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Alumni Dancers Help Mark Kaleidoscope Milestone

Two notable alumni return as dancers and choreographers for a UC Dance Company concert that will celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center.

Two Ursinus alumni return to The Kaleidoscope stage as guest artists with the Ursinus College Dance Company (UCDC) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the building that visually signals that the performing arts are an integral part of the Ursinus experience. 

Wynton Rice ’09 and Roger Lee ’10, who both danced in The Kaleidoscope when it was a new space, have worked with students this past semester on their own works, which are part of the fall concert. 

The concert, A Moment in Time, honors the past, the present, and the future, as it also features work by faculty members Karen Clemente and Melissa Chisena, and  a piece by student choreographer Megan Rosenberger.

Performances take place in the Lenfest Theater of the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center at 7:30pm on Nov. 19 to 21. A talk-back with the artists will take place after the Nov. 19 show. A reception in the lobby will follow each performance. 

Lee’s path: forming a company

Lee, owner and director of Roger Lee Arts Academy and Roger Lee Dance Company in  Philadelphia, said that having the guest choreographer dance with current students is a first. “Since the show’s theme is ‘Past, Present, Future,’ I was asked to create a piece that bought UCDC and my own company together on the Lenfest Stage.”

For Lee, the anniversary will be “a reunion in every sense of the word,” as he reunited with fellow guest artist Rice. The Kaleidoscope building drew him to Ursinus,  he said, as its first year of operation was Lee’s first year as well.”I remember seeing the newly designed performance space during my tour and being completely sold on the school and its growing dance program. To witness its amazing growth in a decade is a real treat.”

His piece, Vault, was originally choreographed in 2014. It explores the intersection of visual art and dance. He has recreated the work for UCDC with some new touches and the same energy that made the piece  one of Lee’s signature works. Lee will appear on ABC-6 for the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade and will be touring the Roger Lee Dance Diversity Assembly.

Rice’s path: Joining a renowned company

Rice is a senior member of Garth Fagan Dance Company, a celebrated dance company based in Rochester, N.Y. He is glad to get the chance to choreograph, as his primary job is performing and teaching.

He recalls dancing in the Kaleidoscope as a new building. “It’s like coming home, being back on that stage,” he said. He also enjoyed his residency with Ursinus students.”The dancers where phenomenal to work with. They are focused hard working willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone which is a testament to the great training they are receiving here at Ursinus.”

His piece, Dark Ivory, explores the role of lineage and the way we as groups and individuals contribute to the tapestry of the human experience, weaving through personal histories in relationship to a sense of greater humanity. The movement style of Dark Ivory is a synthesis using the rhythm and weight of West African dance, the speed, line and agility of ballet, and the attitude and style of hip hop.

Rice was noted in a New York Times review of the company’s performances at the Joyce Theater in New York.

Full program of works

Clemente’s piece, For Her, first premiered in 1995 as Full Woman, which in the repertory of the Sacred Ways Dance Company of Philadelphia. The 2015 version of the dance remains true to the original notion of a community of women supporting one another.

Chisena’s piece, “Parting is all we know…” represents the dynamically charged relationship among a group of people, coping in various ways with departure and attempts to portray differences in experiencing loss, love, support, and betrayal.  

Rosenberger’s piece, Énouement, constructs a parallel between the past and future through interpersonal connections with others.