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Ellen Smith

Dance program to feature Vermont choreographers May 1 and 2

May 1, 2009

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present its spring dance concert, "A Vermont Collection," on Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2, at 8 p.m. in the Kevin P. Mahaney '85 Center for the Arts Dance Theatre.

The performance is an eclectic collection of new works from faculty and guest artists and features a piece choreographed by Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Tiffany Rhynard and a solo from Middlebury College Artist-in-Residence Leyya Tawil. Guest choreographers include Ellen Smith, a 2005 Middlebury graduate, and Paul Besaw, Clare Byrne and other dancers from the University of Vermont.

Rhynard's piece, titled "Shiny," features ten first-year and sophomore students from Middlebury College and highlights the array of talent and movement experience that exemplifies the dance program at Middlebury.
Tawil will be performing the first draft of a solo entitled "mercy starts now," which is the closing work of the "Saints and Angels Series" she has been developing since 2007. Smith will present a solo piece, titled "recession special." Working with text and movement, she traverses a sea of paper boats and airplanes. 

Besaw will present "Jumping in cold feet first," a piece for ten female UVM students. The music is by J.S. Bach - two arias from Cantata No. 51 "Jauchzet Gott In Allen Landen." Besaw uses the musical structure to create a realm of quick decision-making and constant change that ultimately leads to fatigue and reflection. Byrne will present the latest in the episodes she has been creating involving the alter ego White Witch, a shape-shifting bedeviling presence who performs ritual destructions and communion-sharing with personified food, including French bread and cupcakes. In this latest iteration, "From the North," the Witch becomes the offering herself.

The Middlebury College Mahaney Center for the Arts is located on South Main Street (Route 30). Reserved seating tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for faculty/staff/seniors, and $5 for students. Online tickets and information are available at  or by calling or visiting the box office at 802-443-6433.