Contact: Sarah Ray firstname.lastname@example.org March 17, 2004
MIDDLEBURY, Vt.?The Dance Company of Middlebury has been selected to represent the New England region at the National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., June 1-3. The seven-member ensemble will perform "As You Are," a dance piece choreographed by Middlebury College guest artist Paul Matteson, a 2000 graduate of Middlebury who was himself a winner of the Outstanding Young Choreographer's award at the same national festival in l996.
The Dance Company of Middlebury's performance of "As You Are" was selected for the national festival following the American College Dance Festival Association's (ACDFA) New England competition at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., Feb. 25-28. At the regional event, judges watched dancers from 35 participating schools perform 50 dances before selecting 11 of the pieces for a concluding gala performance. Of these 11 works, three will represent the New England region at the Kennedy Center event. Along with the Dance Company of Middlebury, dance groups from Harvard and Temple universities will perform winning pieces.
At the regional festival in February, each college was permitted to present two choreographed works?one by a student and one by a faculty or guest artist?which were judged by three professional artists: Bebe Miller of Bebe Miller Dance Company; Larry Lavender of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Department of Dance; and Robert Battle of Battleworks Dance Company.
The judges praised "As You Are," calling it "a dance that has a sense of its own design and attends to small details, with no extraneous matter," and added, "It lets you see both the dancers and the people doing the dancing."
Ben Brouwer, a Middlebury College senior, choreographed and performed a solo work, "First Flights," with music by Benjamin Britten. Brouwer's performance was described by the judges as embodying "a curious and inventive creaturehoood-a truth dance." Like Matteson's "As You Are," Brouwer's piece was one of the 11 dances selected for inclusion in the regional festival's gala performance.
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Dance Company of Middlebury to perform at Kennedy Center/page 2
Other Middlebury College student dancers who performed in the festival were seniors Jenelle Slavin, Ellen Smith, Julia Basso and Kate Stamper; junior Colin Penley; sophomores Kate Elias and Hannah Giles; and first-year student Sharyn Korey. In the gala performance of Matteson's piece, Korey replaced Smith, who was unable to attend the entire event.
The Dance Company of Middlebury is under the artistic direction of Middlebury College Professor of Dance Andrea Olsen, who chose dance company members through auditions in September 2003. Company members learned pieces, including "As You Are," choreographed by five guest artists, and performed them at December, January and February dance concerts. "As You Are" features music by British recording artist Baby Bird, costumes by dancer, choreographer and 1994 Middlebury graduate Lisa Gonzales, and lighting by Middlebury College Light Designer and Technical Director of Dance Jennifer Ponder.
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