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‘Almost Spring’ student dance concert set at UW-Madison

February 22, 2010 By Doreen Adamany

This week’s University of Wisconsin–Madison Dance Program‘s student concert, “Almost Spring,” is a showcase of creative original works by student choreographers.

The concert will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 25-27, in the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space at Lathrop Hall, 1050 University Ave.

Influenced by a variety of factors and techniques, works are often pieced together like a puzzle.

“I don’t know how many hours I spent sketching, writing, video recording and exploring improvisational movement,” says senior Liza Brink. Her new work, “Fibonacci Floating,” was influenced by a number of unrelated factors ranging from a research project on choreographer Trisha Brown and a fascination with natural phenomena to her love of details and embellishments.

“Through improvisation, water-like movement began to take hold,” Brink says, “and when I discovered the shape of a tidal wave is a Fibonacci spiral, it influenced and shaped the movement of my duet even further. It just kept ebbing and flowing and eventually evolved into this special piece.”

Senior Olivia Templin, a double major in dance and art, used a different tack. She combated what she deems the seemingly popular tendency of creating yet another angst-filled contemporary dance by exploring humor in her work.

“I’m ecstatic that talented dancers Tess Kuether and Brooke Wheeler have delightfully and effortlessly morphed into the bizarre ‘his-and-hers’ characters of my light-hearted piece,” she says.

Dance major Carlyn Pitterle began her training at Trinity Academy of Irish Dance in Milwaukee at age 7. She admits it’s been a bit of a struggle to retrain her body to learn modern and ballet technique since enrolling at the university three years ago.

“I’ve been searching for a way to combine my extensive Irish dance training into a modern dance vocabulary,” Pitterle says. “Then, I was introduced to composer John Cage’s work ‘Roaratorio’ which was based on the novel ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ by James Joyce. It proved to be the link that allowed me to connect my two distinct dance styles into a progressive fusion work.”

Pitterle’s “Roaratorio” has been selected to represent the UW–Madison at the American College Dance Festival Association’s North Central Conference in March.

Another work representing UW–Madison at the conference is assistant professor Chris Walker‘s “Left at Right,” a creative collaboration made up of students in the UW Percussion Ensemble, the First Wave Program, Dance Program majors and students in African Performance 277.

“This choreography came out of the focus on collaboration initiated by the Dance Program for its Fall Faculty Concert in November,” Walker says. “Our hope is that this process will inspire student artists across campus, working in various disciplines, to engage in collaborative processes of their own.”

In addition to Walker, nine emerging student choreographers will present their work in the upcoming concert. Included are Liza Brink, senior (Grand Rapids, Mich.); Tess Kuether, sophomore (Milwaukee); Jamie Landry, junior (Appleton); Sarah Mitchell, junior (Arlington Heights, Ill.); Carlyn Pitterle, senior (Brookfield); Kit Stanley, junior (Middleton); Ella Rosewood, senior (Menomonee Falls), Olivia Templin, senior (Wauwatosa), and Alison Weeks, junior (Wheaton, Ill.)

Admission is $15 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors, except on Thursday, Feb. 25, when student tickets are $5. Tickets may be purchased in advance three ways: in person at the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office, 800 Langdon St.; by phone at 608-265-ARTS; and online at Remaining tickets will be sold at the door at Lathrop Hall beginning one hour before each performance.