The Meadows Dance Ensemble at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present three intriguing contemporary works, all created within the past 25 years, at its Spring Dance Concert, March 26-30 in the Bob Hope Theatre of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Featured will be Chalabati (2007) by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, winner of the 2014 Meadows Prize artist’s residency; Cold Virtues (2003) by Meadows Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland; and D-Man in the Waters (1989) by Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones.
The Saturday evening concert will include a special tribute to Ann Williams, founder and artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Lily Cabatu Weiss, chair of the dance department at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, with performances by DBDT and Booker T. dancers.
NOTE: all tickets for the Saturday performance have been reserved, but a wait list is open for tickets that may become available.
The program opens with Chalabati, a work inspired by the music and culture of the Gnawa people of Morocco. Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the founder of New York-based dance company Urban Bush Women, created and premiered the work during a residency at Virginia Commonwealth University. Zollar said, “The Gnawa language encompasses Arabic, French and various ancestral languages from their homeland region around Bambara. The Gnawa know it by heart and sing it with reverence and joy. It reminds me of stories traveling over land and time, from generation to generation.” As winner of the Meadows Prize, Zollar spent two weeks at SMU in February rehearsing the work with Meadows School dancers.
Adam Hougland’s Cold Virtues is a mysterious and intriguing work loosely based on the 18th-century novel Dangerous Liaisons, with its interplay of romance and power. Hougland, who is principal choreographer for the Louisville Ballet and resident choreographer for the Cincinnati Ballet, created the work for 14 dancers. Set to the haunting Violin Concerto by Philip Glass, it has been called “engrossing” and “unforgettable” by critics.
Rounding out the program is D-Man in the Waters, an engaging, joyous work created in 1989 to honor Demian Acquavella, a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company who died of AIDS. The work, considered a classic of modern dance, won a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award and was also featured in PBS’s 2007 film Dancing in the Light – Six Dances by African-American Choreographers.
Spring Dance Concert performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students, SMU faculty and staff. As noted above, all tickets for the Saturday performance have been reserved, but a wait list is open for tickets that may become available. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 214-768-2787 or visit http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/event/spring-dance-concert-0.