Spring Dance Concert Features Work by Tony Winning Choreographer George Faison

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Department of Dance will present a Spring Concert April 14-17 in Anne R. Belk Theater in Robinson Hall. Among the works on the program is Suite Otis, choreographed by the Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison.

Faison is a former dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the choreographer of more than two dozen Broadway musicals, including The Wiz, for which he became the first African American to win a Tony Award in 1975. A modern dance classic created in 1971, Suite Otis is a collection of dances set to songs by Otis Redding. Faison came to UNC Charlotte in December to audition students for Suite Otis, returning in January to coach them. He will be present for the Spring Dance Concert performances. Rachel Tucker, a lecturer in the Department of Dance, has served as the rehearsal coach.

Soulful music is also at the heart of Jackie’s Lullaby, a new work by guest choreographer Christal Brown.  Set to songs by Charles Bradley, Nina Simone, and Earth, Wind and Fire, Jackie’s Lullaby is dedicated to Brown’s mother and was commissioned for UNC Charlotte students. Brown is a former principal dancer with Urban Bush Women and is currently the chair of the dance department at Middlebury College in Vermont and artistic director of the dance troupe INSPIRIT. She came to UNC Charlotte for two week-long residencies in January to work with students.

Also on the program is choreography by UNC Charlotte faculty. Sybil Huskey’s One Hundred Random Specific Points was inspired by Caroline Shaw’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning a cappella score, Partita, which was inspired by the written instructions given by conceptual artist, Sol LeWitt, for his Wall Drawing #305. In the dance-making process, the participants physically interpreted the textual and musical images and structured them in relationship to Shaw’s composition. The piece was built according to LeWitt’s notions of “process being integral to the art” and “art by democracy.”

Unconquered in Solidarity XVI, a new work choreographed by Kim Jones, is a five-section piece inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis that explores themes of risk, isolation, adversity, and alliance. A reprise from the 2015 Spring Concert, Jones’s Mauri – Breath of Life reflects elements of traditional Maori culture and will be performed by dancers from Northwest School of the Arts.

Karen Hubbard created Into the Cipher in collaboration with Philadelphia-based street dance artist Teena Marie Custer, who, like Faison and Brown, visited campus earlier in the semester to work with students. It fuses the past with the present through authentic African Diasporic forms: vintage jazz dance from the mid-20th century and contemporary hip hop styles, including locking, popping, waacking, and house.

Performances are April 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 pm and April 17 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $18 for general admission; $12 for UNC Charlotte faculty, staff and alumni; $10 for seniors; and $8 for students. Tickets can be purchased by calling 704-687-1849 or online.