ROCK SPRINGS – The Western Wyoming Community College Performing Arts Department will premiere Desert Dance Theatre’s Spring Concert, "reform", on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Additional performances are scheduled for Friday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The Performing Arts Department is excited to present the first Desert Dance Theatre production to be directed by first-year Dance Faculty and Artistic Director Britta Joy Peterson. Peterson, who joined Western in August, previously choreographed the fall productions "Singin' in the Rain'" and Handel's "Messiah."
Children under 5 are welcome to attend the public matinee at 2 p.m. on March 7 but will not be admitted to any evening performances. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please contact the Performing Arts Office at (307) 382-1721 or go to www.westernwyoming.edu/tix
This year's Spring Concert features guest performances by professional dancers from New York, Phoenix and Seattle, guest choreography from Oregon, student choreography, and Peterson’s new jazz work, entitled "Here." Dance pieces will be accompanied by live music and spoken word, and there will be a special performance by Peterson herself.
Peterson's work will open "reform"; it features a Western theme and is the product of the innovative Propelling Professional Performance Project, also known as P^4. P^4 is designed to allow students to pursue an in-depth study of performance with professionals in the field, which is crucial for Western students who aspire to work as professional performers.
Peterson has brought four professional performers - Léla Groom and Kristopher K. Q. Pourzal from New York; Juan ‘Coel’ Rodriguez from Phoenix; and Kim Lusk from Seattle, to Western to rehearse and perform alongside students in "Here."
Peterson has also commissioned a new score from longtime collaborator Robin Vining, a Phoenix-based musician and composer who tours with the musical groups Jimmy Eat World and Sweet Bleeders.
“Working with Robin is always inspiring," Peterson said. "My work is made better just by talking with him, and then we get to dance to his incredible music!”
"Here" is brought to life by local Costume Designer Gwendolyn Quitberg and local Scenic Designer Nathan Kluthe, with lighting design by Evan Anderson, of Seattle. This large-scale production wanders through the wilderness of the West, presenting multi-dimensional perspectives on life in the wind, the warmth, and the wild.
“'Here' is going to be a wild ride, literally," Peterson promised. "Come with us, and see where we end up."
The concert's second act features and was choreographed by WWCC students. Sophomores Joshua A. Martinez and David Frias, of Kearns, Utah, and Kirklin Carroll, of Green River, have collaborated on a new dance entitled "Tunnel." Martinez describes the piece as an exploration of stress.
"We want to show how certain stressors affect students differently," he said.
Carroll advised the audience to “have an open mind about the piece and to let it unfold, rather than thinking about it.”
Frias is also working on a duet with WWCC freshman Katherine Riedl, of Cheyenne. Their work, "Underneath," features music composed by Riedl and edited by Frias.
One big highlight of Act Two is the premiere of "Till the End," choreographed by guest artist Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, of Oregon. Peterson invited Gutierrez-Garner to Western in September to work with students on the piece, and Desert Dance Theatre has been rehearsing the work since then. "Till the End" features the music of Michael Nyman, a dramatic set design, and full-bodied movement.
Gutierrez-Garner’s work also will be danced by Desert Dance Theatre at the American College Dance Association’s Northwest Conference in Greely, CO.
Rounding out Act Two of "r e f o r m" are two works choreographed by Peterson. First, she will be performing her duet Recurring Reverie with guest performer Juan ‘Coel’ Rodriguez. The duet premiered in 2011 and has been produced in Arizona, California and Washington. The work will serve as Peterson's introduction of sorts to Sweetwater County.
“I want to introduce myself to the community, and the simplest way to do that is to dance for you," she said.
Closing "r e f o r m" is Peterson’s newest jazz piece, "PULSE."
“I am so excited to share 'PULSE' with an audience!” Peterson said. “This dance is a clear representation of the work we’re doing as a Performing Arts Department here at Western.”
"PULSE" features live music performed and sung by Desert Dance Theatre students, accompanied by Western music major Cheyenne Lindsey-LeFaivre on drums. Western Music Faculty Brandon Coprich composed and arranged the music for the work, which is punctuated by original spoken word performed by Martinez, aka KID JAM.
“This piece exposes the range of talent that Western students have. You will feel the beat!” Peterson promised.
Peterson said she titled Desert Dance Theatre's annual concert "r e f o r m" as a reflection of what dancers do in the studio.
“Each class and rehearsal, we walk into the space and take on new and challenging ideas in order to restructure, or re-form, our approach to dance,” she explained. “I hope the audience will walk away knowing the culture of dance at Western.”