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World premiere, noted artists, local gems featured at IU dance concert

EDITORS: For video selects involving the dancers and choreographers, please contact Chris Meyer at 812-855-0083 or chmeyer [at] indiana [dot] edu (chmeyer@indiana.edu) .

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 6, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind -- The focus is on "community" as modern dance majors at Indiana University perform two guest artist pieces as well as original faculty creations during the IU Contemporary Dance Program's annual guest artist and faculty concert.

Dancers (Group still)
The Indiana University Dance Theatre rehearses "Wind Studies," a world premiere by Martha Wittman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.
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Performances include works choreographed by internationally known choreographer Bill Evans and Martha Wittman, member of the dynamic and provacative Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Both artists worked with IU dancers in recent months as visiting artists.

The concert, "The Community of Dance," will be held on Jan. 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m., in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre at IU Bloomington. There will be pre-concert talks on both nights at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. A public reception will follow Friday evening's performance.

This year's concert will focus on multiple perspectives of dance as well as performances that serve to comment on society and encourage conversation among community members.

"This year, we wanted to explore the wing of modern dance that draws directly from real issues present in our society," said Elizabeth Shea, coordinator of the IU Contemporary Dance Program in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. "Dance is not just something for people to look at. Dance, like all good contemporary art, can be an emotional and intellectual outlet for individuals. We are exploring how art and, in particular, dance can enhance our community."

Dancers (couple)
IU dancers Justin Zuschlag and Kelly McCormick Bangs in rehearsal for Bill Evans' "Impressions of Willow Bay."
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Evans, also a dance educator and movement analyst, spent time with the contemporary dance majors last fall to restage Impressions of Willow Bay for this year's dance concert. Evans originally choreographed Impressions of Willow Bay in 1978 to music composed by David Sannella. The IU Jacobs School of Music String Academy will accompany the re-staged performance, which focuses on the dancers' shared appreciation of their natural surroundings, as well as their feelings of community.

Wittman, a member of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange since 1996, will be presenting the world premiere of a work she choreographed, Wind Studies. A follow-up to the multi-media dance Imprints on a Landscape: The Mining Project, Wittman's new piece will explore wind and solar energy, and features movement generated from the dancers and the choreographer in a collaborative effort.

The Dance Exchange features members from across the lifespan, young and old. Liz Lerman, founder, is a leader in a new wave of contemporary dance that believes dance can impact and change society. Wind Studies is the culmination of a three-week residency with the Dance Exchange earlier this past fall.

Lerman will continue to encourage conversation among the university and Bloomington communities with her company's Feb. 26 performance of Ferocious Beauty: Genome, a multimedia spectacle preceded by a succession of panel discussions and workshops concerning genetic engineering, evolution, energy and art.

The faculty portion of this month's concert begins with Shea who will present a group work as well as a solo performance with original composition by Jeffrey Hass from the IU Jacobs School of Music.

Gwen Hamm and Selene Carter, both from the Department of Kinesiology in the school of HPER, will be presenting group works. George Pinney from the Department of Theatre and Drama and Iris Rosa from the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies will also present original works.

On Jan. 16, the pre-concert panel will feature Bill Evans, Selene Carter, Emily Bogard and Teresa McCullogh speaking about Impressions of Willow Bay, Bill Evans and his influence on modern dance.

On Jan. 17, the pre-concert talk will feature Liz Lerman Dance Exchange artists, including Wittman and Benjamin Wegman. They will discuss the performance, the company and the unique choreographic process they use. Anthropology Professor Anya Royce will also contribute with a discussion about the interdisciplinary symposia and workshops that will precede the Dance Exchange's performance of Ferocious Beauty: Genome on Feb. 26 at the IU Auditorium.

Tickets for the Jan. 16-17 performances are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and children age 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the IU Auditorium Box Office or by calling 812-855-1103.

For more information, contact Shea at 812-855-7020 or eshea [at] indiana [dot] edu (eshea@indiana.edu) . For more information about Ferocious Beauty: Genome at IU Auditorium, visit http://www.iuauditorium.com/new0809/lizlerman/lizlerman.html.