Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed April 26, 1999
Contact: Glenn Hare

Annual Spring Concert

Dance concert to feature West African ballet and other selections

Two traditional dances that capture the spirit of Mali, West Africa, will be featured at the Spring Concert presented by the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance in the Stuart Theatre of the Catherine Bryan Dill Center for the Performing Arts. The program, which runs May 5-9, 1999, will also showcase modern, jazz and tap selections.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Two original dances that capture the cultural spirit of West Africa will be performed as part of the annual Spring Concert presented by the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance at Brown University. Set to take place in the Stuart Theatre of the Catherine Bryan Dill Center for the Performing Arts, the program will showcase inspirational dances of Mali, West Africa, and also feature tap, jazz and modern dance works.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, through Saturday, May 8, with two shows Sunday, May 9, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Performing Arts Center is located at 77 Waterman St.

Le Koteba is a traditional dance of the Bamana people of Mali, said Michelle Bach-Coulibaly, who is producing the concert. The piece was choreographed by students under the tutelage of master Malian dancer Seydou Coulibaly. "The dance functions to maintain and reinforce the cohesion among the community by establishing organizational, artistic, spiritual, physical and moral values," she said. The piece will be danced by students and New Works/World Traditions, a newly formed touring company of 13 dancers and four musicians.

"The ensemble will also perform Danse Bobo, a Malian ballet that captures the extraordinary equestrian skills of the Bobo people. "The dancers' costumes illuminate the work motifs of the Bobo Red Horsemen, who dance in colorful rainbow helmets and horsetail whisks that represent the tails of galloping horses," said Bach-Coulibaly.

The Spring Concert also will feature pieces by several highly recognized modern dance choreographers. Brown's RepCo dance group will perform The Rainbow Etude by Donald McKayle; Tenant of the Street by Eve Gentry, and Danny Grossman's Endangered Species.

Several works choreographed by students are also planned, said Bach-Coulibaly. Eight Points of Departure, by Jessica Gaynor, a junior dance concentrator, and Trist, a final project designed by an introductory modern dance class, will be presented. Among other student projects are The Birds, a work that combines both American jazz and modern dance elements performed by Brown's Fusion Dance Company, and Tap at the Cotton Club which features music of the Harlem Renaissance.

Also on tap will be Put Up Your Dukes, another original work designed by Bach-Coulibaly. "It's a tribute piece to Duke Ellington," she said, "danced to some of his most famous music, such as Koko, Passion Flower and Jack the Bear." The work is part of a larger collaborative piece performed with the Brown University Jazz Band entitled, The Duke and His Mistress. It was performed earlier this year in New York City as part of the 100th birthday commemoration of Ellington.

Tickets for the Spring Concert are available at the Box Office: $13 general admission, $9 senior citizens, $5 for students. The Box Office is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before each performance. For more information or to make reservations, call (401) 863-2838.