The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT), the resident company at Vassar College, will span ballet, jazz, and modern dance in its 32nd annual gala weekend at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Theater, with performances on Saturday, March 1st at 8:00pm and Sunday, March 2nd at 3:00pm. Continuing the VRDT’s work with renowned guest choreographers the company will perform pieces by Stephen Petronio, along with dances created by Vassar professors and students.
For nearly 30 years, New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award-winner Petronio has been creating intuitive and timely choreography. VRDT will perform an excerpt from Petronio’s timeless work “Lareigne”, which has been re-staged and set for the company by past Stephen Petronio Company member, Ori Flomin. “Lareigne” is a complex and extremely physical excerpt. Says VRDT director John Meehan, “I believe it is contemporary dance at its most exhilarating.”
Ballet fans can also look forward to "Sleeping Beauty Suite,” five classical variations that Meehan has taught based on Marius Petipa’s traditional choreography from the Prologue of The Sleeping Beauty. Meehan has choreographed a simple entrance and coda to produce a miniature classical ballet for five of the VRDT's advanced ballet dancers.
Also to be performed at the Bardavon:
-- Senior Lecturer in Dance and Drama, Katherine Wildberger’s Jooolia explores the power of community and coming together for the common good. Set to a score by Moondog called “Pow Wow at Wind River,” it honors the strength, beauty and power of Vassar graduate Julia Sabangan ’04.
-- Steve Rook’s work, Triptych, is a dynamic dance that takes place on a bare plateau, performed to a driving score created by Vassar adjunct artist and VRDT Resident Composer Howard Kilik.
-- Visiting Associate Professor Miriam Mahdaviani has made a neo-classical ballet entitled Asturias to hauntingly beautiful classical guitar music by Isaac Albeniz. Inspired by the Spanish pilgrimage Camino de Santiago, the dance integrates both classical ballet and modern dance techniques. According to Mahdaviani, “the work evokes the journeys we take individually and collectively.”
-- Jazz instructor Abby Saxon created Walk on the Top to music by Henry Mancini, Cozy Cole and Trombone Shorty. By turns sultry and playful, the choreography combines sleek jazz lines with the light-hearted punctuation of Irish Step Dancing.
-- Diverse and innovative works choreographed by twelve VRDT members: Mike Graceffa ‘14, Isabella Kosmacher ‘14, Isaac Lindy ‘14, Niya Nicholson ’14, Ally Hamilton ‘15, Katy Walter ‘15, Nate Wulff ’15, Maranda Barry ‘16, Camille Delgado ‘16, Kelsey Greenway ‘16, Carlie Silva ‘16 and Hannah Tobias ‘16. According to Meehan, “These dances incorporate everything from live a cappella accompaniment to sophisticated humor and, at times, heart-breaking beauty from these budding choreographers.”
The VRDT has been thrilled to bring its work to dance audiences from Poughkeepsie and the Hudson Valley region for the past three decades. Says VRDT senior Isabella Kosmacher, “Performing at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House over the past three years has been one of the most poignant and joyful experiences of my college dance career. In this, my final semester, I’m so proud to present my own original choreography and perform funny, sophisticated, and beautiful work with an incredible company of artists.”
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About the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre
The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, under the direction of Professor and Chair of Dance John Meehan, is the resident company of the Vassar College Department of Dance. Formed in 1980, VRDT has provided Vassar dance students with an opportunity to perform significant dance works of the classic ballet, jazz and modern repertoire, as well as original works by faculty, student, and distinguished visiting artists.
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 two full-time professors (Stephen Rooks, and John Meehan), one full-time senior lecturer of dance and drama (Katharine Wildberger), Visiting Assistant Professor Miriam Mahdaviani and one part-time jazz instructor (Abby Saxon). Along with resident lighting designer David Ferri, there are also two 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.