Let’s look at the numbers on the spring 2017 concert by the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble (DDE), taking place on Friday and Saturday, May 26 and 27, 8 pm, in The Moore Theater of The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College:
- FOUR choreographers (including one Beyoncé collaborator);
- FIVE ensembles playing live music for the dancers, including 31 members of the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble;
- NINETEEN dancers, a historic number for the Dance Ensemble!
The dancers include undergraduates from all disciplines, graduate students and Dartmouth staff members. Dancers come with backgrounds in ballet, modern dance, hip hop, folk dance and more.
Choreography is made fresh each year, expressly for the DDE dancers. Choreography for this concert is by DDE Director John Heginbotham, who balances his work with the DDE with the busy schedule of his own thriving NYC-based company, Dance Heginbotham ; DDE Choreographer-in-Residence Rebecca Stenn, a former Pilobolus and Momix dancer who directs her own Connecticut-based company; DDE member Philip Montana (a Geisel School of Medicine student); and Guest Choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie, who has made dances for everyone from Beyoncé to theater director Diane Paulus to ballet companies across the US.
Dartmouth dancers first got a chance to work with Moultrie when Heginbotham brought him to campus in 2016 for a master class that proved wildly popular. His two works for this concert—the only ones performed to recorded music, by Kenji Bunch and Rodrigo Y Gabriela—are a duet and a group number that seamlessly blend Moultrie’s styles in commercial and concert dance.
Other works all use live classic music, from the 16th century to the present. Stenn’s Verum is set to William Byrd’s motet Ave Verum Corpus, sung by an eight-member vocal ensemble led by Camilla Tassi ’16, a first-year graduate student in Dartmouth’s Digital Musics program.
Heginbotham’s Small Festive Gatherings is set to the music of J.S. Bach, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Gabriel Fauré, Colin Jacobsen and Franz Schubert, arranged by Jacobsen for a quartet of accordion, flute, violin and cello. Small Festive Gatherings was developed with the support of the Mellon Foundation as part of a three-year grant aimed at more broadly engaging students in classical music. The collaboration features three New York City-based guest artists—Jacobsen; Nathan Koci, accordion; and Alex Sopp, flute—who, in addition to arranging and performing, have engaged the greater Dartmouth community with a series of master classes.
Spirals, also by Heginbotham, is set to a musical work by the same name by Zach Wadsworth, performed by the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble led by Director Matthew M. Marsit—a collaboration performed as part of the DCWE’s winter concert and spring break service tour of Costa Rica. Lost/Left part III, by Montana with contributions from Sarah Mae Gibbons, is set to the Philip Glass solo piano work Metamorphoses III. Stenn’s 12 Dances for 11 People is set to Bartok’s 44 Duos for 2 Violins.