School of Dance presents the premiere of three works in all-contemporary Fall Dance

In its first live concert since February 2020, the School of Dance will present Fall Dance in the Agnes de Mille Theatre on campus. The all-original contemporary dance programs will be at 7:30 p.m. nightly Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 28-Oct. 2, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for students with a valid ID, online or 336-721-1945. UNCSA performance venues will be open at full capacity. Audiences and performers will be required to wear masks.

A showcase for contemporary dancers, Fall Dance will feature the premieres of new works by three up-and-coming choreographers, including two UNCSA alumni.

“Fall Dance offers a fantastic program for our return to the stage and it will highlight the strength and skills of our contemporary dancers,” said Endalyn Taylor, new dean of the School of Dance. “I know our audiences will be enthralled with the diversity of the works by three very talented and creative choreographers.”

Yoshito Sakuraba, "Secrets Fall"

Yoshito Sakuraba, a guest artist in the School of Dance, left his native Japan for New York at 19. He received a B.A. in dance from Manhattanville College and then graduated from the Martha Graham School. The founding artistic director of Abarukas, Sakuraba has won awards at festivals in Italy and Spain.

Yoshito Sakuraba will premiere "Secrets Fall"

Yoshito Sakuraba

“I did not come to UNCSA with a fixed plan of what to choreograph,” Sakuraba said. “Because I needed to see how the dancers move.

“I used to be a painter, so my dances are abstract and poetic ‒ not literal or jazzy,” he said. “This one is an imaginative piece with a little bit of narrative through the concept of time, space and maybe love. I say love because I’m emphasizing a couple of duets, and I’m seeing a little romantic tension from these wonderful dancers. We’ll have a duet, then a group, then a duet, and it keeps happening that way."

Sakuraba's piece,  "Secrets Fall," has 16 fourth-year dancers – four men and 12 women – moving to “Ave Maria” and other sacred choral songs mixed with soundtracks that are a little heavy, a little dark, he said. “I usually mix my music with other songs.”

Sakuraba said he enjoys working with UNCSA students. “I’m very impressed by these dancers. I didn’t expect them to be this good,” he said. “I’m sure some of them will go professional after this. There’s a little more coaching and mentoring involved, but I like working with college students.”

After Fall Dance, Sakuraba has engagements in Michigan; at Reed College in Portland, Oregon; Steps on Broadway Conservatory in New York City; and with the Louisville (Kentucky) Ballet.

Ashley Lindsey, "Somewhere In a Dream I Got Lost"

Alumnus Ashley Lindsey (Arts Diploma ‘07), the director of the UNCSA Summer Dance Program, has been a member of the companies of Limón Dance, Lar Lubovitch and Helen Simoneau.

Lindsey is choreographing “Somewhere In a Dream I Got Lost” with a double cast of 14 dancers and music that features works by The Tangent and Alba Noto.

Ashley Lindsey will premiere "Somewhere In a Dream I Got Lost"

Ashley Lindsey

“And there may be more music,” he said. “It’s an ambient sound score with an electronic feel, very atmospheric with a pulse and an electronic industrial tone.

“Conceptually, I’m looking at the idea of dreams and the ability that dreams have to transport us into various worlds,” he explained. “The worlds that we tap into in our dreams can be comforting or scary or beautiful. The array of emotions in life can be experienced in dreams. Dreams are inherently connected to our beings. There’s a freedom that can be accessed by dreaming – and unlimited possibilities.”

The dream motif will be underscored by lights and costumes: black formfitting pants, cream-colored leotards with black accents. “Something simple and understated yet elegant to keep the focus on the movement and the story,” Lindsey said. Stage lighting will be supplemented by dancers using lights to illuminate one another during the production.

Andrew Harper, unnamed work

A recipient of the Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education, alumnus Andrew Harper (B.F.A. ’13) is a freelance choreographer and filmmaker.

He describes his new piece as “clean and modern, sharp angles and colors, ‘Blade Runner’ meets Maison Margiela.

Andrew Harper will premiere an untitled work

Andrew Harper

“It will be a continuation in my study of technology-driven movement and mechanical impersonations of humanness,” Harper said. “I love dystopian literature – Ayn Rand, Margaret Atwood and Kazuo Ishiguro – and I’m interested in how individuals perform as part of a collective, and when to stand alone.”

Harper’s interest in painting, fashion and wardrobe design shows up in the costuming for his dances.

“For this one, I was drawing inspiration from a neon jumpsuit,” he said. “The dancers will have mesh coverings over their faces, so they’ll be very uniform and androgynous. I wanted ‒ with the costumes ‒ to not see the faces to create anonymity.”

Harper is working with 16 dancers in each of two casts. His soundtrack comprises Japanese found sound, Cornelius, David Shrigley, a pop song from Robyn, and Nicolas Jaar.

The UNCSA schools of Dance and Design & Production collaborate on Fall Dance, a fully produced evening/afternoon of dance performance.

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September 15, 2021