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Hartt Dances to Feature World Premieres Along With Classics
The Hartt School Dance Division will present Hartt Dances on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m. All performances will take place in Lincoln Theater.
Admission is free for University of Hartford students, faculty, and staff with current University ID. Tickets for the general public are $20, with discounts for seniors, students, and groups. For tickets and information, contact the University of Hartford Box Office at 860.768.4228 or 1.800.274.8587, or visit www.hartford.edu/hartt.
The Hartt Dance Division, under the direction of Stephen Pier, will present three world premieres alongside monumental classics from the worlds of ballet and modern dance. These works include Paquita, by Marius Petipa, staged by Hilda Morales, with music by Ludwig Minkus; There is a Time, by José Limón, staged by Hartt faculty member and former Limón Company dancer Nina Watt, with music by Norman Dello Joio; Apsides, choreographed by guest artist Charlotte Griffin, with original score by Milica Paranosic, funded by Bowdoin College; Horseplay, by guest artist Gregory Dolbashian; Beauty to the Bone, by Hartt faculty member Katie Stevinson-Nollet; and a new ballet by Hartt faculty member Hilda Morales, with music by Frederic Francois Chopin.
Pier said, "Hartt students are taking full advantage of this opportunity to show off their wide range of talent and superb training. They get to rip into cutting edge creations by two choreographers who are leading the charge in Contemporary Dance, immerse themselves in the grandeur of Limón 's masterwork, There is a Time, and exercise all of their hard earned technical prowess in Paquita. It is a program that is designed to deliver challenges and joys to both the dancers and the audience."
Under the guidance of former ABT member and current dance faculty member Hilda Morales, Hartt students will dance several variations from the second act of Petipa’s Paquita set to the popular score by Minkus. Also from Morales is a re-creation of her own choreography to the music of Chopin, danced by seven of the Division’s outstanding young women.
There is a Time is one of José Limón’s most celebrated masterworks staged by Nina Watt, a celebrated interpreter of Limón’s work, and who first performed this piece in 1972, Limón’s last year of life, and danced it until retiring from the company in 2001. She has staged it for many ensembles, including Berlin Opera Ballet, Ballet du Nord, Compagnia di Danza di Torino, Boston Conservatory, London Contemporary, and The Limón Dance Company.
Watt said of the piece, “This classic work is, in terms of choreography, music, and costume, a theme with variations. Limón used as one of his themes a large circle, which, at the opening of the work, fills the stage and moves majestically, as if to evoke the interminable passage of time. This circle is seen repeatedly in many guises, rhythms, and dramatic shapings, always making allusion to the text from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes and its evocation of human experience – ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…’”
Watt continued that the musical score, Norman Dello Joio’s Meditations on Ecclesiastes, was commissioned for José Limón by the Juilliard Music Foundation and its Festival of American Music in April 1956. This score earned the composer the Pulitzer Prize in 1957.
For this production, the Hartt Dance Division has chosen to reconstruct the original costume design, created for the dance by Limón’s wife, Pauline Lawrence. Like the dance and music, they follow the form of “theme and variation.” With the help of the original patterns and costume book loaned by the José Limón Foundation, as well as an old costume set loaned by The Juilliard School, Mary Sheldon and the crew of The Hartt School Costume Shop have re-created them, with assistance from Jen Ellenberger and Shop Manager Marla Perlstein.
Katie Stevinson-Nollet’s new piece, Beauty to the Bone, is a playful and sarcastic investigation of beauty and sexism in commercialism set to a compilation of popular and classical music.
Hartt students worked with guest artists Charlotte Griffin and Gregory Dolbashian during the Spring Repertory Project in January.
Griffin, who has received commissions from NYC Ballet’s Choreographic Institute and Ballet Jazz de Montreal, among others, created Apsides using a newly commissioned score by Milica Paranosic.
Using the energy and personalities of the dancers as his source material, Dolbashion, who directs his own DASH Ensemble in New York City, created Horseplay, a work of rollicking exuberance with a sudden, emotionally captivating, surprise ending. Horseplay juxtaposes the realities of young aspiring artists’ sense of play and their profound involvement with beauty.