Fresh Dance: Concert at SUNY is a Collaboration Between Students, Faculty and Guest Artists

NEW PALTZ — The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz presents Fresh Dance, a concert of student dance, choreography and design, featuring a variety of dance styles – Jazz, Modern, Tap, Irish Step, and others. Fresh Dance runs Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5 at 8:00 PM and Sunday, May 6 at 2:00 PM. Tickets to each performance are available at the McKenna Theatre Lobby one hour before the show.

Fresh Dance provides students with a valuable opportunity to gain first-hand experience in choreography and performance. In addition to creating their own original work, students work closely with renowned dance professionals. Guest artists include Maria Simpson, Maureen Mansfield, and Peter Pucci, all of whom have extensive experience teaching and performing dance throughout the world. As guest performers and choreographers for Fresh Dance, they share this experience with student choreographers and dancers, making the concert a truly collaborative effort.

This collaboration extends to all facets of the concert including lighting, costume design and elements of scenery. Professor and lighting designer John Wade oversees students in his advanced lighting classes as they cooperate with the choreographers to create the appropriate mood and feeling for the dance. “This type of collaboration makes the dancers more aware of the technique and artistry involved in lighting dance, and exposes the lighting students to another medium of performance,” says Wade.

Friday evening, May 4, the performance is followed by a reception in McKenna Theatre Lobby. The audience is welcome to attend.

Tickets to Fresh Dance are general admission, seating is first-come-first-served. Prices are as follows: $8 for the public, $6 for students and senior citizens. No student rush tickets will be available.

Maria Simpson (guest choreographer) is currently on the faculty of the Dance Program at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA where she received her Masters of Fine Arts degree. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Middlebury Colleges and on the faculty of the Bates Summer Dance Festival Young Dancer’s Workshop. She has performed with The Chamber Dance Company in Seattle, the Freedman/Coleman Dance Company, Peter Schmitz and Dancers, and Gina Gibney Dance in New York City.

Born and raised on Long Island, Maureen Mansfield (guest performer) is a principal dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, performing nationally and internationally. She began her dance training at Adelphi University under the direction of Norman Walker where she received her BFA in Dance. She has been a member of Peter Pucci Plus Dancers for seven years and has performed with the companies of Rebecca Kelly, Gail Gilbert, Robert Sorrentino and Rebecca Stenn. A student at The Paul Taylor School since 1986, she toured India as an understudy with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in January of 1997 and joined the Company the following April. Ms. Mansfield is delighted and honored to perform in Fresh Dance.

Peter Pucci (guest choreographer) was born and raised in Baltimore and graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts. For nine years he was a member of the Pilobolus Dance Theatre. Since 1986 he has directed and choreographed for his own company, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers. Since its founding, the company has performed annually in New York City and has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Pucci has choreographed ballets for numerous ballet and modern dance companies in the US and abroad, among them the original of The Joffrey’s evening-length ballet, “Billboards,” to music by rock-music star Prince, presented on PBS Great Performances. Most recently he worked on a new Sam Shepard play in San Francisco. In 1990, Pucci became the first recipient of the Samuel H. Scripps Humphrey/Wiedman/Limón Fellowship, a choreographic commission awarded by the American Dance Festival. Pucci is also the winner of an Absolute Joffrey Award for choreography and two Choo-San Goh Awards for Choreography.

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