Principia College’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present its annual dance production Thursday, March 31, through Saturday, April 2, in Cox Auditorium, nightly at 8 p.m. and also at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
This year’s production will debut “US,” choreographed by former American Ballet Theatre dancer John Gardner, the fourth original ballet he has created for Principia dancers. “US” incorporates a patriotic theme, including the songs “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”
For several years now, Gardner and his wife, former American Ballet Theatre prima ballerina Amanda McKerrow, have conducted workshops at Principia College, providing a rare opportunity for undergraduates to study with world-class dancers. During their distinguished careers, Gardner and McKerrow performed and worked with renowned dancers and choreographers, including George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor, among others. In January, Gardner and McKerrow conducted a two-week workshop with Principia dancers in preparation for this year’s dance production.
In addition, guest artist Mary-Jean Cowell from Washington University will debut a modern dance featuring 11 Principia dancers. Set to “Fratres,” by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, Cowell’s piece explores grief and hope with Asian-inspired movement that ebbs and flows throughout. This year’s production also features “Going Home,” choreographed by Principia dance professor Hilary Harper-Wilcoxen. Set to bluegrass music, it chronicles Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son.
In its entirety, the production will feature 43 student dancers, showcasing ballet, hip-hop, modern, lyrical and African dance styles.
“This year’s show is full of variety, excitement, and humor,” Harper-Wilcoxen said. “Our seven student choreographers have outdone themselves, and having guest artists of the caliber of Gardner and Cowell enables us to provide a program that values not only character and creativity but artistic excellence.”
Seating is general admission. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Cash and checks will be accepted at the door, or tickets are available online. For information, visit www.principiacollege.edu/danceproduction.