UK Theatre and Dance returns ‘Home’ with spring dance concert
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance kicks off the 2024 spring semester with their 13th annual dance concert, “Home,” Feb. 2-4, in the Guignol Theatre.
“We’ve returned home. Home to the studio, to the theatre, to creating, sweating, dancing and witnessing the magic of movement,” said Susie Thiel, director of UK’s dance program. “‘Home’ provides a venue for students to perform faculty, guest artist and student choreography, which embraces various forms. UK Dance celebrates Home as verb, not a concept.”
The five works on the program include Irish step dance, contemporary ballet, hip-hop, modern and dance theatre.
Thiel created a new dance theatre work in collaboration with eight dance students.
“The dance is presented in a series of short vignettes discussing women’s rights and issues past to present,” says Thiel. “It is told from the perspective of the cast of women students, 18 to 22 years old. This population is often not given an opportunity to discuss their thoughts on women’s issues in a public arena. What is unique about the dance is that the soundscape is created solely from the dancers on the stage, through instrument playing, speaking, and singing bodies. Connected to the concert title ‘Home,’ the women performers feel that there is nothing closer to ‘home’ than the belief that women rights ARE human rights.”
Guest artists Chris and Ama Law, creators of Project Charma, set a hip-hop dance on five dance students. “Building the Beat” is inspired by Chris’ favorite house dancer Mamson (based in France). This on-stage celebration allows the audience to witness community building, rhythmic play and the recurrence of circle as connection. The beats heard and the dance forms seen connect humans in a way where there is no choice but to look past differences and build community along with the beat.
The dancers worked hard during a five-day residency during the fall semester to build the dance. The Laws said they couldn’t be prouder of the cast and all the ways they have supported and built each other up while pushing themselves past exhaustion to feel the purpose of the mission and the intricate connections to the music.
“Glaciation,” created by sophomore student choreographer Ali King, investigates the repercussions of climate change both on the environment and humanity itself. From the rapid melting rate of glaciers to the deterioration of coral reefs, the future of our planet is at great risk. King’s work implicates the audience’s active role amid this climate crisis, and asks viewers: where do we go from here? With a sculptural quality, the dancers are immersed in a unique fusion of found sound and new music scores that conjure, inhabit and impact these fragile environments.
In “Rince, Repeat,” faculty choreographer Laura Neese merges percussive and soft shoe Irish step dance traditions, and contemporary modern dance, to explore themes of rigidity and freedom, structure, and play, embedded in the vibrant cultural traditions of Irish dance and music. Tied to the concert theme, “Home,” Neese excavates cultural heritage and artistic lineage. As a longtime company member of Bessie-nominated Darrah Carr Dance, Neese honors Carr’s ModERIN fusion of Irish step and modern dance by sharing the dance – or rince - forward.
Theresa Bautista is a part-time instructor and the recipient of the FY21 Al Smith Fellowship Award in Choreography. Her new contemporary ballet, “Seeking,” blurs the language of classical ballet and contemporary forms to investigate fear in the face of uncertainty, diving into the unknown and the implications of blindly moving forward.
“Home” performances will take place in the Guignol Theatre located in the Fine Arts Building, 465 Rose St. Performances are Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available by visiting the Singletary Center for the Arts at scfatickets.com or by calling the box office at (859) 257-4929. Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for students.