January 7, 2015

Lewis Center for the Arts presents Masters of Dance Series

(Princeton, NJ)   The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance will present a series of events featuring acclaimed dancers and choreographers in January and February. Memphis jookin’ star Lil Buck and ballet dancer/director Damien Woetzel will present a master class and lecture/demonstration on January 14; choreographer Stephen Petronio will direct an open rehearsal and discuss his collaborations with visual artist Janine Antoni on January 15; and American Ballet Theater principal dancer Misty Copeland will engage in a conversation on February 16. All events are free and open to the public; some events require tickets or reservations.


lil buck and damian woetzel

Photo by Erin Baiano

Who: Memphis jookin’ dancer and the Aspen Institute Art Program’s 2014 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence, Charles “Lil Buck” Riley with ballet dancer, director, and leader of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, Damian Woetzel. Accompanied by musician and composer Cristina Pato. What/When/Where: January 14 – Master class on jookin’ for Princeton student dancers open to the public to observe at 1:30 p.m. in the Patricia and Ward Hagan ’48 Dance Studio, 185 Nassau Street, and a lecture/demonstration by Lil Buck and Woetzel at 4:30 p.m. at Frist Film/Performance Theater in Frist Campus Center. Free – To reserve a seat to observe the master class, email; for tickets to the lecture/demonstration call University Ticketing at 609-258-9220 starting January 12. In collaboration with the Aspen Institute Arts Program


Charles “Lil Buck” Riley is a dancer and master of Memphis jookin’ and the Aspen Institute Art Program’s 2014 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence. His 2011 YouTube performance of “The Swan” with cellist Yo-Yo Ma went viral and has been viewed more than 2.8 million times. He performed again with Ma at the U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture hosted by the Arts Program. Riley has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with Madonna during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show and on her MDNA tour, and in the Cirque du Soleil show Michael Jackson: One. In 2014 he was named the Wall Street Journal‘s Performing Arts Innovator of the year.

Damian Woetzel is Director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program and a producer and director of dance and music performances, including the artistic directorship of the Vail International Dance Festival. He also works with Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Project in the New York City Public Schools and is the founding director of the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works Program. Among his other recent projects was the direction of the first White House Dance Series performance, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as an arts salute to Stephen Hawking at Lincoln Center for the World Science Festival. From 1989 until his retirement from the stage in 2008, Woetzel was a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, where he had works created for him by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon, among others.

On January 14 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Lil Buck will provide a master class in jookin’ for Princeton students, which will be open to the public to observe. “Lil Buck @ Princeton: Master Class” will be held in the Patricia and Ward Hagan ’48 Dance Studio. Seating is limited with reservations required by emailing

From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. In partnership with the Aspen Institute Arts Program, “A Conversation in Words and Movement: Lil Buck and Damian Woetzel” will feature demonstrations and discussion with Buck and Woetzel, and accompaniment by their frequent collaborator Cristina Pato, as well as by Princeton student musicians. Lil Buck and Woetzel, arts advocates, educators, and friends, will also talk about being artists in the 21st century. This event is free and open to the public, however tickets are required and will be available through University Ticketing at 609-258-9220 beginning January 12.


stephen petronio

Photo courtesy Stephen Petronio

Who: Choreographer and dancer Stephen Petronio and visual artist collaborator Janine Antoni. What/When: Petronio directs Princeton students in a rehearsal of excerpts of his work, Lareigne, (which they will perform at February’s Spring Dance Festival) at 6:30 p.m. and a talk by Petronio and Antoni on their interdisciplinary collaborations at 8:00 p.m. followed by a book signing by Petronio. Where: Patricia and Ward Hagan ’48 Dance Studio, 185 Nassau St. Free and open to the public, no reservations required


On January 15 choreographer and dancer Stephen Petronio and one of his frequent collaborators, visual artist Janine Antoni, will be featured. Petronio is the artistic director of Stephen Petronio Company and the first male dancer of Trisha Brown Company. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists in many disciplines over his career. In addition to works for his company, Petronio has been commissioned by some of the world’s most prestigious modern and ballet companies, including William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt, Lyon Opera Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, the Washington Ballet, The Scottish Ballet, and National Dance Company Wales.

Antoni’s work blurs the distinction between performance art and sculpture. Transforming everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and sleeping into ways of making art, Antoni’s primary tool for making sculpture has been her own body. Antoni has had major exhibitions of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, S.I.T.E. Santa Fe, and Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.

From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Petronio will conduct a rehearsal of Princeton students who will perform excerpts of his 1994 work, Lareigne, at the Spring Dance Festival on February 20 through 22. Students have been working on the piece since September, staged by Ori Flomin, one of the members of Petronio’s company. The public is invited to observe. At 8:00 p.m. Petronio and Antoni will discuss their individual work and their recent collaborations, one of which is the video installation Honey Baby (2013) in collaboration with composer Tom Laurie and filmmaker Kirsten Johnson. The talk will be followed by a book signing of Petronio’s recent memoir, Confessions of a Motion Addict. Both events will be held in the Patricia and Ward Hagan ’48 Dance Studio at 185 Nassau Street, and are free; no reservations are required.

Photo by Gregg Delman

Photo by Gregg Delman

Who: American Ballet Theater principal dancer Misty Copeland. What: Conversation with Copeland led by Princeton dance faculty member Tina FehlandtWhen: February 16 at 4:30 p.m. Free and open to the public, but tickets required, available by calling University Ticketing at 609-258-9220 starting February 13. Cosponsored with Princeton’s Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Ballet


A month later, on February 16, ballet superstar Misty Copeland will be the focus of the series. Copeland is a popular soloist with American Ballet Theater, the third African American soloist in the company’s history. She is often described as a ballet phenom having taken her first class at the age of 13 and winning first place in the prestigious Los Angeles Spotlight awards in 1998 at the age of 15. After touring China with ABT she was asked to join the company’s corps de ballet in 2001 and in 2007 was elevated to soloist. She has received a Princess Grace Award and the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts.

In a conversation with dance faculty member Tina Fehlandt, Copeland will discuss her professional career, her struggles as an African American in the ballet world, her preparations to dance Swan Lake in American Ballet Theater’s spring season, and her new memoir, Life in Motion. A book signing will follow the discussion, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. in McCosh 50, McCosh Hall, on the Princeton campus. Cosponsors of this event in the series include Princeton’s Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Ballet. The talk is free, but tickets are required, available through University Ticketing at 609-258-9220 beginning February 13.

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