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MU composers, Stephens choreographers team up, create original works

October 11, 2013


Composers and choreographers get to know one another.

Stephens choreographers and dancers are teaming up with composers from the University of Missouri to create a performance of entirely original works next month.

The result of the collaboration is a rare artistic treat, Senior LeeAnn Davis said.

“The community doesn’t want to miss this,” she said. “It’s the first time we’re going to have all new choreography and compositions—all original works in one place.”

The Senior Dance Concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Nov. 17. The concert will take place in Macklanburg Theatre to allow for the full orchestra in the pit.

MU School of Music seeks to position itself as a leading center in the areas of composition and new music, thanks to the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, by offering an array of programs through the Mizzou New Music Initiative. Dr. William Lackey, assistant teaching professor in MU’s School of Music, and Carol Estey, director of the dance program at Stephens, discussed the collaboration earlier this year and decided it was a perfect match.

“We really didn’t know what form it would take, but this is a great opportunity to meet other young artists and collaborate,” Lackey said.

This summer—during what was a sort of “speed date” pairing event—composers and choreography students had a chance to get to know each other before pairing up.  They spent the rest of the summer working together to come up with the sounds and movements that will make up the Senior Dance Concert.

"Due to the collaborative process this summer, our students’ communication skills were strengthened significantly,” Lackey said. “The skills learned by this process will inform future collaborations our students initiate or take part in.”

Stephens senior Stephanie Reynolds said she sent her composer words she wanted the music to reflect. Together, they adjusted timing, volume and other details as needed.

“This is a really great experience,” Reynolds said, noting that this type of collaboration is typically cost prohibitive. “We’re lucky to have this opportunity.”

Even professionals don’t often get the chance to work with composers, Estey said.

“Choreographers do not frequently get to choreograph to new music, and they rarely get to perform to live music,” she said. “Everything about this is a more sophisticated opportunity.”

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