SouthernMethodistUniversityTurns 100 by YolondaBattle A
s SouthernMethodistUniversity (SMU) embraces its second century, theDivision ofDance at theMeadows School of the Arts salutes the centennial of SMU’s founding in 1911 by
showcasingworks choreographed by eight distinguished alumni at this year’s edition of the annual FallDanceConcert,November 2-6, 2011 in theBobHope Theatre.
Max Stone,CherylChaddick, Jamal Story,AnnmariaMazzini,Anna MarieEwert-Pittman, Josh Peugh, JarrellHamilton and John Malashock, lauded for theirwork as artistic directors, performers and teachers,were selected froma pool of 35 alumni candidates by a panel of artists and arts administrators from across the nation. The fall concertwill shine a spotlight on the talented alumni and current student dancers at SMUwith a programfeaturing three newworks and five existingworks.
director of the fall concert. That passion to succeed infuses the students’ demanding rehearsal sched- ules,which involve the alumni chore- ographers flying in forweeks at a time in preparation for the concert. “It’s very vibrant around the division. They’re so gifted and they’ve done well in the professionalworld,” said ProfessorDelaney,who notes it is inspiring for students to knowthat these alums once stood rightwhere they are, 10, 20, 30 years ago.
Buzz for the showis steadilymounting. “Fromwhatwe hear through the grapevine,we’re going to have a good turnout of alums in attendance at the concert,” said ProfessorDelaney.
“I’mvery excited—it’s really an honor to be asked. I’mthrilled to be among this group,” said Stone (M.F.A. 2005), a former senior lecturer on the dance faculty at SMU. Stone,Chaddick (B.F.A. 1977) and Story (B.F.A. 1999) were each challenged to create a new work for the fall concert. They rose to the occasion.
Stone,who lives inNewYork and has worked onBroadway as a choreogra- pher and dancer,will present Etched, a
modern/jazz fusionwork. “I had such great teachers,” he said. “Iwas taught very-disciplined, codifiedmethods.Al
ot of schools and universi- ties just don’t have a programthat’swell-rounded, so I owe everything to them.” Last year, Stonewas invited to teachmaster classes for the cast of renowned choreographerMatthewBourne’s award-winning version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
The acclaimachieved by graduates like Stone is a beacon tomany aspir- ing dancers, such as graduating SMU seniorMeg Southcott. “We deserve our reputation as one of the top five dance schools, and the choreographers that are coming in havemaintained careers through diverse paths,” said Southcott. “We create strong sustainable dancerswho aremaking amark on theworld.”
The consistency of talent SMUproducesmakes that a strong possibility. Chaddick, a critically-acclaimed choreographer, hasworked for some of the best companies in the country, performed inworks by the lateAnna Sokolowand taught at San Francisco School of theArts. In 2007, after more than 20 years as one of the leading contemporary dance teachers in San Francisco, the Texas native returned to the Lone Star State,where she founded theChaddickDance Theater inAustin.Ch
addick’s creation for the fall concert is a spiritual piece called TheHand ofMan in Front of the Hand ofGod,which she hopeswill emotionally captivate the audience.
Story, the third alumchargedwith creating a newwork, graduated from SMU(with a doublemajor, in dance and TV/radio communications) unde- cided about his future as a performer. He needn’t haveworried.Upon grad- uation, Story danced forDonald Byrd/TheGroup, touredwith Madonna andCher, and easily transi- tioned to contemporary ballet by dancing forNewYorkCity’sComplexions. Story’s powerfulmodern jazz piece for the fall concert is ChooseMe.
Dancers dreamof the success earned by Stone,Chaddick and Story, but it is the alums’ love for the art of dance expressed through choreography that captivates.
“I think it’s really cool,” saidBre’AnnBerger, a sophomore dance student fromBatonRouge, Louisana. ForBerger, the concert is “purely SMUtal- ent,” an opportunity for people to see howsuccessful the alumni have been and howstudents are training. It’s also a testament to the reso- nance of school spirit.
Many individuals dreamof becoming professional athletes,musicians, artists or dancers, but only a fewmight live their dreams.
“All these students aspire to bewhere the choreographers are—that’s whywe’re here,” said Professor PattyHarringtonDelaney, the artistic page 20
november 2011 www.thedancecouncil.org
Mazzini (B.F.A. 1994),whowas a principal dancer formore than a decadewith the legendary Paul TaylorDanceCompany,will present BakelightApparition. Themale-female duet features SMUalums Lee Duveneck andElizabethBragg,who dancewith professional companies inNewYork.Ma
zzini,whose credits include off-Broadwaywork, and the dancers areworking on the piece inManhattan.
Four otherworks round out the concert lineup.HangingOut of Town is an aerialwork choreographed byEwert-Pittman (B.F.A. 1994), the artistic a publication of the dance council of north texas vol. 14 •
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