Fredonia Dance Ensemble concert returns March 24, 25

The Department of Theatre and Dance presents “FDE 23” on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 as part of the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Tickets are available through the Fredonia Campus Ticket in the Williams Center, by phone of 716-673-3501 and online at fredonia.edu/tickets.

After a solid year of planning and preparation, the Fredonia Dance Ensemble is set to return to Marvel Theatre at the State University of New York at Fredonia for its annual concert.

“FDE 23” will be presented on Friday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 25 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. as part of the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series by the Department of Theatre and Dance. Tickets are available through the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone of 716-673-3501 and online at fredonia.edu/tickets.

“The overall process for the concert began about a year ago when we were determining which dance faculty wanted to choreograph, which guest choreographers would be in alignment with our program and curricular learning objective for students, and writing grants to for funding to bring in those guest choreographers,” FDE Director Paula J. Peters said. “Any production you see on the Marvel stage generally takes at least a year, if not more, of planning.”

Peters, an associate professor of Dance, noted this season’s performance dates are earlier, coming at the end of March instead of the first part of May.

“We had a much faster timeline to create and rehearse choreography, and have our cast list and production needs to the Technical Production and Design faculty, staff, and student team,” she said. “To give everyone a little more time to prepare, we did things a bit differently and had our audition for the concert at the end of fall semester in December 2022. The preliminary design process started at that time.”

The event features 22 bachelor of fine arts Dance majors performing and approximately 20 students serving as designers and on the technical production crew.

“In terms of choreography creation and rehearsal, we started rehearsals on the first day of spring semester classes – Jan. 23,” Peters said. “By the time all the performances are over, the choreographers and dancers will have collectively spent roughly 130 hours creating, rehearsing, and per-forming the choreographic content of the performance. The amount of time spent on the production by the design and technical production students is comparable.”

The concert will include four works. They are:

¯ “Futile Ground” by guest choreographer Sumi Clements. The piece will “investigate how individual challenges brought on by the pandemic reflect society’s broader economic and social realities. When the world stands still, personal progress feels like an exercise in futility. How do we make change when the power structures themselves are immovable?” Dichotomies of action and resignation, isolation and cooperation, and agency and conformity will be explored.

¯ “DIVIDED” by guest choreographer Dale A. Merrill. “DIVIDED” explores the concept of what divides us as humans while also showing our similarities. Arbitrary, random, often simple elements that form a person’s belief system make us dislike, even hate one another for no reason other than a person is slightly different from us. The dance is structured in a way that divides the stage into two halves, two sides that never cross. The two groups of women, four in each group, have suffered a loss, are struggling with their current situation, yet unable to come together to comfort one another because of some radon, arbitrary divide between them.

¯ “Rove” by guest choreographer Ryan McMullen. “Rove” explores dance as translocation: the abruptness, ambiguity, and curiosity that comes with the journey to destination in life and status.

¯ “Septennial” by Paula J. Peters. “Septennial” is described as an investigation into how we use ritual in our lives to find clarity, awareness, and renewal to help us continue moving forward in life with purpose and intention.

Peters believes the highlight of the event will be “watching the dancers perform from a place of empowered personal agency and professional integrity.”

“These values are the core emphasis of the BFA Dance program outcomes, and I am proud to see the dancers rising to these expectations as emerging professional dance artists and creators,” the director said.

Peters hopes audiences can find a connection with a topic in a dance that inspires them to reflect on their own engagement in the world as responsible, community-oriented, global citizens.

“I hope that the audience can see the outstanding, focused, and dedicated work that the dancers, choreographers, and design and production team bring to the stage, and understand how much effort and years of dedicated practice go into honing the skill sets necessary to create a production of this caliber,” she said. “I hope the audience can understand how every dancer dove into learning from each choreographer with an openness and determination to do hard things both physically and emotionally without complaint or fear.”

Guest choreography funding for “FDE 2023” is provided by the Fredonia College Foundation’s Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities.


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