Contemporary Dance Company presents Spring Works Dance Concert

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -– The Purdue Contemporary Dance Company will present its Spring Works Dance Concert on April 29 and 30.

Spring Works dance concert rehearsal

Student Matthew Webb rehearses for the upcoming Spring Works performance. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

The dance company, which is housed in the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts in Yue-Kong Pao Hall, will present seven new dances by faculty and student artists. The concert will be in Nancy T. Hansen Theatre

This year’s performance expresses themes ranging from spatial orientation, to the effects of gravity on the human body, to the stages of overcoming grief.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. each evening, and there also will be a 2 p.m. matinee on April 30. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, and $6 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at all Purdue box offices (765-494-3933 or 800-914-SHOW) and through Ticketmaster ( or 765-743-5151).

Spring Works performances include:

  • Immancence,” choreographed by Carol Cunningham-Sigman, a faculty member in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, depicts a group of people seeking peace and enlightenment. Encounters with one another create physical and psychological challenges along their journey. Sound and light design students in the school’s theater department created visual and aural designs for the piece.
  • Orient,” presented by Rebecca Bryant, a Purdue faculty member, is a new work created in collaboration with her seven dancers. This improvisational piece combines props, text and movement to explore how we orient ourselves in our environment.
  • Green Banana,” choreographed by Mary Beth Van Dyke, a faculty member in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, is inspired by “Dear John” letters and blues music. Eight women will dance to live music written by local musician Jamie Newman, who will play piano for the performance. Jennifer Wiley will perform the vocals and be accompanied by Newman, trombonist Ken Seidal and drummer Leon T. Johnson.
  • 9.8m/sec2,” choreographed by guest artist David Marchant, relates to the mathematical description of acceleration due to gravity. This dance explores the potential of the human body’s dynamic relationship to the force of gravity and the ground. The dance was originally created in 2004 in collaboration with a group of six women who had studied with Marchant. They assisted him in developing a dance training technique Marchant calls “quadruped,” which uses movements that are low-level in fully-body relationship with the ground. The result is a dance sport that Marchant calls “ground riding.” The work was directed by Sally Wallace, a Purdue faculty member.
  • Peace of Mind,” choreographed by dance company president Jamie Grigsby, explores the turmoil created by the feeling of indecision. Grigsby, a senior majoring in retail management, created the movement to express an increasing amount of frustration, confusion and uncertainty and the audience is left to wonder if a decision will ever be reached.
  • You may relapse,” choreographed by psychology junior Andrea Larsen, explores the stages of grieving, the emotions that consume individuals until they reach the final stage of grief – acceptance. The progression of the stages of grief is blurry and undefined, with individuals experiencing regressions into earlier stages.
  • Idio Synchrony,” choreographed by Mark Scherschel, explores the idiosyncratic movement that is unique to individuals, yet somehow uniting to us as people. Scherschel, a senior studying neuroscience engineering, created this piece. He wants the audience to notice the little things that look odd in isolation, but are done by, and as a part of, everyone.

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 May 2019