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Elizabeth Shea
IU Contemporary Dance

Tracy James
IU Communications

Last modified: Friday, December 14, 2012

Indiana University Dance Theatre's annual concert infused with 'Global Perspectives'

WHAT: "Global Perspectives," celebrating dances and universal themes from around the globe with Indiana University Dance Theatre, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary. The Annual Faculty and Guest Artist Concert is presented by the IU Dance Theatre and produced by the IU Departments of Kinesiology and Theatre and Drama.
WHO: Featuring Bill Evans' "Rite of Summer," David Parsons' "Nascimento Novo" and traditional Chinese folk dances staged by visiting professor Ma Gulandanmu, with new dances by IU faculty members.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 and 12, family matinee at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 12.
WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theater, 275 N. Jordan Ave., Bloomington.
TICKETS: Advance: $20 for adults, $10 for children, seniors and IU students with ID. Tickets at the door: $25 for adults, $15 for children, seniors and IU students with ID. The family matinee features a shorter program. Advance tickets: $5 for adults and IU students, $2 for children and seniors. Tickets at the door: $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. Call IU Box Office at 812-855-1103.
PRE-CONCERT TALK: 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. in the Neal-Marshall Grand Hall off the theater lobby. New Frontiers in Digital Dance Archiving of David Parson's Nascimento Novo on Jan. 11; Chinese Dance and Modern Dance, a Global Collaboration, on Jan. 12.

Jan. 2, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A uniquely American art form takes a global turn during the Indiana University Dance Theatre's Annual Faculty and Guest Artist Concert, where student dancers will interpret influences from Brazil, Japan, China and the African Diaspora along with such universal themes as marriage and women's rights.

IU dancers perform Bill Evans' 'Rite of Summer'

IU dancers perform Bill Evans' 'Rite of Summer'

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"Global Perspectives," performed Jan. 11 and 12 in the Ruth N. Halls Theater in Bloomington, features works by influential modern dance choreographers David Parsons and Bill Evans and visiting professor Ma Gulandanmu, along with original pieces by IU faculty choreographers Elizabeth Shea, Selene Carter, Iris Rosa and George Pinney.

"Our annual concert is a real celebration of not just American modern dance but global approaches, as well," said Shea, director of IU Contemporary Dance in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. "It's an extremely diverse concert, with something for everyone -- very accessible and uplifting. As always, our dancers are beautiful and perform with great skill and maturity."

Like other uniquely American art forms, such as jazz music and tap dance, modern dance emerged in the United States as a reflection of the great diversity of traditions and cultures that are indigenous to this country, as well as the political/social climate of the early 20th century, Shea said. As the influence of modern dance spreads to other countries, it can be seen in such forms as contemporary ballet in Europe and new approaches to the traditional social dances of many world cultures.

The IU dancers examine the universal theme of marriage in Bill Evans' dark and dream-like "Rite of Summer." Shea describes David Parsons' "Nascimento Novo" as a "love song" from the choreographer to the music of Brazilian composer Milton Nascimento.

IU dance majors Lalah Hazelwood and Shannon Kazan perform in David Parsons' 'Nascimento Novo'

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"The music," Shea said, "involves unique instruments and sounds, and provides a rich background for the beautiful and intense physical movements of the dance."

There's nothing contemporary about the three traditional Chinese folk dances the IU dancers learned from Ma. She said she chose the hair dance, fan dance and Tibetan dance because they are representative of the country's varied ethnicities and a dance history that has evolved over thousands of years.

While studying modern dance technique and pedagogy in the contemporary dance program, Ma, who is visiting from Shanghai Sport University, has given presentations to classes, groups on campus and professional associations. She has particularly enjoyed the improvisation classes, where students perform dances at various locations on campus, making up the moves as they interact with their environment.

Shea said her new choreographic work, "All Into My Arms," was influenced by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," which reports on the tragedies and abuses women face around the world. Her two-part piece begins with an intimate duet followed by ensemble work and focuses on solidarity and mutual support.

"The most amazing thing about the book and the accompanying PBS documentary is the optimism and empowerment many victims exhibit, even in the face of extreme life conditions," Shea said.

The faculty choreographers include Carter, lecturer and dance historian in the School of Public Health's Department of Kinesiology; Rosa, director of the African American Dance Company; and Pinney, professor and head of musical theatre in the College of Arts and Science's Department of Theatre and Drama.

Pinney's "The Kiss" explores the heartache of falling in love with two people knowing that a choice will finally have to be made.

"This universal theme has been well explored in literature, music, plays, musicals and art, as well as lawsuits and civil courts," Pinney said. "I believe it is human nature to be attracted to others. Society sets the rules. And, perhaps, that is why there has been so much written, danced and painted on this theme."

Carter's work is based on a theatrical pre-World War II Japanese storytelling practice called Kamishibai, which would influence later media forms such as anime, comic books and early television. She combines this storytelling technique with artistic contributions from visual artists Amy Burrell and Jay Garst to explore movement ideas drawn from the famous romantic ballet "Coppelia."

"It's fantastic to be able to present such a diverse array of choreography and performances -- spanning many centuries and including dances and shared experiences from all over the world -- to the Bloomington community," Shea said.

For more information, contact Shea at 812-855-7020 or