While all of the artists have been a part of UCDC productions before, they are continuing to develop new pieces that tell compelling stories through challenging choreography and eye-catching costumes.
The spring program will highlight the African dance residency led by Jeannine Osayande and the Dunya Performing Arts Company and will also feature choreography by hip-hop artist Joshua Polk, tap artist Jenn Rose and student choreographer Donnay Burden.
Performances are in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center on the Ursinus College campus on Thursday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m., which is a free preview night; Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.
Ursinus College Professor of Dance Karen Clemente is producing the UCDC concert this spring. Clemente is thrilled to work with such talented choreographers and believes that this show will bring people together to celebrate the diversity of dance. The theme of community will be prominent across all works included in the program, especially the dance by Osayande and the Dunya Performing Arts Company, Haitian Dance Yanvalou Suite.
The Yanvalou is a dance of free form spinning and spine undulation in honor of Agwé, the sea deity, and Damballah, the serpent. The Haitian dance traditions weave narratives of struggle, perseverance, pride and celebration, which fits in with the college’s 2018-2019 arts and lectures theme of community, civility and controversy. The African ensemble performance is funded in part by the Ursinus arts and lectures committee.
In addition to the African ensemble, senior Donnay Burden will explore trauma and the path to healing through community in his original piece Psycho Trauma. Burden’s UCDC piece is an excerpt from Psycho-Control, a full-length work that will premiere at Ursinus College’s annual Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) on April 25.
The hip hop and tap pieces will also explore the relationship between community and dance. Philadelphia choreographer Joshua Polk will take the audience on a walk down memory lane and transform the space into a full-out house party in his piece Back to the Basics. The ensemble will burst onto the stage and the dancers will trace the eras of hip hop from the 1980s to the present.
In another upbeat piece, New York choreographer Jenn Rose will stage the intricate and light-hearted Don’t Worry If You Know It, which mashes two familiar tunes: “If You Are Happy and You Know It” and Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in a delightful ensemble work that suggests a way to get through hard times.
The UCDC concert will touch on a variety of emotions and dance styles to celebrate the rich fabric of dance at the college and is suitable for all ages. The Friday and Saturday performances will be a part of the Collegeville Economic Development Corporation’s dinner and a show promotion.
Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased online at ursinus.edu/tickets and they will be available at the box office before the show. For inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (610) 409-3030. –By Jordan Scharaga ’17