SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic <em>Metropolis</em> at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

Christopher Dolder

SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic Metropolis at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

Metropolis banner - SMU Dance, Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Video Fest

Fourteen SMU dancers, all first-year students, will perform with the Dallas Chamber Symphony during a very special presentation of director Fritz Lang’s 1927 dystopian masterpiece, Metropolis.

During a screening of the 82-minute silent film classic, the students will provide an interactive dance performance choreographed by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, with a new score by Austin-based film composer Brian Satterwhite performed live by the Dallas Chamber Symphony. The event is part of opening-night festivities for the 2015 Dallas VideoFest and begins Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street, in downtown Dallas.

> Learn more about the Dallas VideoFest at videofest.org

Often named as the first science fiction epic in film history, Metropolis is especially vivid in its portrayal of the disruptive effects of technological innovation and the social and economic stratifications it creates, as well as of civil liberties issues such as free speech, privacy and surveillance.

Metropolis is one of the great achievements of the silent era, a work so audacious in its vision and so angry in its message that it is, if anything, more powerful today than when it was made,” wrote the late Roger Ebert in a 1985 review.

> Learn more about Metropolis at IMDb

“Audiences have always been able to relate to these themes as new advances create new groups of haves and have-nots,” Dolder says. “Even today, 90 years later, they remain fresh and relevant.”

The film’s camera work, design and special effects are still haunting and evocative, and the staging of both crowd scenes and lead actors is “strikingly balletic [in] the repetitive synchronism of the working poor, as well as [its] portrayals of dance and artificial intelligence,” as noted in a Dallas Chamber Symphony release.

These elements and more make Metropolis fertile ground for a multidisciplinary collaboration between high art and high tech, Dolder says. “The trick for us will be to create a cohesive experience, where the new score and the dance element serve and enhance the film without distracting,” he adds.

> Christopher Dolder talks about Metropolis with KERA’s “Art & Seek”

The film’s otherworldly atmosphere is enhanced not only by the music, set and dancers, but also by the strategic projection of video elements from the film, isolated onto the dancers and set, Dolder says. He created and painted the intricate series of risers on which his students will perform – and made a point not to ask for their help, he adds.

“When we started this project, I told them I was going to treat them as professional dancers helping to create a new work,” he says. “In return, I expected them to prepare and conduct themselves in the same way.”

The approach has worked, Dolder says. “These first-year students may be the best class of dancers we’ve had – and we’ve consistently attracted talented, intelligent classes,” he says.

> Metropolis preview by Michael Granberry in The Dallas Morning News

“Each year, we try and accomplish something new, and more daring,” says Richard McKay, the DSC’s artistic director and conductor. “It is our ensemble’s adventurous culture that has motivated [us] to start the season with Metropolis – by far, the most complex and expansive production we have ever created.”

Individual tickets are available for $19-$55 each, $15 for students. VIP tickets can be purchased for $75, which will include a pre-event cocktail reception backstage with the artists, starting at 7 p.m. An after party will be hosted by Proof + Pantry, across the street from the theater, with complimentary appetizers for all patrons who would like to meet the composer and performers. Get tickets and more information online at DCSymphony.org, or call 214-449-1294.

> Find event information and purchase tickets at the Dallas Chamber Symphony website,

World premieres and a Bob Fosse tribute are highlights of SMU’s 2014 Meadows Fall Dance Concert Nov. 5-9

Two world premieres are among the four innovative contemporary works to be featured at the 2014 Fall Dance Concert, running through Sunday, Nov. 9. The dancers of SMU’s Meadows of the Arts will take the audience through a journey of versatile repertoire featuring modern, contemporary ballet, and classical Fosse jazz.

The program opens with the world premiere of Handle created by dance faculty member Christopher Dolder. The Bob Hope Theatre has yet to host a performance like Handle, which displays a collaboration of movement and media. The piece explores how people perceive identity, dimensions and matter by creating illusions. Dolder distorts reality through the use of video projections, motion sensing, permeable walls, and costumes. A former Martha Graham Dance Company soloist, Dolder is an expert in dance kinesiology and is currently researching new forms of physical data capture in collaboration with the Meadows School’s Center of Creative Computation.

Hougland%20rehearsal%20To%20the%20Fore%201548

The second section of the show is composed of two restaged works by Visiting Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland. Originally premiered by the Cincinnati Ballet, To the Fore playfully explores the human struggle to “shed light on things” with the use of lights on long extension cords that become a choreographic element themselves. Cigarettes showcases one female and three male dancers in a look at humans’ attempts to survive the repetition of past mistakes. Hougland is the principal choreographer for the Louisville Ballet and resident choreographer for the Cincinnati Ballet.

The program concludes with the premiere of Dancin’ Man, an homage to Bob Fosse created by New York-based choreographer and dancer Alex Sanchez. Sanchez uses a cast of 22 dancers to amplify the magic and celebration of being a dancer. A former member of Ballet Chicago and a veteran of numerous Broadway productions, including Wonderful Town and Carousel, Sanchez has choreographed productions for companies nationwide.

“I’m looking forward to pushing the limits of what I can do as an individual dancer, what we can do as a committed group of artists, and what the audience will do in response,” says senior Abby Marchesseault.

Performances take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy Fall Dance Concert tickets online at Vendini, or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Ariel Monticure is a senior SMU dance performance major and will perform in the 2014 Fall Dance Concert Nov. 5-9.

Find more information at the Meadows website

November 6, 2014|Calendar Highlights, News, Year of the Faculty|

Meadows presents 2011 Spring Dance Concert March 30-April 3

Vigeland's Garden by SMU faculty member Christopher Dolder. The dancers are Sidney Anthony and Jamal Jackson White.
Vigeland’s Garden, featuring Sidney Anthony and Jamal Jackson White (Photo by Brittany Nicole.)
Camille...a Poem of Intimacy by SMU guest artist-in-residence Jean Paul Comelin. The dancers are Jessalyn Phillips and Joshua D. Deininger.
Camille…a Poem of Intimacy
, featuring Jessalyn Phillips and Joshua D. Deininger (Photo by Brittany Nicole)
Prayers by New York-based choreographer Jessica Lang
Prayers (Photo by Brittany Nicole)

The Meadows Dance Ensemble at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present a selection of ballet and contemporary works at its 2011 Spring Dance Concert, March 30-April 3 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The featured dances include:

  • Prayers by New York-based choreographer Jessica Lang.
  • Camille…a Poem of Intimacy by guest artist-in-residence Jean Paul Comelin.
  • Vigeland’s Garden by Meadows faculty member Christopher Dolder.
  • No Contact by student Jamal Jackson White.
  • Two special student performances of Martha Graham’s Panorama.

The SMU concert opens with Prayers, a celebration of a supportive community of nine female dancers set to the music of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and Josquin Des Prez. Jessica Lang’s choreography portrays the interpersonal relationships that inform, enliven and strengthen the community. The work was originally commissioned by NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and premiered in 2008.

Next on the program is Vigeland’s Garden by new faculty member Christopher Dolder, inspired by the seminal work of Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The Darwinian comedy/drama interprets the cyclical patterns of nature – birth, life, death and rebirth – as they play out in the animal kingdom.

Camille…a Poem of Intimacy is a work in progress by guest artist-in-residence Jean Paul Comelin, an internationally renowned choreographer, director and master teacher who has created more than 70 works for major dance companies on five continents. Camille is a pas de deux inspired by the sculptures of French artist Camille Claudel (1864-1943), pupil and mistress of Auguste Rodin.

Also featured will be No Contact, a work choreographed by SMU dance student Jamal Jackson White and premiered at the University’s Brown Bag Dance Concert last fall.

On Friday and Saturday evening only, SMU dancers will give a special performance of Martha Graham’s Panorama. The performances serve as a preview of the SMU Dance Ensemble’s presentation of the work as part of the upcoming Martha Graham Dance Company performance at the Winspear Opera House on April 30 presented by TITAS in association with the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

The SMU students were invited by the Graham Company – the oldest and most celebrated dance company in America – to perform the work, says Myra Woodruff, SMU dance faculty member and a former Martha Graham dancer.

“It is a tremendous honor for our college dance ensemble to have been invited to perform with the Graham Company in concert,” Woodruff says. “It is indicative of the exceptionally high regard the Graham Company has for SMU’s Division of Dance.”

Premiered in 1935, Panorama is a groundbreaking work for 35 dancers set to a score by Norman Lloyd, which uses sheer numbers and geometric design to drive home Graham’s intense socio-political themes.

Spring Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Free parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley or in the garage under the Meadows Museum. For tickets and more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

March 30, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News|
Load More Posts