News & Notables from the Division of Performing Arts

DeSales Dance Season Opens with Illuminate

by Roseann Damico Schatkowski | Oct 20, 2016

Emerging Choreographers Concert Features Slate of World Premiere Dances

The Dance Department at DeSales University opens the 2016-2017 dance season with “Illuminate: The Emerging Choreographers Concert,” a premiere program of new dances in which student choreographers explore creative ways of capturing the essence of illumination through physical action and choreographic research.    

Under the artistic direction of dance faculty member Angela Sigley Grossman, the division of performing arts at DeSales University is pleased to celebrate the opening of the Dance Department’s 34th season with this annual concert showcasing our emerging student choreographers.  From the choreography to the performers, designers and student managers, the concert is entirely student-run   The Emerging Choreographers Concert is slated for four performances in the intimate Schubert Theatre in the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the DeSales campus from November 4 to 6, 2016.

“Our Emerging Choreographer’s Concert is a perfect way to launch the dance season since it shines the spotlight entirely on our dance majors.  In this concert, our audience get witness our talented student choreographers’ first real efforts in defining their artistic voices” says John Bell, head of the division of performing arts.   Artistic Director Angela Sigley Grossman notes that “Prospective choreographers propose a piece that relates to the selected theme to the graduating senior class which then reviews and curates what is always a diverse slate of new dance works.”  And since the concert is presented in the 200-seat Schubert Theatre, the choreographers must confront the “unique challenge of composing works for audiences on three sides of the stage” says Sigley Grossman.

The program features seven world premier dances in genre as diverse as contemporary ballet, tap and modern dance.  

Mariette Aungst’s In/Tension investigates the embodiment of emotional intimacy in a relationship, exploring human connection and disconnection through intricate and daring partnering and dynamic movement.  Samantha Burns’ Contrapasso is a dynamic modern piece inspired by Dante's Inferno. The performers take the audience on a journey through movement, complete with explosive phrasing, sweeping floorwork, and powerful intention. Tactile, evocative, aggressive, and hard-hitting, Contrapasso is designed to enthrall viewers from start to finish.

Noelle Cybulski’s I wouldn’t trade you for anyone uses pedestrian and light-hearted movement to explore relationships among a group of entertaining people.  Sarah Duffany’s

Aube a la Nuit is a contemporary ballet piece that reflects the power of hope in the midst of dark and troubling times. The embers of hope seem to fade away when shadows and doubts are swirling in sight. With sharp, elegant, and soft movements, the dancers will captivate the hearts of all who have experienced moments of doubt in their lives, and have found themselves filled with a restoration of hope. This newfound hope, through movement, in turn, elevates the beauty and power of the human spirit. 

Madison McCadden’s We Will Follow is a modern dance work bursting with energy featuring soaring lifts, smooth partnering and intricate shapes that the dancers weave through into exciting movement phrases.  Kaitlyn Miller’s Rhythmic Reunion is a powerful, high-energy tap dance trio featuring quick and fiery footwork.

Through organic movement, poetry and dialogue, Cailin Sweeney’s Enigma explores themes of isolation and ephemerality in the compelling journeys of four individuals as they pass in and out of one another’s lives.

Performances are Friday, November 4 at 8 p.m., Saturday, November 5 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, November 8 at 2:00 p.m. and take place in the Schubert Theatre in the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the DeSales University campus.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors Tickets are available by calling the Labuda box office at 610.282.3192 or online at

The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.

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