Dance company leaps ahead with ‘Back Space,’ showcasing student choreography

Members of the Bates Dance Company. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Members of the Bates Dance Company. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Showcasing student choreography and videodance work, the Bates College Dance Company offers “Back Space,” its annual spring concert series, in four performances in Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 28, and Monday, March 31; at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 29; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 30.

The company presents two different programs over the four nights: Program A on Friday and Sunday, and Program B on Saturday and Monday. Admission is $6 for the general public and $3 for seniors and students. For more information, please call 207-786-6161.

The programs comprise a mix of jazz, hip hop and modern dance created by students in composition and advanced composition courses.

On Friday and Saturday nights only, Bates dance faculty Rachel Boggia, Carol Dilley and Meredith Lyons perform in a community piece with seven other New England dance professionals. The work was created for these performers by dancer Kathleen Hermesdorf and electronic musician Albert Mathias, aka ALTERNATIVA, through a Bates commission arranged by Boggia.

Two dance majors will offer senior thesis pieces. Katie Ailes of Swarthmore, Pa., is using dance to examine the nuances of family structures. The piece by Bridgette Chandhoke of Fairfax, Va., explores perceptions of time.

With classmate Sonja Favaloro of Morrisville, Pa., Chandhoke will also perform a piece examining water usage by the local company Poland Springs.

The duo will go on to perform the work in the National Water Dance on April 12, a coordinated national collaboration designed to draw attention to the fragility of the nation’s waters. Chandhoke and Favaloro are the only participants in that event from a Maine college.

All told, the Program A choreographers are juniors Tomisha Edwards of Memphis, Tenn.; Anna Lanoue of Newton, Mass.; Jonathan Schwolsky of North Caldwell, N.J.; and seniors Ailes; Leroy Barnes of Woodbridge, Va.; Chandhoke; Colleen Fitzgerald of Granby, Conn.; and Mariya Manahova of Sofia, Bulgaria.

The Program B choreographers are sophomores Mary Anne Bodnar of New York City; Hannah Otten of Chatham, N.Y.; Kelsey Schober of Sutton, Ark.; juniors Edwards and Talia Mason of Silver Spring, Md.; and seniors Ailes, Chandhoke and Favaloro.

Prior to the dance company performance on Friday, five dancers will speak in a panel presentation (time and location TBA) on dance research as part of Bates’ Mount David Summit, the college’s annual showcase of student achievement. Those dancers are Ailes, Chandhoke, Edwards, Fitzgerald and Mason.

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