Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT), the resident company at Vassar College, will perform in its 35th annual gala weekend at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Theater on Saturday, March 4th at 8:00pm, and Sunday, March 5th at 3:00pm. Tickets are available at http://www.bardavon.org/ or by calling 845-473-2072.
The shows will feature a variety of dance genres, including modern, ballet, and jazz. Among the works featured in the program will be nine student-choreographed pieces, faculty work, an extended excerpt from Swan Lake, and the world premiere of a modern dance choreographed by David Dorfman.
Dorfman, Chair of Dance at Connecticut College and director of his own dance company, continues the tradition of VRDT’s work with guest artists. The company will perform a new work Dorfman created for VRDT entitled Studies Have Shown…/Today. The dance is set to the music of Syrian pop sensation Omar Souleyman and singer/songwriter Elizabeth de Lise.
“David has incorporated a great deal of original material generated by the students and then arranged it in a highly collaborative and collegial process that was a privilege for all of us involved,” says John Meehan, Director of the VRDT and Professor of Dance.
Another major component of this year’s performance is the presentation of Act II from Swan Lake, staged by Meehan. “VRDT has never had so many accomplished ballet dancers in its ranks and I have relished this opportunity to stage the second act of Swan Lake, a ballet I have been involved with my entire career. Miriam Mahdaviani and I have enjoyed every moment in the studio working with the cast. This much-beloved work features 18 dancers and ballet fans I am sure will enjoy this excerpt from one of the world’s most cherished classical ballets.”
Faculty works include:
• “three short dances and a door…” is a suite of three vibrant dances created by VRDT Resident Choreographer and Chair of Dance, Steve Rooks. Set to music by Antonio Vivaldi, John Adams and Cliff Martinez, the work features Rooks’s dynamic and ultra-physical dance language, all three sections of which share the common theme of a door.
• Assistant Director of VRDT and faculty choreographer, Kathy Wildberger turns to nature for inspiration in creating her multi-layered, poetic dance entitled Wax Wing. Set to the final two movements of Ludwig Van Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 131, the work explores the struggle of flight.
• Blue Rondo is choreographed by Jazz instructor Abby Saxon and set to the music of Dave Brubeck. “This beguiling and at times sensual dance is simply all about the music,” Meehan enthuses, explaining the piece alternates between fun and sultry jazz improvisations deftly captured by Saxon’s exuberant choreography.
The student choreographers are: Kerri Anne Bell ’17, Carmen Kloer ’17, Julia Schmidt ’17, Turner Hitt ’18, Margaux Lieser ’18, Tiana Chung ’19, Saskia Globig ’19, Sydney Lee ’19 and Elise Shea ’19.
“The VRDT has been thrilled to bring its work to dance audiences from Poughkeepsie and the Hudson Valley region for the past three decades,” says Meehan. “These performances are a highlight of our year and an opportunity for local audiences to see a variety of dance genres in one show.”
Watch a trailer for this year's show here.
About the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre
The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, under the direction of Professor and Chair of Dance John Meehan, is the resident company of the Vassar College Department of Dance. Formed in 1980, VRDT has provided Vassar dance students with an opportunity to perform significant dance works of the classic ballet, jazz and modern repertoire, as well as original works by faculty, student, and distinguished visiting artists.
About the Vassar College Department of Dance
The Department of Dance offers a non-major, elective course of technique and performance study, as well as the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre resident company. The faculty consists of two full-time professors Stephen Rooks, and John Meehan, one full-time senior lecturer of dance and drama Katharine Wildberger, Visiting Assistant Professor Miriam Mahdaviani and three part-time instructors, Abby Saxon, Lara Ganz and Leslie Partridge Sachs. Along with resident lighting designer David Ferri, there are also two adjunct artists who serve as accompanists and who compose, direct, and sometimes perform with the VRDT.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.