Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre's 30th annual Bardavon Gala on February 25-26, 2012.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT) will present its 30th Annual Bardavon Gala with two performances on Saturday, February 25 at 8:00pm and Sunday, February 26 at 3:00pm.

“For 30 years the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre has been performing at the beautiful Bardavon 1869 Opera House - an achievement we are very proud of,” remarked VRDT director John Meehan. “Consequently our 2012 Gala Performance is a special celebration with strong repertory of both existing and brand new works and very talented company of dancers. The best kept dance secret in the Hudson Valley this is not a concert just for the Vassar Community, but for all people who enjoy dance.”

The VRDT repertoire will include faculty and student choreography as well as Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux”  and two new works by Edwaard Liang and Larry Keigwin:

  • Larry Keigwin, a renowned modern dance choreographer, created “Take Off” at Vassar for VRDT in October 2011. Set to the music of exciting young composer Jonathan Melville Pratt, “Take Off” celebrates youth, energy, dance and flight.
  • Edwaard Liang, who danced with New York City Ballet and later performed on Broadway in the musical Fosse, has developed his distinct choreographic voice using a vocabulary that fuses traditional ballet and contemporary movement. His mysterious work “Whispers in the Dark,” set for VRDT, is a radical reworking of a contemporary ballet last seen in the repertoire of the Bolshoi Ballet. The gala will offer its North American debut.

To celebrate the company’s 30th year at the Bardavon Opera House, George Balanchine’s dazzling “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” will be added to the repertoire. John Meehan noted that “Balanchine’s pas de deux is classical ballet at its most exhilarating and will feature brilliant young Vassar students Juliana Rodzinski and Brian Heil.”

Katherine Wildberger, senior lecturer in dance and drama and assistant director of VRDT, collaborated with adjunct artist and VRDT resident composer, Howard Kilik, to create “Drumlin,” based on the poem “Buck in the Snow” by alumna Edna St Vincent Millay ’17. A live string quartet will perform Kilik’s commissioned score.

Steve Rooks, chair of the Department of Dance and VRDT resident choreographer, has created “Social Network(s)” a dramatic piece of three abstracts on the connections/disconnections of our social lives, set to music of the composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Stacey Widelitz, and Thomas Newman.

The jazz work “Voodoo Rendezvous,” was created by Abby Saxon, adjunct instructor in dance. Co-choreographed with Martha Ross ’83 Tobias, “Voodoo Rendezvous” was first presented by VRDT during the 2005–06 season.  Set to the music of Ben Charest, this entertaining piece returned to the current repertoire by popular demand.

The gala program will also highlight VRDT’s classical ballet dancers as they perform “The Dance of the Odalisques,” from the Marius Petipa ballet Le Corsaire with music of Adolphe Adam and Cesare Pugni. This excerpt was set by VRDT Director John Meehan.

“Jai Ho,” the hit song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire (written by A. R. Rahman) inspired the VRDT company finale, choreographed by the dance faculty in collaboration with the dancers of VRDT.

Student choreographers represented in the program will include Mickey Mahar ’12 (“Untitled”), Elly Dembo ’13 (“Chiaroscuro”), Michael Graceffa ’13 (“Contact 3 2 1”), Niya Nicholson ’14 (“Jigsaw”), Matt Ortile ’14 (“Brightside”), and Emma King ’15 (“If I am Not Beautiful”).

Tickets for the 30th anniversary Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre Bardavon Gala are $11 for general admissions or $9.00 for students, seniors, and the Vassar community. You may purchase tickets by calling the Bardavon Box Office at (845) 473-2072 or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Group rates are available through calling the dance office at Vassar, please call (845) 437-7470 for information. Tickets will be on sale at Vassar College at the College Center Information Desk located in Main Building and at the Dance Office in Kenyon Hall.

About the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre

The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre is the resident company of the Vassar College Department of Dance. Since 1983, VRDT has provided Vassar dance students with an opportunity to perform significant dance works of the classic ballet and modern repertoire, as well as original works by faculty, student, and visiting artists in the dance field ( 

About the VRDT Director John Meehan

John Meehan performed as a Principal Dancer with the Australian Ballet and the American Ballet Theater; appeared frequently as a guest artist at the New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and toured with Stars of World Ballet. His has choreographed ballets for The Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Washington Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Company, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Meehan was also the artistic director of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet (1990–93), The American Ballet Theatre Studio Company (1997–2006), and the Hong Kong Ballet (2006–2009). Before taking his current position at Vassar.

About the Department of Dance

The Department of Dance offers a non-major, elective course of study at Vassar. The faculty consists of three full-time professors (Jeanne Periolat Czula, John Meehan, Stephen Rooks), one full-time lecturer of dance and drama (Katherine Wildberger), and one part-time jazz instructor (Abby Saxon). Dance’s resident lighting designer, David Ferri, lights all dance department productions. There are three adjunct artists who serve as accompanists and who compose, direct, and sometimes perform with the student company, the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, which is directed by John Meehan (

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, January 9, 2012