POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT), the resident company at Vassar College, will span ballet, jazz, and modern dance in its 31st annual gala weekend at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Theater, with performances on Saturday, March 2nd at 8:00pm and Sunday, March 3rd at 3:00pm. Continuing the VRDT’s work with renowned guest choreographers the company will perform pieces by Zvi Gotheiner and Brian Reeder, along with dances created by Vassar professors and students.
Zvi Gotheiner is one of New York City’s most popular ballet teachers, and his ZviDance modern company features his choreography. The VRDT will perform excerpts from Gotheiner’s acclaimed work "Chairs", which has been newly re-staged and specially set for the company by the choreographer. "This dynamic work’s serious tone, at times tender and compassionate, at other times confrontational and aggressive, provides the lynchpin for these two concerts and will linger in the mind long after having been viewed," said professor of dance John Meehan.
Brian Reeder’s performance career largely spanned the New York City Ballet (1986–1990), William Forsythe's Ballet Frankfurt (1990–1993), and the American Ballet Theatre (1994–2003), three of the world’s most respected companies. Continuing Reeder’s penchant for creating quirky dances, the VRDT will perform his brand new modern work “Nurse”, which is set to the Erick Moe composition “Dead Elf Tugboat" for flute and keyboard. In an October 2012 review of Reeder’s piece “Picnic”, New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay wrote, “At intermission, everyone was trying to figure out what had or hadn’t occurred,” and the review went on to describe “Picnic” as “vividly, stylishly composed.” Reeder is also the acting artistic director of the VRDT.
Ballet fans can also look forward to "Petipa Etudes", six classical variations that Vassar professor John Meehan has set from choreography by Marius Petipa, who is often called the “father of classical ballet.” For this work Meehan has arranged a simple entrance and coda to create a miniature classical ballet for six of the VRDT's advanced ballet dancers.
Also to be performed at the Bardavon:
-- Professor of Dance and VRDT Resident Choreographer Steve Rooks has created the sleek modern work "Cellos", which he describes as “an abstract work with one clear intention -- to celebrate the magnificent abilities of the two cellists who perform this music.”
-- The poetic and haunting modern work "Glimpse" created by Kathy Wildberger, Senior Lecturer in Dance and Drama, is described by her as, “A post-apocalyptic search for direction that is brimming with passion and force." The piece is set to the first movement from Estonian composer Arvo Part's 1997 work "Tabula Rasa" for two violins, string orchestra, and prepared piano.
-- The new piece "Classical Glance" by Adjunct Instructor of Dance Abby Saxon explores the wit and joyous freedom of moving in the jazz idiom, and the spontaneity of the work is totally irresistible.
-- Widely varied new works choreographed by nine VRDT members: Vassar seniors Eleni Dembo, Chelsea Peterson-Salahuddin, Kiara Segal, and Anna Wilen, juniors Jeremy Busch and Isabella Kosmacher, sophomores Alexandra Hamilton, Emma King, and Katy Walter, and freshmen Camille Delgardo and Kelsey Greeway.
“For 31 years the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre has been performing at the beautiful Bardavon 1869 Opera House, an achievement we are very proud of,” remarked Brian Reeder, acting artistic director. “Our 2013 Bardavon gala is a special celebration with strong repertory of both existing and brand new works and a very talented company of dancers. Perhaps the best kept dance secret in the Hudson Valley is that these concerts aren’t just for the Vassar community, but for all people who enjoy dance.”
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 top visiting artists. Professor John Meehan directs the company (and is currently on semester leave).
More about VRDT Acting Artistic Director Brian Reeder
As a choreographer, beginning in 2002, Brian Reeder has created or re-staged his ballets on American Ballet Theatre, ABT Studio Co., Washington Ballet, Washington Ballet Studio Co., Pacific Northwest Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Grandiva, and Ballet Next, as well as other regional and civic dance companies. His work has been produced three times for the "Works and Process" series at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and he also has created two full-length versions of "The Nutcracker" for Ballet Pacifica and the Black Hills Dance Theatre.
Outside the ballet world Reeder has created choreographic sequences for the independent film "American Primitive" and the music video "Brit Slap." He was also the focus of an unconventional and unique, 18-hour documentary project by filmmaker Elliot Caplan called "15 Days Of Dance: The Making of Ghost Light," which was screened at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, at Lincoln Center in NYC and at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Reeder has received several grants and fellowships, including The New York Choreographic Fellowship, The Jerome Robbins Foundation for New Works and The Boomerang Foundation. He has taught and choreographed at multiple ballet academies, regional dance schools and prestigious universities including Brown University, Emory University, Goucher College, Barnard College and The Columbia Ballet Collaborative.
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 three full-time professors (Jeanne Periolat Czula, Stephen Rooks, and John Meehan), one full-time senior lecturer of dance and drama (Katharine Wildberger), and one part-time jazz instructor (Abby Saxon). Along with resident lighting designer David Ferri, there are also three 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.