"Alwin Nikolais: A Dance Theatre Celebration Tour" – a tribute to modern dance and a feast for the senses.
Alwin Nikolais, recognized worldwide as one of the century’s most innovative dance artists, transformed the way audiences looked at dance from a kinetic drama to total visual theater. For the first time in a decade, his visual artistry is brought into life in an all-Nikolais program performed by the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.
The company will pay tribute to the legend of modern dance on the stage of the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a rare and very unique opportunity to see the works of a master,” said Jill Barnes, director of marketing and public relations for the company. “Nikolais explored multimedia before it was even a word. Some of the works featured during the tour are 30 years old, yet they still astound contemporary audiences. I’ve seen these pieces many times and I always find something new and innovative in each of them.”
Nikolais’ style, which questions the basic foundations of modern dance history, is a blend of the many talents the choreographer had. In his constant pursuit to change the concept of modern dance, he experimented with sound and projected light. His ultimate goal was to depersonalize dancers, liberate them from their human forms. Using eerie costumes, sound collage and changing images projected both onto the stage and the dancers, Nicolais would shift the audience’s attention away from the individual performers toward the overall effect of the show.
“Nikolais’ world of dance is colorful and imaginative,” said Barnes. “The human body, its evolution and eloquence, is one of his many subjects. Using slides, mirrors and dazzling light, Nikolais, the master conjurer, can transform it into something more than just parts of the body – human forms become some kind of abstract entities,”
Tuesday’s performance at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek is a part of a national tour celebrating the wonders of modern dance.
It’s not a coincidence that Murray Louis, Nikolais’ long-time student and the lead dancer of Nikolais Dance Theatre who initiated the event, chose the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company to perform this “Celebration Tour” in honor and remembrance of the dance legend.
“The founders of the company, Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe, were taught and inspired by the master,” said Barnes. “Nikolais’ technique is not a brand new thing for our dancers. Nevertheless, they rehearsed intensively for eight weeks under the keen eyes of Murray Louis and Alberto del Saz, our reconstruction director who danced for Nikolais for more than 20 years.”
The company will present seven pieces. The program includes “Crucible,” an artistic comment on the evolution and eloquence of a human body, “Blank on Blank,” a white-on-white picture of a nihilistic society, and “Neumenon Mobilus,” Nikolais’ first foray into abstract dance.
Tickets for “Alwin Nikolais: A Dance Theatre Celebration Tour” are $10 for children and $20 for adults, and are available by calling 845-TIXS, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. or at http://www.vilarcenter.org. For more information about Alwin Nikolais or the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company visit http://www.ririewoodbury.com.