The NC State Dance Program will present its annual Fall Concert on November 17 & 18, 2016 at 8 pm in Stewart Theatre on the NC State University campus. Under the direction of Tara Z. Mullins, the concert will feature the diverse repertory performed by two NC State dance companies and the Dance Program Independent Study students. The nine dance pieces presented in the concert, are choreographed by professional artists, including the world renown choreographer Chuck Davis, as well as NC State students.
The Fall Concert aims to give a taste of the NC State Dance Program to NC State University and the triangle community. As one of the six programs of Arts NC State, the Dance Program provides the opportunity to NC State students of any major to study dance through direct experience in performance and choreography.
The concert features both NC State dance companies—the NCSU Dance Company and the Panoramic Dance Project—as well as Independent Study students who will perform modern, contemporary ballet, tap, African, jazz, and other dance styles. The performers will present choreography by the newly appointed NC State Dance Program Director Tara Z. Mullins, professional guest artists Baba Chuck Davis, Willie Hinton, Justin Tornow, and Cherilyn Joy Lee, as well as the NC State Dance Program Independent Study student-choreographers Leslie Barber, Jillian Brownell, and Brooke Yannayon.
The NCSU Dance Company, a modern dance company nationally acclaimed by the American College Dance Association, will present Flutter choreographed by Mullins and a Cunningham influenced piece set by Durham-based artist Justin Tornow. Flutter, originally set on the Z Mullins Dance Company in 2004 and reconstructed for the NCSU Dance Company, will be performed for the first time at NC State. This duet is inspired by Mullins’ dear friend, with whom she shared a love of butterflies and who lost her battle with cancer.
“I was driving with my newborn daughter in the car and a butterfly shattered on my windshield,” Mullins said. “That evening, I found out that my friend was dying of cancer. So the piece is in a way a tribute to her—it’s about holding on and letting go—and the movement motifs were generated by my observation of butterflies.”
The Panoramic Dance Project, dedicated to exploring diverse dance styles, will present two pieces choreographed by guest artists, Chuck Davis and Willie Hinton. Founder of the African American Dance Ensemble, headquartered in Durham, Dr. Davis is a living legend who has been working with the company since 2014. For the Fall Concert, Dr. Davis set a choreo-drama entitled Eli (excerpt from Laura Nyro Suite). According to Dr. Davis, the piece encompasses the following theme. “To love one’s self, you must deny anyone and anything detrimental to your creative existence. Loneliness is a horrible state”. The Panoramic Dance Project will also perform Hinton’s piece that communicates the idea of mindfulness, being completely present and in the moment.
In addition to the companies’ performances, the Dance Program Fall Concert will feature the work of the Dance Program Independent Study students. The three independent study student-choreographers—Leslie Barber, Jillian Brownell, and Brooke Yannayon—have created content-driven choreographic works based on research used to develop the dance content.
NC State student Leslie Barber’s solo Everything in My Head is based on clinical and emotional implications of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and is inspired by Neil Hilborn’s poem “OCD”, the most-viewed poem on YouTube. A College National Poetry Slam champion and a man with OCD, Neil Hilborn describes in his poem a “painful but beautiful image” of being in a relationship while dealing with OCD.
“In my piece, I take on Neil’s personality, I become Neil Hilborn,” Leslie Barber said. “My piece focuses on the first night after Neil’s girlfriend left him. From my research on OCD, I took specific things that stood out to me. Like the idea of ‘checking’ to make sure that door is locked, 18 times at night.’” Leslie Barber will also perform this solo.
Also included in the Fall Concert is a contemporary ballet piece choreographed by the City Ballet director, Cherilyn Joy Lee. The piece highlights the advanced ballet training of two NC State student dancers and represents Mullins’ idea to create a new repertory dance course to accommodate more dance styles and to serve more students at NC State.
“The NC State Dance Program is art centered. The choreographic works have layers to them; they tell stories,” Mullins explains, “Both the choreographers and the performers have done their research and put in hours upon hours of rehearsals. I am proud of the dedication of the dance students. They are true artists who consistently demonstrate the high-quality work for which Arts NC State is known.”
Contact: Tara Z. Mullins, firstname.lastname@example.org
High-Resolution Image: flickr.com/photos/NCStateDance