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Orchesis Dance Company to Present ‘Vitality’ Jan. 31-Feb. 8, 2014

Cal Poly’s Orchesis Dance Company will embrace current dance trends and explore new perspectives on classical forms at its 44th anniversary concert, “Vitality,” taking place in January and February at the Spanos Theatre on campus.  

The dance program will be held at 8 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 1 and Feb. 6-8. There will also be a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1.

Orchesis DancersThe concert will feature choreography of a range of performance styles by Cal Poly faculty, selected dance students, local choreographers, and nationally acclaimed guest artists Douglas Nielsen, Damon Rago, Daniel Cruz and Nancy Cranbourne.

Nielsen, a professor of dance at the University of Arizona School of Dance, is also a director of his own dance company, Doulas Nielsen Dances. He comes to Cal Poly with an internationally recognized career as a dancer, choreographer and educator. As the recipient of the Lester Horton Award for Excellence in Teaching and four fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, Nielsen brings a distinguished creative voice to Cal Poly.

Orchesis students and Nielsen collaborated to choreograph his dance piece, creating a movement vocabulary that reflects the ideas of each dancer. The resulting dance is provocative and original, and abstractly represents ideas from other visual art forms like painting and sculpture.

Rago, chair of dance at Loyola Marymount University, created “I’ll Tell Ya Later,” a lyrical and thought-provoking dance that explores the subtleties of a dream sequence versus reality.

Focusing primarily on hip-hop dance, Cruz comes to Cal Poly from Seattle where his company, Cruz Control, highlights commercial trends in urban street genres fused with contemporary dance.

From Boulder, Colo., Cranbourne brings her distinctive style of classy jazz to the finale of this year’s “Vitality” concert.

Local artist Ryan Lawrence brings a fresh perspective to the choreographic scene with his extensive experience as a professional dancer in Europe. His new contemporary quintet was designed especially for Cal Poly dancers, and it showcases their technical and expressive prowess.

The concert will also feature the work of Theatre & Dance Department faculty choreographers Diana Stanton, Christy McNeil and Michelle Walter. Orchesis dancers will showcase original work by Stanton and McNeil. Walter will present a new ballet to the classic “Danse Macabre” by composer Camille Saint-Saens.

Tickets for “Vitality” are $20 for the public and $12 for students, seniors and children. Tickets are on sale at the Performing Arts Center ticket office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. To order by phone, call 805-756-4TIX; to order by fax, call 805-756-6088.

The Orchesis Dance Company concert is sponsored by Cal Poly’s Theatre & Dance Department, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Instructionally Related Activities program. 

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