Feb. 2, 2006
Gordon Ovenshine 724-738-4854;
BAND JAZZ PLAYERS IN PITTSBURGH’
WITH SRU DANCE FACULTY, STUDENTS FEB. 24
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. –
When the region’s best big band jazz musicians collaborate
with the Slippery Rock University dance department for a Feb. 24
concert, a 16-year dream will come true for SRU music faculty
Stephen Hawk and dance department chair Nora
Both have wanted to join
forces since coming to SRU in 1990, figuring the two genres in one
performance would make a spectacular show.
“An Evening of Jazz
and Dance” featuring the Three Rivers Jazz Orchestra will be
held at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at Butler County Community College’s
“These really are the
best big-band jazz players in Pittsburgh,” Hawk said of the
18 musicians in the jazz orchestra. “I’ve never
played with a group that’s as strong from top to bottom, all
of them hand-picked and veteran performers of Pittsburgh’s
The group will perform
“Night Owl Suite,” the title-track of its new CD.
Orchestra member and co-director Mike Tomaro, director of jazz
studies at Duquesne University, wrote the three-movement piece.
While the band plays, dancers will present the moves of modern
choreography pioneer Jose Limon.
Hawk, associate professor
of music at SRU, and Tomaro created the orchestra. The group plays
jazz standards and contemporary big band music written by Tomaro,
one the nation’s leading composers and
Tickets may be purchased in
advance by calling 724-284-8505 or 888-826-2829. Tickets are $12
for general admission; $7 for students with ID.
Ambrosio choreographed a
solo for the concert, which will include dances by SRU’s
Teena Custer, instructor of dance, and Ursula Payne, associate
professor of dance, as well as guest artist Princess M’hoon
Cooper and Payne
appeared in Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” list
for 2006 because of their involvement with “This
Woman’s Work,” a national collaboration promoting
African-American female dancers.
Students will perform excerpts from
the historic work “A Choreographic Offering” (1964) by
Limon. Known for his dynamic interplay between weight and
weightlessness, his works were recognized as masterpieces and his
company became a landmark of modern dance, Ambrosio
2005, current Limon Company member Francisco Ruvalcaba came to SRU
for 10 days to teach and set “A Choreographic Offering”
involving 24 SRU dance majors. In April, students will perform the
work in New York City.
The concert is part of an
SRU venture offering arts entertainment for the entire region. The
initiative includes the ING Performing Arts Series, which sold out
concerts by Rockapella, Marvin Hamlisch and the Nai Ni Chen Dance
Company and brings Capitol Steps to campus on April 1 and Junie B.
Jones on May 19.
“The arts can be a
unifying force for our region, while providing entertainment for
all audience groups,” Hawk said. “With the strength of
the jazz and dance programs at Slippery Rock University, we thought
these two mediums would work well together for a concert, and this
will give our students a chance to perform with professional
musicians in an off-campus setting.”
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