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‘Moving Stories’ dance concert showcases innovative work by student choreographers in a nationally acclaimed program

Dance performance Nov. 17-19 displays talents
of 13 young choreographers, more than 50 dancers

Allentown, Pa. (Oct. 1, 2011) — The Muhlenberg College Department of Theatre and Dance presents “Moving Stories,” a dance concert showcasing the new works of advanced student choreographers, Nov. 17-19 in the College’s Baker Theatre in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance.

Under the artistic direction of Karen Dearborn, director of Dance at Muhlenberg, these advanced choreographers have created sophisticated and innovative dances designed to probe and illuminate the human experience.   The choreographers draw deeply from personal understanding and infuse their creations with their broader liberal arts education to produce dances of varied perspectives. 

“Moving Stories, is designed to inspire and challenge audiences,” says Dearborn.  “These visually lush dances offer a view of our present and future through contemporary eyes.   It is always exciting to be enveloped in these kinetic and symbolic works of art - to be moved by the movement.”  

Choreographer Christine Marty ’12 specifically explores this concept in her piece.

“My cast and I are exploring this idea of multiple perspectives in relation to sight, space, and each other,” she says.  “The process includes each dancer unwrapping his or her own journey of shifting perspectives and how that has affected her or his current lens.  This exploration is further complicated by having them navigate in a world flipped upside-down.” 

“As choreographers, we have each navigated and cultivated our personal experiences in order to create and develop a perspective on the world in which we live,” says choreographer Kelsey Hutchison ’13.  “‘Moving Stories’ requests the audience to be open and receptive to these perspectives and pushes the viewer to see the world in a new way―the way each choreographer sees it.”

“My piece is an exploration of spirituality,” says choreographer Meredith Stapleton ’13.  Her cast has been rehearsing all over campus in various places such as the zen garden or the chapel.  “My cast and I are currently exploring ideas of structured religion, individual journeys of faith, a bit of existentialism, and trying to believe in something you just don't believe in.”

“Life is full of unavoidable tragedies and misfortunes” says choreographer Laura Baehr ’12.  “I am striving to put these mishaps in a comic light by exploring comedic elements from the vaudeville and silent movie eras." Comedians such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton will inform her work, poking fun at the farce that is life.

Nina Pongratz ’13 is tackling a piece on the concept of how age affects memory and understanding.

“My piece is a 10 year anniversary tribute to 9/11. In 2001, college students were in elementary school...just old enough to remember, but barely old enough to understand. Over the past 10 years this generation has been learning piece by piece what we lived through that day.”

“Moving Stories” also showcases the works of Jeremy Arnold '12, Matt Austin '12, Krista Bacchieri '12, Candace Eaton '12, AlexJo Natale '12, Sioned Papparotto '12, Christine Pepin '12, and Jackie Walsh '12.

“Moving Stories” reflects the unique dynamic of the Muhlenberg College dance program, among the highest-ranked programs of its kind in the country. The Fiske Guide to Colleges names both the theater and dance programs among the top 20 small college programs in the United States; Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed for both theater and dance.

The American College Dance Festival Association has consistently recognized dances premiered on the Muhlenberg stage for excellence in choreography and performance. Witness the creations of young choreographers from one of the top collegiate dance programs in the country.

“Moving Stories” performances are Thursday and Friday, Nov. 17-18, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for youth. Performances are in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew Street, Allentown.

Call 484-664-3333, Monday through Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. for ticket reservations, or online at www.muhlenberg.edu/tickets. For more information about the dance program at Muhlenberg College, visit www.muhlenberg.edu/dance.

To arrange an interview or photo opportunity with Karen Dearborn or any of the student choreographers, please contact Scott Snyder, at 484-664-3693 or scottsnyder@muhlenberg.edu.