Missouri State University Theatre and Dance Department presents the annual pring Dance Concert: "Movement in Flux," coordinated by Ruth Barnes and choreographed by MSU dance faculty and a guest artist, in four performances in the Craig Hall Coger Theatre: Thursday through Saturday May 4-6 all at 7:30pm and Sunday May 7 at 2:30pm. The dance works are all performed by MSU Theatre and Dance students.
The idea behind the concert's title, says MSU dance professor Ruth Barnes, is that the art form of dance constantly moves, shifts, flows and changes from one idea to the next--the concert will celebrate the fluid and ephemeral nature of dance. There are other layers of meaning to the title too, says Barnes. "Well, there has been a lot of change in the (Theatre and Dance) Department, and in the world. So it just seemed like an appropriate title."
In addition to Barnes herself, the dance works in the concert are choreographed by MSU Associate Professor Sara Brummel and Assistant Professor Sarah Wilcoxon, as well as guest artist Cara Hagan. Says Ruth Barnes, "Cara is actually a former student of mine from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She's an Assistant Professor of Dance Studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Cara is a multi-disciplinary artist. She works in what we call contemporary dance, also tap; she also makes dance videos and created an event called 'Movies by Movers' that solicits dance videos from all over the world."
Hagan's contribution to the concert is a piece she calls "Tiny Potato on the Train." Ruth Barnes calls it "an a cappella tap piece" in which the "music" is supplied by the sounds of the dancers' tap shoes themselves. "It is amazing--it is beautifully constructed... we do hear the train. We do hear rain. They have a tap battle at one point, one group trying to out-tap the other. I don't know where the 'potato' came in," she laughs. "(Hagan) sent me a meme that said, 'You are a tiny potato and I believe in you.' It's a very fun piece. There are nine students--they're from the Dance Program, Musical Theatre Program, B.S. in Education/Speech and Theatre Programs. Oh, and there's an EMS (Emergency Medical Services) major. So we don't just have dance majors in the program."
The concert will feature what Barnes calls "a range of disciplines, a range of styles." Pieces include Sarah Wilcoxon's adaptation and re-staging of Bob Fosse's "Crunchy Granola Suite" (to the Neil Diamond song of the same name). Jazz keyboardist and MSU Music and Theatre and Dance professor Kyle Aho plays for dance classes; he and several of his Jazz Symposium I students will perform live musical accompaniment for the "Granola" piece. Ruth Barnes says it's "wonderful" for the students to have the opportunity to work with live musicians rather than strictly pre-recorded music tracks--the latter is an economic fact of life for most dance companies who can't afford live musicians.
Other pieces during the concert include "Fab Four with Freshpeople" by Ruth Barnes, featuring music by Lennon and McCartney. Barnes also goes full-on Baroque with "Court of Whimsy/La Folia" utilizing a concerto grosso by Francesco Geminiani; and concluding the concert with a piece she first introduced in 2006, "Remember the Ladies", featuring the writings of Jacqueline Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Todd Lincoln and Abigail Adams, as read by Sheila Gordon, along with music by contemporary British composer Thomas Ades.
Sarah Wilcoxon will also present "A Love Letter" featuring music from Broadway by Cole Porter, Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern et al., from shows originally choreographed by Bob Fosse. Also, Wilcoxon provides a more complex work titled "Woke", based on a quotation "There are so many things to feel and see while you're awake...." Ruth Barnes calls it "a dark piece, very emotional... sometimes victims become the victimizer."
Sara Brummel will provide an homage to George Balanchine with "Interlude," with music from Clara Schumann's Variations on a Theme by (her husband) Robert Schumann; also "A Dance for Chelsea," dedicated to graduating senior Chelsea Thomas; and "Sarah and the Boys", featuring one female and several male dancers, again accompanied by MSU's Kyle Aho. "It's a fun piece," says Ruth Barnes. " I think she (the female dancer) probably gets thrown around quite a bit--'cause she's small, and one can do that sort of thing with a small dancer!"
Tickets for "Movement in Flux" are $14 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors; $8 in advance with MSU ID. For more information visit http://theatreanddance.missouristate.edu or call 836-7678 for tickets.