“Dance Now!” is an annual dance concert choreographed by students, faculty and guest artists. The performance gives WVU students the opportunity to hone their performance abilities in a professional environment while learning about collaboration between performer, choreographer and designer.
As in the past the program will present work by a selected group of student choreographers, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s senior student ensemble, the WVU Dance faculty and a new piece by guest choreographer Madison Hoke, native of Bridgeport who has spent her professional career dancing and choreographing in Israel, Europe and now in China.
“This year marks the 9th in the ‘Dance Now!’,” said Dr. Yoav Kadar, Associate Professor in Dance. “The center piece of the concert is ‘Esplanade’, by the iconic American modern dance choreographer, the late Paul Taylor. Restaged and coached by our own Maureen Mansfield Kaddar, herself an alum of the Taylor company and an authorized restager of Taylor’s work, ‘Esplanade’ has been performed by numerous companies and dance programs around the world."
Paul Taylor’s ‘Esplanade’ was created over forty years ago but is still as emotionally vivid to a modern audience. The choreography resembles very little the formal dance we are so accustomed to, especially in a dance concert. The audience feels as if they can run up on stage and join the performance because this piece explores the joy and celebration of dance. The audience is urged to tap into their inner child and experience play as an element of dancing. There is plenty of seriousness as well, moments of loneliness and despair but at its core his work is a celebration.
In January senior BA Dance majors, on their NYC Capstone trip, went to the Taylor studio and were able to watch the Paul Taylor Dance Company (of which both Dr. Yoav Kaddar and professor Maureen Kaddar are alumni) rehearse “Esplanade.” “It is with our greatest honor that we open the concert in tribute to the late Paul Taylor with a performance of his most renowned work, ‘Esplanade’ (1975),” said senior BA Dance major Madelyn Dempsey Dundon. “‘Esplanade’ has been hailed as one of the greatest works ever created by an American choreographer, and the opportunity to explore its intricacies and sheer brilliance, let alone with dancers who worked with Mr. Taylor himself, has been the most thrilling endeavor of my collegiate career.”
“It is truly a special opportunity for the WVU dance majors to learn, and soon perform, such an iconic work of American Modern Dance. Mr. Taylor passed away in August of 2018, but his work remains relevant and fresh.This opportunity affords the dancers the chance to embody a part of their WVU dance lineage by performing this work and honoring Mr. Taylor's legacy. As added bonuses: two of the dance faculty members, General Hambrick and Yoav Kaddar, will be performing in the work with the students, and the original lighting and costume designs have been recreated by the talented Theatre Design and Technology faculty and students,” said Maureen Kaddar, assistant professor of dance. “It has been such a privilege of mine to have worked with the dancers on this restaging project. They have far surpassed our expectations and have grown exponentially in both their artistry and athleticism. We hope that audiences will come see for themselves how much hard work and passion the ‘Esplanade’ cast and all the dancers of WVU have put into this upcoming ‘Dance Now!’ production. Don't miss out, ‘Esplanade’ opens the show!”