writers on dancing

The DanceView Times, Washington, D.C. edition

Celebrating University Dance

National College Choreography Initiative
Millennium Stage, The Kennedy Center
Washington, DC
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

by Kathrine Sorley Walker
coyright © 2004 by Kathrine Sorley Walker
published June 8, 2004

Nothing quite like the National College Choreography Initiative's performances exists in the UK. Although the vocational dance schools there annually take the stage (usually in July), there is no central body to dispense grants to them; while the few organisations in our small territory who are empowered to give university degrees in dance do not stage public performances.

It was a new experience for me, therefore, to watch the opening event of the Initiative's Celebration of College and University Dance at Kennedy Center on June 1. I was immediately impressed to find that the contributions from colleges featured that evening were interestingly varied choreographically—José Límon, Merce Cunningham, Murray Louis and Bob Fosse. In each case it was good to see how enthusiastically and energetically the students tackled the diversified challenges. Also, they were all agreeably aware that choreography is a theatre art intended for display to an audience— and the Kennedy Center audience was large and appreciative.

For me, the high point of the programme was the Purchase College, SUNY, production of Cunningham's elegant and inventive Septet (1953) to Satie's Trois morceaux en forme de poire, mounted by Carol Teitelbaum and Larry Clark. Three couples handled it with rewarding control, sensitivity and musicality.

The Virginia Commonwealth University had been rehearsed by Clay Taliaferro in a suite from Limon's 1964 A Choreographic Offering, and the dancers were very happy with the free-flowing , rhythmic and often repetitive body and limb movements. The best section of Murray Louis' all-female Bach Suite, Ohio University' s choice, came in an engagingly lighthearted duet for two of the women.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln had only one brave man in the large and tremendously vigorous group that delivered three Bob Fosse arrangements for famous musicals, staged by Bill Hastings. These represented a special course in musical theatre choreography undertaken there this year. I may well be alone in finding little pleasure in seeing a flock of young women dressed in men's suits and handling boaters or bowlers, but praise is certainly due to the verve and commitment with which they put over old hard-hitting numbers from Sweet Charity, The Pajama Game and Dancin'.

Originally published:
Volume 1, Number 21
June 8, 2004

©2004 Kathrine Sorley Walker





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The Autumn DanceView is out:

New York City Ballet's Spring 2003 season reviewed by Gia Kourlas

An interview with the Kirov Ballet's Daria Pavlenko by Marc Haegeman

Reviews of San Francisco Ballet (by Rita Felciano) and Paris Opera Ballet (by Carol Pardo)

The ballet tradition at the Metropolitan Opera (by Elaine Machleder)

Reports from London (Jane Simpson) and the Bay Area (Rita Felciano).

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last updated on April 19, 2004