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Duke University Hosts Spring Dance Concert

The concert, to be held this Friday and Saturday, will pay tribute to a Duke alumna who passed away in 2007

Choreolab is the Duke Dance Program's annual spring concert featuring student dancers. Photo credit: Alec Himwich

A spring dance concert by the Duke Dance Program, ChoreoLab 2014, will pay tribute to the musical legacy of a Duke alumna who passed away in 2007.

ChoreoLab 2014 will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 28-29, in the Reynolds Industries Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke's West Campus. Tickets for ChoreoLab -- $15 for the general public, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students -- are available at the box office or online at Parking is available in the Bryan Center parking garage.

Barbara Dickinson, Duke professor of the practice of dance, has choreographed a modern piece for 11 student dancers, "Liquid Prisoner/Remembrance," and dedicated to Jennifer Fitzgerald, a talented composer and pianist who received her M.A. and Ph.D. in music composition from Duke.

Fitzgerald lost her life to cancer at age 32, only two years after receiving her doctoral degree. Dickinson said she was honored to have worked with her and served as a member of her doctoral committee.  It has been her intention to choreograph one of Fitzgerald's pieces for a long time, she said.

"A year or two before she graduated, Jennifer gave me 'Liquid Prisoner' to listen to and see if I wanted to choreograph it," Dickinson said. "This work is complex and endlessly interesting."

Dickinson said Fitzgerald's composition pushes the boundaries of melody, rhythm and other hallmarks of classical music, and she found it intensely engaging as a score for a dance.

Another piece, "Circadian Rhythms," is a contemporary ballet piece choreographed by Julie Janus Walters, an assistant professor of the practice of dance. Subtitled "reset your clock," the ballet for 18 dancers suggests ways that we recalibrate our internal biological clock through rhythm, pulse and motion.

Thomas DeFrantz, a professor of African and African American Studies and dance, has created a dance theater piece called "I Wish I'd Never Met You," featuring a mirror tent, a technical installation designed by students.

"Culebra" an African dance piece choreographed by associate professor Ava Lavonne Vinesett, features live drumming arranged by music director Richard J. Vinesett.

In addition, Duke students have choreographed two pieces for the concert. One is a duet by two sophomores, Jennifer Margono and Maurice Dowell, and the second is "Dura," a piece for nine dancers choreographed by Bonnie Delaune, a senior majoring in public policy, and senior Zsofia Solta, a history major.