celebrating the merger of the departments of Theatre and Dance, and the public can expect to see more collaboration with the theatre,” said Heffner Hayes, who is also chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance. “This fall performance showcases a diverse group of students who have been working hard all semester, and we hope the community comes out to witness their amazing work.”

Heffner Hayes’ choreographic work, titled “Vini Pi Pre/Come Closer,” is a response to the images and themes of “The Ties that Bind: Haiti, the United States and the Art of Ulrick Jean-Pierre in Comparative Perspective” exhibition at the Spencer Museum of Art. It features costumes that are the colors of the Haitian flag and relies on African diaspora dance traditions to tell the story of “resilience and a capacity for joy beyond hardship,” she said. 

Hilding’s work presents a fusion of ballet, jazz and tango movements based on the Theatre des Vampires scene from “Interview with a Vampire.” Expect some gender-bending in his work. 

Suzeau reinterprets Fokine’s ballet classic “The Dying Swan,” adapted from a Lord Alfred Tennyson poem, as a commentary on pollution and environmental concerns. 

Moreno presents a very personal work called “The Pocho Project,” which brings together choreography, autoenthographic texts, spoken word from a theatre doctoral student, live percussion and video created by students in the Department of Film & Media Studies. It’s a work-in-progress slated for later productions in Chicago and New York. 

Lenoir presents “Death and the Maidens,” a revisualization of the German Renaissance motif of “Death and the Maiden.” 

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Lied Center box office and for the first time at the University Theatre box office in Murphy Hall. Ticket prices are as follows: Adults, $15 at the door and $11 in advance; seniors (62 and older) and KU faculty/staff, $10 at the door and $8.50 in advance; KU students and children, $8.50 at the door and $5 in advance. Customer service and processing fees may apply. You can purchase tickets online at dance.ku.edu/udc-fall-concert-2018. Please call 785-843-2787 for more information. 

The University Dance Company’s Fall Concert is supported by KU Student Senate. 

The University Dance Company is a production wing of the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Kansas. 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 University Dance Company, visit dance.ku.edu.

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