The Dance Program in the UL Lafayette School of Music and Performing Arts presented State of LA Danse November 15, 16, 17 at 7:30pm and November 18 at 2:00pm. All performances were at the Ducrest-Gilfry Auditorium in Angelle Hall on the UL Lafayette campus, the 2018 production of State of LA Danse, directed by Coordinator of Dance, Kenneth L. Jenkins and Assistant Director Marie Broussard, featured a range of dance, including Contemporary Ballet, Modern Dance and dances inspired by West African and Puerto Rican culture, all thoughtfully diverse in subject matter and richly innovative in approach.
The 2018 production of State of LA Danse premiered three original works designed especially for the UL Lafayette dancers, and three additional restaged works by nationally recognized choreographers. The performance included dancers from the Lafayette community. UL Lafayette dance program graduate Gina Aswell has created a new ballet titled Through the Movement. Set to Bach’s Goldberg Variations and performed en pointe, this abstract ballet mixes a classical movement vocabulary with a contemporary sensibility.
UL Lafayette dance graduate, choreographer Brie Castro collaborated with conceptual designer Jon Thomas Rabalais of Focus Productions to produce UNavailABLE. This visual spectacle is a response to the idea of emotional unavailability as seen through the eyes of a child. UNavailABLE incorporates a large ensemble cast, moving set pieces, and a dramatic soundscape.
Guest choreographer Eric Rivera created El dia que se perdió el amor during a fall residency at UL Lafayette. A native of Puerto Rico, he earned his MFA in Choreography from SUNY Purchase College. During his performing career he danced with, among others, Ballet Hispanico of New York for thirteen seasons where he helped to create over 20 original works. He has appeared with many major ballet companies as a principal dancer and guest artist performing the choreographies of ballet luminaries. His dance works have been presented by many American dance companies and as a part of television specials. Mr. Rivera is currently on the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University. Resident artist faculty member Marie Broussard, Instructor of Dance has served as rehearsal director of this work.
Another guest of the dance program earlier in the fall was UL Lafayette dance program graduate Clarice Young. A native of New Roads, LA, Clarice is an artist who researches the intersection of the African Diasporas’ dance and contemporary modern dance. Clarice was an original member of Camille A. Brown & Company and also performed with Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company where she also served as Rehearsal Director. Clarice returned home to UL Lafayette to restage an excerpt from Walking Out The Dark, a work from the Evidence repertory. Ronald K. Brown founded Evidence, a Dance Company in 1985. The impact of his work garnered him the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement in modern dance in 2018. Brown has set his works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, Jeune Ballet d’Afrique Noire, Philadanco and many other prestigious dance companies throughout the world. Adjunct faculty member Kristi Carr has served as Rehearsal Director for this dance.
In keeping with the mission of the State of LA Danse concert series, we continue to feature works of Louisiana artists. This year we featured the work of two natives of Lafayette, LA, Clare Cook and Alex McBride.
Clare shares an excerpt from a new work SURFACE. In a world where polarities scream the loudest, SURFACE carves and moves and paints through these extremes in search of the space where humanities resides. SURFACE is collaboration between choreographer, body painter Brittney Pelloquin, and abstract painter, Dirk Guidry. Clare is an adjunct member of the dance program’s faculty.
Alex McBride, originally from Lafayette, began his dance training under the direction of Brandi Holmes at The Dance Place and Mitzi Heath at Lafayette Ballet Theatre. He went on to receive his BFA degree from The University of Arizona in Tucson where he performed in a range of work that spans from Jóse Limon to George Balanchine. Alex splits his professional time between The Limón Dance Company and 10 Hairy Legs. Alex will perform a solo from the repertory of 10 Hairy Legs choreographed by Heidi Latsky with an original score by Chris Brierley. Alex is currently teaching in the UL Lafayette dance program.