Three contemporary works, including newly created pieces by Complexions Ballet co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson and by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, are highlights of the Meadows School of the Arts’ Fall Dance Concert. The show runs Nov. 8-12, 2017 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.
The program will open with Dolder’s new version of Bolero, set to a London Symphony recording of Ravel’s famous work. An interactive set featuring a circular stage space, curving ramps and central spire provide the physical backdrop for dancers representing an array of societal archetypes perennially caught in the cycles of life and culture. Dolder, a former soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company, has previously expressed a fascination for architectural design in productions of His Handle (2014), Metropolis (2015) and a collaboration with Canadian wood sculptor Erik More in The Orca Project (2016).
Ascension is a new piece created by Visiting Artists-in-Residence Richardson and Rhoden, featuring a blend of ballet and contemporary dance expressed in sculptural choreography. Complexions Ballet has received numerous honors, including The New York Times Critics’ Choice Award, and has performed at Lincoln Center and The Joyce Theater in New York, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and most recently at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of “Ballet Across America.” Celebrated for his choreography and wide-ranging collaborations with well-known dance artists, Rhoden has created over 80 ballets for Complexions and for numerous other major companies. Richardson is a Tony-nominated actor and the first black American principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre.
Concluding the program is Moncell Durden’s Drop Me Off in Harlem, a tribute to the music and dance of the 1930s. Premiered earlier this year, it uses vernacular jazz movement to recount the adventures of three ladies from Pennsylvania who travel to New York City to dance at the famous Savoy Ballroom and watch the battle of the bands between Benny Goodman and Chick Webb. The audience follows Norma, Mabel and Dawn as they navigate the spirited streets, subways and ballrooms of New York and Harlem nightlife. Durden is a choreographer, historian, dance educator and current faculty member at the University of Southern California, where he teaches jazz, hip-hop and improvisation.
Fall Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $14 for adults, $11 for seniors and $8 for students, SMU faculty and staff.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Meadows website or call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).
— Written by Victoria Winkelman