Two world premieres are among the four innovative contemporary works to be featured at the Fall Dance Concert presented by SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.
Hermann Rorschach meets M.C. Escher in the program opener Handle, a world premiere by faculty member Christopher Dolder that’s an experimental collaboration of movement and media. Dolder explores how people perceive identity, dimension and matter by manipulating the physical properties that audiences often simply assume are present. Through the use of video projection, motion sensing, permeable walls, and costumes with actual handles sewn in, Dolder establishes an environment where subjects are objects, vertical becomes horizontal, and physical presence may very well be an illusion. A former Martha Graham Dance Company soloist, Dolder is an expert in dance kinesiology and is currently researching new forms of physical data capture in collaboration with the Meadows School’s Center of Creative Computation.
Two crowd-pleasing 2011 works by Visiting Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland, To the Fore and Cigarettes, follow. Originally premiered by the Cincinnati Ballet, To the Fore playfully explores the human struggle to “shed light on things” with the use of lights on long extension cords that become a choreographic element themselves. Set to John Adams’ The Chairman Dances, the work has been termed “audacious, edgy and deliciously romantic” by critics. Cigarettes, praised as a “whimsical and witty dance-theater piece,” showcases one female and three male dancers in a look at humans’ attempts to survive the repetition of past mistakes. Hougland, who is the principal choreographer for the Louisville Ballet and resident choreographer for the Cincinnati Ballet, has created works for numerous prestigious companies – including a world premiere for Juilliard that was featured on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. He has received multiple significant awards, and among other distinctions was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch” in 2011.
The program concludes with the premiere of Dancin’ Man, an homage to Bob Fosse created by New York-based choreographer/dancer Alex Sanchez, who appeared in the Broadway musical Fosse and was mentored during his career by Fosse’s two most influential muses, Ann Reinking and the late Gwen Verdon. The work blends choreography by Fosse with original choreography by Sanchez. A former member of Ballet Chicago and a veteran of numerous Broadway productions, including Wonderful Town and Carousel, Sanchez has choreographed productions for companies nationwide.