Bates dancers present works by celebrated guest choreographers

Dances created by students and by visiting choregrapher Kellie Lynch are on the program for a Bates College Modern Dance Company concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St.

Taking place during the college's annual Parents & Family Weekend, the event is open to the public at no cost.

For more information, please call 207-786-6161 or visit the online box office.

In addition to the work by Lynch, one of four choreographers coming in to work with the Bates dance program this fall, the concert features a dance in the classical Indian form called "Bharatanatyam," a new duet created by Bates students and the reprise of a student work created last spring and accompanied by accordion.

"The most important aspect of the Parents & Family Weekend show is its diversity," says assistant professor Carol Dilley, director of the dance program. In addition to department-sponsored work, the concert includes dances made "by students who are not necessarily regular participants in the modern dance program. It is the most open showcase of our whole season."

Lynch is working with 11 students in a Bates repertory performance class on a piece titled "What If I Don’t Want To," featuring a lighting design by Justin Moriarty. The piece will be shown this weekend as a work in progress and performed with full costumes and lighting design in November.

Lynch is one of three choreographers with whom the class is developing material for the its fall concert, scheduled for Nov. 15-17; the others are Janis Brenner, of New York City; and Tania Isaac, of Philadelphia. In addition, Portland choreographer Tina Rae Kelly is working with students on a fourth piece for the November program on an extracurricular basis.

Also on the program: Abritee Dhal, a junior from Westford, Mass., performs a piece in the Bharatanatyam genre that she learned during the summer with her teacher, Ranjani Saigal.

Marlee Weinberg, a junior from Tampa, Fla., and Jake Lewis, a senior from Katonah, N.Y., offer a duet created for this performance, informed by Weinberg's summer at the Bates Dance Festival and Lewis' introduction last year to contact improvisation.

Barbara Byers, a junior from Elkins, W.Va., shows a piece she created last spring, accompanied by Byers' own accordion music.

The Bates College Modern Dance Company performs works developed at the college by renowned guest choreographers in three concerts in Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College St.: 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16; and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17.

Admission is $6 for the general public and $3 for senior citizens and non-Bates students. For more information, please call 207-786-6161 or visit the online box office.

Choreographers Janis Brenner of New York City, Kellie Lynch of Connecticut and Tania Isaac of Philadelphia have developed dances with Bates students in the course “Dance Repertory Performance.” Bringing sharply distinctive creative processes and visual styles, each has a piece on the November program.

Also featured is a lyrical jazz piece by Portland choreographer Tina Rae Kelly, who has worked with Bates students in an extracurricular capacity.

Finally, in a notable exception to an annual concert typically dedicated to works by faculty and visiting professional choreographers, Bates junior Marlee Weinberg of Tampa, Fla., will present a piece she created.

Artistic director of Janis Brenner & Dancers, Brenner is a dancer, choreographer, singer and teacher. Her work has been commissioned or restaged at more than 40 companies and colleges throughout the world, and she has received such honors for her work as the New York Dance and Performance Award, the Lester Horton Award for Choreography in Los Angeles and the Leach Fellowship for Outstanding Achievement.

Since 1990 Brenner has performed with the pioneering composer and singer Meredith Monk. “Lost Found Lost,” her Bates piece, is set to music by Monk.

Based in New Haven, Conn., Lynch works with choreographer-dancer Ariel Cohen Gonzalez in the two-woman company “slipperyfish dance.” Slipperyfish dance received a 2008 Choreographic Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which the pair will use to introduce their work to communities throughout New England.

Lynch dances with Nazorine Ulysse & Dancers and Bronwen MacArthur’s MacArthur Dance Project. She is also a member of Heidi Henderson’s “elephant JANE dance.” In summer 2008 she premiered new work at the Built on Stilts Festival, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Fledgling Festival, Providence, R.I.

A regular presence at the renowned Bates Dance Festival, Isaac has presented work with her company, Tania Isaac Dance, throughout the U.S., Japan, England and the Caribbean. Originally from the island of St. Lucia, she offers a unique marriage of Caribbean and contemporary movement, music and aesthetics.

Isaac has taught at Temple University and Bryn Mawr College and is a Commonwealth Speaker with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. She received a 2004 Rocky Award for her piece “Home Is Where I Am,” and her video work has been screened at video dance festivals in North Carolina and Argentina.

Kelly is a jazz and hip-hop choreographer who has been working with Bates students as an extracurricular activity. Her “Three Out of Four Ain’t Bad” will feature a completely different Bates cast and a different style from the rest of the program.

“It’s been exciting to have so many new dancers volunteer for this piece,” says Carol Dilley, director of the Bates dance program. “It is a great starting place for first-years who are just finding their way into the Bates dance community.”

Weinberg performs her duet, “My Eyes on You,” with Jake Lewis, a senior from Katonah, N.Y. Minoring in dance, Weinberg has attended the Bates Dance Festival since her first year at Bates and has choreographed a variety of works in her time here.