transformations photo by Steve  Stull
photo & projection Steven Stull

The Wells College Performing Arts program presents its annual faculty dance concert, entitled
Friday and Saturday, April 9 and 10 at 7:30PM
in Phipps Auditorium on the Wells College campus.  Exploring themes from myth, memory, fairy tales, and magic, Transformations offers an eclectic range of choreography by Wells College faculty member Jeanne Goddard and guest artists Michelle Iklé and Elizabeth Wilmot Bishop. Admission is free for Wells College students, $5.00 for the Wells community, other students, and senior citizens, and $7.00 for the general public.

The concert's artistic director Jeanne Goddard says the concept began with the fall theatre production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, directed by theatre faculty member Siouxsie Grady. "I started thinking about the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, and thought it would be interesting to craft a new choreographic work around themes and stories from classical mythology," Goddard explains. The first work to evolve, "Antique Regrets" draws on the sculptural representations of the Olympian gods and goddesses but also refers to the role of mythical characters in Baroque court spectacle and even to the unnatural powers granted in every century by wealth and aristocratic lineage. Goddard sees all these figures as dynamic, temperamental, even ruthless personas that have the ability to transform themselves and others at will. The movement vocabulary for the large ensemble is energetic and sensual. Projections texture the dancers' bodies, so they appear to be created from water, rocks, and other non-human elements. The score includes excerpts from Bach harpsichord concerti as well as romantic works by Liszt and Saint-Saens.

The theme of transformation appears in the other dances on the program as well.
Guest artist Michelle Iklé of Hobart and William Smith Colleges reprises her hauntingly beautiful quartet, "Pluck from the Memory a Rooted Sorrow". Developed through collaborative process with dancers Dominique Britten, Megan Claxton, Eden Kostick, and Tonille Watkis, and inspired by their personal stories, this dance uses partnering and a range of dynamic qualities to trace an emotional journey.

Two classically based pieces from long time guest artist Elizabeth Wilmot Bishop remind us of the transformative magic of memory and fairy tales. "The Village Maidens", set to Bach's Partita #3 in E major, calls the audience back to an idyllic, timeless place and atmosphere, while the "Lilac Fairy Variation" from the Sleeping Beauty Ballet, danced by Eden Kostick, bestows a gentle blessing.

Finally, Goddard's whimsical "With Birds", inspired petroglyphs and by the animal totem motifs of Joe and Kathy DeForest's textile design, presents one more view of transformation. Masked and fringed dancers playfully explore relationships of companionship, competition, and a sense of community as they mutate through a series of animal characters. Songs by the Finnish folk trio, Värttinä, provide a lively rhythmic accompaniment.

The full cast of Transformations includes Shada Baker, Brittany Bouchard, Dominique Britten, Megan Claxton, Jeanne Goddard, Mary Gooding, Eden Kostick, Sarah Malena, Catherine Marshall, Hayley Messenger, Jennifer Miller, Tonille Watkis, and Tara Wild. Lighting design is by Joe DeForest, with projections by Steven Stull, and scenic and costume design by Roberta Kolpakas.

For more information, please contact Jeanne Goddard at 315.364.3213 or email jgoddard@wells.edu. To reserve tickets for Transformations, please call the Wells College box office at 315.364.3456.

Next performance:
Hansel and Gretel Syracuse Opera
April 23 and 25, 2010

Katherine Calcamuggio      Hansel
Melisse Weber     Gertrude
Steven Stull     Peter
Audrey Elizabeth Luna     Gretel
Jennifer Roderer     the Witch

Conductor    Mark Flint
Director Richard McKee


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