University Dance Company Spring Concert
- Categories: Dance performance
- Event posted: Dec. 6, 2007
- Last updated: Feb. 19, 2009
- Friday, April 18, 2008, 7:30 p.m.
- Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, KU campus, Lawrence
- Cost: $7 - $10
- Age limit: All ages
The University Dance Company will continue the celebration of Murphy Hall's 50th anniversary and will pay tribute to dance legend Elizabeth Sherbon with performances on April 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center of Kansas. Featured in these performances will be the works of solo tap artist and choreographer Bill Evans and choreographer Karole Armitage, a Lawrence native.Guest tap soloist and choreographer Bill Evans, named by Dance Magazine as one of the top three tap dancers in America in 2004, will perform two tap solos. On Thursday, April 17, he'll perform a suite of classic rhythm tap dances, choreographed by four of the African American inventors of tap. On Friday, April 18, he'll dance a new work that displays his own unique fusion of lyrical and percussive dance set to three preludes by George Gershwin. He created "Celebration for Elizabeth" with music by Jazz Jamaica during a KU residency in February. He describes the piece for fourteen dancers as a "carnival," combining his fluid and expressive style of modern dance with rhythm tap dance.Karole Armitage, known worldwide for her signature fusion of pop and classical dancing, shares the guest choreographer spotlight. "Power Surge," by acclaimed choreographer Armitage, who grew up in Lawrence, was a favorite with audiences when it premiered at the Lied Center in 2001. KU graduates Deanna Doyle Hodges, now with the Kansas City Ballet, and Beau Hancock, a dancer, choreographer and teacher in New York City, will reprise their roles as the central couple, framed by a small chorus of women. To the rhythmically driving Mishima String Quartet of Philip Glass, the dancers perform Armitage's signature fusion of virtuoso ballet, modern and pop dance moves.Works by KU dance faculty members add other dimensions to the UDC spring program. Muriel Cohan and Patrick Suzeau witnessed the ecstatic celebration of the summer solstice in Lithuania. No one slept! Interspersed with ubiquitous pop music, ancient polyphonic chants could be heard. In their choreography for "Baltic Sketches," Cohan and Suzeau interweave the poetry and wild abandon of these chants with the cultural clashes and contradictions encountered worldwide. Fifteen dancers with featured soloist Suzeau evoke the solstice revelry.Jerel Hilding's ballet "Capriccio" takes its title and inspiration from Mendelssohn's "Capriccio Brillante," an elegant and energetic concerto for piano and orchestra. Stately pas de deux alternate with solo and ensemble divertissements, reflecting the lyrical, heroic and mercurial nature of the music. Elizabeth Sherbon introduced Willie Lenoir to dance when he was a student at KU. She remained a mentor, supporter and friend until her death in 2000. Lenoir's offering in her honor is "Harvest Home Summer," in which six dancers execute jazz and modern moves with a hint of country dance footwork to turn a lazy summer evening into a festive bluegrass-influenced roustabout.Governor Sebelius and Mayor Michael Dever will proclaim April 14-20 Elizabeth Sherbon Week in Kansas and in Lawrence in tribute to the vibrant spirit and enduring legacy of Elizabeth Sherbon, who was a former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company and a KU professor of dance.The University Dance Company Spring Concerts will take place at the Lied Center on Thursday and Friday, April 17 and 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 public, $7 students and senior adults. Call 864-ARTS (2787) for tickets.