Theater and Dance Announces Spring Season – UB Now: News and Views for UB Faculty and Staff

The Department of Theater and Dance’s spring dance and drama season brings together acclaimed directors and choreographers, esteemed faculty, and talented students to produce innovative original productions that entertain and explore the human condition.

Live, in-person performances return this season to the Center for the Arts and the Katharine Cornell Theater at the Ellicott Complex.

Programming :

To dance

Zodiac dance company

March 11-12: 7:30 p.m.
March 12-13: 2 p.m.
Drama Theatre, Arts Center

The 47th spring program of Zodiac Dance Company, UB’s pre-professional dance company, features works from jazz, tap, modern, Afro-fusion and contemporary dance. The show is co-directed by Kerry Ring, Associate Clinical Professor, and Michael Deeb Weaver, Assistant Clinical Professor.

Choreographers include Ring, Deeb Weaver and dance faculty members Anne Burnidge, Jenna Del Monte Zavrel and Thomas Ralabate. Guest choreographers include Buffalo artist Megan Rakeepile; alumni Richard Ashworth and Julie LaMancuso; and guest professional choreographer Takehiro “Take” Ueyama of the Take Dance Company.


April 1-2: 7:30 p.m.
April 3: 2 p.m.
drama theater

Now in its third season, ChoreoLab is a performance and choreographic research laboratory for teachers, graduate and undergraduate dance students, and divined artists. Dedicated to fostering a diverse and creative environment in which to explore movement, ChoreoLab embraces contemporary trends while supporting dancers and investigating the role of dance in society and culture.

Led by Jenna Del Monte Zavrel, Artistic Director and Clinical Assistant Professor, ChoreoLab’s spring program includes 33 performing, undergraduate and graduate students.

Ariel Nereson, graduate dance director, is creating work to be performed by the entire MFA dance cohort, along with three undergraduate dancers and additional collaborators from other disciplines, including MFA candidate Kaylie Horowitz. master’s degree in theatre, and Dana Venerable, doctoral student in English.

Guest artists Paul Ocampo and Chien-Ying Wang of the OcampoWang Dance Company create a new contemporary piece for ChoreoLab during their spring 2022 residency. Hailing from Taiwan and the Philippines respectively, the duo have been creating dances together since 2001. Their works have performed in their home country, as well as in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, China, Indonesia and the United States. Ocampo and Wong are known for their “global approach to culture”.

Student choreographers include Ruby Abraham, Anna Caison Boyd, Lyssie Hartzog, Melanie Kaisen and Theo. Alongside Zodiaque Dance Company, ChoreoLab provides UB students with versatile choreography and performance opportunities that reflect the current dance landscape.

MFA Dance Thesis Concert

April 8-9: 7:30 p.m.
drama theater

The annual MFA Dance Thesis Concert will feature the premiere of new work by MFA dance candidates Jacqueline Cherry and Meg Kirchhoff, with performances by MFA dancers Anna Caison Boyd, Abby Cass, Natasha McCandless and Samantha Schmeer, and undergraduate dancers Gabi Marshall, Kelly Quinn, Celia Ramos and Hayley Timberlake. Ariel Nereson, an assistant teacher and certified dance director, is an educational consultant.

The production presents the culmination of Cherry and Kirchhoff’s creative research based on their thesis project. The concert features collaborations with media artists and student performers.

Cherry’s work is a thought-provoking collection of pieces that reflect her insights into diverse concepts and experiences arising from studies of black feminist thought, sociology, embodiment, and somatic practices.

Kirchhoff’s piece, which explores the physicality of responsiveness, attention and intra-activity, is supported by a public humanities grant and features live music performed and composed by Thomas Little, candidate for the PhD at UB.


“Twelfth Night”

April 21-23: 7:30 p.m.
April 23-24: 2 p.m.
Black Box Theatre, Arts Center

“Twelfth Night” is Shakespeare’s story of a woman who finds herself in a world she doesn’t belong to, and features characters freshly mourning the loss of loved ones. Despite the themes of loss and grief, “twelfth night » does not linger in grief, but rather presents a world full of hope and joy – a wacky comic adventure through mistaken identity, the thrill of falling in love, and finding lost things found. The show is directed by Danielle Rosvally, Assistant Clinical Professor.

Studio theater ensemble: Tom Vinegar

April 29-30: 7:30 p.m.
Katharine Cornell Theater

“Vinegar Tom” was written in 1976 by British playwright Caryl Churchill, who collaborated with the feminist theater company Monstrous Regiment after meeting some of its members at a pro-choice demonstration in the 1970s. Their hope was to create a play about the hardships of women’s lives in 17th century England and how women who did not live by the mores of the time or were seen as “difficult” would often be labeled as witches. It was also intended as an allegory of women’s life in the 20th century.

The music was composed by Helen Glavin, co-founder of Monstrous Regiment, and the show was created in collaboration for several months before its debut on October 12, 1976 at the Humberside Theatre, Hull, England.

The protagonist is Alice, a woman in her twenties living in a small village with her mother, Joan. The couple are accused of witchcraft after an argument with neighbors Jack and Margery. The neighbors have had economic difficulties and there are problems regarding their sex life. Fearing that God is against them, Jack and Margery choose to believe their misfortunes are the result of Joan’s witchcraft and act malevolently.

It is later implied that Joan’s cat, Vinegar Tom, may be responsible. Accusing others of witchcraft in order to shift the blame onto nonconforming women, including the unmarried, the elderly, the poor, the crafty, or the accomplished, was not uncommon in seventeenth-century England and so became a narrative theme of the time. It was another way of disempowering women.

May 5-7: 7:30 p.m.
May 7-8: 2 p.m.
drama theater

“Violet” is a musical about a young woman on a quest to right the wrongs of her past. Based on “The ugliest pilgrim” by Doris Betts, the award-winning production travels from North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1964. Music is by Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori, known for many hit shows, including “Shrek the Musical” and “Resolutely modern Millie.” The book and lyrics are by Brian Crawley. “Purple” features a vibrant range of American roots and gospel music that depict the journeys of the soul, including the breathtaking inspirational song “Let It Sing”.

Violet is directed and choreographed by award-winning guest artist Terry Berliner, who served as assistant director on the original production of Purple 25 years ago at Off Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons. The actors and designers are students from the theater and dance department. Musical direction is provided by Alison d’Amato, clinical assistant professor and director of musical theatre. The guest playwright for the production is Buffalo author and artist-filmmaker Annette Daniels Taylor.

Tickets for performances at the Arts Center are $20 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are $5 for performances at the Katharine Cornell Theater.

Buy your tickets online.

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