UM Dance Program To Host 15th Annual Benefit Concert

UM Dance Program To Host 15th Annual Benefit ConcertThe University of Montana School of Theatre & Dance will hold a benefit concert showcasing orginal choreography from students, guest artists and faculty at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2-3.

The 15th annual American College Dance Association Benefit Concert features performers and choregraphers who will attend the Northwest Regional Conference in March at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The Benefit Concert features choreographers' work slated to be performed at this year's ACDA conference and adjudicated by nationally and internationally renowned dance artists and critics. It will be held in the UM Performing Arts and Radio/TV Center's Open Space in Room 005.

The Benefit Concert is a compilation ranging in genres from dance theater, contemporary ballet, contemporary modern dance, hip hop and contact improvisation. Tickets are available at the door, with a suggested donation of $5 to $10 or more gratefully accepted.

The Benefit Concert helps to raise critical funds for UM dance students to attend the conference while also showcasing the latest dance work before they represent UM in Boulder. The concert is entirely student-run, with full lighting, costumes, sound design, choreography and performance.

Highlights of this year's concert include:

· Tsiambwom Akuchu's "Every^Man (Alright)," a powerful solo exploring African-American history and the evolution of hip-hop culture through dance. Set to a masterful sound score, including poetry by Claude McKay, this socially and politically charged piece draws the audience in with a visceral view of the black American experience. "Every^Man (Alright)" will represent the UM School of Theatre & Dance in the adjudicated concert at ACDA.

· "Orbiting," an excerpt from Bare Bait Dance's "All About Moon." Choreographed by BBD Artistic Director Joy French, "Orbiting" explores humans' varied connections with the moon: mythical, romantic and scientific. The Dance Program is honored to feature French's work, and the Montana Arts Council recently honored her with a 2017 Artist's Innovation Award.

· Excerpts from "Jasper's Farm," a newly choreographed work by Missoula native and UM guest artist Brian Gerke. The performance features eight dance students embodying the iconic movement that Gerke has cultivated over the past 10 years. After studying in New York City with dance masters such as Hilary Easton and Trisha Brown Dance, Gerke immigrated to Reykjavik, Iceland, to collaborate with dance partner Steinunn Ketilsdóttir. In 2012, he joined the Iceland Dance Company 2 and became a featured and award-winning soloist throughout his tenure there until 2015. Gerke is the first American dancer honored with the Icelandic Griman award for Dance Performer of the Year since its inception in 2003. "Jasper's Farm" also will represent UM's School of Theatre & Dance in the ACDA adjudicated concert.

"The ACDA Benefit Concert promises to share excellent choreography and stunning performance, and all of the proceeds help to support our students in their artistic education," said Nicole Bradley Browning, professor of dance. "ACDA is the highlight for most university dance students, and this is a great chance for audiences to help them get there."

For more information call Bradley Browning at 406-529-3331 or email nicole.bradleybrowning@umontana.edu.

A complete schedule of UM School of Theatre & Dance productions for the 2017-18 academic year is online at http://www.umt.edu/umarts/theatredance/Season/17-18-season.php.

Photo: The American College Dance Association Benefit Concert at UM will feature a range of original choreography.

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