POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT) will present its 24th annual gala concerts on Saturday, March 4, at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, March 5, at 3:00 p.m., at the Bardavon Opera House in downtown Poughkeepsie. Tickets are available from the Bardavon box office, 35 Market Street, and through Ticketmaster at (845) 454-3388. Tickets can also be purchased on the Vassar campus at the College Center information desk, and the Dance program office (at the New Hackensack Road/Route 376 intersection, the former site of the Poughkeepsie Day School). General admission tickets are $10, and $7 for senior citizens, Vassar students, and college employees.
Highlights of the 2006 VRDT gala include contemporary choreographer Pascal Rioult's signature dance "Wien," a mini-masterpiece created in 1994. This terse work presents an abstract portrait of twentieth century Vienna between the wars, where lighthearted decadence masks a nihilistic subculture of cruelty, and composer Maurice Ravel's variation on a Viennese waltz provides an ironic backdrop. The restaging of "Wien" was made possible by a grant through Dance/USA's National College Choreography Initiative.
John Meehan, artistic director of the studio company at the American Ballet Theater, will present a new ballet, "Claudia's Waltz," to music by Shostakovich. Meehan is a guest artist at Vassar this year, while he continues at the American Ballet Theater.
Closing the performance will be "Jamaican Suite," conceived in 1991 by former Vassar faculty member Barrington Moncrieffe. This piece incorporates traditional folk dances from Moncrieffe's Jamaican homeland, and features live musical accompaniment directed by master drummer Henry Miller. "Jamaican Suite has been danced five times on the Bardavon stage, and has brought the house down every time," said VRDT director Paul Mosley, a Visiting Instructor in Dance at Vassar.
Also on the program, Vassar professors Steve Rooks, Kathy Wildberger, and Abby Saxon have all choreographed original works, as have Vassar seniors Dana Fitchett, Rachel Elliott, Ashley Otremba, and Claudia Rea, and sophomore David Rodriguez.
Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre provides the college's dance students opportunities to perform classic dance works from the ballet and modern repertoire, as well as new choreography by faculty, guest artists, and the students themselves. Just in the past five years, VRDT has performed the works of George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, and Jose Limon, among others. In addition, aspiring student choreographers are provided the freedom to create, develop, and present their own new dance works under the guidance of recognized artists in the field.
Located mid-way between Albany and New York City, the Bardavon Opera House – opened in 1869 as the Collingwood Opera House and renamed in 1923 – is the oldest continually operating theater in New York State and among the oldest in the nation.
For more information call the Vassar College Dance office at (845) 437-7470. To buy tickets by phone call Ticketmaster (845) 454-3388. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Bardavon box office (845) 473-2072, as far in advance as possible.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.