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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S SCHOOL OF DANCE PRESENTS 2012 MASON DANCE COMPANY GALA CONCERT

March 7, 2012
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL OF DANCE

PRESENTS

2012 MASON DANCE COMPANY GALA CONCERT

George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall

Friday, March 30, 2012 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 8 p.m.

 

Featuring

“Swing Shift” by David Parsons

Premiere of “Full Circle” by Christopher d’Amboise

“Bedtime” by Mark Morris

“D-Man in the Waters” by Bill T. Jones

 

FAIRFAX, Va., March 7, 2012—The Mason Dance Company will perform its 2012 Gala Concert at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 8 p.m. This eagerly anticipated annual event showcases four beautiful works of contemporary choreography performed by Mason’s repertory company of young, skillful dancers at the start of their professional careers. The exciting program features “Swing Shift” by David Parsons, performed in honor of George Mason University President Alan Merten and Sally Merten, as well as works by Christopher d’Amboise, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones.

The program begins with David Parsons’ “Swing Shift,” of which the company will perform the final two sections. The choreography celebrates popular dance moves of the sock-hopping, swing-dancing era of the mid-20th century. Performed to music composed by Kenji Bunch, “Swing Shift” is an intimate, intricate dance for four couples that is often spirited and energetic, and at times, quite sensual and passionate.

            As the founder and artistic director of Parsons Dance, David Parsons has created more than 80 works for his company; collaborated with such artists as John Corrigliani, Dave Matthews, Robert Rauschenberg and Julie Taymor; and has completed commercial work for such clients as Audi, Mercedes and Chevrolet. His prolific career includes commissions from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, American Dance Festival, New York City Ballet and Paul Taylor Dance Company, where he was a leading dancer from 1978 to 1987.

The Mason Dance Company premieres Christopher d’Amboise’s “Full Circle,” described by the choreographer as a “modern/ballet Pas de Trois for two women and one man using abstract vocabulary and images to explore themes of limits, boundaries and the tendency to interpolate an obstacle as a self-defining truth.” This elegant work is set to the second movement of Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Philip Glass.

            Christopher d’Amboise’s career spans the roles of dancer, choreographer, playwright and educator. d’Amboise was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and later served as the artistic director, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Ballet. He also earned a Tony nomination for his appearance in the Broadway production of “Song and Dance.” His television appearances include the Kennedy Center Honors, “Live from Studio 8H” and the Emmy Award-winning documentary, “He Makes Me Feel Like Dancing.” A Heritage Professor in Mason’s School of Dance, d’Amboise has also taught numerous master classes and workshops at universities and schools across the globe, in addition to developing outreach and community programs.

The program continues with Mark Morris’ “Bedtime,” a profound work that explores sleep and death. The choreography juxtaposes three standing figures, three sleeping figures and one spirit adorned in gold. The work is set to three pieces by Franz Schubert: “Wiegenlied, D498,” “Ständchen, D920” and “Erlkönig, D328.”

The recipient of the 2007 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Mark Morris has created more than 120 works for his company, Mark Morris Dance group; received commissions from such prestigious ensembles as the American Ballet Theatre and Paris Opera Ballet; and directed and choreographed operas for the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera. From 1988-1991, he directed the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, where he created such works as “The Hard Nut,” “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” and “Dido and Aeneas.” Morris also co-founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1990. Two current members of the Mark Morris Dance Group, Rita Donahue (B.F.A., 2002) and William Smith III (B.F.A., 2007), are alumni of Mason’s School of Dance.

The Mason Dance Company concludes the evening with a reconstruction of Part I of Bill T. Jones’ “D-Man in the Waters.” A New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award-winning work, “D-Man in the Waters” is set to Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20. The uplifting choreography celebrates life and the triumph of the human spirit. This stunning work was featured in PBS’s landmark film “Dancing in the Light – Six Dances by African-American Choreographers.”

The career of Bill T. Jones boasts numerous accolades and his many awards include a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award, two Tony Awards, the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, the 2010 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award and multiple Bessie Awards, and he was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2010. After studying classical ballet and modern dance at the State University of New York at Binghamton, Jones formed the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company with his late partner, Arnie Zane. He later merged the company with the Dance Theater Workshop to create New York Live Arts, of which he became executive artistic director in 2010. Jones has created more than 140 works for his company and has received commissions to create works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Boston Ballet, among others.

For further program information, please call the School of Dance at (703) 993-1114 or visit dance.gmu.edu.

 

Tickets to the 2012 Mason Dance Company Gala Concert are $20 for adults; $12 for students, staff and seniors; and $10 for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets, please visit the Center for the Arts Box Office, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visitcfa.gmu.edu. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visitcfa.gmu.edu.

 

About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

 

About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.