April 16, 2001

Post-modern dancer Nancy Stark Smith to debut new work

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.--World-renowned post-modern dancer Nancy Stark Smith, in collaboration with composer Mike Vargas and dancers Ray Schwarz and Claudio Garrido, will present a new work titled "When" at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at the Middlebury College Center for the Arts Dance Theatre on South Main Street (Route 30).

The evening will include contact improvisation, a duet form of dance motivated by the play of physical forces between dancers in almost constant physical contact. The music will be anchored by the sound of the piano, which Vargas has been studying for 40 years. For the last 25 years, veteran improvisers Smith and Vargas have each been refining the art of instant composition-a collaborative art form which relies heavily on awareness, flexibility and tight structures.

"When" is the latest fruit of an artistic partnership between Smith and Vargas that started in 1994. The focus of the work is on proportion, timing and the balance between composing in advance and spontaneous creation. For their material, the dancers will draw from many styles, disciplines and body therapies, and will take advantage of a variety of possible relationships between movement and sound.

Since 1972, Smith has been one of the seminal figures in the development of contact improvisation. She has traveled the world teaching and performing this dance form and related new work. In 1975 she cofounded Contact Quarterly, an international dance and improvisation journal, which she continues to coedit and produce.

Vargas, who trained as a classical musician, but has a very broad taste in styles, has specialized in making music for dance. Since 1983, he has composed close to 100 commissioned dance scores for a variety of choreographers across the country. He is music director of the Middlebury College dance department for the current spring semester.

Tickets are $5 for general admission and $4 for senior citizens. For information and reservations, call the Center for the Arts box office at 802-443-6433.