School of Dance premieres six new works by faculty and guest artists

Published: February 7, 2023 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s School of Dance will present its annual Winter Dance Concert on Feb. 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. each night at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

The performance contains six new works choreographed by School of Dance faculty and national guest artists, including Ashley Suttlar Martin and Amy Miller (Gibney Dance). These works highlight the collaborative efforts of the faculty, students and guest artists.

Choreographer Ashley Suttlar Martin, based in North Carolina, is an educator and artist who expresses her creative integrity by identifying connecting threads of humanity and sharing what constitutes the many facets of our global societies, cultures, traditions, and spirituality. Martin’s work “Atum,” inspired by the symbolism of the Ouroboros, explores the cyclical nature of destruction and recreation. Atum, an ancient Egyptian deity, denotes 'the substance from which all creation unfurled'.

Tresa Randall’s new work, “now, again, this one” was created in collaboration with five dancers. A vocabulary of full-bodied movements jostles dancers as they pivot, toss, glide, fold, unfold, rebound and careen through space. They embody states of being knocked off balance and stumbling, but also of finding their footing and feeling buoyed by a connection to others. Through intersecting, circuitous pathways and layered movement sequences, they co-construct a momentary, fleeting world.

“SMORGASBORD” is Kelly Hurlburt’s new explorative dance work and uses imagery, humanity, and whimsy to manifest a treat for the senses. The melding of movement, sound and tableau invoke the imagination asking, "What if you could taste the dancing? Feel the rhythm in your skin? Are you reminded of anything familiar?" Created in full collaboration with the dancers, this work draws on memories, connection, and curiosity to build a world of vivid textures, fanciful flavors and sensory delight. Audience members are invited to treat the work like a buffet. Let your senses be overwhelmed, pick and choose what you gravitate towards and wait for what emerges in your own body.

“Shadows and Doubts,” the new work choreographed by Travis D. Gatling, was inspired by shadows. When a person or object blocks the path of light and creates shadows, we receive and interpret information about the shapes of objects or ourselves. However, shadows can also mislead us about the actual condition of things and even ourselves.

“PZOD” was co-created by Amy Miller, the director of learning and leadership at Gibney Dance. Miller’s residency was part of an ongoing partnership between Ohio University and Gibney, an arts and social justice organization based in NYC. This work was created alongside 20 dance artists from the School of Dance and explores the generative tension between individual and collective thriving and was largely influenced by the emerging leadership concept of "the productive zone of disequilibrium."  This PZOD is a "flow state" we reach when there is just enough structure and just enough freedom in order to create conditions where we thrive, take risks and move further into our potential. Miller has also encouraged through discussion and embodiment, a greater awareness of how we as groups also move toward a collective PZOD to reveal the collaborative power of "finding flow" in groups - how each of us have a responsibility to work toward co-creating, both tangible and intangible, experiences we just couldn't create on our own.

/mend/ is the new work by Christi Camper Moore and explores the ever-present undercurrents and intensities that reside in the body. The movement is often direct, guttural, and powerful, invoking images of struggle or vulnerability. But there is also a summoning of the strength we might have forgotten we had. Driven by the haunting original composition from gridlach, /mend/ invites us to reflect on what draws us to the people or experiences that cause us to shudder or take flight, yet mend us so perfectly that no one could tell we had ever been broken?

Tickets are $16 for general admission and are available on the ticketing website and at the ticket office in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

Admission is free to Ohio University students with a valid student ID at the door before the performance begins, thanks to Arts for OHIO.

For more information, contact the School of Dance at 740.5931826 or