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Sept. 21, 2012
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

60X60 concert combines dance, art

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Talk about high energy and excitement. Slippery Rock University dance and art students and faculty are combining their skills to present a 60X60 Experimental Music and Dance Concert Sept. 27 in SRU's Stoner Instructional Complex, West Gym.

The one-hour performance will feature 60 dance works, each 60-seconds long with some choreography accompanied by animation and video created by SRU art students.

Forty-five dance students will present choreography in the modern, ballet and jazz styles to 60 different musical tracks, said Andy Hasenpflug, musician for the dance department and the show's producer. Some students will perform more than once.

60X60 is a project that was developed in 2003 by the New York City-based music consortium Vox Novus and its founder, Robert Voisey. It was designed to showcase many choreographers and a diversity of contemporary music. 60X60 has had more than 250 performances in more than 20 countries, according to the Vox Novus website.

Hasenpflug said there is a trend toward rapid-fire performance. "Things generally are getting shorter and more spectacular as time goes by," he said.

Ursula Payne, professor of dance, said the compositional exercise is good career experience because commercial dance often involves shorter pieces.

"Any time you're working with music, with this level of music, there is a direct benefit to the students in terms of sharpening their skills," she said. "They only have one minute to say exactly what they want to say and get their ideas across. It's a different way of working that is just as beneficial as having to create a composition that exists over the period of minutes."

Jon Shumway, SRU associate professor of art, said he and five students produced nine video or animation works for the concert. Not all of the dance performances will include video.

Shumway said students created the video and animation in his upper-level "Digital Media" class over the summer.

"They are very open ended," he said of the style. "Some of the work is very abstract and has a certain narrative feel. It was really open to the interpretation of the creator."

The project gave students valuable production experience with digital-based media and animation techniques and showed them alternative uses for those media.

"It gave them the opportunity to continue to explore the possibility for that media rather than always thinking of that media as isolated," he said.

60X60 will be presented at 6 and 8 p.m. The suggested donation is $2.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.