The Purchase Dance Corps Spring Concert 2008 presents the world premiere of Expulsion from Paradise by acclaimed choreographer Kevin Wynn, with a Neil Alexander arrangement of music composed by Tania León, April 25-May 4 at the Purchase College Performing Arts Center.
“This non-linear ensemble work for 24 dancers emanates from a strong African-American sensibility, incorporating dynamic rhythm and energy changes, improvisational moorings and polyrhythmic intricacies; it also operates from a more formalist, pure dance compositional aesthetic,” explains Wynn. “Much of its dynamism and energy is born from the fusing of these two traditions.”
The Purchase Dance Corps Spring Concert 2008 is part of Purchase College’s yearlong campus-wide initiative, Africa and the African Diaspora: Traditions, Revolutions and Innovations and features a range of work by prominent African-American choreographers, from the historically-based thematic work of Dianne McIntyre, to an exploration of current issues such as AIDS and loss in a piece by Bill T. Jones, to Wynn’s new abstract work. The Dance Corps will also perform George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments.
Performances are April 25, 26, May 2 and 3 at 8 PM and April 27 and May 4 at 3 PM. Tickets are $20, $18 seniors, and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 914-251-6200 or visiting www.artscenter.org.
Purchase College, State University of New York, is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.
D-Man in the Waters Section I, choreographed by Bill T. Jones to music by Felix Mendelssohn, is a signature piece for Jones’ company. Catherine Cabeen, a former soloist with Bill T. Jones, has staged the piece for the Purchase Dance Corps, which features four men and four women. This was the first Bill T. Jones choreography performed by the Dance Corps, and is the second time they are performing it in concert. The Purchase Dance Corps is the first dance organization to receive licensing to perform the work outside the company.
George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments is one of his earliest experimental works, fusing classical steps with a lean and angular style. Set to music by Paul Hindemith, the ballet is inspired by the medieval belief that human beings are made up of four different humors (black bile, blood, phlegm, bile) that determine a person’s temperament. When one humor becomes predominant, it determines a person’s temperament. The piece, in four movements, explores these humors.
The Purchase Dance Corps will also perform excerpts from Dianne McIntyre’s Lyric Fire, a dramatic piece set to poetry by Paul Laurence Dunbar with music by several African-American composers including Scott Joplin, William Grant Still, R. Nathaniel Dett, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the Kentucky Colonels, Rick Good and Kevin Anderson.
Kevin Wynn is the Artistic Director of the Kevin Wynn Collection and an associate professor of Dance at Purchase College. He received his early training at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. and continued his studies at Cal Arts and Purchase College. He performed as a soloist with the José Limón Dance Company and Dianne McIntyre’s Sound in Motion Dance Company, among others. His choreography has been performed internationally in Hong Kong, Taipei, Holland, Rome, Milan and Tel Aviv, as well as in New York City. He has received commissions from international dance companies as well as UCLA, Labco Dance Company, New York University, Edgeworks Dance Theater, 2nd Avenue Dance Company, Taos Dance Festival, Houston Met and the North Carolina School of the Arts. Wynn is also on the faculty of the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University BFA program.
Bill T. Jones choreographed and performed worldwide as a soloist and duet company with his late partner, Arnie Zane, before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982. Creating more than 100 works for his own company, Mr. Jones has also choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Axis Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet and the Berlin Opera Ballet, among others.
Dianne McIntyre received the 2006 Bessie Award “… for daring to explore new areas of expression by fusing dance, live music and words; and then to inspire the creative voices of generations of choreographers and dancers.” She is the recipient of three New York Dance and Performance Awards (the Bessie), as well as two AUDELCOs from New York Black Theatre, and one Helen Hayes Award. With her dance company, Sounds in Motion (1972-1988), she collaborated with numerous jazz masters and the company performed in all major dance venues. Her choreography has been seen on dance companies, including Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as in 40 plays.
George Balanchine is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States from Russia in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein, whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. The School of American Ballet, founded in 1934, was the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, the New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983. A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet.
The Purchase Dance Corps is the performing company of the School of the Arts, Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Dean Carol Shiffman. The company presents a diversity of work ranging from reconstructions to contemporary modern and classical ballet repertory to new works created especially for the Purchase Dance Corps. The company performs a winter and spring concert and participates in festivals in the United States and abroad.