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20 Years In The Dance Center

Published: April 15, 2014

The College of the Arts and Department of Dance will present CSULB Dance in Concert: 20 Years in the Dance Center, a performance of faculty choreography celebrating 20 years of artistic and academic excellence.

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of CSULB’s dance program in its present home—the state-of-the-art CSULB Dance Center which opened in 1994—the concert features new choreography as well as past repertory highlights. An exhibit in the lobby of the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater will display costumes, photographs and archival materials honoring the distinguished past of the department.

A special gala performance on Saturday, April 26 will also be followed by a catered reception. CSULB Dance in Concert: 20 Years in the Dance Center will be performed Wednesday-Friday, April 23-25 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It will showcase the choreography of faculty John Beasant III, Keith Johnson, Lorin Johnson, Sophie Monat and Andrew Vaca. “Evening Soul” by Susan McLain will also be performed. Athletic, exuberant, thought-provoking and featuring lighting design and technical direction by Andrew N. Milhan and costume design by Liz Carpenter, this concert celebrates the rich legacy of the CSULB Department of Dance while looking to the future with exciting new works.

The program will include three CSULB premieres:

Beasant “Tom and Janet” (working title), an abstract modern dance work, takes a lighter look at jogging through unexpected moments and spatial relationships. This fun and quirky piece by Beasant will be performed to music composed by Laurie Anderson as well as text contributed by the choreographer.

Keith Johnson’s “Tent Full of Marks” explores ideas of racism, sexuality, religion, hidden lives, and how people size one another up to exploit and manipulate them for their own purposes and gain. Tent Full of Marks will be performed to music by the Scud Mountain Boys.

Vaca’s “General Education” is a light-hearted and poignant jazz dance that takes educational philosophy and makes it physical. Vaca notes that the CSULB website states: “A well-planned General Education program of study will provide students with the skills they will need to excel in whatever disciplines they choose to pursue.” Vaca’s new work, featuring such sections as The Foundations, Explorations and Advanced Skills, imaginatively plays with students exploring their individual capacities through dance performed to an eclectic score performed by the effervescent band, Pink Martini featuring CSULB alum Timothy Nishimoto.

In addition to those three premieres, the program will also showcase three revivals:

“Six Sonatas” by Sophie Monat, interprets the melodic flow of six Corelli sonatas through neo-classical pointe work and vibrant partnering. Inspired by the music of Arcangelo Corelli (selections from the Violin Sonatas, Opus 5), choreographer Monat combines the dynamics of earthiness with aspects of the more airborne in this pure dance piece for six women and two men.

20 Years In The Dance Center

Lorin Johnson is restaging his 2009 work for CSULB, “Shadow Play”—a contemporary ballet performed to an original composition by former CSULB Music Director Eric Ruskin. “Shadow Play” imaginatively translates positive and negative spaces into visual architecture, using the metaphoric interplay of light and shadow to develop duets and group movement for a cast of eight women.

“Evening Soul,” choreographed by McLain for CSULB in 1996 to an original score by Ruskin, has been restaged by Seonag Bauer, an alumnus of the department. McLain, a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company and faculty member of CSULB Dance, created “Evening Soul” as an exploration of a woman’s emotional journey during a nighttime reverie. A modern dance work featuring a female cast moving through intricate patterns, “Evening Soul” begins in a peaceful, contemplative manner and progresses to an energetic, uplifting climax.

This performance is in the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater on the CSULB Campus (located near the Pyramid on Atherton). Tickets are $20 for general admission and $16 for seniors, students (with valid ID) and Dance Resource Center members. A limited number of tickets will be available for the gala on Saturday evening, $30 for general admission and $25 for seniors, students (with valid ID) and Dance Resource Members. For tickets and information please call 562/985-7000 or visit