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Yale Dance Theater Students Perform in New York


New Haven, Conn. — Students at Yale who have been taking an innovative course in dance (one of the first offered to Yale undergraduates) will perform their “finals” at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenue) in New York City on April 30, 8 p.m.

Students in the course “Dance Theater” spent the past year practicing, analyzing and redefining the genre. Their New York debut performance, a work-in-progress showing of student choreography, is an end-of-term event that brings together the New York dance world and the Yale community. The Q & A following the show aims to foster dialogue between experienced dancers, choreographers, dance writers and Yale students. This invaluable audience feedback is considered part of the students’ research, and will be incorporated into their process journals and final papers.

Beginning with an examination of choreography by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, Yvonne Rainer, Pina Bausch, Trisha Brown and Bill T. Jones, among others, the course then turned its focus on various processes choreographers use to create work.Considerations that guided the class included the interrelationship between language and dance, reading movement and, most crucially, articulating and expressing meaning by launching bodies into motion. Out of this foundation of ideas, the students’ own work emerged. The course, taught by Emily Coates, a professional dancer whose credentials include New York City Ballet, Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project and Twyla Tharp Dance in addition to a BA in English from Yale, is an initiative of the World Performance Project (WPP). Launched by Professor Joseph Roach, the Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Theater and English, WPP promotes research in performance across programs and departments within the university.

“My career as a dancer has been so rich in movement ideas that run the gamut, from Balanchine’s affecting neoclassicism to Yvonne Rainer’s deadpan postmodernism. I am thrilled to make this world of ideas accessible to Yale students and to enable them to develop their own ‘thoughts in motion,’” Coates says.

The performance is in collaboration with lighting designers from the Yale School of Drama, with the assistance of Professors Jennifer Tipton and Stephen Strawbridge, and produced by WPP, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Baryshnikov Arts Center can be reached by subway—1, 2, 3, A, C, E — to 34th Street.


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