The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT), the resident company at Vassar College, will span ballet, jazz, and modern dance in its 34th annual gala weekend at Poughkeepsie’s Bardavon Theater, with performances on Saturday, March 5th at 8:00pm and Sunday, March 6th at 3:00pm. Continuing the VRDT’s work with renowned guest artists the company will perform a dance by New York-based choreographer Seán Curran along with dances created by Vassar professors and students, and music by an Emmy Award-winning composer.
Curran, who has been at the helm of the Seán Curran Company since 1997, describes his piece, Social Discourse, as a “contemporary urban folk dance” and its kaleidoscopic images provide the company with a brilliant modern dance showcase. “We are delighted to have Seán’s work as part of our repertoire this year. Visiting professional choreographers are an important part of how our dancers grow and are challenged,” says VRDT director John Meehan. “For the audience, it’s an opportunity to see exciting new modern dance work in the Hudson Valley.”
Ballet fans can also look forward to the traditional classical ballet, Paquita, staged by Meehan.
Faculty members Miriam Mahdaviani and Katherine Wildberger have created new works, each featuring half of the company and each using distinguished musical compositions written by contemporary composers. In Mahdaviani’s work, Gently They Go, the focus is on a dancer whose downward trajectory is repeatedly arrested by his fellow dancers, simultaneously saving him and holding him aloft. The music is by the Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal, who’s known for his music on the popular television show, House of Cards.
Wildberger’s work, Home, is performed to a brand-new commission by Vassar adjunct artist and VRDT resident composer, Howard Kilik. “Home is an adventure in searching,” says Meehan.
Faculty member Abby Saxon has taken the music of Ella Fitzgerald and the New York, New York Orchestra as the inspiration for her piece, Smooth Over.
This year’s finale is Footloose. Rehearsal director Alessia Santoro joined the dance faculty and VRDT company members together in collaborating on this piece that is danced entirely for fun.
Many of the dances in the shows are the work of student choreographers: Alaina Wilson ’16, Kelsey Greenway ’16, Carlie Silva ’16, Maranda Barry ’16, Camille Delgardo ’16, Zerlina Panush ’17, Megan Jackson ’18, Margaux Lieser ’18, Jake Butter ’18, Kayla Miron ’18, Max Goldner ’19.
“The VRDT has been thrilled to bring its work to dance audiences from Poughkeepsie and the Hudson Valley region for the past three decades,” says Meehan. “These performances are a highlight of our year and a chance for local audiences to see a variety of dance genres in one show.”
Tickets can be purchased from the Bardavon Box Office (845) 473‑2072 or via the Bardavon website: Here
About the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre
The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, under the direction of Professor and Chair of Dance John Meehan, is the resident company of the Vassar College Department of Dance. Formed in 1980, VRDT has provided Vassar dance students with an opportunity to perform significant dance works of the classic ballet, jazz and modern repertoire, as well as original works by faculty, student, and distinguished visiting artists.
Featured image: Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre dancers in Paquita choreographed by Marius Petipa. Photo Credit: Mitchell Davis ’19