Wright State Dance Ensemble presents virtual spring concert

The Wright State University Dance Ensemble’s first Virtual Spring Dance Concert will begin streaming Friday, April 16.

Renowned guest choreographers Ray Mercer, Ashley Pabst and Gregory Robinson have created works along with the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures faculty. Mercer is in his 17th year as a dancer and fight captain in Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway with additional performance credits including projects with Garth Fagan, Aretha Franklin and Rod Stewart among others. Pabst, a regional and national choreographer, has created dynamic works for dancers across the country. Robinson, a choreographer and teacher, continues to be influential nationally as well as locally.

Organizers say the works were created through Zoom rehearsals, site-specific and studio filming, and three week-long residencies. Rehearsal excerpts from 2020 guest choreographer Christian Denice, a 2021 adjudicated senior work by KC Lyphout and the 2020 adjudicated senior work by Jacob Shade will also be showcased.

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Choreographic works include:

· “She/Her” – Premiere – choreographed by Ray Mercer. “I wanted to create a work that celebrates women. I was inspired by the strength, power, vulnerability and clarity that women possess. Ultimately when a woman walks into a space she brings more than her pronouns.”

· “Bloom” – Premiere – choreographed by Ashley Pabst. “This contemporary ballet illustrates how we as humans experience time’s passage through various perspectives. A moment in time where we face intense challenges together while also feeling so far apart. Our transformation is not always loud, but the journey is profound.”

· “The Golden Ratio” – Premiere – choreographed by Gregory Robinson. “The ‘golden ratio’ is a concept sometimes referred to as ‘the divine proportion.’ Its presence in the natural world shows us that there are far more curves and spirals in evidence than only straight lines. This elegant idea was the inspiration for this work.”

· “Ebb and Flow” – Premiere – choreographed by associate professor Gina Walther. “As in nature, the cycle of life ebbs and flows. This past year has been punctuated by huge shifts and loss of rhythmical patterns; things have fluctuated rapidly. This piece explores how we have all ebbed and flowed in our quest to stay connected as humans and communities.”

· “Visual Voices” – choreographed by professor Teressa Wylie McWilliams, Head of Dance. “A visual canvas of images reflecting the push and pull of life’s dynamics that balance between constraint and freedom, all set to the driving rhythms of Afro Celt Sound System.”

· “Pull” – choreographed by associate professor Gina Walther. “This modern dance work describes the building of tension in movement and in relationships and how we sometimes feel pulled apart. The dancers perform with dynamic intensity and realism to the gorgeous music of Ezio Bosso.”

Streaming will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 16 and continue through midnight on Tuesday, April 20. Tickets must be purchased by midnight on Sunday, April 18. Streaming admission is $10 (plus fees) and can be purchased at www.ShowTix4U.com or www.wright.edu/tdmp at the Box Office tab. For more information, call the Box Office at 937-775-2500 or visit www.wright.edu/tdmp/

UD ArtsLIVE presents harpist Bridget Kibbey & Friends

University of Dayton’s ArtsLIVE Spring Virtual Vanguard Series concludes Sunday, April 11 at 3 p.m. with a concert spotlighting harpist Bridget Kibbey.

Dubbed “…the Yo-Yo Ma of the harp” by Vogue magazine, Kibbey will appear in “Bach to Brazil,” a tribute to the many cultures that comprise today’s Nuevo Latino culture. She is classically trained but also well-versed in many musical traditions, specifically the rhythms of South America in this context.

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The concert will reportedly blend Bach’s Old World variations with folk musicians and later composers of such New World countries as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico. She’ll be joined by Colombian percussionist, composer and arranger Samuel Torres as well as French clarinetist Louis Arques, known for his admiration of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” will notably be among the spirited mix of selections.

Kibbey’s awards and recognitions include the Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Salon de Virtuosi SONY Recording Grant.

The concert, which is free, will be followed by a live Q&A session with the musicians. For more information, visit udayton.edu/artssciences/initiatives/artslive/events.

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.

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