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UCDC Embraces Ursinus History with “Looking Back, Leaning Forward”

Performances are in the Lenfest Theater in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center on the Ursinus College campus on Thursday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m., which is a free preview night; Friday, November 22, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 23, at 7:30 p.m.

The Ursinus College Dance Company fall concert will embrace the college’s sesquicentennial year with the theme “Looking Back, Leaning Forward,” a theme that sets the stage for a powerful intersection of past and present, which both celebrates and reflects on the style, technique and emotion of dance.

The concert will feature original choreography from professional artists and a student choreographer.

Ursinus College Professor of Dance Karen Clemente is producing the UCDC concert this fall. She notes that the roots-based authentic jazz dance and Ursinus dance reconstruction will pay homage to the past. Meanwhile, the concert shifts back to the present day with a hip-hop piece and other dance works that invite the audience to reconsider existing realities and embrace change.

The concert will feature the work of guest choreographer Carlos Jones. His piece, Swing, Eva, Swing, is a nod to jazz dance’s premiere position as a key driver in the evolution of American dance.

“Watching students articulate the authentic, African American roots of jazz dance in Carlos’s piece has been one of the most exciting aspects of working on the production so far,” Clemente says. “Inviting Carlos to campus and witnessing his artistic expertise in jazz dance has been a dream come true—American college dance at its best!”

The concert also includes pieces by Ursinus dance faculty choreographers Clemente and Bailey Anderson; guest choreographer Joshua Polk and student choreographer Kat Saddler ’22.

Anderson’s Ridiculous Rigor: Past, Present, and Possible is a humorous and thoughtful dance that explores rigor in daily life, dance and academia. Polk’s iPod Shuffle is a glimpse into the flamboyant and versatile mind of a freestyle dancer.

Journey is Clemente’s revisiting of a dance she created in her first semester as a professor at Ursinus. The dance includes a reworking of the original movement material from 2012 and also includes new phrasing to reflect the current dancers.

The concert also highlights student choreographer Saddler’s work, My Catharsis/His Surrender, a dance that explores the mental struggle and physical pain endured while experiencing loss.

The Ursinus College Dance Company’s fall concert celebrates 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.–By Jordan Scharaga ’17