Ann Arbor Dance Works, a University dance company comprised of faculty, students and invited choreographers, is unveiling its 26th annual spring performance this week. It will feature dances by both new and returning choreographers, as well as reinvented and digitally inspired pieces.

Ann Arbor Dance Works

June 2 – 4 at 8 p.m.
Betty Pease Studio Theater
Tickets from $10

“The opportunity to work with faculty, guest artists and really talented dancers creating new work, is what we live for,” said Jessica Fogel, artistic director and co-founder of Ann Arbor Dance Works.

Fogel has been with the University for over 20 years, teaching dance and inspiring young adults to pursue an understanding of the fine arts.

“This generation of dancers really wants to engage with audiences that don’t necessarily always view the shows, that don’t always attend the concerts and performance,” Fogel said. “The idea of having encounters through performance and dance with a new audience excites our dancers.”

For the 2011 Spring Season, Fogel explained that it is more than ever an expression of inspiration on the part of the choreographers and dancers alike.

“This is the creation and the revival of dance. The show features artists and choreographers coming together,” Fogel said. The performance includes pieces by Sidra Bell, Amy Chavasse and Peter Sparling, along with Robin Wilson’s “Feets!,” “Blues/Crossroad” and Bill DeYoung’s “Tenfold.”

“One of our choreographers, Sidra Bell, was recommended to us by many different people,” Fogel said.

Bell, the artistic director of Sidra Bell Dance New York, has had her work represented nationally, along with featured debuts in Germany, Greece and Denmark among other European countries.

“It was interesting to see her building a new work with our dancers over the past two weeks,” Fogel said. “She’s pulled together a very stylish, exciting contemporary work.”

Along with Bell, resident choreographers have also created pieces to evoke appreciation for dance from the audience. Sparling’s “Patient Spider” is a digitally-enhanced screendance, featuring the music of composer Yehuda Yannay, and words by Walt Whitman from his “A Noiseless Patient Spider.” It mixes media and live movement to produce what Fogel describes as a “graphically beautiful work.” Furthermore, “a person can view (‘Patient Spider’) on their computer and it would be a visually stunning piece,” Fogel said.

Although there is an abundance of dance fashioned online, some works only come alive in person. Amy Chavasse’s “What Passes for Tenderness” is a “wonderful piece for six women, trading ideas about tenderness, and cruelty, and the double edge of that.” According to Fogel, Chavasse, through collaboration and improvisation, explores the ideas behind what defines tenderness in the 21st century and what is contrasting to its definition.

“It’s a very vivid way of experiencing one’s own sense of meaning through movement,” said Fogel. “And having an encounter with the performance and then with the audience.”

Added Fogel: “This show features really top caliber dance works, with fabulous dancers. It’s a great, intimate performance experience, and it’s an opportunity to see things close at hand.”

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