Dance Company of Middlebury Explores Issues of Wealth and Culture in Four Premieres
July 11, 2014
Performances Will Tour to New Orleans After Opening in Middlebury
Middlebury, VT—The 2011 Dance Company of Middlebury presents “Culture, Cash, and Community: To Have or Have Not,” on January 21 and 22 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. With artistic direction by visiting lecturer in dance Christal Brown, the Company has created a concert of four premieres exploring issues of wealth and class as manifested in culture.
Company members will be trained in a variety of movement techniques, choreographic tools, and community facilitation techniques. They will also develop their own awareness of their own communities, and their personal relationships to race, class, gender, privilege, and place.
After the performances in Middlebury, the Company will travel to New Orleans’s Seventh Ward for a week of community engagement through dance and music. Female Company members will be trained in the facilitation of “Project: BECOMING,” a community engagement curriculum developed for teen girls by INSPIRIT, a dance company. Male Company members will present a workshop for teen males entitled “What’s Your Story,” led by rap artist Nova the Camillion, focusing on developing personal narratives through the mediums of hip hop and zydeco. Company members will work alongside members of the Seventh Ward Community Center and Ashe Cultural Heritage Center to present these workshops. They will also attend a workshop with The People’s Institute for Undoing Racism to enhance their skills as facilitators and their understanding of the intersections of race, class, and community.
Artistic Director Christal Brown is a native of Kinston, North Carolina and received her BFA in dance and minor in Business from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has toured nationally and internationally with Chuck Davis’ African-American Dance Ensemble, Andrea E. Woods/Souloworks, Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. She spent three seasons with the Urban Bush Women, a groundbreaking American dance company founded on the energy, vitality, and boldness of the African American community. Brown is the Founding and Executive Director of INSPIRIT, a performance ensemble and educational conglomerate dedicated to bringing female choreographers together to collaborate and show new work, expanding the views of women of all ages, and being a constant source of inspiration to its audience and members. Brown has been a resident artist of Dance New Amsterdam, Movement Research, and Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and is currently Visiting Lecturer in Dance at Middlebury College.
Artistic collaborators include guest artists Trebien Pollard, Paloma McGregor, Alexandra J. Houston (DJ Phoenix), and Gabriel Grant (Nova the Camillion). Pollard, assistant professor in dance at Adelphi University, has worked with such luminary dance companies as the Martha Graham Ensemble, Pascal Rioult Dance Theater, Rebecca Stenn Co., the MET (Metropolitan Opera Ballet), Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and Pilobolus. McGregor, originally from St. Croix, is a dancer with the Urban Bush Women, co-founder of Angela’s Pulse Performance Projects, and associate artistic director of INSPIRIT dance company.
The Middlebury College students in the Company were selected by audition last September, and represent a diverse cross-section of the dance community: Sonia Hsieh '11, Christian Morel '11, Hannah Pierce '13, Jessica Lee '13, James Moore '11, and Catherine Miller '11. Sarah Chapin '12 and Davis Anderson are apprentices. Junior Dance Verret, himself from New Orleans, will document the Company’s work in Vermont and Louisiana by creating a photographic portfolio to be displayed in Middlebury in February.
Performances are on Friday January 21 and Saturday January 22 at 8:00 P.M. each evening in the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Dance Theatre. A post-performance discussion and reception will follow the Friday evening performance. These events are sponsored by the Middlebury College Dance Program and the Committee on the Arts. Tickets are $10, with discounts available for Middlebury College students, faculty/staff, alumni, and other ID card holders; on sale January 3. For information, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433 or online at http://boxoffice.middlebury.edu/index.php.
Photos Alan Kimara Dixon