College dance company presents new work

The Dance Company of Middlebury will present their new evening of contemporary dance performance, “Native + Stranger” (pronounced “Native plus Stranger”) on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Directed by Christal Brown in collaboration with Rulan Tangen, Matthew Taylor, and Jennifer Ponder,  this concert is an interdisciplinary exploration of individuality, place, acquisition, lineage and the construction of identity.
Brown developed the concept for “Native + Stranger” while revisiting her childhood roots in North Carolina. There she discovered a striking separation between her current persona and her place of origin.  Not being able to name this discomfort brought about the inquiry of origin and evolution. Brown then invited Rulan Tangen, Artistic Director of Dancing Earth, whose work privileges an expression of indigenous worldview while including dance as a functional ritual for transformation and healing.
This year’s company includes dancers Marquise Adleye, Annie Aguilar, Nadani Dixon, Morgan Grady-Benson, Caleb Green, Lucy Grinnan, Sam Kann, Anja Kuipers, Deborah Leedy, Matea Mills-Andruk, Eliza Renner, Mayu Tanino and Tess Weitzner. The students have been drawn from a variety of origins and academic disciplines, and have worked together to build an artistic community prioritizing participatory decision making, shared values and intention, as well as personal trust and support.
Formed in 1980, DCM includes student dancers, selected by audition, who create new work annually under the direction of professional faculty choreographers and designers at the Middlebury Dance Program. This model creates a pre-professional environment for students to engage in intensive dance training, experiencing the inner workings of the choreographic process from varied perspectives. Each year, DCM premieres a new piece in Vermont in conjunction with a national or international tour. This year, with the focus on cultural formation and continuation, the company has worked with multiple artists and communities including: Abenaki elders; creators of the Clemmons Family Farm celebrating African American Heritage in Vermont; and Michelle Gibson, whose New Orleans Original BuckShop conveys the history and movement of the Second Line Aesthetic including improvised movement, brass band music and the embrace of communal ritual.
Don’t miss the Dance Company of Middlebury’s performances this Friday and Saturday, at 8 p.m., in the Dance Theatre of the Mahaney Center for the Arts in Middlebury. A post-performance discussion and reception will follow Friday’s performance. Tickets are $12 for the general public; $10 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or visit go.middlebury.edu/arts.

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