Posted: November 18, 2009
Students from the Five College Dance Department performed in Mount Holyoke’s Fall Faculty Dance Concert November 12-14. The concert marked the grand opening of the newly renovated Studio Theatre in the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex.
President Joanne V. Creighton gave opening remarks to a standing-room-only crowd at the Friday, November 13, performance. She expressed gratitude that her vision of an improved dance performance space has been realized during her tenure as president. “This space is worthy of the excellence of the dance department. It is a jewel in the crown of the Five Colleges,” she said. A champagne reception followed Friday evening’s performance.
The program featured the Five College Dance Department’s premier of choreographer Mark Morris’s “Gloria” set to live choral and orchestral music by Vivaldi. The music was performed by the Mount Holyoke College Chamber Singers and Orchestra led by Robert Eisenstein, director of the Five College Early Music Program and senior lecturer in music; Linda Laderach, professor and chair of music; and music professor Larry Schipull. The project was made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.
The program also included “The Cage,” a premier by hip-hop artist and visiting artist-in-dance Jennifer Weber and her company Decadancetheatre, as well as the premier of award-winning choreographer David Dorfman’s “Dance to the Music,” set to a medley of Sly and the Family Stone hits. Also on the bill were two new works by Mount Holyoke College dance faculty: “dusk” by dance professors Jim Coleman and Terese Freedman, and “Rêve d’un Clown” by associate dance professor Charles Flachs.
The concert showcased the strength of the Five College Dance Department, which came together approximately 30 years ago and now offers more than 100 dance courses each year, including advanced-level technique courses in ballet and modern as well as numerous cultural courses such as West African dance, classical Indian dance, and Irish step dancing.
“This is something other liberal arts colleges simply don’t have enough students to offer,” Coleman said. “The range of courses and performing opportunities create a conservatory-like atmosphere in a liberal arts setting, and this is unique and very attractive to serious dance students who want to pursue a broader liberal arts education. Mount Holyoke has many dance majors, double majors, special majors, and minors.”