IU’s contemporary dance program ‘moving into focus’ with winter show

The name of IU’s Contemporary Dance program winter concert, “Moving Into Focus,” says it all, according to program director Liz Shea.

Dancers in IU Contemporary Dance director Liz Shea's piece, titled "Minor Bodies."

Dancers in IU Contemporary Dance director Liz Shea’s piece, titled “Minor Bodies.”

Last semester, the dance program moved from the School of Public Health and merged with the Department of Theatre and Drama to create the newly-named Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance. Established in 1927, IU’s contemporary dance program is believed to be the second-oldest of its kind in the country.

“For our annual winter concert, we really wanted to signify that we’re moving forward into a place that joins with our artistic vision, that we’ve found a new direction,” Shea said. “We’re very happy with our new department and our new partnership, and wanted to express how excited we are. It feels like home.”

The show, which incorporates both athleticism and artistry, opens Jan. 17. There will be two additional shows on Jan. 18 in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre. Tickets are available.

Dancers in NYC-based choreographer Larry Keigwin's piece, "Runway."

Dancers in Keigwin’s  “Runway.”

One of the show’s highlights is a piece called “Runway,” set by New York based-choreographer Larry Keigwin, who visited campus last summer to work with students. A commentary on body image and the fierceness of today’s competitive society, the piece features more than a dozen dancers whose movements echo models on a runway.

The show also includes a work created by Detroit-based choreographer Laurie Eisenhower called “Is This the Part,” based on a poem; and Shea’s own “Minor Bodies,” which premiered in October in Detroit. Other pieces performed were created by African-American Dance Company director Iris Rosa, contemporary dance assistant professor Selene Carter and musical theater director George Pinney.

“It’s a big, exciting, beautiful concert,” Shea said. “You will think, feel and be moved not only by the dancers’ astounding athleticism, but by their passion for the art of dance.”

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