February 18, 2018  

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Southern Miss Repertory Dance Company to Present Spring Concert

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Jamie Fisher's "Movementary" will be featured during the Spring Dance Concert April 7-10. (Submitted photo)

A combination of faculty and student dance works will be featured in the Repertory Dance Company’s Spring Dance Concert April 7-10 at The University of Southern Mississippi Mannoni Performing Arts Center.

Presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance, the concert features eight modern dance premieres and a video installation, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7.

Five Southern Miss juniors will make their choreographic debuts. Katy Gaines of Ocean Springs, Miss. presents “Be-wilder,” a slap of wild energy speckled with intricate percussive rhythms. Two ‘lost boys’ -- scrappy, playful, naïve and fierce – navigate their territory with punches, growls and wonder.

“My inspiration came from a wild textured and patterned photo shoot I saw in a magazine,” Gaines explained. “I’m excited to showcase something that I worked really hard on in collaboration with my cast of dancers. I’m also excited to get my work out there and let my dancers fully commit and perform to what they worked so hard on. This is our entry to the professional world.”

Jamie Fisher of Columbus, Miss. presents “Movementary,” an exploration of the human kinesphere range where five dancers begin in neon orange bags. The bags both constrict the dancers and define their kinespheres. Throughout the piece the dancers shed the bags and their limitations, leaving the audience with the question: If you could feel space and energy, what would they feel like?

In “Multiples of Many,” choreographer Vendetta Tardy of New Orleans, La. dives into multiple personalities. Inspired by conversations with family and friends, and bolstered by research on Dissociative Identity Disorder, this quartet features gothic music with high-risk throws and partnering.

Josh Frazier of Pulaski, Miss. presents “In and Out of Consolation,” a sextet of women traveling in and out of their comfort zones, both physically and emotionally. Reversible costumes, a hanging fence interwoven with flowing red fabric and text written by the dancers highlight the search for consolation causing the audience to wonder if the dancer will eventually find it.

Lastly, “Driving Encounters” presented by Kelly Bruce of Mandeville, La. takes the audience on a journey through the everyday interactions -- welcomed or not -- between individuals. Bruce lets unique spatial patterns plus direct and indirect eye focus drive her six dancers’ unintentional meetings.

Two faculty members, associate professor Shellie Nielsen and associate professor Elizabeth Lentz, will present three new works at the concert. Nielsen’s “Listen” runs, leaps, slides and glides by using Rudolf Von Laban’s Space Harmony concept. Created in true collaboration with the six dancers, the piece explores the cyclical, ever-changing harmony between bodies and space.           

Lentz offers both a solo and a group piece for the Spring Dance Concert.“Nowhere, Part 1- hahana, maka, ‘aina kicks off a yearlong series of solos, each created and performed by Lentz.

Each of the four solos will compare a major city where Lentz lived -- Honolulu, Seattle, Chicago, and Nashville -- with her new home in South Mississippi. Video projections of Honolulu, the Gulf Coast, palm trees and live oaks frame this solo, both in the live performance and in a video installation, which will be located in the lobby of the Theatre and Dance Building. 

“Part 1 "hahana, maka, 'aina" is solely comparing Honolulu and Southern Mississippi,” Lentz explained.  “It particularly draws on the ideas of ‘the heat, the eyes, and the land’.  People in both places just sit and look at each other. They are very attached to the land itself.”

Lentz’s group piece, “The Interpreters’ Project”, is a process-driven piece for seven dancers, who were referred to during the process as “interpreters”.  The piece explores what knowledge, power dynamics and processes of being a “dancer” would be uncovered by changing this moniker to “interpreter” and how would the movement change through the “interpretations.” Similar to the game Telephone, Lentz created a duet with two interpreters, who then taught the dance to two others, who then taught it to two others. 

The concert continues at 7:30 p.m. April 8-9 and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10 with a pre-show talk starting at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $6 for students, $10 for faculty, staff, alumni, senior citizens and military. To purchase tickets visit, www.southernmisstickets.com or call 601.266.5418. For more information, call 601.266.4161.