The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT), the resident company at Vassar College, will span ballet, jazz, and modern dance in its 33rd annual gala weekend at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Theater, with performances on Saturday, March 7th at 8:00pm and Sunday, March 8th at 3:00pm. Continuing the VRDT’s work with renowned guest choreographers the company will perform a dance by acclaimed modern dance choreographer Doug Varone, along with dances created by Vassar professors and students.
Varone, a Hudson Valley resident, is at the helm of his own New York City-based dance company, Doug Varone and Dancers. The group was founded in 1986 and serves as the resident dance company of the 92nd Street YMCA’s Harkness Dance Center. VRDT will perform excerpts from Varone’s Chapters from a Broken Novel. Says VRDT director John Meehan, “We are delighted to have Doug’s work as part of our repertoire this year. He is a dynamic dance maker whose choreography has challenged our dancers. They in turn have grown and developed as artists to meet these challenges and have taken ownership of the work in a thrilling way.”
Ballet fans can also look forward to sections from George Balanchine’s elegant Divertimento No. 15 to music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. “We were very fortunate to have legendary New York City Ballet ballerina Merrill Ashley visit Vassar for a number of invaluable coaching sessions,” says Meehan.
Also to be performed at the Bardavon:
-- Senior lecturer in dance and drama Kathy Wildberger was inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s Petrouchka Suite, arranged for piano and has chosen the third movement for her work Shimmer. “A piece about transformation and inclusion, Shimmer ultimately celebrates community as evocative images are realized among the layers and textures of her choreography,” Meehan explains.
-- Jazz instructor Abby Saxon has created I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ to music of the Scissor Sisters. Meehan says the piece “is a lighthearted spoof about exhausted dancers reluctantly mustering the energy for one more dance.”
-- Steve Rooks has choreographed a mysterious work, Mosul to music of Hans Zimmer. Beginning simply, with a dance for a lone woman, Steve’s choreography builds in complexity and physicality before reaching its poetic conclusion. Mosul was created as a tribute to the Christian and Yazidi women who have recently been displaced in Iraq.
-- The high-energy finale Proud Mary was choreographed by faculty and students and is danced entirely for fun.
Many of the dances in the shows are the work of student choreographers: Ally Hamilton ‘15, Katy Walter ‘15, Nate Wulff ’15, Alaina Wilson ‘16, Carmen Kloer ‘17, Oriana Catton ‘17, Kerri Anne Bell ‘17, Zerlina Panush ‘17, Ana Sheehan ‘17.
“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 Meehan. “These performances are a highlight of our year and a chance for local audiences to see a variety of dance genres in one show.”
To purchase tickets, contact the Bardavon Box Office (845) 473-2072 or visit bardavon.org. Group sales are available through the Vassar Dance Office (845) 437-7470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.