SMU’s Meadows Dance Ensemble will present three intriguing works, all created within the past 25 years, at its 2014 Spring Dance Concert. The show goes on March 26-30 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.
Featured will be Chalabati (2007) by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, winner of the 2014 Meadows Prize artist’s residency; Cold Virtues (2003) by Meadows Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland; and D-Man in the Waters (1989) by Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones.
The Saturday evening concert will include a special tribute to Ann Williams, founder and artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Lily Cabatu Weiss, chair of the dance department at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, with performances by DBDT and Booker T. dancers. All tickets for the Saturday performance have been reserved, but a wait list is open for tickets that may become available.
The program opens with Chalabati, a work inspired by the music and culture of the Gnawa people of Morocco. Zollar, the founder of New York-based dance company Urban Bush Women, created and premiered the work during a residency at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Zollar said, “The Gnawa language encompasses Arabic, French and various ancestral languages from their homeland region around Bambara. The Gnawa know it by heart and sing it with reverence and joy. It reminds me of stories traveling over land and time, from generation to generation.”
As winner of the Meadows Prize, Zollar spent two weeks at SMU in February rehearsing the work with dancers in Meadows School of the Arts.
Adam Hougland’s Cold Virtues is loosely based on the 18th-century novel Dangerous Liaisons, with its interplay of romance and power. Hougland, who is principal choreographer for the Louisville Ballet and resident choreographer for the Cincinnati Ballet, created the work for 14 dancers. Set to the haunting Violin Concerto by Philip Glass, it has been called “engrossing” and “unforgettable” by critics.
Rounding out the program is D-Man in the Waters, created in 1989 to honor Demian Acquavella, a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company who died of AIDS. The work, considered a classic of modern dance, won a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award and was also featured in PBS’s 2007 film Dancing in the Light – Six Dances by African-American Choreographers.
Spring Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7 for students, SMU faculty and staff. Buy tickets online at Vendini or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).