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DeSales Dance Ensemble Concert Celebrates 50 Years of Performing Arts at DeSales

by Roseann Damico Schatkowski Feb 28, 2020

The Division of Performing Arts at DeSales University proudly presents the climax of the dance season, the Dance Ensemble Concert, opening Friday, March 20, in the Main Stage Theatre of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.

The Dance Ensemble Concert features choreography by renowned guest choreographers and our accomplished dance faculty. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Division of Performing Arts, this year’s concert seeks to honor the past as well as look towards the future.

The highlight of the production is a reconstruction of legendary choreographer Martha Graham’s “Steps in the Street” from her 1936 piece, “Chronicle.” This dance was Graham’s response to the rise of fascism in Europe, and “depicts the isolation and desolation that war leaves in its wake” ( 

Graham regisseur Dr. Jennifer Conley staged “Steps in the Street” over an intensive two-weekend residency, and steeped the dancers in Graham technique daily while providing context, images, and artwork that would have inspired Martha Graham during this time period.

“We are committed to reconstructing works of historical significance each year in the Dance Ensemble Concert,” says Angela Sigley Grossman, artistic director of Dance Ensemble and co-chair of the dance department. “Our students have had the opportunity to dive deeply into “Steps in the Street,” discover what made the work revolutionary in its time, and find what ties it has to current events. Through reconstructing this work, the cast has discovered the relevance that historical works still have today, and are able to appreciate and embody this history in a very visceral way.”  

As a special honor in celebration of the 50th anniversary, dance alumna Lora Allen returns home to DeSales to present choreographic work on the Main Stage. Allen is the artistic director of Philadelphia-based modern dance company allendance, and the founder of the Iron Factory, a studio and residency space in Philadelphia.

The concert also presents work commissioned by New York City and Washington, D.C.-based professional dance artist Tiffanie Carson, who spent a week in residence with the talented senior class, as well as work commissioned by dynamic local professional choreographer Sarah Parker, artistic director of Continuum Dance Theater. Dance Ensemble also features work by our esteemed dance faculty members, with a pointe piece from Julia Mayo that first premiered with the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, and the premiere of a new contemporary modern work for four dancers from Angela Sigley Grossman.

The Dance Ensemble Concert runs March 20 at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., March 21 at 8:00 p.m., and March 22 at 3:00 p.m. All performances will take place on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets for the Dance Ensemble Concert are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and only $6 for DeSales/LVAIC students. Tickets are available by calling the Labuda Box Office at 610.282.3192 or online at