UT Dance Repertory Theatre Presents FORTITUDE

UT Dance Repertory Theatre Presents FORTITUDE

Under the artistic direction of Andrea Beckham and Erica Gionfriddo, Dance Repertory Theatre returns to the stage in Fortitude, a concert celebrating the enduring spirit of dance and the strength of those called to it as a field. Fortitude features work by renowned guest artists, faculty and students as well as the annual presentation of the Haruka Weiser Memorial Commission.

One way to define the word fortitude is 'courage in the face of adversity,' write co-artistic directors Andrea Beckham and Erica Gionfriddo. Dance as a practice is uniquely situated toward problem-solving, addressing the uncomfortable and maintaining courage in the liminal spaces between absolutes. The choreographers in this program have challenged the performers to move with courage before the outcome is clear; to honor individuality alongside community, and to honor both history and the future as means to understand the present moment. Through our outstanding faculty choreographers and renowned guest artists, Fortitude offers communities and forms of dance a shared space that have not always been in conversation on the concert stage, championing the enduring power of bodies in motion to cross perceived divides.

Highlights of Fortitude include Charles O. Anderson's Id b l , a celebration of the life and art of Haruka Weiser performed as the Haruka Weiser Memorial Commission. The work brings together the entire ensemble of Dance Repertory Theatre in a tradition of communion. Every time we bring back an old memory, we run the risk of changing it memories aren't just created once, but every time we remember them, explains head of dance Charles O. Anderson. This spring, Haruka Weiser would have graduated from our dance program this piece is my humble attempt to offer her a ceremony to mark that occasion. Id b l is the Yoruba concept of showing respect upon greeting and leaving. It reflects a reverence for life and death. I chose this title in dedication to Haruka and her classmates.

Anderson is head of the dance program at The University of Texas at Austin and serves as artistic director of the critically acclaimed Charles O. Anderson Dance Projects (formerly dance theatre X), which he founded in 2003. He has performed in the companies of Ronald K. Brown, Sean Curran, Mark Dendy and Miguel Gutierrez, among others. His work has been presented nationally and internationally and has earned recognition from numerous organizations such as the Pew Fellowship for the Arts, one of 25 to Watch by Dance Magazine and one of 12 Rising Stars in the Academy by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

Also included in Fortitude is guest artist, Raphael Xavier's Sometimes: Life-Gates & Keys explores themes of permanence and resilience through elements of Hip-Hop and Breaking. As I pass on my technique of Breaking, I think about the longevity, sustainability and accessibility of dance. It's about taking apart, deciphering, decoding, putting back together and finding solutions for the individual goal. That's what Breaking is for me. As long as I can Break things I can make things. Xavier is a self-taught Hip-Hop dancer and Breaking practitioner who has forged an exceptional approach to improvisation over the past 20 years. He is an award-winning artist and alumnus of the world-renowned company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, as well as a 2013 Pew Fellowship grantee, 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and 2016 United States Artist Fellow.

Fortitude also features Scar by Andrea Beckham, developed through collaboration with the dancers and featuring sculpture work and set design by John Christensen; as well as work by Kirven Douthit-Boyd, co-artistic director of Dance at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) in St. Louis Missouri; Sandra Organ Solis, founder of Earth Vessels: The Sandra Organ Dance Company and the first African-American ballerina at the Houston Ballet; Erica Gionfriddo, lecturer at the Department of Theatre and Dance and founder of ARCOS Dance (Austin, Texas); and Bridget L. Moore, founder of B. Moore Dance who has choreographed work for Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Urban Bush Women, among others.

For more information on Fall For Dance please visit JoinTheDrama.org

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