Purchase Dance Company's Fall Concert
Purchase Dance Company
From December 6-8, the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY, will present a dynamic program of cutting edge premieres and exquisitely re-staged masterworks showcasing the virtuosity and exceptional training of their professional level dancers.
The program will be performed by members of the Purchase Dance Company, selected from the college’s highly competitive Conservatory of Dance BFA program, which, according to the New York Times is “one of the country’s most highly regarded dance conservatories.”
Performances will take place at the Dance Theater Lab in the Dance Building at Purchase College on Friday, December 6 at 8 pm, Saturday, December 7 at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday, December 8 at 3pm.
A special pre-concert talk with the artists will be held on Friday, December 6 at 7:15 pm. The talk will be moderated by Darrah Carr, Assistant Professor in the Conservatory of Dance.
Ticket are $17.50 with discounts available for students and seniors. Tickets are available through the box office at The Performing Arts Center in advance by calling 914 251-6200 or in person. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.artscenter.org. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Dance Theater Lab on the day of the show. Only cash or checks will be accepted at the door.
About the works
The program will honor 20th century icon Trisha Brown with SET AND RESET/RESET (1983), her renowned postmodern masterpiece that sends dancers across the stage in rippling waves bursting with fluid, idiosyncratic movement. Several talented recent graduates from the Theatre Design/Technology program in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase College will collaborate on sets and costumes for the work. Victoria Butler will re-imagine the original costumes by Robert Rauschenberg while Kamil James and Kate Campbell will re-conceptualize his original set design.
Esteemed Conservatory of Dance faculty member and former New York City Ballet soloist Bettijane Sills will present a re-staging of George Balanchine’s Tarantella (1964), a delightful and fast-paced pas de deux.
The program will include a thrilling new contemporary ballet piece by acclaimed guest artist Eve Chan, who is resident guest choreographer of Hong Kong Ballet.
Guest artist Joseph Hernandez, whose celebrated international career includes the rosters of The Royal Ballet of Flanders, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and the Semperoper Ballett Dresden, will present his new work designed specifically for the Purchase Dance Company and inspired by the mystery, magic, and suspense of Broadway.
Rounding out the program will be a premiere by renowned artist Marcus Jarrell Willis, formerly of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Willis’s new work will draw on his signature blend of modern dance and ballet to create choreography that feels like a silent movie, incorporating subtle yet witty tendencies.
Nelly van Bommel, Director of the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, said, “These performance opportunities introduce dancers to many of the most sought after choreographers working today in addition to some of the most important icons of dance. Our students’ training uniquely prepares them for successful careers with a wide-range of companies.”
About the Artists
George Balanchine (1904 – 1983) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907-96), whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. At Balanchine’s behest, Kirstein was also prepared to support the formation of an American academy of ballet that would eventually rival the long-established schools of Europe. This was the School of American Ballet, founded in 1934, the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, the New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983. Balanchine’s more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1943), Concerto Barocco (1941), Le Palais de Cristal, later renamed Symphony in C (1947), Orpheus (1948), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), Ballo della Regina (1978) and Mozartiana (1981). His final ballet, a new version of Stravinsky’s Variations for Orchestra, was created in 1982. He also choreographed for films, operas, revues, and musicals. Among his best-known dances for the stage is Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, originally created for Broadway’s On Your Toes (1936). The musical was later made into a movie. A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet.
Trisha Brown (1936 – 2017) was born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington, graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California, and studied with Anna Halprin before moving to New York City in 1961. Brown, along with like-minded artists, pushed the limits of choreography and changed modern dance forever. In 1970, Brown formed her company and explored the terrain of her adoptive SoHo. She engaged collaborators who are themselves leaders in music, theater, and the visual arts, including visual artists Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, and Elizabeth Murray, and musicians Laurie Anderson, John Cage, and Alvin Curran, to name a few. With these partners, Brown has created an exceptionally varied body of over 100 dance works. Brown is also an accomplished visual artist; her drawings have been seen in exhibitions, galleries and museums throughout the world, she is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in NYC. Brown is the first woman choreographer to receive the coveted MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Award.” She has been awarded many other honors including five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NY ‘Bessie’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and the Dance/USA Honors Award. She has been named a Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame, Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the government of France.
Eve Chan started her professional ballet training at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She then performed with the Hong Kong Ballet as Demi-soloist and took on multiple leading roles in company’s classical and contemporary repertoires, including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Giselle, Theme and Variations, The Lilac Garden, Turandot, The Rite of Spring, Mein Bach, Clear, Tango ballet Tango. In 2007, she was appointed as the Choreographic Apprentice by the former artistic director, John Meehan. In 2010, Eve received a full scholarship from Hong Kong Jockey Club to attend her Master Degree at SUNY Purchase, where she taught ballet classes. Eve was the Ballet Mistress with Mystic Ballet for the 2013-2014 season. She is currently the Ballet Mistress with Connecticut Ballet and has commissioned to create three different ballets for the company. Her works have been presented in festivals and events in New York, Connecticut, Beijing, Hong Kong, Santiago (Chile) and Wiesbaden (Germany).
Joseph Hernandez is a choreographer and performer living in Dresden, Germany. Born in Kentucky, he graduated from the School of American Ballet in 2007 and was awarded an apprenticeship with the New York City Ballet that same year. As a dancer he has performed all over the world with companies such as the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and the Semperoper Ballet. His choreographic work has been presented to critical acclaim by such organizations as Festspielhaus Hellerau, The Semperopr Ballett, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Theatre St. Gallen (Switzerland) and Whim W’him Contemporary Dance. His work The Lavender Follies was filmed for television and distributed across Europe and Asia. He was nominated “New Name To Watch“ by Dance Europe magazine for the premiere of his work Ganz Leise Kommt die Nacht/ The Night Falls Quietly, which premiered at the Joyce Theatre NYC in 2017.
Leah Ives holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Michigan. She currently performs and teaches with the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Since joining in 2014 she has performed a total of 20 pieces of repertory in over 15 countries. Venues include Lincoln Center, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Théâtre National de Chaillot, and the Tate Modern. She worked with filmmaker Thierry De Mey on his installation Solid Traces, which transformed Brown's Set and Reset into a solid sculpture. Teaching projects have included Set and Reset/Reset on students of DanceWave Brooklyn, Venice Biennale College Danza, and she has thoroughly enjoyed working on Set and Reset/Reset with the students at Purchase College Conservatory of Dance this fall.
Other work includes an appearance in Francis Ha, choreographed by The Median Movement. Leah has also worked with A.O. Movement Collective, Elizabeth Dishman, Megan Chu, The Leopold Group, the Peter Sparling Dance Company, and she co-lead several creative workshops for incarcerated women with Avodah Dance. Leah recently worked with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Ivo van Hove on their development lab of West Side Story and was guest choreographer for Manhattanville College spring 2019. Leah is also a licensed massage therapist and maintains a private practice in NYC.
Bettijane Sills has had an extensive theatrical career. She appeared on the Broadway stage and on television as a child actress, and was invited by George Balanchine in 1961 to join the New York City Ballet. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1964, dancing principal roles in many works, including Western Symphony Divertimento #15 and The Nutcracker. She also received critical acclaim as the Wife in Jerome Robbins’ 1972 revival of The Concert. She has served on the Conservatory of Dance faculty at Purchase College since 1979. She is responsible for staging Balanchine repertory and has choreographed numerous works for the Purchase Dance Corps and for several companies throughout the United States and internationally. Ms. Sills has just released a memoir describing her journey from child actor into the world of professional ballet and finally into academia.
Marcus Jarrell Willis has performed with RIOULT, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza and Ailey II. Willis performed with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 2008-2016 traveling around the world performing, teaching numerous masterclasses and participating through Outreach in various communities both locally and abroad. Willis is a YoungArts Level 1 award recipient and Presidential Scholar Nominee. Willis has presented choreographic work in the 2009 TDDC Contemporary Dance Festival in NYC, The Ailey Dancer's Resource Fund performances, The Dance Gallery Festival, The Moving Beauty Series and Gdánsk Festival Tańca in Poland. Commissions include creations for Ailey II, TU Dance, NY Choreographic Institute, with dancers of New York City Ballet, Company Danzante, The Juilliard School, The Ailey School, University of Minnesota, Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts, Rubicon Dance, COCA, Satellite Collective, The Dance Gallery Festival Level Up Commission in 2013 and The 92nd Y Dance Introduction Series, among others. Willis is the Founder of MJ Willis Project-Inc, a performance collaborative, which made its debut in Wales in 2017, premiering "My Brother, Dear Sister”. He was named Best Choreographer for TU Dance creation, Sensible Existence in City Pages 2018 Best of the Twin Cities. Willis was the 2018/19 Leverhulme Choreography Fellow at Rambert Dance in London, during which time he completed the evening length solo creation POM/POM, Portrait of Man/Pieces of Me and created work with selected dancers of Rambert 2.
About The Conservatory of Dance and Purchase College, SUNY
The Conservatory of Dance in the School of the Arts at Purchase College is one of only a handful of programs in the world where dancers can learn what it means to be a dance professional. The BFA program features rigorous training in classical ballet and modern/contemporary dance, a faculty of renowned professionals, and proximity to New York City dance companies and choreographers. Purchase boasts an award-winning dance building and opportunities to perform in the world-renowned Performing Arts Center.
Purchase alumni perform with many of the foremost contemporary modern and ballet dance companies in the world. They also teach, direct, choreograph major productions, and have founded their own companies all around the globe.
About Purchase College, SUNY
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspiration for Purchase was to create a dynamic campus that combined conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences, in order to inspire an appreciation for both intellectual and artistic talents in all students. Today, Purchase College, SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.
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