The UofSC Dance Company will take the Koger Center stage on April 1st for Excavating Movement, a one-night only concert featuring works from legendary choreographers José Limón and Antony Tudor, plus a brand-new work by guest artist Rosy Simas.
Show time 7pm. In accordance with University policy, seating will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing. Tickets will be available only for the purchase of a single seat or a pair of seats, with single seats priced at $15 for students, $20 for UofSC Faculty/Staff, Military and Seniors and $22 for the general public, and ticket pairs priced $30-$44. Streaming options are also available. Tickets can be purchased online at kogercenterforthearts.com or by phone at 803-777-5112. The Koger Center is located at 1051 Greene St.
Included in the evening are the Tudor ballet Fandango (staged especially for UofSC by American Ballet Theatre veterans Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner), excerpts from Limón’s A Choreographic Offering (staged by longtime Limón dancer Pablo Francisco Ruvalcaba), and The Conversation, a contemporary movement score rooted in structured improvisation by guest choreographer Simas of Rosy Simas Danse.
The inspiration for the concert’s theme of “excavation,” according to UofSC dance Associate Professor Jennifer Deckert, has been to shine a light on the rich history of American dance and reveal the profound influence of that lineage.
“It’s so important for our dancers to understand the shoulders of the giants they stand on,” says Deckert. “There’s an evolution of technique in the pieces and it’s really beautiful to watch that progression through dancers of this generation.”
Transitioning the historical works into this time, of course, necessarily involves the physical limitations of performing in the COVID era. Dancers are required to wear masks during the performance and physical contact between performers is limited. It’s a challenge that Deckert says also presents a great opportunity to bring classics like Tudor’s Fandango to life in a new context.
“[Fandango] is a living work and it has to live in this context,” says Deckert, who is rehearsal director for the Tudor work. “It’s such a personality-driven piece, but they are wearing masks, so the dancers have to express personality through their physicality, rather than through facial expressions. It’s been a really great experience for them to embody it literally in a different way.”
Set in a Spanish piazza, Fandango portrays a competition of sorts between five female characters who each try to claim superiority as a dancer. “His belief was that every step should be a part of the sentence,” Deckert explains. “You’re telling every word through the movement.”
Especially appropriate to the concert’s theme of paying homage to dance trailblazers is Limón’s A Choreographic Offering, itself an homage to the work of an earlier dance artist, the modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey. Assistant Professor André Megerdichian, a former Limón Company dancer, is rehearsal director for the work and sees its connections both to the past and the present.
“Of the modern traditions,” says Megerdichian, “the Limón technique is the underpinning of what’s happening now. It’s the invisible roots of contemporary dance.”
Linking all three works in the concert is the goal of each choreographer to portray human emotion and experience directly through movement. “[Tudor and Limón] were really interested in expressing the entirety of the human condition through movement,” says Megerdichian. “They were trying to reveal everything that’s noble or tragic in humanity.”
Modern-day choreographer Rosy Simas’ work, says Deckert, is rooted in similar terrain. “Her work is very much about the human experience. It’s an introspective process of exploring our place in nature and within the world, and exploring what that relationship means to others and our own journey.”
Deckert and Megerdichian agree that the hope for the concert is to foster renewed appreciation for the artistic milestones that have directly contributed to how we experience dance today.
“It’s not about coming to see a museum piece,” says Megerdichian. “It’s about bringing the work forward and envisioning it in new bodies and new minds.”
For more information on Excavating Movement or the dance program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.