Saturday, March 19, 2011

Danstage 2011 Press Release

For Immediate Release: 3/18/2011

The UWSP Department of Theatre & Dance announces Danstage 2011, an evening of dynamic concert dance featuring guest artist, Eddy Ocampo’s acclaimed work, Wipe, and original choreography by UWSP’s Dance faculty.
Danstage 2011 opens in UWSP’s Noel Fine Arts Center Studio Theatre on Friday, April 8th at 7:30 pm. Additional performances area at 7:30 on April 9th, 13th, 14th 15th and 16th with a 2:00 matinee on Sunday, April 10th.
Tickets are $17 for adults, $16 for senior citizens and $12 for youth. UWSP students with a valid ID may purchase advance tickets for $4.50 per show or, be admitted free the day of the show, if seats are still available. Tickets may be purchased at the University Information and Ticket counter in the concourse of the Dreyfus University Center, by calling (715) 346-4100 or (800) 838-3378, or online at www.uwsp.edu/centers/uit/ordering.asp. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.
For more detail and commentary on the show visit the Danstage 2011 Blog: uwspdanstage.blogspot.com.

Chicago guest choreographer Eddy Ocampo worked with UWSP Theatre & Dance students twice this semester – in January to audition his cast and again during February to restage his 2007 compelling, Wipe. A Chicago native, Ocampo has danced with the Joel Hall Dancers, River North Chicago Dance Company and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago in addition to enjoying an international career as a master teacher and award-winning choreographer. Ocampo’s chorographic residency was funded in part by the COFAC Great Artists Great Speakers Series.
The choreographic structure of Wipe is based on a stage wipe that occurs throughout the piece. The dancers travel in a line from stage right to stage left and vice versa. The initial idea came with the intent that something new would happen every time a stage wipe occurs. Eventually, the stage wipe took on a role as a governing entity and controlled the dancers throughout the piece. The costumes are wedding dresses - beautiful, yet confining and restricting. The story that developed is based on the premise that although something can be beautiful, as the wedding dresses are, it still can be restricting and inhibiting. The full-bodied choreography is challenging enough without wearing the dresses; performed in the dresses, the dancers struggle to exist within these beautiful confines. At the end one dancer breaks free from the struggle, while the rest are still controlled by the wipe.
In Joan Karlen’s contemporary ballet, Trace, dancers move fluidly through projected tree scenes as their paths are echoed by patterns of appearing and dissolving text. Karlen’s inspiration for the work began last summer while bicycling through the verdant forests of Stevens Point’s Green Circle Trail. After, while participating in The Banff New Media Institute’s Interactive Screens summit, she met Canadian software author Travis Kirton and was introduced to Text Draw and Type Is, software programs that allow text to flow from a pen tip as one draws.
In Trace, projected text paths echo the dancers’ movements. The set is enriched by Wisconsin artist Rafael Francisco Salas’ landscape paintings. Salas, whose work has been cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as “one of the best painters working in Wisconsin today,” creates images that evoke a sense of memory and dreams. The resulting themes of generation and illumination are supported by Gary Olsen’s light and Susan Sherwin’s costume design. TJ Searl designed props and is technical coordinator.
Choreographed by Michael Estanich, A Classical Dance I is an ebullient dance inspired by choreographer Paul Taylor’s iconic work Esplanade. The cast of 14 run, skip, dive, fall and leap through the air. Set to Franz Hoffmeister’s Allegro from Violin Concerto in D Major, the dance summons a giddy freedom expressed through a contemporary movement vocabulary and delightful musical interplays.
Michael Estanich’s new dance-theatre work, The Attic Room, examines modes of escapism, and can be considered a fantasy. The set design evokes the private atmosphere of an attic and establishes the main metaphor of confinement and escape. Through a series of vignettes the group of nine dancers navigate uncharted waters of the imagination, transforming themselves into otherworldly creatures. Brenda DeWaters designed the surrealist owl masks and vintage-inspired costumes.
Suite For Buster brings together nine dancers and three musicians in a swinging celebration of tap dance legend James “Buster” Brown. Having studied and performed with Brown, Jeannie Hill passes down Brown’s original choreography to UWSP students and develops a suite of dances to honor her late mentor. Hill commissioned Mathew Buchman, UWSP professor and director of jazz studies, to arrange a medley of some of Brown’s favorite tunes. Following an opening double-time tap routine, a high-spirited second line parade launches the dancers into joyous swing. An exchange of rhythmic wit erupts. Dancers and musicians banter in true jazz tradition. From goofball antics to poetic reverie, the message is universal: Take time to honor the cool “old people” you know.

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