Tuesday, October 23, 2018

CofC dance concert features Charles Weidman's "Lynchtown," Nov. 16-18

The 1936 piece was written as a response to the complacency of citizens

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 12:50 PM

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On Nov. 16-18 the College of Charleston Department of Theatre and Dance presents Witness, a dance concert featuring works by distinguished guest choreographers and faculty. The cast includes 35 dancers, four musicians, and a special guest appearance by Dr. Renard Harris, the associate vice president of the College's Office of Institutional Diversity. Tickets can be purchased online.

Witness, in its literal interpretation, is a series of performances that "explores the importance of standing witness to life events that shape our world and define our times."

One of the notable performances included in the evening is "Lynchtown," a piece by modern dance pioneer Charles Weidman, first written in 1936 as a response to Weidman's own observations of the complacency of American citizens. For this concert, the Dance Notation Bureau, which licenses the use of Labanotated works, granted permission for artistic director Gretchen McLaine to reconstruct the dance.

A 1985 New York Times story describes the choreography of Weidman's "Lynchtown" thusly: "A portrait of a community consumed by violent passions, it was filled with accusatory gestures, grotesque hoppings and stampings and fierce pursuits led by Patricia Ambrose. The twisted minds of bigots were symbolized by twisted bodies. Dancers doubled up with rage and when the lynch mob finally dragged in its victim, they gathered about his body as if they were vultures."

Additional works in Witness include choreography by former NYC Ballet dancer and current adjunct faculty member, Stephen Hanna, and guest artist Vincent Thomas.

Learn more about CofC performances online at theatre.cofc.edu.

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