Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University and the United World College – USA present a concert, “Celebration of the Arts: an Evening of Dance, Music, Theatre and Art,” April 16 at 7:30 p.m.
The free concert is in Highlands’ historic Ilfeld Auditorium at 900 University, and is part of Dance Fest 2016 at Highlands April 14 – 17.
“The April 16 United World College concert features performances by our international baccalaureate students in dance, theatre, music and visual arts,” said Kathleen Kingsley, UWC dance program director. “My dance students’ pieces are based primarily upon modern dance, and run the gamut of emotions from serious to lighthearted. The dances are colorful, theatrical and fun.”
Kingsley said the concert is an opportunity for the UWC students to share the joy of performing with the Las Vegas community.
Tom Janssens of Belgium and Katerina Yang of China are two of the 30 UWC dancers who will perform. Janssens and Yang choreographed pieces that reflect the variety in the program.
“I choreographed a high-energy duet with a lot of acrobatics,” Janssens, 17, said. “The black light will make the paint on our bodies glow in a surreal way as we move.”
Yang, 19, said: “The feeling of my duet is a dreamlike, flowing choreography of two sisters. There are contradictions where sometimes they blend as one, and sometimes they push each other away.”
Kingsley’s choreography is also featured in the concert including music from Bela Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances.” Ronald Maltais, UWC music program director, is the piano accompanist.
Two professional guest artists will perform solo dances. Danah Bella, founder of the contemporary dance company Danah Bella DanceWorks in Radford, Virginia, will perform as well as Maia Cortissoz of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“I feel that contemporary dance has the ability to be an agency of change, and a good dance piece can stir conversation on difficult topics such as inequality, race and gender,” said Bella, who is also a dance professor at Radford University. “My son is six, and my dance piece is about the embodiment of the transformation from womanhood to motherhood.”
Since Bella established her dance company in 2004, it has performed extensively from coast to coast in the U.S. as well as internationally. Before that, she performed with dance companies such as the Santa Barbara Dance Theatre and Dancing Earth.
Bella will also teach two free dance workshops, one April 15 for Highlands and United World College students and one April 16 for the community.
“The class for students is an improvisation and choreography class with the main focus being finding a unique voice, and learning choreographic devices to manipulate movement,” Bella said. “For the community I’ll be teaching a multigenerational dance class with a focus on using movement to strengthen the ties between generations.”
Kingsley said the April 16 United World College concert grew out of conversations in fall 2015 between Highlands President Sam Minner and then UWC President Mukul Kumar.
“This concert is the most ambitious joint production with Highlands to date,” Kingsley said.
Donna Martínez, Ilfeld Auditorium manager, said the goal is to make Dance Fest an annual event at Highlands in collaboration with the United World College.
The other free events for Dance Fest 2016 include:
Desert Dancer feature film Thursday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Ilfeld Auditorium – This 2014 Iranian film is rated PG-13 and is part of Highlands’ Cultural Film Series.
Danah Bella’s Master Dance Class Friday, April 15, at 4 p.m. in Ilfeld Auditorium – Open to Highlands and UWC students. Space is limited to 20 and students must call 505-454-3238 to register.
A Ballerina’s Tale documentary, Friday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m.in Ilfeld Auditorium – This 2015 film features Misty Copeland’s rise to fame as the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer of the legendary American Ballet Theater.
Danah Bella’s Master Dance Class Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m. in Kennedy Alumni Hall, 905 University Ave. – Open to the community. Space is limited to 20 and interested persons must call 505-454-3238 to register.
Las Vegas Youth Dance Showcase Sunday, April 17, at 3 p.m. in Ilfeld Auditorium –Features Lori Bovia’s Los Zapateados Ballet Folklorico dancers and Sarah Flores’ ballet and jazz students from Get Fit Studio.