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Stephens choreographers, Mizzou composers join to create original works

November 13, 2014

Stephens College choreographers are once again teaming up with composers from the University of Missouri to create original works at the Senior Dance Concert this month.
This year, the concert will feature three original compositions. Erin Hoerchler, a sophomore pursuing his Bachelor of Music, is composing pieces for seniors Kyla Ranney and Jessie Burgess; and MU graduate student Kaylene Cypret is composing music for senior Alexis Collins’ piece.
This is the second year Stephens has worked with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative funded by Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.
The New Music Ensemble, under the direction of faculty composer Stefan Freund, works with some of the world’s leading composers and interpreters of new music.
Having the opportunity to create original dance pieces to original, high-quality compositions is rare, even in the professional arena, said Carol Estey, director of the dance program at Stephens.
“Not only do choreographers rarely have the chance to choreograph to new music, they rarely get a chance to perform to live music,” she said. “So this is really an awesome opportunity for our dancers and choreographers.”
MU composers are also happy to have the real-world experience, said William Lackey, assistant teaching professor in the MU School of Music.
“The composers and performers of the Mizzou New Music Initiative are truly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Stephens' choreographers and dancers,” he said. “As a teacher, I always want to provide young composers opportunities that will push them artistically.”
Lackey and Estey began talking about collaborations in the summer of 2013. They arranged for students to meet during what turned out to be a sort of “speed date” paring event, allowing composers and choreographers to determine if they could work together.
"While some seniors have their heart set on choreographing to music they're familiar with, the option of working on an entirely original piece is something that is really going to set Stephens apart," Estey said.

The Senior Dance Concert is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-15 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on Nov. 16.  

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