in tension

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UW-Madison Dance Department Presents "in tension" Featuring Merce Cunningham's MinEvent

The UW-Madison Dance Department ​presents its annual faculty concert “in tension,” February 8-10 and 15-17 at the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall, 1050 University Avenue.
“​in tension” will feature the work of one of America's greatest choreographers and a leader of the American avant-garde throughout his seventy-year career, the late Merce Cunningham along with six contemporary dance works by UW-Madison artists Kate Corby, Joseph Koykkar & Karen McShane-Hellenbrand, Li Chiao-Ping, Marlene Skog, Collette Stewart, and Jin-Wen Yu. 

Former Cunningham company member Carol Teitelbaum, will be in residence at the UW-Madison Dance Department January 23-February 9, 2018 to arrange and stage Cunningham's "MinEvent," a selection of choreographic material presented as an uninterrupted sequence of excerpts drawn from Cunningham’s work, which refers to the Event format Cunningham developed in the early years of his company to accommodate non-traditional performing spaces. An "Event" was a work that took "bits and pieces" from Cunningham's works and intentionally "intermingled" them so that they became a "new entity."

The mix of works in this concert are all intent to create something new—to imagine the future, reimagine iconic places and personas, and examine purpose and self.
A collaboration between Dance Department Professor and Music Director Joseph Koykkar, Faculty Associate Karen McShane-Hellenbrand and Theater and Drama's Assistant Professor Shuxing Fan titled "When Time Ran Out" explores humanity's enslavement to time and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. The work presents McShane-Hellebrand's choreography with Koykkar's sound design and music composition and Fan's video projections and computer animations.

Li Chiao-Ping will present "Consider the Clay," an athletic and driving new work inspired by a recent visit to the Marais district of Paris, where the vitality and clash of new and old world cultures harmonize and clash with incredible exuberance.

Marlene Skog will present “her eyes are open. ay, but their sense is shut,” a solo dance work performed by Liz Sexe, inspired by Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth. The work will feature actor Clare Haden and an original score by Matan Rubinstein.

Kate Corby's yet untitled duet, contains movement that mirrors, opposes, and embraces, exploring distance, disconnection and connection and Collette Stewart's ensemble work "Anything but Ordinary" looks into the drive to escape the ordinary parts of ourselves.

Also on the program is Yu's "Coalesce," which was recently previewed in his concert "Pages." The work is a dynamic, vividly colorful ensemble with three distinctive sections of guitar music, featuring a combination of powerful athletic movements and partnering. 
Tickets for “in tension” are $20/general admission and $15/students and seniors. Show times are 8:00 p.m. on Thursday & Friday February 8 & 9, 2:30 p.m. on Saturday February 10, 8:00 p.m. on Thursday & Friday February 15 & 16 and 2:30 p.m. on February 17. Tickets may be purchased in advance at, by phone (608) 265-2787, or in person at the Campus Arts Box Office, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street, Madison, WI. Reserved seating. There will be receptions on Friday, February 9 and Friday, February 16 with the choreographers and performers in Virginia Harrison Parlor, Lathrop Hall immediately following the show. Refreshments will be served.

Merce Cunningham, originally from Centralia, Washington, began his professional modern dance career at 20 with a six-year tenure as a soloist in the Martha Graham Dance Company. In 1944 he presented his first solo show and in 1953 formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as a forum to explore his groundbreaking ideas. Over the course of his career, Cunningham choreographed more than 150 dances and over 800 “Events.” Cunningham’s lifelong passion for exploration and innovation made him a leader in applying new technologies to the arts. He began investigating dance on film in the 1970s, and choreographed using the computer program DanceForms during the latter part of his career. He explored motion capture technology to create décor for BIPED (1999), and his interest in new media led to the creation of Mondays with Merce.

An active choreographer and mentor to the arts world until his death at the age of 90, Cunningham earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts. Among his many awards are the National Medal of Arts (1990) and the MacArthur Fellowship (1985). Cunningham’s life and artistic vision have been the subject of four books and three major exhibitions, and his works have been presented by groups including the Ballet of the Paris Opéra, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, White Oak Dance Project, and London’s Rambert Dance Company. Cunningham passed away in his New York City home on July 26, 2009. Always forward-thinking, Cunningham developed the precedent-setting Legacy Plan prior to his death, to guide his Company and ensure the preservation of his artistic legacy.

His collaborations with artistic innovators from every creative discipline have yielded an unparalleled body of American dance, music, and visual art. Cunningham’s work with John Cage, his life partner from the 1940s until Cage’s death in 1992, had the greatest influence on his practice. Together, Cunningham and Cage proposed a number of radical innovations. The most famous and controversial of these concerned the relationship between dance and music, which they concluded may occur in the same time and space, but could be created independently of one another.

Cunningham was a leader of the American avant-garde throughout his seventy-year career and is considered one of the most important choreographers of our time.

Carol Teitelbaum, was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1986 to 1993. She joined the faculty of the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio in 1985 and was faculty chair from 1998 until the studio closed in 2011. Ms. Teitelbaum has staged dances from the Cunningham repertory at State University of New York at Purchase, Barnard College, Ballet de Lorraine, the Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. 

She has extensive experience teaching Merce Cunningham Technique® and repertory to dancers of all levels of expertise, from professional company members to fourth grade students. As a respected stager of the work of Cunningham, she teaches selected dances from the repertory, as licensed by the Cunningham Trust. She also shares the Cunningham repertory more informally, by selecting material from various dances and connecting these elements to form a MinEvent.

Ms. Teitelbaum has taught master classes and held guest teaching positions at many institutions, including Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the Conservatoire de Paris, La Guardia High School of the Performing Arts and the Ailey/Fordham BFA program. Ms. Teitelbaum holds a Master's of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Michigan. Currently, she teaches for the Cunningham Trust at City Center and at Marymount Manhattan College.

Support for this concert was made through the UW-Madison Graduate School, the UW-Madison School of Education, the Anonymous Fund and Friends of UW-Madison Dance.
Contact: Kelly Kwiatkowski,, 608-262-2353


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