A variety of high-energy dance styles, including African dance, will be featured when the SUNY Fredonia Department of Theatre and Dance presents "The Fredonia Dance Ensemble in Concert" from March 23 to March 25 in Marvel Theatre at Rockefeller Arts Center on the SUNY Fredonia campus.
Evening performances are planned on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 25.
Directed by Helen Myers, director of dance at SUNY Fredonia, the concert brings together the work of seven choreographers, 30 student performers and a host of faculty and student designers and technicians.
Fredonia Dance Ensemble cast members perform works entitled “Bolero” and “Ground Nut” during a recent rehearsal. The ensemble will perform in concert on March 23, 24 and 25 in Marvel Theatre at Rockefeller Arts Center on the SUNY Fredonia campus.
"This year's concert features a variety of high-energy dance styles including African dance, flamenco-influenced ballet, theatrical dance and contemporary dance," Myers said.
The guest artists who have choreographed pieces for this year's concert are Jill Pribyl and Grace Flavia Ibanda, both of Uganda, and Tressa Gorman Crehan, of Buffalo.
Pribyl is a former Fulbright Scholar at Uganda's Makerere University where she is currently teaching dance in the Department of Performing Arts and Film. She has worked in the genre of Dance Theater for more than 15 years, performing throughout the United States, Canada, Africa and the United Kingdom.
Flavia Ibanda teaches dance at In-Movement/Art for Social Change, an organization that works with disadvantaged youth through the arts in Uganda. She is also pursuing her master of arts in dance at Makerere University. She has taught dance throughout Uganda and in the United States. She has worked with choreographers from the United Kingdom, Wales, Ethiopia, the United States and Russia.
Myers said Pribyl and Flavia Ibanda were in residence at SUNY Fredonia from Oct. 13 to 21.
"They taught a variety of master dance classes and re-staged two sections of an African dance-based Nutcracker," she said. "These two sections, entitled 'Ground Nut,' will be performed by 10 dancers in the Fredonia Dance Ensemble concert. 'Ground Nut' is a must-see fusion of African dance combined with the well-loved classic score by Tchaikovsky. It is a delight for the senses."
Gorman Crehan has been on the dance faculty at the University at Buffalo for more than 25 years. While at UB, she served as associate director of dance and head of the Dance Education and Creative Studies Program.
She has been awarded numerous grants for dance, performance technology and choreography. Her choreographic credits range from concert dance to theatrical productions to computer generated choreography and her guest teaching and choreography have taken her throughout the United States, Mexico and South America.
"Tressa Gorman Crehan's work 'and when I turned around (I was gone),' is a dreamy, lyrical piece for nine dancers," Myers said. "Dancers move in and out of pools of light, dancing to the beautiful music of Frederic Chopin."
In addition to the guest artists, the concert will feature pieces choreographed by Myers and fellow Theatre and Dance faculty members Sam Kenney, Paul Mockovak and Angelika Summerton.
"The Fredonia Dance Ensemble in Concert" is part of the Lake Shore Savings Season at Rockefeller Arts Center.
Tickets are available through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in modular complex in the Dods Hall parking lot across from the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 (1-866-441-4928) or online at fredonia.edu/tickets.