Festival of Dance 2017 (Festival)

May 4–7, 2017

Stuart Theatre

Produced by Julie Adams Strandberg

Festival of Dance 2017 brought together the best dance work produced by students, faculty, and professional dancers over the prior twelve months including performances by resident dance companies, Dance Extension and New Works/World Traditions.

The pieces this year were selected for their focus on the role of dance in carrying cultural tradition and in storytelling. Dance is embodied legacy and storytelling. Many cultures recognize this and keep their stories alive by passing their dances on from generation to generation. Ironically, one of the best permanent records of a culture is housed in the body through dance—misnamed the ephemeral art. Names on plaques can be removed, spaces renamed, dedicated buildings razed, neglected temples eroded, documents destroyed, but as long as stories are shared through dance, they will last as long as the human body exists. And what could be more permanent than that?

Marakadon, originating from the Maraka peoples of Mali, invites us to a celebration of life-cycle ceremonies. Flow Form and Going for the Gold, choreographed by former Paul Taylor dancers, and Battleworks Etude by Robert Battle, who danced with Paul Taylor Dance Company alumnus David Parsons, reflect the legacy of American concert dance from Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, through Martha Graham and Paul Taylor.

Through personal narrative, reflection, autobiography, and cultural histories, RiverRun by Michelle Bach-Coulibaly and New Works/World Traditions, invites us to explore the Buddhist notion of stream entry where we release our attachments into a river of awakening.

Closer to the Light, created in 1990 by Julie Adams Strandberg in memory of George Houston Bass, keeps his legacy alive. Bass (1938–1990) was the founder and artistic director of Rites and Reason Theatre. He died suddenly in Providence on September 19, 1990. At the next Commencement ceremony at Brown University, the Rites and Reason Theater was re-named the George Houston Bass Theater. Today, many who know the name of the theatre have no idea to whom that name relates. Since 1990, Closer to the Light has been danced by several generations of Brown undergraduates, professional dancers, and several casts of high school students from the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Dance. Each time it is performed, George Bass is brought into the present and becomes known by new dancers and new audiences in the vital and engaging form of live theatre.

Produced by Sock & Buskin and Brown University Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies.

Festival of Dance 2017