Webster University Dance Ensemble Performs in Loretto-Hilton Center- 4/12/13

The 2013 Webster University Dance Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Beckah Reed, presents a concert exploring relationships and struggles, musicality and technology.  There are seven works in the production, including ballet, aerial, visual art and contemporary dance. All are original works, some with original sound scores.

The Webster University Dance Ensemble performs on the Browning Mainstage of the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, on Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m. Admission is $12 for the general public and $6 for students and seniors. Contact the Fine Arts Hotline at 314-968-7128 for tickets or dance@webster.edu for more information.

This year's choreographers bring a strong global perspective to the Webster University Dance Ensemble Concert. Michael Uthoff was born in Chile, Monica Newsam in Panama, Maurya Kerr is living in San Francisco, Omar Olivas and Jennifer Huffman in Los Angeles, James Robey has spent over a decade on the East Coast and Beckah Reed has spent many years touring internationally. Their artistic voices culminate in a diverse perspective of life and art.

Assistant Professor James Robey has created “A Series of Singular Events” which explores—through movement, interactive digital media, and sculpture—the threshold between the organic and inorganic, the unified and fragmented, the biological and technological. Ultimately, “A Series of Singular Events” emerges in performance by inviting the audience to interact through digital media, making them a collaborator (or co-conspirator) as well.

Jennifer Huffman or “Huffy,” is an alumna from Webster University's Department of Dance. She has returned to campus to work with her finance and artistic partner, Omar Olivas, on their premier work, “Stand Still.” Using inspiration and aesthetics that Omar and Jennifer have gained from the dance companies they have performed with, the vision of hustle and bustle, stillness and blurs, with a touch of athleticism, bring this piece to its main focus.

Michael Uthoff, Executive Director of Dance St. Louis, and adjunct faculty at Webster's Department of Dance, choreographed “Reflections on the Water” and “in g major.” Both are works of uncomplicated beauty, choreographed to French composers, which gives a somewhat impressionistic feel to the pieces.

Muarya Kerr, the Artistic Director of tinypistols, spent an intensive week with the Webster Dancers creating “NOVA.” “I was investigating measurement, orbit, luminosity, directionality, grace, and our intrinsic homing device leading us back, again and again,” says Kerr. Her work has evolved with depth and intimacy, challenging the students' perceptions of qualities and time.

Monica Newsam has choreographed another aerial work, “Volver” (Return), for the Webster University Dance Ensemble. “While creating art, I enjoy using all dimensions of space, therefore I often work with aerial apparatuses that allow me to place the performer in other parts of the space, rather than only on the floor,” explains Newsam, who collaborated with Hungarian musician, Zoltan Lantos.

Beckah Reed has created another work in honor of Webster University's “Year of International Human Rights.” It is a group work with colorful tapestries designed by Sun Smith-Forte, and music composed and performed by Moira Smiley. Both Sun and Moira created these sounds and props for Sacred Ground, a work produced by GASH/VOIGT Dance Theatre over a decade ago. “Disappearing People” is inspired by Monte Reel's “The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon” and by the beautiful artistry of Sun and Moira.  

“Webster University Dance Ensemble 2013 is a diverse concert,” explains Reed. “Join us in a world mixed with classicism, contemporary movement, technology, visual art and once again be invited into the realm of aerial dance ­— all stretching our students to gain fresh perspectives, skills and artistry. We hope to entertain, to encourage growth, exposure and knowledge of the art form — dance. We hope to tease the senses, to explore the subconscious, open opportunities for questioning the known, and offer a reflection of humanity.”