Artsminded: Dancing, diversity highlight upcoming area eventsRise up, hunkering humanity of western Wisconsin! Our long frigid ordeal may be over.
By: Phyllis Goldin, Columnist, River Falls Journal
Rise up, hunkering humanity of western Wisconsin! Our long frigid ordeal may be over.
Enough trudging through snow and ice bedecked in pounds of boots, mitts, jackets and yards of scarves. The luck of the Irish has left us in a green glow as spring enters with an exuberance sure to create an itch for a jig.
To help us appreciate our liberation there are several exciting arts oriented and multi cultural offerings just about to hatch. These have become annual jewels of engagement much appreciated in a widening circle of local and Twin Cities devotees.
The UW-River Falls Dance Theatre unfurls its Spring Concert (schedule and ticket information below). Once again it promises a wonderful menu of original and traditional pieces featuring the talents of faculty, guest and student choreographers and dancers. Styles range from lyrical, classical Chinese to contemporary modern dances.
The concert will feature the work of Bryan Gerber, artistic director of Aurora Dance Company of St. Paul. His original piece “The Grief of Humanity” features seven members of the dance theater exploring the issue of conformity.
He and faculty member Mari Kline will perform their compelling co-choreographed duet, exploring human contact.
Student Brittany Warren has choreographed a mixed media dance, which combines film, dance and an original musical score.
Dance Theatre member Allison Davitt will present her powerful solo entitled “Veiled” to a piano composition written by me.
Another student choreographer Rana Kuebker will perform a moving solo of balance and imbalance to music by Sigur Rós.
Faculty members Karla Zhe, Susan Sell, Torrion Amie and Mari Kline have choreographed diverse pieces including Sell’s innovative improvisation for 13 dancers, and two technically challenging modern pieces by Kline, one of whose works entitled “Interrupted” will represent UW-RF at the American College Dance Festival at UW-Madison. Amie’s “Pulse” is a high-energy hip-hop piece for nine dancers.
Dance Theatre alumnus Mr. Suarez, has created a lighthearted dance that takes a humorous look at “A Quiet Day In The Park.”
Ten Dance Theatre members present a beautiful traditional Chinese folk dance in authentic costumes set by Dance Theatre member Haiya Zhang from Kunming, China.
The concert will conclude with a piece danced by the 32 members of the Dance Theatre, choreographed by Zhe.
On Wednesday, April 23, the River Falls Diversity Committee, a coalition of members of community organizations and UW-RF, chaired by Mayor Don Richards, presents “Unity in the Community,” a daylong celebration of the multi cultural tapestry of the River Falls campus and community. Though some of the program is still in the planning stage, the lineup is already gathering heft.
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., at the University Center mall, there will be performances by student groups including a Native American PowWow, “Steps,” a rhythm dance and ritual from historically black colleges and universities, organized by Alpha Kappa Psi, an East Indian ritual colors ceremony by the Desi Student Organization, international jazz pieces by music department students, hiphop and swing dancing and poetry. Indoors, at the University Center’s Kinnickinnic Theatre, an acclaimed film, “The Kite Runner” will air throughout the day and evening.
Beginning at 5:30 p.m. the celebration moves to Veterans Park in downtown River Falls where community organizations and individuals will continue the wonderful panorama of dance, music and performances that give such color to our community. Ethnic foods will be available through the evening.
A highlight of the local arts season happens on the evening of Saturday, April 26, when the River Falls Community Arts Base presents its 12th annual Spring Gala from 6-10 p.m. at the River Falls Golf Club.
This is your opportunity to party and support your arts organization at the same time. A silent art auction featuring fine work of local and regional artists, an art raffle, dancing to live bands and flavorful food are among the offerings that bring people back year after year.
Speaking of tantalizing experiences, I’d be remiss not to mention a concert I attended recently. It was part of a series at UW-RF called Radd Jazz in memory of the music department’s former professor John Radd and featured the UW-RF Jazz Ensemble, directed by David Milne with guest artist and jazz drummer, Phil Hey. Truly first rate!
There are two more concerts in this series.
Here are some events and opportunities in our region: (Before attending events please confirm the details online or by calling the particular venue indicated.)
8 p.m. Friday, March 28: Jazz by Four of a Kind
8 p.m. Friday, April 4: A Night of Jazz with Bernie and Friends
For more information about upcoming events and classes at The Space call 715-246-3180 or go to www.TheSpaceForCreativity.com.
7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25: “Jesse James and His Gang” by Author John Koblas; John is one of the most dynamic, interesting and prolific writers in the outlaw genre and is the foremost authority on the James-Younger Gang’s exploits in Minnesota; books will be available for sale and signing.
7 p.m. Wednesday, April 9: Minneapolis poet, James Lenfestey, will read from his newest volume, “A Cartload of Scrolls: 100 Poems in the Manner of the T’ang Dynasty Poet Han-Shan.” His books will be available for sale and signing and his reading will be followed by an open mike program open to anyone wishing to do a short reading of their own work. Free and open.
7 p.m. Monday April 14: i-Pods, TiVo and You Tube, Oh My!; Tracy O’Connell from the UW-RF Marketing Communications program will lead this discussion of how advertising is changing with new technologies. Part of the Community Classroom series; presentations by UW-RF faculty designed to help people understand and address the vital concerns of our contemporary world; sponsored by Outreach and the College of Arts and Sciences and the RFPL; free and open to the public.
Call for artists’ works for the Memorial Day Artisan Fair at Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camp/738 Hickory Point Lane/Amery/WI/54001-5129; to be held Monday, May 26; 8 a.m. to noon; space (8’ X 5’) fee $35, plus a donated item for the silent auction; indoor and outdoor spaces, as weather allows; registration deadline: April 15; for information contact Becky at 715-268-8434 or ; space reserved on a first come, first served basis.
For more information about CAB events, memberships, corporate sponsorships and the Veterans Park Sculpture Project, write to RF CAB/439 W. Maple St./Suite 109/River Falls/WI/ 54022; call 425-7645, ext. 2109; or go to www.riverfallscab.org.
For information about regional offerings listed by the member organizations of What We Need is Here, e-mail Anastasia Shartin at ashartin@ThePhipps.org.
For more comprehensive arts information go to www.whatsplaying.information or call 800-323-4984 to speak with someone on the editorial staff. The magazine “What’s Playing” is available at some establishments and newsstands in our area.