PRESS RELEASE: Festival of Dance 2017

April 25, 2017

Brown University Theatre presents Festival of Dance 2017. This annual dance concert highlights dance classics, creative innovation, and collaborations with artists from around the world. This year, the festival celebrates dance as cultural legacy and embodied storytelling.

Brown University Theatre proudly presents its annual end-of-year dance concert from May 4 to 7 in Stuart Theatre, rounding off the 2016-17 performance season.

The Festival of Dance 2017 concert brings together dance works produced by faculty and guest artists over the past twelve months including performances by resident dance companies, Dance Extension and New Works/World Traditions.

The pieces this year were selected for their focus on the role of dance in carrying cultural tradition and in storytelling. Marakadon originates from the Maraka peoples of Mali and presents a celebration of life-cycle ceremonies. Flow Form and Going for the Gold, choreographed by former Paul Taylor dancers Ruth Andrien and Amy Marshall, and Battleworks Etude by Robert Battle, who danced with Paul Taylor Dance Company alumnus David Parsons, reflect the legacy of American concert dance from Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn to Martha Graham to Paul Taylor and down to future generations.

Through personal narrative, reflection, autobiography, and cultural histories, RiverRun by Michelle Bach-Coulibaly and New Works/World Traditions, explores the Buddhist notion of stream entry where we release our attachments into a river of awakening.

Closer to the Light, created in 1990 by Julie Adams Strandberg in memory of George Houston Bass, keeps his legacy alive. Bass (1938-1990) was the founder and artistic director of Rites and Reason Theatre, who died suddenly in Providence in 1990. At the next commencement ceremony at Brown University, the Rites and Reason Theater was re-named the George Houston Bass Theater. Today, many who know the name of the theatre have no idea to whom that name relates. Since 1990, Closer to the Light has been danced by several generations of Brown undergraduates, professional dancers, and several casts of high school students from the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of Dance. Each time it is performed, George Bass is brought into the present and becomes known by new dancers and new audiences in the vital and engaging form of live theatre.

Speaking about the concert, Producer Julie Adams Strandberg said:

Dance is embodied legacy and storytelling. Many cultures recognize this and keep their stories alive by passing their dances on from generation to generation. Ironically, one of the best permanent records of a culture is housed in the body through dance—misnamed the ephemeral art. Names on plaques can be removed, spaces renamed, dedicated buildings razed, neglected temples eroded, documents destroyed, but as long as stories are shared through dance, they will last as long as the human body exists. And what could be more permanent than that?

The theatre is a place where—through dance—audiences can connect with other cultures; experience places and times they would never see; come to “know” those who have passed away; and “see” stories unfold before their eyes.

I am proud as always to showcase the great work of Brown University students and faculty as well as the wonderful work of guest choreographers and performers.

Festival of Dance 2017 is produced by Julie Adams Strandberg and runs May 4 to 7 in Stuart Theatre on the main campus at Brown University (75 Waterman Street, Providence, RI 02912). Performances take place Thursday through Saturday at 8pm, with a matinee performance at 2pm on Sunday.

Brown University Theatre’s 2016-17 performance season is produced by the Brown University Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and by Sock & Buskin, a student-faculty board that has an unbroken record of producing theatre at Brown University for over 100 years.

Tickets are $15 (adults) / $12 (seniors) / $7 (students). For more information visit To book tickets, call (401) 863-2838, or visit the Box Office in the Leeds Theatre Lobby (83 Waterman Street, Providence, RI 02912), Tuesday–Friday from 12–4pm during the semester, or email To book online, visit:


If you have any questions or to schedule an interview with the director or the cast, please contact:

Paul Margrave, Marketing Coordinator

(401) 863-2730 / /