Annual Fall Dance Concert in Progress

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2008) – The University of South Florida’s School of Theatre and Dance presents its annual Fall Dance Concert in Theatre I on the Tampa campus. Performances run Nov. 1, 6, 7, and 8 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. The Nov. 6 performance features a program of dances from Florida magnet school and community college students in USF’s Day of Dance, in addition to the regular concert. Prior to the final performance on Nov. 8, renowned choreographer Donald McKayle will speak in Theatre I as part of the College of Visual & Performing Arts “Talk of the Arts” program. Advance tickets for the concert are: $12 general, $8 students/seniors; day of show tickets, $15 general, $10 students/seniors. Tickets for all performances may be purchased through the CVPA box office by calling 813-974-2323 or online at

Professor Gretchen Ward Warren’s Frivolités, set to the colorful music of Dmitri Shostakovich, inspired by the sparkling excitement of a circus, the bustle of city life, the classic dance film “An American in Paris,” and complete with virtuosic fireworks, will open the concert.

Styrofoam Olympics is a new choreography by Lynne Wimmer, prompted by her rehabilitation following knee surgery. Partially inspired by a former football player and fellow patient who performed the exercise of picking up styrofoam cups while standing on one leg “with tremendous focus and determination,” Wimmer created this humorous dance, setting it to excerpts from Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.”

USF Dance faculty member Michael Foley takes on two iconic pieces of music from opposite ends of the 20th century musical spectrum. Jeff Buckley’s haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s classic song “Hallelujah” serves to underline themes of inter-dependency, support and loss for a quintet of dancers in Gone. In Incandescent, under the glow of a dozen incandescent light bulbs, an ever-expanding cavalcade of movement mimics the music’s increasing urgency as an ensemble of 16 women comes under the spell of Maurice Ravel’s tense and hypnotic “Bolero.”

Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder, choreographed in 1959 by Donald McKayle, and staged here by USF dance faculty member John Parks, explores the experience of men on a chain gang in the American South. The “rainbow around the shoulder” was the trace pattern caused by the pickaxes swinging up and around the prisoners’ heads as they worked. Staged in part last spring, and set to traditional songs sung by working chain gangs, the complete presentation of this masterwork promises to be a powerful event.

USF’s Day of Dance began 16 years ago as a way to allow students from magnet schools and community colleges throughout the state of Florida to experience a "day of dance" at the University’s Tampa campus. This year’s activities, in addition to intensive interactions between visiting students and USF dance majors, faculty, and advisors, will include a panel discussion about the preparation needed to be accepted to USF, the dance program, and the value of a dance degree for future employment.

“Talk of the Arts” is an annual lecture and performance series inaugurated in Fall 2007. Funded by the College of Visual & Performing Arts, this ambitious guest artist and scholar series seeks to become nationally known for the reputation of its speakers and their interactions with our students. A gifted choreographer of socially conscious works, Donald McKayle’s 60 year career is highlighted by his receipt of numerous prestigious dance honors, five Tony Award nominations, and an Emmy Award nomination. He is currently the Claire Trevor Professor in Dance at the University of California, Irvine.

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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