Repertory Dance Company features High School Collaboration

March 31, 2014—On April 18 and 19, the UO Repertory Dance Company (UORDC), composed of the elite student dancers of the University of Oregon, will present culminating works of the academic year at their annual concert on the UO campus. Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. both evenings in the Dougherty Dance Theatre on the third floor of the Gerlinger Annex on the UO campus.

Tickets are $10 general, $5 for students and seniors, available at the door or in advance from the UO Ticket Office in McArthur Court (EMU South), 541-346-4363.

Continuing its commitment to outreach, this year’s UORDC concert will feature the latest instance of an ongoing collaboration: high school student dancers from Springfield’s Academy of Arts & Academics (A3) will perform in “Letters in the Attic,” a piece by UO Department of Dance chair Jenifer Craig.

“This work began with shared personal photos and stories collected in the era before social media,” said Craig. “It is a celebration of our connections to family histories.”

Several works will feature themes based on the mid-twentieth century era, including Brad Garner’s “Because You’re Mine,” which is set to country-rock music by Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash; Shannon Mockli’s “Journey to Wherever,” featuring music “The Girl from Ipanema” and Dean Martin’s “Sway;” and Rachel Winchester’s “Girl Pool,” inspired by science fiction author Kurt Vonnegut.

Rita J. Honka's “Requisite Resolve,” set to “Number 9” by Moon Hooch, is an action-packed quartet with dancers falling, catching, weaving, and launching off one another. Walter Kennedy's “Solo from The Deep Field,” featuring Asian underground music by Talvin Singh, is a transcendent work of virtuosic athleticism that has challenged professional dancers since it was first choreographed in 2003.

This year the Department of Dance will recognize Sarah Beth Byrum, a 1999 UO alumna, with a Community Partner Award to commemorate her dedication to local dance education. In the years since her graduation as a dance major, Byrum’s All That! Dance Company has grown from a few classes in her home's converted garage to over fifty classes each week for hundreds of students of all ages in studios in Eugene and Springfield.

The Repertory Dance Company is the UO’s touring dance company, and the primary means of outreach of the Department of Dance to the wider community. The UORDC will take its show on the road this spring to forge community partnerships throughout Oregon. April 23-26 will see the company’s seventh year in residence at North Bend High School and North Bend Middle School; and the company will be in residence at the Crater Renaissance Academy in Central Point, Ore. May 14-17. As part of the latter residency, UORDC will perform at the Crater Performing Arts Center on May 16 and 17.

In addition to performing, company members teach and conduct lecture-demonstrations in elementary, middle, and high schools across Oregon. The experience gives dance students the opportunity to serve as ambassadors of the UO’s challenging and innovative dance program.