Dance students show off talent

AU's Department of Performing Arts presents its Fall Dance Connection, "Roundelays," Friday and Saturday, which highlights dance as an art where both spectator and performer become involved in the dance process.

"This performance shows a full array of movement vocabulary," said Sherrie Barr, artistic director of the concert and director of the graduate dance program. Barr joined the AU dance department this year and sees exciting potential and activity in the classroom.

In "Roundelays," Barr wants the audience to experience the dance-making process, and she therefore includes the audience in this creative process in order for it to experience dance as a more relatable art form.

The performance showcases five contemporary dance pieces, choreographed by graduate students Robert Bettmann and Madelayne Lang, undergraduate Alycia Ebbinghaus, and professor Rob Esposito. Each piece is assembled to show the best of AU's choreographic and performing dance talent.

"This performance runs the gamut" in terms of artistic talent, said Rachel Stephens, performer and public relations director of the dance department.

In addition to AU's talent, the performance also includes a piece by guest choreographer Peter DiMuro, co-artistic director of the critically acclaimed Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

DiMuro not only enhances AU's dance department, but he exemplfies the department's relationship with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange for the this school year.

In his piece "The Seasons," DiMuro uses 10 AU students along with guest performer Thomas Dwyer, to showcase his unique choreographic abilities in layering text with movement.

"Everyone uses a different process," said Bettmann, in order to display Barr's idea of revealing the creative process in their choreography.

Bettmann, who choreographed "Kingdom," bases his piece upon a poem he wrote. He uses a collaborative technique with his dancers in which he assigned each one to describe, in movement, the first time he or she experienced love. His choreographic touch was to craft the individual series of movements together while also adding his own images.

Each piece in the performance is diverse in terms of personality as well, some using music or text. For example, Lang's piece "The Grace of my Style," incorporates the narration of "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou.

The performance opens on Friday at 8 p.m. and continues on Saturday at the Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theater at 4200 Wisconsin Avenue.

The Friday performance will be followed by AU's "First Friday" discussion. Panelists include musician and composer David Keberle, actor and playwright Caleen Sinnette Jennings, and visual artist Zoe Charlton, along with Barr and DiMuro.

General admission is $15 and $8 for seniors and the AU community. Tickets can be purchased online at www.american.tix.com or in person at the box office.

For more information, visit www.american.edu/perf_arts.

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