The Schaefer Center Presents virtual performing arts series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, will showcase the university’s Dept. of Theatre and Dance in Best of the Appalachian Dance Ensemble Thursday, March 25 at 8 p.m., the final event of the SCP spring season.

This virtual best-of program will feature nine previously recorded works from faculty choreographers danced by App State student performers. All curated works were produced and presented between 2011-2019 and highlight the genres of modern dance, tap dance, dance of the African diaspora and dance theatre. Run time is 75-minutes. The event is free, but registration is required.

“The Fall and Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble concerts have become annual traditions,” said Kevin Warner, Professor of Dance Studies in the Dept. of Theatre and Dance. “Faculty choreographers, along with specially selected student choreographers, create original work each November and March. These collaborations offer creative opportunities to produce new work and opportunities for up to 100 student dancers each semester.”

“For this showcase of faculty work,” said Warner, “each choreographer selected one of their most memorable works from over 200 that we now have archived in the Department of Theatre and Dance. The works range from whimsical to elegant, to those that have more serious themes. They are inspired by personal experiences, works of art, popular culture, and current events. Additional work by Marianne Adams and Laurie Atkins is being featured as part of the university’s APPlause! series for K-12 schools, which will premiere later in the month.”

“It’s our hope,” said Warner, “that audiences will enjoy this showcase of dance as a way to celebrate the rich tradition of dance at Appalachian State, along with a celebration of our faculty and student artists. We are incredibly hopeful to be back in the studio this fall, and of course, we hope to see many of the viewers at a future concert.”

REPERTOIRE for THE BEST OF THE APPALACHIAN DANCE ENSEMBLE

Elegy (excerpts, 2016), choreographed by Regina Gulick, navigates the unpredictable junctures in life, wrought with shock, loss, sorrow, grief, breaking open, pushing, forcing through cracks in a wall of concrete, and letting go. “It is not the twist and turns in life which mold us, but how we take and handle what’s thrown at us.”

Sanctuary (excerpts, 2018), choreographed by Ray Miller, pays tribute to the students and teachers who survived the Stoneman Douglas high school shooting that left 17 dead and 17 others wounded in Parkland, FL. Warning: There are gunshot sounds as part of the sound score for this piece.

Replaceable (excerpts, 2011), choreographed by Susan Lutz, is based on the idea that all of us sometimes have to wait our turn to be seen, recognized, and appreciated — but in the end we all find our times to shine.

Hearts Beat (for B&T) (excerpts, 2019) is a collection of short dances by Chris Yon that experiments with syntax, humor, and pathos in an invented physical language. By way of a collaborative process with the dancers of shuffling, changing and rearranging movements, they arrived at couplets, slogans, incantations, rumors, myths and spells that are danced in code. “Hearts Beat” is a secret love letter from Chris to his daughter Beatrix and his partner Taryn.

Curved beneath the yoke (2017), choreographed by Brad Parquette, is a response to his thoughts about the resilience of women in the face of societal, political and religious oppression. Dancers in the piece contributed movement invention to the process of creating this dance. Evocative lighting by John Marty and elegant costuming by Sue Williams become integral components of this piece.

Yantra (excerpts, 2013), with choreography by Emily Daughtridge, was inspired by her experiences traveling in India in March 2012. Her inspiration is drawn from acts of devotion, trust and traffic, patterns of design and flow, and meditation mandalas known as yantras.

Another Country (excerpts, 2016), choreographed by Sherone Price, is a work about the pain often inflicted on people of color through beating, imprisonment and more often loss of life. Price says, “Being a black man, this work forced me to use my voice through movement to speak out against the wrongdoings not just in this country but in this world. Peace should be shared by all, not a few.”

Greatest Show (excerpts, 2016) is a theatrical dance work by Kevin Warner that celebrates the tradition of the American circus. Side show and three-ring acts “perform” for the audience in this whimsical piece.

Tiny Potato on the Train (2016) is a joyful tap piece created by Cara Hagan in collaboration with her dancers.

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