Wright State’s Spring Dance Concert will move audience members’ spirits

The Wright State Dance Ensemble will present works by Wright State dance faculty, renowned guest choreographers, Dayton Ballet II and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II at its Spring Dance Concert 2022. (Photos courtesy of the Wright State University Dance Program)

The Wright State University Dance Ensemble will return to the Festival Playhouse stage with its Spring Dance Concert 2022 on April 21–24.

The Dance Ensemble will premiere two works and other dynamic pieces by Wright State dance faculty and renowned guest choreographers Kiki Lucas, Elizabeth Ramsey and Erin Long-Robbins. The concert will feature additional works by Dayton Ballet II and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II.

“The Wright State Dance Ensemble is thrilled to be back onstage, unmasked with a live audience,” said Gina Gardner Walther, associate professor of dance at Wright State. “Audiences will have the opportunity to see the dancers shine in a variety of stunning choreographic works sure to move your spirit.”

Performances take place in the Festival Playhouse in the Creative Arts Center on Thursday, April 21, at 7 p.m.; Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. Wright State students can attend the April 21 concert for free by showing a student ID. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Theatre Box Office at 937-775-2500.

The Spring Dance Concert will feature varied dynamic works reflecting the breadth and vision of the Wright State Dance Program.

“Dance fills the heart with joy and expresses emotions we cannot put into words,” Walther said. “Our students receive rigorous training and individual attention allowing them to push the boundaries of dance.”

The Spring Dance Concert will highlight the region’s vibrant and diverse dance community.

The concert will feature the premiere of “My Beloved,” choreographed by Elizabeth Ramsey, who received a B.F.A. in dance from Wright State. Ramsey is a dance artist with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and was recently named the resident choreographer for the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati.

“My goal for this work was to take an intimate look at unhealthy, codependent connections and the feeling of getting lost inside of that,” she said.

The Dance Ensemble will also premiere Walther’s “What My Bones Remember.” With music by David Jaconello and Alex Weston, this piece is performed by 11 dancers who display enormous grace, strength and resilience.

The Spring Dance Concert will be the final concert for Teressa Wylie McWilliams, professor of dance, who is retiring at the end of the academic year.

McWilliams’ piece “Exits” explores the idea of exits through the lens of movement, “tracing the simplicity and complexity of exits and the unexpected paths and interactions they reveal.” The piece features an edgy score by Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.

“Exits are ubiquitous, involving layered decisions and choices about moving forward, shifting sideways and changing direction,” McWilliams said.

In “Ricochet,” guest artist Kiki Lucas revisits two of her past and creates a new work that “embodies not only revolution in creating but the revolution of relationships.”

“The trials and tribulations that bind us in love are an ever-changing reflection of who we once were and who we are becoming,” she said. “What we choose to reconnect to or deflect is a constant juggle of endless emotions, lessons and curiosity.”

Lucas was resident choreographer and company member of Met Dance Co. in Houston as well as Mosaic Dance Project in Miami. Her choreography has been presented at the Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Stage, The Kennedy Center, Met Dance Co. and numerous universities and colleges.

The ensemble will also perform “Esprit,” choreographed by regional choreographer Erin Long-Robbins, who describes the work as a “playful and spirited ballet that celebrates the joys of youth, movement, friendship and spirited connections between individuals.”

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