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‘Dancing on the Edge’ to feature celebrity guest artist
Each spring semester the Department of Dance puts on “Dancing on the Edge,” a performance that showcases student talent through choreographed pieces developed by faculty and guest artists. The event provides students with the real-world experience of performing in a dance company concert. Students begin by auditioning to be part of the performance. If selected, they will spend over ten weeks rehearsing for three nights of performances on the stage of Bondurant Auditorium.
James Robey, Chair of the Department of Dance, serves as the Artistic Director of the performance as well as a choreographer for the concert that will feature works by faculty members Ji-Eun Lee, Rachel Rugh and Amy VanKirk. According to Robey, the most challenging aspect of developing this program is coordinating the dancers, choreographers, and technical crew to prepare for the production. “The amount of hours and energy that go into this concert is substantial,” said Robey. “Most of the student dancers are in ten hours of rehearsals a week in addition to their classes, course work, work study, and outside jobs. The week of the performance demands that they spend around 24 hours in the theater alone.”
Students and faculty in the department are especially excited to have guest artist Darrell Grand Moultrie in residence working with students to create an original choreographed work. “Darrell is a highly sought-after international choreographer and our students have had a wonderful experience learning and working with him,” said Robey.
Moultrie is a New York City-based dancer and choreographer, graduate of the Juilliard School, and recipient of a Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award. In addition to creating and staging multiple works for a substantial number of high profile dance schools and companies, Grammy Award-winning recording artist Beyoncé selected Darrell as one of the choreographers for her “Mrs. Carter Show” world tour. Moultrie has also collaborated with Tony Award-winner Savion Glover and director Diane Paulus, who selected Moultrie to choreograph the original musical “Witness Uganda” at the American Repertory Theater. As a performer, Moultrie has appeared in “West Side Story” in Milan, Italy, at the world famous La Scala Opera House. He also performed on Broadway in the smash hit musical “Hairspray,” and was an original cast member of the Tony Award-winning musical “Billy Elliot.”
Moultrie’s residency included a masterclass and talk back with students. He selected twelve student dancers to perform an original work which will debut on the stage of Bondurant Auditorium during the opening night of the performance.
Reagan Mihailoff is a sophomore dance major who was selected to be part of Moultrie’s piece in “Dancing on the Edge.” She admits that when the notification email regarding her selection to Moutrie’s dance showed up in her inbox, she was so anxious that she had to have a roommate read it for fear of rejection. She was elated to find out that she had been selected to participate. The experience of being able to work with Moultrie has not left her disappointed. “The five-hour rehearsal nights seemed to fly by,” said Mihailoff. “One of the biggest things that made the experience so special was how inspiring he was. There was a wholesome combination of what we needed to do to improve, while simultaneously encouraging us that there’s no difference between us and any other dancer in any other school or company. It’s all about what drives you, and how you carry yourself.”
Dancing on the Edge will perform for three consecutive nights beginning on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Each performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall at the campus of Radford University. Tickets are available at the door, or may be purchased prior to the event by calling 540-831-5240 or online at https://radfordactivities.universitytickets.com/w/default.aspx.