Press Releases

PURCHASE DANCE CORPS SPRING CONCERT: MODERN DANCE WORLD PREMIERE AND THE FAMOUS RUSSIAN BALLET "LES NOCES," APRIL 21-30, 2006

Date Released: 3/22/2006

The Purchase Dance Corps Spring Concert will be presented April 21-30 at The Performing Arts Center Purchase College. Carol K. Walker, artistic director for the Purchase Dance Corps, has created an ambitious program for her final Spring Concert as Dean of the Conservatory of Dance, ranging from a cutting edge world premiere of modern dance to a reconstruction of the famous Russian ballet Les Noces.  The internationally renowned Purchase Dance Corps is part of the School of the Arts, Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 914-251-6200.

For ticket holders, on Saturday, April 22, Ms. Walker will host a Prelude Lecture with some of the artists at 7 PM in the upper lobby of The Performing Arts Center.

Purchase College, State University of New York, is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY.

Performances are April 21, 22, 28 & 29 at 8 PM, and April 23 & 30 at 3 PM.

This is a rare opportunity to see Bronislava Nijinska’s 1923 classic ballet Les Noces, based on a Russian wedding.  The Purchase Dance Corps first performed the work in 1983 and is the only student company to ever perform the work.  At that time, Howard Sayette and Irina Raetz, daughter of the choreographer, staged it for the Purchase Dance Corps.  The ballet was a huge success and was repeated in 1984, staged by Conservatory of Dance ballet faculty member Gayle Young.

Mr. Sayette has returned to Purchase to once again restage this dance with its driving, stirring score by Igor Stravinsky.  He works with the music score, detailed notes, video, film, and his past experiences. He has restaged this work for ten dance companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, Oakland Ballet and the Kirov Ballet in Russia. “In all the productions I do, I try to give the feeling for the work that Irina gave me,” he said.  Richard Cook and Rosanna Seravalli of the Conservatory of Dance faculty have assisted Mr. Sayette. Natalie Raetz, Bronislava Nijinska’s granddaughter, will attend the opening night performance.  

Valentine, the humorous and contentious battle of the sexes choreographed by Gerald Arpino of the Joffrey Ballet, is back by popular demand.  Christian Holder, who originally performed the man’s role, is assisting with the restaging of this ballet. During his 13 years as a leading dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, he worked with choreographers Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Kurt Jooss and Leonide Massine. He has choreographed and designed costumes for the Joffrey Ballet, Washington Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, among others.

Alvin Brehm, former Dean of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, who originally performed with Mr. Holder, will once again take the stage in Valentine, playing his solo bass in the integral role of Referee. The Purchase Dance Corps will dedicate this piece to Mr. Holder’s partner in the original work, Rebecca Wright, who passed away this winter.  Ted Kivitt, former principal dancer with ABT, is the Conservatory of Dance faculty rehearsal assistant.

In Mark Morris’s Gloria, set to the music of Antonio Vivaldi, the Purchase Dance Corps will be joined by the Purchase Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Jesse Levine.  The Purchase Dance Corps is the first group outside of the Mark Morris Dance Group to perform his extraordinary work. The Purchase Dance Corps has spent the year working on this piece with Mark Morris Dance Group alumni including Joe Bowie, Tina Fehlandt and Megan Williams, a former member of the Mark Morris Dance Group and currently a member of the Conservatory of Dance faculty.

The Conservatory of Dance is the recipient of a 2005-2006 National College Choreography Initiative grant award, and partial funding for the restaging of Gloria is provided by the NCCI, a Leadership Initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, administered by Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. In addition to these performances, the Purchase Dance Corps will perform an excerpt of Gloria as part of the Sharing the Legacy 2006 national conference on April 7.  The Dance Corps is one of 18 United States college dance companies invited to perform significant 20th century dance works at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

A new work created for the Purchase Dance Corps by award-winning choreographer Lauri Stallings will receive its world premiere in the Spring Concert.  Stallings is a former soloist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago who began her career with the Cleveland San Jose Ballet and later danced with BalletMet. A choreographer who makes waves wherever her work is seen, she has received recent commissions from the Atlanta Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and American Repertory Ballet in Princeton. She is the recipient of the Ruth Page award from the Chicago Music and Dance Alliance for her first full-length piece Moody Hollow and a Cliff Award for her choreographic work.

David Grill, Emmy award-winning lighting designer and a member of the Theater of Arts & Film faculty, will create new lighting for Ms. Stallings’s piece and Larry Clark of the Conservatory of Dance faculty will serve as rehearsal director. 

As Dean of the Conservatory of Dance since 1984, Carol K. Walker has overseen a preeminent Conservatory program, which has launched numerous careers in dance.  Conservatory of Dance alumni are on stage at almost every concert in New York City, and perform on Broadway, in international companies, as free-lance choreographers, and have founded their own companies.  Of her program, the New York Times said, “For a number of years, the Conservatory of Dance at the College at Purchase has turned out more than its fair share of the most interesting and skillful professional dancers working in New York City.”

Ms. Walker has established student exchange programs with stellar professional training institutions in Australia, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London and Taipei.  The Purchase Dance Corps has been invited to and performed in France, Holland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Beijing and Germany, often as the sole representative of the United States.

She served on the New York State Council for the Arts as chair of the Dance Panel for three years, is a Board member of the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, is on the Professional Advisory Committee for the Dance Notation Bureau, is a member of the World Dance Alliance, Dance USA, National Association of Schools of Dance, and represents Purchase College at the Council of Dance Administrators.  In 2002 she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award in recognition of her contributions.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Barat College, and trained in Chicago with Phyllis Sabold and Eric Braun; in Colorado with Hanya Holm and Harriett Ann Grey; in New York with Alwin Nikolais and at the Graham Studio.  Prior to being named Dean, she ran the Theatre and Dance Program at Barat College in Illinois and founded, directed and taught at her own dance studio for 13 years.  Prior to that, she enjoyed a career as a modern dancer, teacher and performer in musical theatre and video.