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March 25, 2005

ULM's New Dance Program Prepares for Premier

The ULM Division of Theatre and Dance in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, VAPA, will present the Repertory Dance Ensemble in its premier concert this spring. The program will feature the company's nine dancers performing repertory work and a performance and choreographed work by Guest Artist Leyya Tawil.

The performance will be in Brown Theatre on ULM's campus, Thursday April 14th at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets at $5 are available from the VAPA office (342-3811). The performance is free for ULM students, faculty and staff.

The ULM Repertory Dance Ensemble is a group of dancers selected by audition at the start of each semester. Most are trained in ballet, jazz or both and are diving full-force into their first experiences with modern dance.

In the spring concert, along with Tawil's work, the Repertory Ensemble will be performing new dances in hip-hop, jazz and modern. Additionally, "Not With Standing" is a piece based on the work of Monroe local artist Jason Nelson.

The Artistic Director of San Francisco dance company "Dance Elixir", Tawil will be in residency with the ULM dance department for ten days in April. She will be guest teaching dance classes, working with the Repertory Ensemble, and offering master classes for local and regional dancers. Tawil is a modern dance choreographer, and creates work that is kinesthetic, feminine and visually stunning. A native of Michigan she has been inspired by the work of artists such as Doug Varone, Evelyn Velez-Aguayo, Molissa Fenley and Nora Chipaumire. Tawil says, "Doug Varone's choreography is instinctive and in the moment. He communicates purely through movement, but his dances are charged with life and story." Fenley has inspired her to "move, move, move, and KEEP moving." Rita Felciano of the San Francisco Bay Guardian writes about Tawil, "Her choreography is both witty and playful, filling (the venue) with clearly focused energy." This seems reflective of Tawil's view on the work of Velez-Aguayo, of whom she admires for "Taking risks by letting her imagination spiral out into the act of dancing. She creates powerful images through simple forms."

A critical aspect of her work is that it proves to be accessible for the newest audience of modern. Tawil is attracted to the glamorous, exhilarating, and evocative aspects of dance, delivering motion that strikes kinesthetically as it communicates subtly. She works in a contemporary movement style, which integrates momentum, line, structure, and attitude. Her work explores the "human" qualities of dance, the simple beauty of the body in motion.

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