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Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers to share athletic flair and gravity-defying techniques while in residence at Middlebury College

October 20, 2005

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Fans of modern dance will have the rare opportunity to experience the gravity-defying physical extremes of New York-based Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers when the troupe is in residency at Middlebury College Wednesday though Saturday, Nov. 2-5. 

Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers

The highlight of the group's stay will be two performances beginning at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4 and 5, in the Dance Theatre at the Center for the Arts. Young and Thomas will perform with the company their highly acclaimed work, "Rein, Bellow," featuring their signature athletic and sensuous partnering, both on the floor and suspended in mid-air in harnesses. A premiere of their new work "Ripe for Hysteria" will examine the private and public personas of the dancers and includes live projection video.

Prior to the performances, Young will conduct several free events, beginning with an intermediate-advanced dance technique class on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 2:30 p.m. On Thursday, Nov. 3, at 9:30 a.m., Young will lead an advanced beginning technique class. Additionally, on Thursday at 12:20 p.m., Young will share a dance lecture and demonstration titled, "Contemporary Dance - International Perspectives." All three of these events will take place in the Dance Theatre.  Attendees are welcome to bring lunch or buy it at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts.

A recipient of Guggenheim and New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Awards, Young began his dance career by exploring contact improvisation while studying music at Oberlin College. After moving from San Francisco to New York, he started his own company, Bill Young and Dancers, in 1988. Known for his emotional range and power, he has since taken his very physical brand of contemporary choreography and movement around the world, creating new works with dance companies and building a diverse group of dancers in the process.

Thomas collaborates on works for the company and also is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Barnard College and at Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus.

New York City's Village Voice has hailed Young's style and approach as groundbreaking. "Some tasks are daring, others eccentric," a Voice reviewer noted. The Washington Post called the dancers' performances "fierce and fluent." "Nothing in Young's works is generalized; the sensuality, the tenderness, the use of adventure seem intrinsic to the movement and anchored to life," the reviewer observed.

Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers do much of their work in residency, traveling around the world to interact with dance students and create and share new works. The group most recently spent time at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. Earlier this year, the ensemble did a residency in Lima, Peru, working with about a dozen dance companies. The group also performed at New York University's Tisch Dance Summer Festival, at the University of Illinois, and with the Zenon Dance Company in Minneapolis for the premiere of "Ripe for Hysteria."

The Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers residency and performances are sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series and the Middlebury College Dance Program.

Tickets for the performances are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors. For tickets, call the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433. Online tickets and information about the performances and residency events are available at