February 4, 2015

Lewis Center for the Arts presents annual Spring Dance Festival

Exciting program of dances by Jodie Gates, Zvi Gotheiner, Susan Marshall, and Stephen Petronio, and new works by Marjani Forté and David Neumann

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance presents the 2015 Spring Dance Festival, a dance concert showcasing more than 50 students performing repertory by distinguished, internationally renowned choreographers Jodie Gates, Zvi Gotheiner, Susan Marshall, and Stephen Petronio, and premieres of new works by Marjani Forté and David Neumann. The Festival will be presented on Friday, February 20, at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, February 21, at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, February 22, at 1:00 p.m. at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton.

male dancers

Photo by MT Simao

Excerpts from Angle of Incidence choreographed by Jodie Gates have been staged by Jennifer Lott. Gates describes the piece as inspired by the circular momentum and looping motions within the traditional balletic vocabulary. In scientific terms, “angle of incidence” relates to angles made by the reflection of light on a surface. This ballet often deviates from straight angles in a thoughtful yet playful way.

Gates is director and vice dean of University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and director and founder of the Laguna Dance Festival. Her work is influenced by the endless possibilities of deconstructing the classical ballet form and utilizing musical counterpoint. She has had a 25-year career as a featured versatile performer, dancing as a principal ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and as an international guest artist.

Lott has assisted Gates with the creation of new works for Tulsa Ballet and Kansas City Ballet and will stage Gate’s Keep Me Wishing in the Dark at Sacramento Ballet this spring. She is a member of Gibney Dance Company in New York City.

Excerpts from Dabke by Israeli chorographer Zvi Gotheiner is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional Middle Eastern folk dance. Dabke, translated from Arabic as “stomping of the feet,” is now the national dance of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine, and Israelis have their own version. It is a line dance, traditionally only danced by men, often performed at weddings, holidays and community celebrations.

Gotheiner is the director of New York–based ZviDance, which has performed at The Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, New York Live Arts, and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, as well as toured across North America to festivals such as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and The American Dance Festival, and abroad to Germany, Poland, Russia, Israel, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Japan. He is a recipient of two New York Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowships and The National Arts Club Weiselberg Award. He has received commissions from Zurich Tanz Theater, Utah’s Repertory Dance Theater, Colloquium Contemporary Dance Exchange, the American Dance Festival, and The Joyce Theater’s Altogether Different series.

Luke Miller will stage excerpts from Susan Marshall’s Name by Name, a work commissioned in 2007 by The Juilliard School specifically to fill its need for a dance for a large cast of women students.Marshall dedicates the work to her mother, the noted feminist Beverly Jones. It will be performed by a cast of 15 women.

Marshall is director of the Program in Dance at Princeton and has created the vast majority of her dances for and with her dance group Susan Marshall & Company. The nationally and internationally touring company also performs in its home city of New York City, most frequently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, but also at Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts), The Kitchen, the Baryshnikov Art Center, and The Joyce Theater. Marshall, her artistic partners, and her company members have received ten New York Dance and Performance Awards (BESSIES) for their work together. Outside the company, Marshall has created works for the Lyon Opera Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Marshall’s work with Philip Glass includes the stage direction of Book of Longing, and the choreography and direction of Les Enfants Terribles, a dance opera. A 2000 recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, Marshall has received numerous other awards, including three of the above mentioned BESSIES for Outstanding Choreographic Achievement, a Dance Magazine Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an American Choreographer Award.

Miller is also a BESSIE Award-winning artist and a member of Susan Marshall & Company since 2003. He collaborated with Marshall on the creation of seven works including the recent Play/Pause and has set the company’s repertory on numerous universities and professional companies. He is also a choreographer.

Students will also perform excerpts from Stephen Petronio’s 1996 work, Lareigne, staged by Ori Flomin. The title, Lareigne, is a play on the French word for “The Queen” and on Petronio’s mother’s name, Lorraine.

Petronio’s career as a choreographer and dancer spans 30 years. He was the first male dancer of the Trisha Brown Company (1979 to 1986) before forming his own company in 1984. Stephen Petronio Dance Company has performed in 26 countries throughout the world, including over 35 New York City engagements with 18 seasons at The Joyce Theater. Petronio has created over 35 works for his company and has been commissioned by some of the world’s most prestigious modern and ballet companies. He has received numerous accolades, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, an American Choreographer Award, and a New York Dance and Performance (BESSIE) Award. Petronio has recently published a memoir, Confessions of a Motion Addict.

Flomin danced for Stephen Petronio Dance Company from 1991 to 1999 and served as assistant to the artistic director from 2005 to 2009. He continues to stage Petronio’s work internationally on companies and schools.

Marjani Forté has created CUSP, a dance in collaboration with her diverse cast of student dancers that draws on the students’ own personal experiences. “We’ve spent the past semester investigating some of the most personal, dissonant, fissures of ourselves, with the hope that where we find brokenness, there might also lie opportunities to simply go beyond the surface,” notes Forté.

Forté toured as a performer with Urban Bush Women Dance Company for five years and is co-founder with Nia Love of Love/Forté, A Collective. She received a 2014 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award for new work commissioned by Los Angeles-based dance company Contra Tiempo. Forté’s work has been presented by Danspace Project, the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh, Movement Research at Judson Church, McKenna Museum of African American Arts in New Orleans, Harlem Stage, Dance New Amsterdam, The Pillsbury Theatre in Minneapolis, Spelman College, Pomona College, and Hunter College City University of New York. Forté has worked in residence at Dance Theatre Workshop, Movement Research, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and Dance Place and will begin a New York Live Arts Studio Series Residency in 2015.

group of dancers

Photo by MT Simao

Knee Play, created by David Neumann in collaboration with student dancers, is an interdisciplinary work inspired in part by Einstein on the Beach, the opera created by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. Knee Play is a re-imagining and re-arranging of the source materials used for the opera.

Neumann is artistic director of Advanced Beginner Group and has presented his work in New York City at Baryshnikov Art Center, P.S. 122, The Kitchen, Central Park Summerstage and New York Live Arts, among others. His collaborations include a duet created with Mikhail Baryshnikov and a work created with composer Laurie Anderson. He has been a member of Doug Varone and Dancers, a founding member of the Doug Elkins Dance Company, and a featured dancer in the works of Susan Marshall, Jane Comfort, Sally Silvers, Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar’s Big Dance Theatre, and club legend Willi Ninja. Straddling the worlds of theater and dance, he recently choreographed An Octoroon at Soho Rep and directed Geoff Sobelle’s Object Lesson at BAM’s Fisher Space. Neumann and Advanced Beginner Group will be premiering a new work, I Understand Everything Better, at the Abrons Arts Center in New York City this coming April.

“This year’s program presents an extremely diverse range of choreographic styles. It’s thrilling to see our students meet the great variety of technical and dramatic challenges presented by this rich collection of work,” states Susan Marshall, Director of the Program in Dance.

The student dancers have been learning, rehearsing and creating these works with the choreographers and stagers since September, following a rigorous audition and placement process.

The Berlind Theatre is an accessible venue. Assistive listening devices are available upon request when attending a performance, and large print programs may be requested in advance. Patrons in need of other access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at 609.258.5262 or for assistance at least two weeks prior to the selected performance.

Reserved seating tickets for the Spring Dance Festival are $15, $10 for students and seniors, and are available through the McCarter box office at 609.258.2787 or on-line, through Princeton University Ticketing by calling 609.258.9220 or on-line, or at the Frist Campus Center Ticket Office. Tickets will also be available at the Berlind Theatre box office prior to each performance.

Press Contact

Steve Runk
Director of Communications