International choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland is doing a residency at University of Richmond from Nov. 11-23. She will teach dance classes and create a new piece for the University Dancers for their annual spring performance next semester.
Anne Van Gelder, assistant director of dance, said: "I have seen her work performed live and it is innovative and provocative. Ms. Batten Bland has a wealth of information to share with our dancers, from her performing experience to her choreographic investigations."
Batten Bland created Company Stefanie Batten Bland in 2008. The company, based in France and the U.S., is "a sci-fi group of futuristic, instillation based dancers," Batten Bland said.
Batten Bland said her original idea for the University Dancers had been a dance addressing how we deal with waste. "After two days of teaching, my idea has changed into a piece about how our bodies are working out recycled information," she said, adding that she will find a way to physically show this in the dance.
Grammy Award-winner Eighth Blackbird is Richmond's music ensemble-in-residence. They will play on stage during the piece and Batten Bland said that both the dancers and the musicians would have an equal role in the performance.
"The wall between live musicians and live performers isn't impossible to mix and approach," she said, adding that the two have been used as supporters for one another rather than players. "I hope this piece will redefine their roles."
Lexie Peterson, one of the seven University Dancers working with Batten Bland, said the group is excited to be working in new ways. "She brings a unique perspective as a working artist, creator, performer and artistic director," Peterson said.
"I am excited about the upcoming residency and how Ms. Batten Bland's work will challenge the University Dancers to work in ways that may be new to them," Van Gelder said. "Her work will be of interest to the university community because it will offer them another way to view both dance and art."
There will be three performances of the 29th annual concert, Spaces Between, Feb. 28, - March 2, 2014. The concert will be held in the Alice Jepson Theater in the Modlin Center for the Arts.
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