March 21, 2024

Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance presents Spring Dance Festival: Resonance

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University presents the Spring Dance Festival: Resonance, a dance concert premiering six new works. The concert will include two group pieces by seniors Isabel Kingston and Sanghyun “Chris” Park; a new duet choreographed by Gabrielle Lamb performed by seniors Laura Haubold and Vivian Li; a new solo work by Benjamin Akio Kimitch performed by senior Julia Zhou; a new solo work by Brian Brooks performed by senior Haley Baird-Dibble; and a new solo work by Kenichi Kasamatsu performed by senior Zi Liu. The festival includes works in contemporary Chinese dance, ballet, hip-hop, and contemporary dance.

Two dancers partially recline on ground with one leg extended into the air.

Seniors Vivian Li (left) and Laura Haubold in rehearsal for a new contemporary ballet duet choreographed by guest artist Gabrielle Lamb. Photo credit: Felicity Audet

Performances are on Friday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 30 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. at the Hearst Dance Theater in the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. The Hearst Dance Theater is an accessible venue with wheelchair and companion seating in the front row. The March 29 performance will be open-captioned. An assistive listening system is available. Guests in need of other access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at least one week in advance at Performances are free and open to the public with tickets available through University Ticketing.

Tinieblas, choreographed by senior Isabel Kingston and translated from Spanish to mean “shadows, duskiness, or murk,” conveys a darkness that is inescapable. At the same time, in its lack of totality, there is a prayer, a shaft of light piercing into a shuttered room. The piece asks: if dawn comes, what might it illuminate? Kingston is pursuing an A.B. in comparative literature and certificates in dance and Latin American studies. She began tap dancing at the age of five and later began pursuing other styles such as contemporary, ballet, jazz, and her favorite genre, jazz-funk. For the Program in Dance, she has performed in works by Zvi Gotheiner, Chris Ralph, Germaine Acogny, Michael J. Love, Jonathan Golden, and Molly Gibbons.

Vol. II is a new dance work by senior Sanghyun “Chris” Park that is an exploration into the cyclical nature of life aspirations, or dreams. Park notes the piece “embodies the (ir)rational quality of human experience through catharsis and calculation.” Park is from the Republic of Korea and is pursuing an A.B. in economics (math track) and certificates in political economy and dance. He began dancing at the age of 17 in modern dance through the Horton technique and a focus on floorwork. Within the Dance Program, he has performed works by Abby Zbikowski, Yasmine Eichbaum, Kyle Marshall, Davalois Fearon, and Gigi Pacheco.

Frequent guest choreographer and visiting faculty member Brian Brooks has created a new solo, Profile, for senior Haley Baird-Dibble. Midway through the creative process, outside of the studio in an unfortunate pedestrian accident, Baird-Dibble broke her foot. Rather than cancel the project, a decision was made to create an entirely new dance to support the senior’s recovery and allow for her full participation in the performance. The resulting dance is set to a dynamic percussive score with uneven rhythms reinforcing a sense of impatience. Movement is bound within the space of a single chair with unexpected shifts of force and intention. Baird-Dibble is a concentrator in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and pursing a certificate in dance. Growing up in Minnesota, she started dancing at the age of two and trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. At Princeton, she has previously performed in a restaging of Closing Distance by Brooks and in four student choreographed projects.

Brooks is a Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography, recently completed a Mellon Foundation Creative Artist Research Fellowship at the University of Washington, and three years as the first-ever Choreographer-in-Residence at Chicago’s Harris Theater for Music and Dance, creating dances for Hubbard Street Dance, Miami City Ballet, and others. His New York City-based group, the Moving Company, has been presented by venues including The Joyce Theater, New York City Center, and BAM’s Next Wave Festival. From 2012-2019, Brooks created multiple duet productions in which he performed alongside New York City Ballet Associate Artistic Director and former principal dancer Wendy Whelan. He has also choreographed several off-Broadway productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), directed by Julie Taymor, and Pericles (2016), directed by Trevor Nunn. In conjunction with his extensive teaching, he has created dances for schools including Rutgers University, The Juilliard School, Boston Conservatory, and Ballet Tech, as well as Princeton, and was a Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence at Princeton in both 2019-20 and 2022-23. In summer 2024, he will be teaching his new ChoreoTech Lab at The School at Jacob’s Pillow, which integrates choreographic practices with new technologies including augmented reality.

Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence Gabrielle Lamb has choreographed Tic-Toc-Choc, a contemporary ballet work for seniors Laura Haubold and Vivian Li. This duet of dichotomies emphasizes the dancers’ contrasting, yet complementary, qualities. An “orange section,” showcasing speed and intricacy, creates a mood of friendly competition. This is followed by a “blue section” that is more tender and sets a mood of wistfulness. Two enigmatically titled works by the French Baroque composer François Couperin – “Tic-Toc-Choc” and “Les Ombres Errantes” – set the scene for these two atmospheres. Haubold is majoring in molecular biology and pursuing certificates in Italian and dance. She is originally from the U.K., where she began her dance training at her local studio and at the Royal Ballet School. In the Dance Program, she has performed works by Justin Peck, Bill T. Jones, Amy Hall Garner, Caili Quan, Peter Chu, Rebecca Lazier, and Olivier Tarpaga, and she has played the cello to accompany fellow student dance works. Li is a neuroscience concentrator from Rochester, New York, pursuing a certificate in dance. She has been dancing since the age of three, training at Oakville Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet. In the Program in Dance, she has performed in works choreographed by Caili Quan, Rebecca Lazier, and Silas Riener and student choreographers Jared Harbour, Michael Garcia, and Olivia Buckhorn.

Lamb is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and director of New York City-based Pigeonwing Dance, described by The New Yorker as “eccentric…playful…curious.” Her work has also been presented by the American Ballet Theatre Incubator, the New York Choreographic Institute (affiliate of New York City Ballet), the MIT Museum, BalletX, the Juilliard School, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet Collective, Whim W’HIM, Jacob’s Pillow, and Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center. She has won fellowships and competitions at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet, and the Banff Centre, as well as the S&R Foundation’s Washington Award and a Princess Grace Award. Lamb was a longtime soloist at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, later performing with Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and Pontus Lidberg Dance in New York. She has been lauded by Dance Magazine as “a dancer of stunning clarity who illuminates the smallest details—qualities she brings to the dances she makes, too.” Lamb’s upcoming commissions include the Savannah Music Festival, New York Theatre Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet – as well as “Rising,” a live music and dance collaboration with composer Robert Sirota and the Grammy-nominated Neave Trio. Lamb is a Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence in the Program in Dance this semester.

Time is a Mother is a new solo work by guest choreographer Kenichi Kasamatsu created for senior Zi Liu that is inspired by the story of Liu’s mother, exploring the dynamics of home, longing, and hope for immigrant parents and their children. Liu is majoring in sociology and pursuing a certificate in dance. She has been dancing since the age of three and has trained in a number of genres from modern to hip-hop. In the Dance Program she has performed works by Kyle Marshall, Omari Wiles, and Sun Kim.

Kasamatsu is a working dancer, teacher, and choreographer in New York City. As a dancer, he has worked with renowned choreographers such as Keone and Mari, Nappytabs, and Kyle Hanagami, among others. As a result, he has been on stage and in video shoots with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Daddy Yankee, BANKS, and Mark Ronson. His most recent work includes his first two full-length shows with akompany, one, two, three. and kazoku, featuring original choreography and sound. Over the years, he has also choreographed for numerous music videos and live performances internationally. Kasamatsu teaches regularly at Peridance Capezio Center and Broadway Dance Center and travels nationally to teach at various conventions and workshops, also teaching internationally in Mexico, China, Peru, Japan, and Thailand.

Guest artist Benjamin Akio Kimitch has choreographed a new solo work for senior Julia Zhou. Mountains and Dust honors the experimental developments within non-western dance forms and applies them to new forms and mediums. Zhou is concentrating in East Asian studies and pursuing certificates in dance and history and practice of diplomacy. She began studying classical and ethnic Chinese Dance with the Xuejuan Dance Ensemble in 2020. At Princeton she began exploring contemporary dance performing works by Merce Cunningham reimagined by Silas Riener, Mark Morris reimagined by Tina Fehlandt, and fellow senior Ethan Luk.

Kimitch is an artist and producer living in Brooklyn, New York. He is the recipient of a three-year Mertz Gilmore Foundation Dancer Award and a 2023 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Choreographer/Creator. His recent dance works include Tiger Hands at The Shed as part of Open Call 2022 and Ko-bu at The Noguchi Museum and Danspace Project. His recent artistic residencies include the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University, Movement Research Artist-in-Residence, and The Kitchen Dance and Process. In 2023, he began an ongoing U.S./Japan research project with choreographer Yasuko Yokoshi. Alongside his artistic practice, Kimitch is a producer for Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center.

The Program in Dance, now in its 53rd year, has grown to include five full-time and nine adjunct faculty and offers 23 different courses serving more than 400 students each year and a curriculum that includes introductory courses, courses suited for dancers at the pre-professional level, as well as courses in dance studies and interdisciplinary contemporary practices. Seniors earning a certificate in dance (similar to a minor) undertake a course of study and performance, co-curricular classes, technical hours, and an independent project such as choreographing a new work, performing a new or repertory work by a professional guest choreographer or faculty member, or a work of dance scholarship. Resonance represents these seniors’ work in pursuit of a certificate. They are joined by five other seniors who presented or are presenting original choreographic works in other performances this semester: Olivia Buckhorn, Mei Geller, Ethan Luk, Jasmine Rivers, and Storm Stokes.

Visit the Lewis Center website to learn more about this event, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and the more than 100 public performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, lectures, and special events presented by the Lewis Center each year, most of them free.

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