UTPA Dance Ensemble performs Nov. 11-14
Contact: Mary Muñoz, 381-2230
Posted: 10/29/2004
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The University of Texas-Pan American Dance Ensemble will begin its annual fall performances Nov. 11-13 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. in the UTPA Fine Arts Auditorium.

Fall Guest Artist Melissa Rolnick will be presenting two new pieces. "Slightly Askew" is a sectional octet that was choreographed in response to excerpts of Dimitri Shostakovich's "24 Preludes and Fugues" as played by Keith Jarrett. The choreography attempts to reveal the many textures of the music by juxtaposing unexpected dynamics, shape and rhythmic counterpoint. Also, "Soaring" is a solo set to Mozart's aria "Exsultate Jubilate." It premiered in May 2003 and will be danced by UTPA dance professor, Dana Shackelford. It was created as a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit that continues to "soar" in the face of adversity.

"The dance was inspired by my experience with women refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq," said Rolnick, who spent the last two weeks in August at UTPA working intensively with Shackelford and the students.

Pictured are Salina Villanueva (left), a senior majoring in dance and anthropology, and Artemio Pina, a sophomore majoring in dance, both members of the UTPA Dance Ensemble.
UTPA dance professor Melinda Blomquist's new work, "Journey Along the Path," is the result of extensive research into the history and struggles of a pioneering group who faced difficult opposition and challenges as they struggled to develop their identity and place in the world. For the choreographer it has been a process of understanding the influences that affected this group from both within and the influences of others outside the group upon their actions. Starting with movement based on research and working with individual qualities within each dancer the work was further developed with movement from the dancers in response to different ideas that were presented to them in rehearsal. This individual response to different concepts combined with the choreographer's ideas helped to shape the work.

UTPA dance professor Fred Darsow will present "Son of Solea por Bulerías." In this very kinetic and athletic piece, Darsow has developed his own very innovative movement style influenced by his extensive study in both flamenco and modern dance techniques.

UTPA dance senior, Debra de la Rosa, will be premiering a group piece "Glitch" to music by The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Moby.

"'Glitch' is composed of experimental shapes and dynamics. It is a dance that pushed me as a student to go beyond my comfort zone and manipulate elements of space, time and energy," de la Rosa said.

Finally, the UTPA Dance Ensemble will present again the very successful "The Orange Peel Piñata." Last year's spring guest artist, the world-renowned New York City-based choreographer Doug Elkins, set this witty and contemporary dance on UTPA students. After an intensive two weeks of rehearsal, Elkins choreographed an exciting new piece for the UTPA Dance Ensemble. The piece has an original commissioned score by New England composer Evren Celimli.

In describing the piece, Elkins said, "I see this work as a collaboration between myself, the dancers and a composer (i.e. Celimli) drawing on our particular roots in dance and music. The process would involve the dancers drawing upon their specific traditions in Mexican folkloric and sampling the ideas and movement phrases - layering them into new structures and formats thus creating something that is new to all of us."

Elkins' piece was made possible by the National College Choreography Initiative (NCCI), a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support provided by the Dana Foundation, which is administered by Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance.

Members of the 2004-2005 UTPA Dance Ensemble are: Yvette Bennett, Tila Bermea, Janet Bernal, Debra De La Rosa, Brittany Flowers, Raul Galvan, Tara M. Hinojosa, Linda Lopez, Maria Leanor Magboo, Erika K. Silva, Kaleena Valdez, Salina Villanueva and Ismael Villarreal.

Ticket prices for the concerts are $8 or $5 with UTPA student I.D. Tickets are available at Payments and Collections, Student Services Building, Room 115 or at the door.

For additional information, contact Mary Muñoz at 956/381-2230 or via e-mail at