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Conservatory of Dance Spring Concert May 22–25 at New York Live Arts Theater

The Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY, will present a compelling program of world premieres and modern and contemporary masterpieces accompanied by live music.

Video by Daniel Madoff

Performances will take place at the New York Live Arts Theater, 219 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011, on Wednesday, May 22, at 7:30 pm, Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 pm, Friday, May 24 at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 pm.

To purchase tickets, visit the New York Live Arts website.

Esteemed Conservatory of Dance faculty member and former New York City Ballet dancer Bettijane Sills will create a virtuosic new pointe work set to a lively mix of classic pop, show tunes, and with accompaniment by pianist Colin Rose and Conservatory of Music students including vocalist Samara McLendon and drummer Martine Mauro-Wade.

Live music with a 2002 score by Jon Magnussen performed by the Purchase Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Singers conducted by David Recca will accompany an important restaging of José Limon’s modern masterpiece, Psalm (1967).

A brand new contemporary work created specifically for the Purchase Dance Company by celebrated Conservatory of Dance alum, Roderick George ’05 will round out the program. George’s professional credits include The Forsythe Company and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.

Entitled Unprotected Set, the powerful original work will explore race relations and the immigrant experience through a vocabulary that blends classical ballet, hip hop and breakdance, and modern/contemporary dance.

Nelly van Bommel, Director of the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, said, “These performance opportunities introduce dancers to many of the most sought after choreographers working today. Our students’ training and exposure to contemporary choreography uniquely prepares them for successful careers with a wide-range of companies.”

About the Choreographers

Ohad Naharin is one of the world’s preeminent contemporary choreographers and has been the recipient of several major awards. Born in 1952 in Kibbutz Mizra, Mr. Naharin danced with Batsheva Dance Company, The School of American Ballet, The Juilliard School, and Maurice Béjart’s Ballet du XXe Siècle in Brussels, among others. After living in New York from 1978-1990, he returned to Israel in 1990 after being appointed Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company, a position he held until stepping down in 2018. Mr. Naharin has choreographed works for companies such as Netherlands Dans Theatre, the Paris Opera and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens as well as choreographing over 30 works for Batsheva and Ensemble Batsheva. He also pioneered GAGA, the innovative movement research and daily training of the Batsheva dancers that has spread globally among both dancers and non-dancers.

Bettijane Sills has had an extensive theatrical career. She appeared on the Broadway stage and on television as a child actress, and was invited by George Balanchine in 1961 to join the New York City Ballet. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1964, dancing principal roles in many works, including Western Symphony, Divertimento #15, and The Nutcracker. She also received critical acclaim as the Wife in Jerome Robbins’ 1972 revival of The Concert.

She has served on the Conservatory of Dance faculty at Purchase College since 1979. She is responsible for staging Balanchine repertory and has choreographed numerous works for the Purchase Dance Corps and for several companies throughout the United States and internationally. Ms. Sills has just released a memoir describing her journey from child actor into the world of professional ballet and finally into academia.

Born in Mexico, José Limón (1908-1972) was one of twentieth century America’s most important modern dance choreographers. At the age of 20, he moved to New York City where he studied Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, and soon joined their company. In 1946, he founded his own company. Limón has choreographed over seventy-five works, including The Traitor, The Exiles, The Unsung, Chaconne, Emperor Jones, Carlota, and Dances for Isadora.

Roderick George studied dance at Ben Stevenson’s Houston Ballet Academy, The Alvin Ailey School, Miami City Ballet, LINES Professional Program, and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. Before starting his professional career, he was a bronze winner of the Youth American Grand Prix in New York City in 2005 and was elected as a Presidential Scholar under the YoungArts Foundation in 2003. Roderick joined Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in 2005 then moved abroad to work with Basel Ballet/Theater Basel in 2007 and later to guest with the Goteborg Operan DansKompani. Roderick joined The Forsythe Company in Frankfurt. His career has embraced the collaborations of his work and other great choreographers such as Peeping Tom, Jorma Elo, Jerome Bel, Jacopo Godani, William Forsythe, Johan Inger, Jiří Kylian, Sharon Eyal, Ohan Naharin, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Richard Wherlock, Tino Seghal, and many others.