VCU Dance NOW: Feb 16-18, 2017

VCU Dance is pleased to present VCU Dance NOW, a concert of new work by faculty and guest artist Liz Lerman, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, February 16, 17 & 18 at 8:00 pm and Saturday, February 18 at 2:00 pm at The Grace Street Theater, 934 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA. Tickets are $20/$15 students with valid I.D. Group discounts available. Visit Showclix.com or call 804-828-2020 for reservations.

This year, VCU Dance NOW features guest artist Liz Lerman’s iconic work, Still Crossing, along with new works by VCU Dance faculty members Martha Curtis, Robbie Kinter, Scott Putman, Melanie Richards, Eric Rivera, and Autumn Proctor Waddell, all performed by VCU Dance majors. Faculty works are inspired by themes of community and union as well as visual art and original music.

VCU Dance is delighted to share Liz Lerman’s iconic 1986 work, Still Crossing, which has been set on VCU Dance majors and Richmond community members this academic year by Dance Exchange Executive Director Cassie Meador in collaboration with a team from Dance Exchange and Lerman herself. Originally created to address issues of immigration during the centennial year of the Statue of Liberty, this performance of Still Crossing has been grounded in Richmond’s history as a center of the slave trade and a pivotal site in the Civil War, through partnerships between VCU, Dance Exchange, and community organizations such as the American Civil War Museum, Hope in the Cities, the Better Housing Coalition, and Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion. Dance Exchange worked with VCU Dance and partners over three visits during fall 2016 which encompassed rehearsals, community workshops with seniors at Better Housing Coalition’s Randolph Place, a showing and discussion of the film Traces of the Trade; visits to the American Civil War Museum and vault, and a Richmond Slave Trail Walk. The spring residency period encompasses further community workshops and rehearsals, as well as technical rehearsals and the opening of the piece, with its multigenerational cast, in VCU Dance NOW on February 16.

VCU Dance faculty works included on the program represent a range of research interests and engaging explorations. Martha Curtis’s A Walk in the Park, is a whimsical and perilous escapade revealing a power struggle within a disparate community of people and animals. Featuring nine VCU Dance Majors, with costumes by Damion Bond, this work takes place in the course of a day (or a century) as it translates familiar patterns into a mythical saga.

Robbie Kinter‘s new work embodies a group process where everyone is involved in the decision making and the final outcome. Through this hive mind model, the final product yields more than the sum of the individual dancers. The dancers were not tied to a musical score when creating the piece, and Kinter created the music after the dance was completed.

Scott Putman‘s Echoes of the Round explores the question of what it means to be a woman. Through the telling of individual stories to cultural and social observations, the work investigates the power of the female voice in an otherwise dismissive, male-dominated world. The work challenges nine female dancers encouraging them to find their strength and their voice while simultaneously empowering their rightful place and equality right here and right now.

Vanishing Point is an exciting new piece created by Melanie Richards in collaboration with Sterling Hundley. Inspired by a visually complex and compelling drawing by Hundley, the dance embodies the visual energy depicted in his world of lines in controlled chaos. Merging the two-dimensional with the three-dimensional, the stage will be filled with immersive projections as the dancers physically illustrate bodies in space with extreme gestures and lush, expansive motion. The unrelenting drive of David Lang’s music catapults the eight dancers against the boundaries of spacial planes and visual fields.

Eric Rivera‘s Llevame Donde Estés draws inspiration from the new original score created by Professor and Director of Jazz Studies Antonio Garcia from the VCU Music Department. This work investigates the complexity of relationships through partnering. In the music of this trio there are elements of Paso Doble, Cuban traditions like son and clave, rumba, and a hint of what a Tango would be in triple meter.

Autumn Proctor Waddell’s new work examines the myth of connectivity that social media and our plugged-in lifestyle offers, and how empty such “connectedness” can leave us feeling.

VCU Dance NOW is the sixth event in VCU Dance’s 36th season. The presenting program of VCU Dance is committed to building and engaging dance audiences in the University and Richmond communities while providing opportunities for artists to present and create work.

Recognized by professional dancers and choreographers as “a place where things are happening,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography offers a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere where students prepare for careers in dance.