Oct. 13, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
'Til dance do they part: duet explores beauty of marriage
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The beauty and harmony of married life from the perspective of a mature couple will be explored through the dynamic moves of dance when Slippery Rock University presents the Faculty and Guest Artist Dance Concert at 8 p.m. Oct. 21 in Miller Auditorium.
Thom and Christine Cobb, associate professors of dance at SRU and Youngstown State University respectively, who are married in real life, will perform "Poppy and Lou," choreographed by Billy Siegenfeld, an Emmy Award-winning professor of dance at Northwestern University and internationally known dancer and choreographer.
"A marriage that dances together stays together," Thom Cobb said with a chuckle. "The exciting thing about performing this duet is that Billy has never set this work on any other couple; we're the first pair outside of his professional dance company to do this work."
It is the first time the husband-and-wife team, married for 34 years and with a combined 60 years of dance performance and teaching experience, has performed choreography by Siegenfeld. The professor achieved notoriety as director of the "Jump Rhythm Jazz Project" in Chicago.
"Poppy and Lou" is an intimate duet about the long-term relationship of a couple in their golden years. Rhythmic and dynamic in nature, the dance has moments of love, melancholy, fond memories of the past, hope for the future and sadness at the loss of a loved one.
Thom Cobb, who joined SRU in 1978, has received several awards, including the 2008 Outstanding Dance Educator for Post-Secondary Education Award from the National Dance Association. He was instrumental in launching SRU's dance major in 1987 and the dance department two years later.
Siegenfeld, a 2005 Senior Fullbright Scholar, received Chicago's most prestigious dance honor, the Ruth Page Award, in 2006. He received an Emmy in 2007 for "Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: Getting There," which aired on public television.
Evening includes groundbreaking choreography
SRU's concert will include six other works, including excerpts from the groundbreaking Negro Dance Theatre Project. Helanius Wilkins and company members from his Edgeworks Dance Theater in Washington, D.C., will perform the piece, which explores the role of black men in American modern dance. The SRU Jazz Ensemble will perform music from Broadway's "Sweet Charity."
"It's an eclectic, fun show offering excitement for everyone," said Melissa Teodoro, SRU assistant professor of dance.
The concert will include choreography by several SRU dance faculty. The line up includes: "Currents," by Tania Isaac, director of Tania Isaac Dance and a former resident dancer at SRU; "Rich Man's Frug Revisited" and "Nothing Ever Worries Me," choreographed by Nora Ambrosio, dance department chair; "Under the Glass Ceiling: If He Were She," choreographed by Nola Nolen-Holland, assistant professor of dance; "Martha was a B-Girl," choreographed and performed by Teena Custer, instructor of dance; and "In Her Solitude: Lest We Forget," choreographed and performed by Ursula Payne, professor of dance.
Tickets, available at the door, are $10 and $5 for SRU students.
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.